Best music videos made on a low/non-existent budget?
November 18, 2012 9:46 PM   Subscribe

Best music videos made on a low/non-existent budget?

I'm looking for great music videos which display a lot of creativity and imagination and/or are stylistically interesting, but were clearly made with a low or non-existent budget... am a Media teacher looking to show kids that you can do a lot with very little.

posted by heylight to Media & Arts (32 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
The Ramones' video for "I Wanna Be Sedated" has always been one of my favorites. Great fun and such a prefect fit for the aesthetic of the band.
posted by drjimmy11 at 9:48 PM on November 18, 2012

Michel Gondry's Around The World" (Daft Punk) is just plain awesome.
posted by mynameisluka at 9:55 PM on November 18, 2012

Replacements "Bastards of Young".
posted by bongo_x at 10:08 PM on November 18, 2012 [3 favorites]

I like Lost in the Woods by DB Gordon & the Strange Weather, which is very low budget.
posted by Flunkie at 10:09 PM on November 18, 2012

Funny things is, what would have been a very expensive video in the 80's, such as Jagger's "Hard Woman" which was done on a Cray supercomputer, would be really low budget today, since it could now be done on a $400 PC with free software.
posted by Sophont at 10:12 PM on November 18, 2012

Soutaiseiriron's Miss Parallel World is presumably low-budget, as all it has is a camera strapped to a car. I suppose it falls into the arty side, but I've always found it hypnotising and much more watch-worthy than other, louder videos.

Same band, different video: Q/P.

Opera Multi Steel's Unfroidseul doesn't look like it's anything more than low budget, but it does look very effectively creepy.
posted by Senza Volto at 10:26 PM on November 18, 2012

This is the best quality I could find for the "Crooked Teeth" video by Rob Schrab, but the Making Of should make up for that.
posted by RobotHero at 10:26 PM on November 18, 2012

Keith Schofield's video for "Loud and Clear"
posted by RobotHero at 10:39 PM on November 18, 2012

I assume you've already got the clip of Dylan's Subterranean Homesick Blues for Don't Look Back on your list? It's not quite a music video, but it's near enough to count.
posted by Jehan at 10:54 PM on November 18, 2012

Kids with Guns
posted by RobotHero at 11:22 PM on November 18, 2012

King Krule. A single shot, totally sparse.
posted by londongeezer at 11:25 PM on November 18, 2012

I don't know how much it cost, but I still love The OK Go video with the treadmills.
posted by insomniax at 11:28 PM on November 18, 2012 [3 favorites]

zZz is playing: Grip, a funny interpretation of video effects done with simple props and a trampoline
posted by Sophont at 11:28 PM on November 18, 2012

Black Keys made two different videos for the song Tighten Up, both of which are pretty lowbudget.

First version is a dinosaur puppet lip synching with funny subtitles.

Second version has the two band members taking their kids to the playground, the kids get into a fight, they try to break it up and get their butts kicked by a herd of kids.
posted by mannequito at 11:44 PM on November 18, 2012

Not the official music video, but I adore this take on Daft Punk's Harder, Better, Faster Stronger (Fast Hands)
posted by Mchelly at 12:20 AM on November 19, 2012

Aimee Mann, who went independent in the late 90s, has to really pinch pennies on music videos, yet has made some visually interesting ones. The best example of your question is probably Pavlov's Bell; to a lesser extent, Freeway. Both have some obvious post-production in them, but pretty much are just the singer, a location, a handful of props, and a concept.
posted by dhartung at 12:22 AM on November 19, 2012

$5000 budget: Red Fang - Wires

$0 budget: Black Keys - Lonely Boy
posted by clearly at 1:25 AM on November 19, 2012

Muse - Exogenesis Part 3. Background of the video here. I have no idea how much Muse paid Tekken to finish the long version for them, but he draws each picture by hand on paper so I imagine not too much money went into the creation of the animation itself. It's a great video.
posted by misozaki at 1:52 AM on November 19, 2012

Ok go's treadmill one was what leapt to mind but I got beaten to the punch! Such a simple idea, brilliantly executed.
posted by Jubey at 1:56 AM on November 19, 2012

Oh, and how about that Gotye video, as this article says? The director mentions generally working on a small budget, though I guess not specifically on this particular video.
posted by misozaki at 2:11 AM on November 19, 2012

Fredo Viola's Sad Song video was self-made from a pile of 15sec clips recorded on his "old Coolpix camera" so I guess the budget was technically $0(plus his time). Other videos he's done often use a similar aesthetic, but expand on it. That just happens to be the one that got him noticed.
posted by Su at 2:16 AM on November 19, 2012

The music videos from Tapeheads are brilliant and "zero budget" (apart from the fact that they're fictional):

Roscoe's Chicken and Waffle Rap
Blender Children
posted by zanni at 2:55 AM on November 19, 2012

Not like I know for sure, but Top Ranking by Blonde Redhead couldn't have cost a lot to make.
posted by King Bee at 4:06 AM on November 19, 2012

The video for Taking the Michael by the Super Luckies was made in a few days in the singer's kitchen.
To my best uneducated guess the below are low budget
Hudson - Against the Grain
The Mai Shi - Run to Your Grave
Cat Power - The Greatest
Yuksek - Off the Wall
Death in Vegas - Aisha

Screamager by Therapy? remains a teenage favourite but aside from being a corking song might not fulfil the brief completely. Same might go for Red Light Green Light by the Wildhearts although you won't find a video with a smaller budget. I'd be interested in what you'd grade a student that handed it in, I love it to pieces :)
posted by caffeinebomb at 4:50 AM on November 19, 2012

You might be interested in "World on Fire" by Sarah McLachlan. The video cost $15 to make, and talks about what the money saved could be spent on instead.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 5:18 AM on November 19, 2012

I'm surprised no one has mentioned "A Million Ways" by OK Go. I don't know what the budget for the 'treadmill' video was, but "A Million Ways" was filmed by camcorder in their back yard. It went on to become one of the most downloaded music videos by August 2006.

A Million Ways
posted by ghostiger at 6:22 AM on November 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

Get Out Clause performed their song in front of CCTV cameras around London, and then used FOIA (or the UK equivalent) requests to get copies of the videos, and then edited them together to create their video.
posted by sparklemotion at 7:20 AM on November 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

Planet Smashers, Fabricated and I Like Your Girlfriend ( Bonus points for J'aime Ta Femme using la même vidéo because it's cut up so much the lipsync works just as well au English ou French. )
posted by RobotHero at 9:52 AM on November 19, 2012

New Pornographers, Use It.*

*Assuming David Cross did it for free.
posted by Beardman at 10:23 AM on November 19, 2012

Radical Face's Always Gold was made for $50, though they obviously already had the camera and computer for editing.
posted by cnc at 12:42 PM on November 19, 2012

50 Ft Queenie
posted by citron at 5:33 PM on November 19, 2012

Also, this might be tangential to the question you asked, and the song lyrics involve "tug on his winky" and I don't know how crude you should get with these kids, but I did a breakdown of the editing in the Nerd Folia cover of Amazing Horse. It isn't necessarily a brilliant video but I think it's close to the Platonic ideal for a video that's just the band playing their instruments in one location.
posted by RobotHero at 11:56 AM on November 21, 2012

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