Our Top 5 Tips for Planning on a Tight Budget

Renny Wijeyamohan Posted in Video
13 June 2015


1. Planning is everything

Shoot scheduling is one of the most important skill sets that anyone involved in video production should get familiar with - whether you're client-side or at an agency. Planning here is key, and, the first step to building a successful shoot schedule is arranging different components of your shoot into discrete blocks. For example, if you need to shoot 6 interviews for a documentary, and you don't have resources to hire crew for two or three days of shooting. try and find a day when all the interview subjects are free and interview them in a single session. This may take a little more time in pre-production, but it will mean a considerable cost-saving when it comes to your shoot. The same principle applies to locations, if you’re filming at 4 different locations try and arrange the shoot so that you deal with the locations that are closest to each other consecutively. That way you won’t waste time with unnecessary location moves that can eat into time that could be spent filming.

2. Shoot quickly, stay mobile

Setting up a tripod can take time. Especially when you’ve got a lengthy shot list to get through. The 5-10 minutes it can take to set up for and compose a shot on tripod can add up over a long shoot day to hours. Sometimes, it can be faster to shoot run and gun with the camera mounted to a shoulder rig. A shoulder rig means that you can frame and re-frame shots quickly and won’t be weighted down by bulky equipment - perfect for situations where you're working with a lean crew of 3-5 and the overall aesthetic doesn't require super clean, locked-off tripod shots.

3. Get creative with locations

Hiring out locations can be the most expensive part of a shoot and is usually reserved for TVC and high-end branded content shoots. By sourcing your own locations, whether it be the office space that your organisation works in or a friend's apartment, you can trim thousands of dollars off a shoot budget. If you invest the right time in finding a location and plan well in advance, you may even find film-grade locations that will be happy to help you for free - even on a commercial project.

4. Find your own talent

Consider if the production you’re shooting requires someone with acting credentials or simply an extra to fill a scene or complete a simple action. Talent fees can be expensive, so if the performance element is not too technical you might be able to source staff from your organisation or family and friends to step in on set. Often, the different between a credible scene and one that is missing that feeling of realism, is a full cast of extras in the background. For roles like these - anyone would be suitable.

5. Re-purpose archived content

Think about the content that your organisation has shot in the past and has on file. Can any of it be used in this current production? For example, if you’re producing a brand story video about the journey of a product from farm to table – let’s say a Colombian coffee bean – is there a way to obtain archival footage of your coffee plantation that doesn’t require a full crew to embark on an overseas trip? Chances are you’ll have something that may be suitable to cover off that component.

When you're running a tight-ship, experimenting with these production hacks will make sure you streamline your production and get the most value out of any shoot.