These are 5 basic elements of video production, from pre-production to editing, and some ways you can help the shoot run smoothly while filming on a budget.
First of all, when filming on a budget, you need to make sure you plan accordingly. It’s going to be harder than working with more funds, but if you are organised and prepared, you can make it work. So get up the spreadsheets and start writing down everything you’re going to require, from kit and locations to props and costumes, write everything along with how much you can afford to spend on it, even if the answer is £0.
You can look at budget templates online to help you structure it. If you’re working with no budget at all, write down everything you need and ideas of where to get them for free.
This one will seem obvious, but you will need something to film with, whether that’s a camera or just on your phone. A DSLR camera is definitely the best way to go if you can afford it. Camera prices can range from £200 to thousands of pounds, so you’ll need to do lots of research if you plan on getting one. The article by the Independent includes some examples, at prices starting from £449. You can also look into buying a second hand camera at a reduced price if you’re filming on a budget.
If you already have a camera, but you still aren’t completely satisfied with how your videos look, you might want to think about investing in a new lens. A prime lens can make a big difference, giving you more control over the focus, so you can have a crisp subject and a blurry background and move easily between the two. Similarly to cameras, lenses can cost between about £100 and thousands, so will require some more research and potentially looking into second hand options.
As I mentioned, if you are filming on a budget and can’t afford any of this, filming on your phone is always an option. For example, iPhones tend to have great cameras, you can check out our older article about filming on an iPhone here.
Many people forget the importance of audio in video production, but it can make a big different in the final product. High quality audio can make your video seem more professional, and low quality video can allow the viewers to not take it as seriously. Microphones are a good investment if you plan on regularly creating videos or recording sound, and they can be much more affordable than cameras.
If you plan on filming interviews, for example if you’re interested in journalism or documentary making, buying a lapel mic would probably be a good investment. Whereas if you’re filming short films, you won’t want the microphone to be visible, so you could buy a directional mic to mount on your camera, RODE being the most common brand for this. You can find cheaper options online for either for these if you’re filming on a budget.
However, while filming on a budget you may not be able to invest in any microphone yet, and will have to work with what you have, whether that’s the microphone on your camera or just your phone. If this is the case, just do everything you can to ensure the audio will be as good as possible. By this I mean find a quiet place and reduce any background noise, for example noise could come from the boiler or fridge if you’re filming in a kitchen, if the room is facing a busy road you will get the sound of cars driving past.
Lighting is another aspect of video production that can have a major impact on your work. If you require a full lighting kit, then definitely consider hiring it, rather than buying, as it can be very expensive and also take up a whole room in your house when you need to store it after the shoot. Make sure you or someone else has a car or van to pick up and return the lighting kit. If not you may have to rent a van, and that’s when things get pricier when filming on a budget.
This article includes some examples of lighting options for filming on a budget. If you plan on filming regularly you could invest in some basic lighting for a couple hundred pounds, but once again make sure you put in plenty of time and research before spending anything.
If hiring or buying lighting equipment is not within your budget, just do your best to work with natural light. The lamps in our homes tend to give off an ugly fluorescent or yellow tint which don’t look good on camera. If you live in England, getting natural light through the window will often be a challenge, but it’s definitely worth a try if you’re filming on a budget.
Now this one’s an easier part for those filming on a budget, as free options exist. Of course if you already have an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription you can use Premiere, or if you’re a Mac user and can afford to buy Final Cut Pro that’s great, but if you can’t dedicate any budget to editing software, you still have options.
Here are some simple guides to free software for editing video and audio.
Video editing on your computer
Davinci Resolve – available for any computer.
Video editing on your phone
iMovie – available only on iOS.
YouCut – available on Android and iOS.
Audio editing on your computer
Audacity – available for Windows, macOS and Linux.
Audio editing on your phone
GarageBand – available for iPhones and iPads.
WavePad – available on any phone.
If you have video production needs, get in touch with Nostairway today to discuss how we can help you. If you devote your budget to hiring us, you won’t have to worry about acquiring anything you just read about, we’ll do it all for you.