Guide for Making Digital Films A Relatively Safe Explosion Special Effect Technique How to Shoot Someone without Dangerous Squibs. Equipment guide for low budget digital movies    
No lowest budget guide is complete without a link to the lowest cost eBook on how to make a low-budget digital movie. You'll learn things that will save you money with this book.

 

The Under $1500 Budget MOVIE
$908 TO $1792
This assumes you have a Macintosh or PC.  I highly recommend the Mac.  I have both and the PC crashes so often it would drive me crazy after editing for hours to lose everything.  (SAVE OFTEN: I always forget to do  that.)

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MAX
COST



If money is a big problem a Panasonic PV-GS500
may work for you.  Remember, what you need is a
broadcast quality camera.  This mini DV camera
will fit the bill at around $999 with a 12 X Optical zoom.
(Remember you want broadcast quality and a
good optical (NOT DIGITAL) zoom.)

Another options is the Panasonic Pro AG-DVC7 MiniDV Proline Camcorder w/15x Optical Zoom. This has even better optics but only one CCD. The price is also $999. This camcorder does have a more professional look.

You might even be able to get by with the Panasonic PV-GS320 3.1MP 3CCD MiniDV camera. at only $499. Since this is a 3CCD camera with a 10x zoom your only problem may be picking up sound for which you'll need an additional mic.

If you doubt that you can make an impressive film with a camera as inexpensive as a Canon Elura 65 check out this submission to thelot.com called Crossing.

http://films.thelot.com/films/16955

I spent so much time filming and uploading film to my macintosh that renting would not have been a option.  Most DV cameras can be use instead of a deck to upload film: an important consideration when deciding whether to rent or by.


$999/439

As mentioned earlier I have found these JVC tapes to be the best so I highly recommend them.
$29.95
Shoot Outdoors or adjust for indoor lighting to avoid having to play for lights.  A big piece of what cardboard can be used as a reflector.
Do read up on lighting.  Borrow from the library if you have to.

$30

You can shoot an entire film without ever moving the camera.  You set the camera up and leave it alone.  If you plan to do it this way you can put you camera on boxes--or super cheap tripods.

(Shooting an entire movie hand-held would make most audiences ill, and insure you never get your movie looked at by a major stuido. )

That said, the Manfrotto is the cheapest, yet best fluid head tripod system you can buy for under $200.  Buy it.  You won't regret it.  This is what I use.  And the pans are smooth and beautiful.

179.59



Get a good microphone.  The sun can provide good light but nothing will replace good sound. 

The Audio-Technica Mic will work outdoors, and indoors for documentary and feature films and do a professional job.  I have one and love it and use it now for making my instructional videos.

For indoor fiction shoots I recommend this Sennheiser.  We had trouble shooting indoors in a narrow living room with the Audio-Technica as it was picking up echos off the wall.  The Sennheiser saved the day and eliminated the echos. This is a fantastic mircophone. 

(An alternative would have been to pad the walls and use the Audio-Technica.)
449.95

You can always borrow books from the library but the six books on this page are a must read and I recommend owning them.

Read this before you make your movie because without an audience.....

27.97
An Amazing Book That will teach you almost everything you need to know about shots.

27.95

If you can only read one book read this one.  A wonderful, wonderful inspiring read.
6.99
Sound is as important as light So read this too.

NOTE: I'm recommending books with specific info.  The books that cover everything usually are outdated as far as camera's etc. by the time they get on the shelves.

29.67

I taught creative writing for years.  I have an MFA from the University of Montana's Creative Writing Program.  I used Lew's book to teach fiction writing and screenwriting because it is a great book.

Please don't confuse not liking a writer's fiction with his teaching.  Even if you hate Lew's screenplays, what he says about writing them is the best advice I've ever read. 



 
.49
NOT INCLUDED IN THE SIX MUST READS

And if you still don't believe me, read the late John Gardner's ON BECOMING A NOVELIST and realize that the late John Gardner would have hated almost everyone else's work.

This isn't about movies but what Gardner says about storytelling is worth reading. 

9.97

MAXIMUM COST INCLUDING EVERYTHING AT THE HIGHEST PRICE
$1791.53
If you get your actors to volunteer and already have a computer with some movie editing software, you can make a movie for these prices.
LOWEST PRICE WITH BOOKS CHECKED OUT OF LIBRARY AND EVERYTHING AT LOWEST COST
AND AUDIO-TECHNICA MIC
$848.18

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