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Anatomy of A Music Video

Today we are going to dissect a Music Video that I Produced and Directed for the Junior Gordon Band. By opening up this video and evaluating the inner parts, I am hoping to help you understand what is involved in a production and what you are paying for when you do one. So let’s start with the backstory…

Junior Gordon called me to discuss producing a music video for his first single Big. Though he had no set budget, I knew he was an indie artist and this was his first album so we had to keep the costs down. The video was to be used for both Network Television and Web Marketing.  He had a few concepts, but really wanted me to pitch my concepts, which gave me the ability to build the video concept around a few assets we had in our pocket to make the production look bigger without costing a ton.

Let’s take a look at the video.

That was fun wasn’t it? So how much do you think it cost to Produce? I have had answers as low as $25,000 to as high as $75,000.  The actual budget was $14,700, Let’s break this down so we can see where the money goes.

It was obviously a professional production we can tell by the quality of the video, the audio, shot selection, Camera movement, editing etcetera. There are 2 parts to the video a story line and a live concert scene. Each of those parts were shot in a 10 to 14 hour day. Each of the shooting days were done in a single location (meaning 2 total locations) to get the most out of our shooting time.

By working together with the artist (and his wife Cheramy who served as a location coordinator) on locations, props, a commercial generator to power lights, talent (Professional Actors) and extras we were able to keep costs down. Instead of me arranging all this they, were able to handle this and save a couple thousand dollars.

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Pre-Production- Producer Makes all arrangements, plans, phone calls (charged for 1 day, but really it’s more like 2), finds and books crew and talent      $800

Day one was a live concert scene. It was shot in a barn (air conditioned) in Alvin, Texas. The Cheramy secured the location, extras, dancers and decor at no cost to the production (location fee’s can range from nothing to thousands of dollars). We rented stage lighting and truss for $1,000.

We shot with a single Red Scarlet camera package (4k Ultra-HD) film style, We had a jib (Long arm that allows the camera to move up and down and fly above the crowd), a Stedi-Cam (Harness that allows the camera to move freely as if floating through the air) and a Dolly (allows the camera to roll and move). By creatively putting package deals together I was able to get camera package, jib, dolly stedi-cam Director of Photography and First Camera Assistant for a special price.

Crew for that day included…

Producer/Director    $800                                                                                                                          

Director of Photography (Camera Op/Director)   Package deal with Cam and First Assistant  $2,000        

Gaffer/Full 4 ton Lighting Truck       $1,200   

Rigging Grip     came with lighting truck                                                                                                                                                          

4 Interns           $100     

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Day 2- We shot at the home of a local businessman. Through the artist and his friend, we had a beautiful house, a Bentley and Classic Motorcycles to complete our storyline without spending from our tight budget. There were multiple scenes shot from this single location making the video look much bigger. Our DP had enough lighting gear to light the scenes on day 2 so we were able to shoot without the expense of the Lighting Truck and Gaffer.

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Crew for that day included…

Producer/Director           $800

Director of Photography (Camera Op/Director)   Package deal with camera and First Assistant      $2,000

4 Interns      $100                                                                                                                                                                                                

Once Principal Photography was finished we moved into Post Production. Since I was also the editor, we were saving on having to pay both a Producer and Editor for the Post Production Process. Since we shot in 4k, but were delivering in HD, the first thing we had to do was convert the footage. We needed a couple of very fast Drives ($400) to convert the footage which took a day. Editing is charged by the hour and usually includes both the editor and the edit equipment in the price. My rate is $125 for editing. That is a steal considering I have 4 Emmy Awards for my editing work.

Post Production

8 Hours File Convert, and Color Correction. (when you shoot Raw Video Files they are very flat and need they eye of a professional colorist bring the most out of the footage and give it the feel intended on the shoot.  N/C

40 Hours of Editing      $5,000                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

Mastering to HD Tape for delivery/Post to various Social Media Sites        $500

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The Total of this Music Video was $14,700. As you can see there is no profit added anywhere, the prices shown were the prices paid to the professional people that worked on the production. It takes a lot of work to do a Professional job, and you want a team that will get the job done right. I gave a few things away to keep them under the $15,000 mark.
A Music Video is really just a Marketing Tool. The most important thing is that it is capable of delivering the Marketing results you want from it. I can Produce a high quality Music Video that will work for you for a few thousand dollars or for a hundred thousand dollars. We just need to figure out what really works for you and for your goals!

How Much Does it Cost to Do A Music Video?


I get asked that question at least once a week from independent artists and small labels, and I wish I had a simple answer for you. It’s like asking how much does it cost to eat in a restaurant? Are we going to Taco Bell or The French Laundry? Are we sitting at the Chef’s Table? Are we Drinking Fine Wine? You get the picture, we have to answer a lot of questions to determine how much it will cost to produce YOUR Music Video.

A Music Video is simply a promotional tool produced to Market you as an Artist and drive sales of your music. As such, the first question is how are you going to use this video? Where will it be seen? Broadcast TV?  Internet? DVD? Theater Projection? All of the Above? Do you have technical specifications that have to be adhered to? Is your music video a performance piece or is it a story? Again you get the picture, so how much will it cost to Produce Your Music Video?


I Know you want a quick answer without having to read this whole post, so here it goes…

Your Video will cost between $2,000 and $100,000. Realistically if you are looking to get something that is Professionally Produced and Network Ready you are looking at a starting price between $7,500 and $15,000 (based on a 1 shoot with a full professional crew and Professional Post Production and File Delivery). That does not mean We can’t Produce a really nice Music video for less then that, with today’s technology and a little creative juice anything is possible. It all comes down to what you want to create, how long it takes to shoot and edit it and what equipment and crew it takes to do it right.

A Music Video can be shot by a single person with a single camera or a crew of 15 with several cameras, Lenses, jibs, Dollys stedicams, it really comes down to using right tools and crew to create the Music Video you envisioned. Once you decide on a storyline,locations and where the final piece is destined, then you can evaluate your equipment needs and your crew needs and therefore your budgetary needs.

Next time we will breakdown a Produced Music Video so you can see where your budget goes. Please let me know if this is helpful!!!

Until next time The Best of Everything Always!