Create videos on a budget
Some creators are afraid to take the first step in turning their idea into a reality because of limited money and resources, but a little can go a long way. Limited resources can actually benefit your channel: they can encourage you to think innovatively, identify your limitations, and turn them into creative opportunities. Look around you. What kinds of resources are at your fingertips? Is there a way you can spin your idea to fit into existing places where you live, work, or hang out? Here are some ways you can create memorable and engaging videos without the help of a large crew or budget.
You don't need to spend a lot of money to make awesome videos. Use hacks to realize your vision without breaking the bank.
Amass cast and crew karma
There are many ways to get resources for free or in exchange for services. One way is by volunteering on other productions when you have spare time. By giving back to your fellow creators as much as possible on their productions, sometimes it makes it easier to get help on your own. See if you can trade help for help. If you acted as crew on a fellow creator’s shoot, the favor may be returned when you’re shooting your next project.
Also, try to borrow before buying. Very specific props can be a waste if you have no use for them after one shoot. You’ll want to invest in materials you can use again and again, rather than in items with limited potential.
You might also want to consider trading services or resources for exposure. For example, think about asking for donated food from a local restaurant in exchange for featuring their business in your show. This goes for locations as well -- stages sometimes want to get their name out in the production world, so they might let you shoot for free during off-peak hours in exchange for show credits. You can also work with good actors in exchange for what’s referred to as “Reel, Meal, Credit,” which means you’ll give them a copy of the finished product (reel), food to eat on set (meal), and credit in the running title sequence and/or on IMDB.com. And always try to maintain a professional shooting environment, particularly if you’re not paying your cast and crew. If you can, shoot multiple videos in one day and, if possible, adhere to a format that’s repeatable. This will make setting up for future shoots quicker (because you’ve done it that way before) and sourcing costumes or props less stressful on your wallet long-term.
- Use set design to your advantage (Resource in English)
- Make props from scratch (DIY) (Resource in English)
See it in action
Start out with simple setsEpisode one of “Squaresville” is shot entirely in the streets and in a car. Remember, you don’t need a complicated set to tell a good story. (Video in English)
Simple ideas can be low-cost and compellingMary Doodle's videos keep viewers glued to the screen, even though her resources are very limited. A camera filming her drawing is all it takes!
Embrace your inner coupon collector
Working on a tight budget means diving into all aspects of video creation -- many successful creators make their own props and costumes to save money. Or, if you’re not inclined to sew or design costumes, try sourcing costume pieces from local thrift stores and even your friends' closets. Simple, inexpensive tricks like using silver spray paint can bring a cheap plastic sword to life on screen and really give it that shimmer. And since there’s no such thing as perfect, think about what you can and can’t get away with. There’s no need to go all out on a prop that’s so small that it might not be noticed, but do pay attention to important props. Good props and costumes help you show your idea or story, instead of merely telling it.
Does planning for a production on a low budget work?
Did you write out or compile your original budget before shooting? If so, compare it to how much you actually spent. Were you able to manage your finances? Are there areas where you can find lower cost resources for next time?