5 Tips to Saving Money for a Low-Budget Documentary Film Production

If you are getting ready to jump into a documentary film production, then you want to save as much money as possible. You especially want to focus on saving money if your production has little to no budget. But, there are things that you can do to save money on production.

Step 1: Get a Producer

While you may not have a budget to begin with, getting a producer can keep you on track. You’re going to get caught up into hustle and bustle of the production, and the last thing that you are going to be thinking about is the budget.

If you appoint someone else, they’ll keep you and the rest of the production in line and within budget.

Step 2: Rent Equipment

If you rent from standard rental companies, those companies are going to be expensive. If you, however,  go to a local youth media or film center, you can rent equipment on the cheap. Sometimes, you can even use the equipment for free.

Also, don’t be afraid to ask your friends if you can borrow their video cameras if you don’t have one. Even regular video cameras can take great film, especially if you are doing a documentary.

Step 3: Use Your Friends

If you have friends that know how to use video equipment, use them. The more volunteers that you can use, the more money that you will save.

Step 4: Find Cheap or Free Props

If you need props for your documentary, scour your house and your friends’ houses. You usually can find what you need within your own stash. If not, hit flea markets, garage sales and thrift stores. Everything is cheaper secondhand. You may even find some video equipment at these places as well.

Step 5: Go Guerilla

Guerilla documentaries are known for being gritty. These films don’t worry about high production values; they only focus on capturing the action. With this type of filmmaking, you generally only need a standard video camera and maybe a tripod to keep the camera steady. You don’t even need others to help you out with this type of documentary.