How to Make Budget Movies

Canon EOS 7D x 1, Teenagers x 2, Home Made Dolly, $6000...Job Done!

How to Make Budget Movies Bad is Bad

How to Make Budget Movies: One of the things I have seen and heard in all my years doing and teaching photography is that people (myself included) are always thinking that they need more gear before they can get better!

  • "If only I had a set of Pocket Wizards, I could become a top portrait photographer"
  • "I just need to save for a studio and then I am set"
  • "If I upgrade my camera to the latest model, I can start filming weddings"

What did people do before Pocket Wizards? How many professional photographer have a proper studio these days? What is wrong with your current kit?

Techno, techno, techno...

I am a techno freak and I love gadgets and gizmos. I am guilty of always wanting more but to be honest, I have plenty of kit to get the job done right now. Too much in fact.

I started out with nada, zip, not a thing and borrowed my fathers' camera. Then I got my first SLR for my 13th birthday and took it from there. I would use all my pocket money earned from mowing lawns, vacuuming and doing the dishes to buy flashguns, lenses and accessories. I loved it!

Later in life I used the same principles when I set up my first "digital" photography business in Spain.

I started with a single DSLR (Canon EOS 10D), a single lens (Canon EF 28-135 IS USM) and a single Speedlite (Sigma DG 500 EX). I shot a wedding and a few portraits and used the money to upgrade and buy more kit and that is what I recommend anyone new to photography does.

Don’t go into debt hoping that you will make it in this business. Grit and determination will get you there not better or more kit.

By hook or by crook

When I wanted to create the Wedding Photography Blueprint DVD’s, I didn’t have any of the video kit I really needed. At least not to shoot my first commercial DVD (camera, lighting, microphones, tripods). I did things slightly differently and got myself into a situation where failure wasn’t an option.

I bought a ton of professional video gear (Sony PMW EX1, Manfrotto tripod, Lavaliere mics, stabilisers etc). All bought on a "buy now, pay nothing for a year" basis as I had just come back from Spain. I had limited resources, no stable home as yet and no credit rating after being in Spain for 10 years.

The idea was to make the project work and earn enough money to pay for the kit before the year was up. It worked!

I see many people starting out with the bare essentials and building large profitable businesses over time based on that exact principle. That nothing will stop them from succeeding. It is all in the mind and if you want something enough, you can achieve it.

Bad is Bad

To give you an example of what can be done and how to make budget movies with next to nothing, check out this film called Bad is Bad.

It was written, directed, filmed and produced by a couple of teenagers with just the following:

  • A Single Canon EOS 7D
  • Minimum Lighting
  • A Home-Made Dolly
  • $6,000 Budget (much of which went on the above)
  • 18.5 Days To Complete the Project

The end result was a compelling, well acted movie with a great story-line that keeps you watching. It is one that is now being recognised all over the web by many top film-makers. It's amazing what you can do with such a small budget when you put your mind and back into it!

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