3 Tips to Shoot Your First Low-Budget Film

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Image source: Pixabay

Because you don’t have the budget for a full-length feature film, it obviously has to be a short film. It could be a documentary, but since it is your first, stick to a short film instead. It is better to become familiar with the basics (some things are best learned from experience) before doing a documentary of longer duration.

  1. Have a story to tell. This is the most important. There are several gripping short films which last only 5-6 minutes. Yours could be longer, depending on the plot.There should be characters, or at least one. The cast should be able to relate to the character(s).

    And then there is the all-important question of how you are going to tell the story. This, after all, is what differentiates a filmmaker from the rest. Once you have a story, picturize it in your head about how it is going to be shot. This will help you plan better. For instance, it would make sense to shoot at noon if you don’t have the budget for light equipment.

    Depending on how you play out the shooting in your head, you will also be able to place the camera accordingly. This is how you don’t have to keep moving it when you want to alternate between close-ups and wide angles. The cast won’t have to repeat the scene either. You can take maximum advantage of the light this way by not wasting time. That also saves money when you don’t have to come back the next day.

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    Image source: Pixabay

  2. Plan for expenses. You don’t need a lot of fancy equipment. Even if you are doing with what you already have access to, there are still expenses like on transportation and food for the crew, plus wages (if applicable).
  3. Buy media storage. This is something that a lot of first-time filmmakers realize only later as essential to the project. Shooting isn’t everything. There is a lot of post-production work to be done, like editing and adding sound effects, before the film is finished. You need to shoot on the highest quality your camera offers, to future-proof it as much as possible, and doing this requires in a lot of storage space being needed. If you are collaborating with post-production personnel off-site, then cloud storage becomes necessary – there is no other way. Taking care of this aspect in advance will help avoid delays or the project getting canned.

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