High quality but low budget- what should I focus on?

(Jamie McKeller) #16

Do not attempt to do it alone.

If you’ve got an idea which you think is worth making, maybe look around for an existing group to collaborate with? Maybe there’s an indie company near you who will fall in love with your idea.

Whereas lighting, sound, editing… all that are vital elements to any film production, you can’t and shouldn’t even consider learning them all. Don’t get me wrong, an understanding of them is vital for a director but each element is a different skillset. Your brain will implode if you set out to be a one human film machine.

I’m primarily a writer and director, but I can shoot if needed. I much prefer to let one of my more knowledgeable collaborators shoot though.

Saying all that, I know that at the very start it can be difficult to assemble a team and the one that’s free is the script, if it’s yours. Write it well, let others read it, take feedback and work it until it shines. There’s a reason a lot of web series are produced as vlogging shows - they’re cheaper and easier than say a web series about a vampire hunter that features dozens of practical special effects. Only a fool would try something like that for their first project… :smiley:

Check out -

The New Adventures of Peter and Wendy - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_XbD_IYYMVk
Brains - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2gfDPnAS3Bs
Jenny Jennings - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ibh32XZ1Jug
Mina Murray - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=38sREiRdA7Q

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(Marc L) #17

Wow everyone! Thank you very much for so many responses to this! I will go through each individually but thank you very much for helping. This is a very good community and I thank you all again.

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(Marc L) #18

Very good point, Bri, and I have a screenwriting friend I can reach out to.

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(Marc L) #19

Thank you, Meg. I do not know much about lighting but this is very good to know re: good quality video camera and bad lighting. I will do some research.

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(Marc L) #20

Thank you Evie. I remember seeing a location article on this website before so I will track that down and look into it while I develop my story.

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(Bri Castellini) #21

Here ya go :slight_smile: (I’m pretty sure this is what you were talking about)

(Marc L) #22

Hi Monica. Thank you very much for your in depth answer. I believe I have access to an editing program so I will go to YouTube to learn it as that is a good tip. What is the audiobook? I have a promo code for an Audible account and have been meaning to bite that bullet.

(Marc L) #23

Thank you, Herman. I am worried about the camera shaking too much- is there a special tripod for moving shots? Most of the sets I have been on have just used tripods (hence part of why I would like to make my own project).

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(Marc L) #24

Thank you, Jamie. It sounds like there is a consensus on building a team which will be challenging but worth it I can tell. I have looked into many of those vlog series but I am worried that vlogging shows are not very high quality enough to look at distribution.

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(Herman Wang) #25

We use a shoulder mount and a Cameron stabilizer for most of our moving shots. It’s not as nice as the pro-level equipment, but it gets the job done for what we paid for them :slight_smile:

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(Bri Castellini) #26

Aside from the fact that @redshirtjamie gave me a shout out which is very kind in his vlogging show list and of course I believe my show is the best of all time ever out of anything, I will just point out that The Lizzie Bennet Diaries and Emma Approved, both vlog-style found footage shows shot on a relative shoestring, have won Primetime Emmys. Also, The Blair Witch Project (production designed by @Neptunesalad actually! Which is INSANE) is a really critically acclaimed and was considered at the forefront of the found footage horror genre and got distribution and whatnot so don’t knock found footage. Just don’t use it as a crutch- really make it matter for your story. It can inform some really interesting choices!

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(Marc L) #27

Do you have a link for those perhaps? I would like keep track of recommended equipment I have.

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(Marc L) #28

I am sorry if I offended you and I now see I may have spoken hastily. You are right- there are very highly reviewed vlog projects (and I assume found footage is the same? I have not seen Blair Witch Project) and perhaps I should consider them.

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(Bri Castellini) #29

No offense taken! I know it’s a controversial subject amongst film people. Vlog series are an offshoot of found footage- found footage just refers to projects where the camera is part of the story instead of an omniscient window of sorts. Anytime the characters on screen know they’re being filmed or the footage is considered a part of the world, it’s “found footage.” So anything from the perspective of a camcorder (like when vlogging) or a phone camera or a security camera.

(Marc L) #30

Thank you, that is good to know.

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(Herman Wang) #31

The Cameron model we have is VS700.

Shoulder mounts are essentially pieces of metal and plastic that let you brace against your body for increased stability, so if you’re working on a budget just buy the cheapest one you can find.

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(Marc L) #32

Very helpful, thank you Herman.

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(Monica Quinn) #33

I need your email. I’ll send it to you.

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(Marc L) #34


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(sam lockie-waring) #35

as a production designer myself i will say that we are definitely super handy and can work on an ultra budget. the last thing i did was on a project where i could only spend $50 on the entire thing and i think it turned out really dope. with a good designer, money is no object. though money would also be hella nice.

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