How to Create Compelling Films On A Budget

You’d be forgiven for immediately seeing £££ signs when you think of filmmaking – it can take up a significant amount of your time and budget. And for a lot of people this can put them off from even attempting to create one. But all is not lost! You don’t always have to have a bottomless purse to be able to create a spectacular film that captivates and engages your audience. You can create compelling films on a budget.

You don’t have to look very far to see this in action. Both Paranormal Activity and Tangerine were international hits at the box office even with their smaller budgets. We’re talking a budget of only $15,000 for one, while the other was shot entirely on three iPhones! So whether we’re talking about a promotional video or an award-winning blockbuster, you really don’t need to spend painful amounts of money to create a film people want to watch.

With that being said, $15,000 is still a lot of money for businesses and non-profits who can be working with limited budgets. But there are areas you can focus on to save time, effort, and of course – cashola.

So without further ado – here are our top 5 tips for creating a compelling film on a budget.

1. Planning Pays!

There’s a saying “failure to prepare is preparing to fail” and that’s true when it comes to filming! Even more so when working with smaller budgets. You don’t have money to burn – so throwing things at all the wall and seeing what sticks isn’t an option. Planning ahead and getting your ducks in a row beforehand will save you a great deal of time and money in the long run.

Here are a few things to think about before you even think of picking up a camera:

  • What message are you trying to convey with your film? Who is your audience? Be clear – lacking clarity on this can result in you shifting your focus halfway through which risks wasting resources.
  • Who will you task with writing the script?
  • How many days are you anticipating shooting for?
  • What and where are your locations?
  • How much travelling is going to be needed?
  • Who will feature in your film? Do you need professional actors?
  • What props will you need?
  • How long will editing take? Can you do this yourself? If not – will you need to hire someone to help you with this?
  • Have you got permission to film in the settings you want to film in?

If thinking about all of these things has started to overwhelm you, don’t panic. Hiring an experienced film crew can take the stress out of this for you. At Wildwood Media we make outsourcing your video as easy as pie! We create comprehensive plans and take care of everything for you – writing the scripts, agreeing schedules, and editing your film to an expert finish – all while sticking to your budget.

2. Make Use Of What You Have Available

Just because your film is low budget doesn’t mean it has to look low budget! Before parting with your cash unnecessarily, look to find areas where you can make use of what you’ve already got available.

For instance –make sure you’ve got your lighting right. You could have an amazing camera, but if the lighting is inadequate, it will ruin your shot. You may have not choice other than to rely on natural light. That’s not always a bad thing. When it’s good, natural light is the best lighting there is – but it’s also unpredictable – and sunny days they can be just as hard to work with because of unwanted shadows cast as the dull, grey days.

Top tip: steer clear of  expensive lighting equipment. Instead, find more affordable ways of moving natural light around your set – bounce boards, reflectors, and diffusion tools are brilliant for this and are much kinder on your wallet!

3. Need Equipment? Hire, Don’t Buy

In an ideal world, you’d be working with an expert film crew who will use their own professional equipment to produce your film. With a background in cinematic film, at Wildwood Media we use top-spec equipment to make sure the films we produce get the best of best when it comes to visuals and sound. But if you’re producing your own film, be smart when sourcing your filming equipment.

On a budget, buying is likely not an option – it’s also not cost-effective if you’re only using it sporadically. Do your research and find reputable companies from whom you can rent key pieces as and when you need them. Some even offer a 1-day rate if you hire over the weekend, which is a great way to cut costs.

4. Got Old Footage? Repurpose It.

Film crews capture an abundance of material when filming. A finished video might only be 10 minutes long, but the footage could be several hours’ worth. If you’ve filmed in the past, you likely have old footage from these films lying around that you could repurpose. This is a great way to cut costs and reduce filming time. At Wildwood Media we work with you to help you identify opportunities to repurpose old footage to optimise your budget.

5. Stock Up On Stock Footage

Obviously you’ll want to shoot your own footage, but there may be chances to use stock footage to ‘fill out’ your video. Cutaway scenes might not need to be specific to your business or organisation – for instance – if you were looking to make a recruitment video for your London-based organisation you could use stock aerial footage of London to pad out your film. It adds a professional touch too. Stock footage keeps costs down by reducing film time required. Storyblocks is a great place to look for stock video footage.

Support From An Expert Film Crew

Creating a compelling film can be tough, when it’s not your area of expertise. The pressure can feel overwhelming when you’ve got time, money and reputation at stake.

We can take the stress away for you. From live streaming conferences to promotional filmssocial media content, and training videos, at Wildwood Media we work carefully with your team to maximise your investment and get you the best results.

If you’re looking to produce a video for your business or organisation is a sticking point, then book a FREE 30-min project call and let’s get the ball rolling!