Home » Uncategorized » Anatomy of A Music Video

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.

562809_3586228730094_1164732962_n 292325_3588030415135_1814969578_n539223_3586234610241_367633106_n644749_3686036465225_712213195_n

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     

218128_3740374943653_197086844_n 527780_3740372743598_514481480_n 198592_3740377423715_633261827_n 484027_3588032055176_994284335_n

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.

Stedicam 427819_3740374063631_748232983_n Directing 218109_3740373503617_225619956_n

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

387044_3686040785333_32053006_n Stedicam 2 Jib 2 484027_3588032055176_994284335_n

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!


  1. Nancy O'Massey says:

    You did good. I like to watch the video and pick out the ones that I know.

  2. Jane says:

    I learned a great deal from your narrative and I am indeed, impressed.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: