How to Assemble the Minimum Crew for Low Budget TV Show

Putting together a TV crew can be a daunting task, especially on a low budget show when you need to keep the number at a minimum. Here is a guide to help you determine which positions are essential for your shoot. 

Getting the Most Important People

The Director of Photography

This is the most important person on the crew because they have direct control on how the final product will look. If you're hiring a DP you never worked with before then you need to collect some reels to see which one you like the best. You might also want to hire a DP who owns their own equipment as this will save money on the rentals.

The Sound Man

After the DP the next person to hire is the sound man. You need to have excellent audio if you want the project to be a success. Nothing ruins a shoot more than poor sound.

Camera Assistant

Having a camera assistant to help the DP will be a huge plus in keeping him/her happy and the day moving smoothly. The camera assistant can also help the DP with the lights.

Production Assistant

A set PA is essential to have so that all of the gaps in the division of labor are covered. You want a PA that will work hard and not get in anyone's way.

Good People to Have but can Get by Without

Make Up

It's always nice to have a make up person so that the talent looks his/her best. But if you can't afford this then having the producer do double duty will help you get by.


Having a gaffer solely in charge of the lighting will make the DP and camera assistant's lives easier and will probably leave you with a better looking image. But if your shoot is minimal and has only a few lights you can probably live without the gaffer.