How to make a video on a tight budget (Part 1)

June 9, 2017

Imagine that you want to produce a short video, but you don’t have a lot of money to spend. Sound familiar? In this three-part series we’ll give you tips on how to make an affordable video that creatively delivers your message with a compelling storyline.

What four questions do you need to answer to get off to a good start and finish with a bang?

  1. How will I capture my video? Think about the technology you want to use and that you are comfortable with. No need to handle a digital camera if you never have. Could you use a Smartphone? Do you have access to a DSLR camera? Or could you rent or borrow a video camera from a friend?
  2. How much time and money am I willing to invest? This is key for budgeting. Consider the cost of crew, equipment, travel and post-production labor, if your budget allows for it.
  3. How far can I go with DIY (do it yourself)? Consider your skill level and equipment you are comfortable using, the visuals and techniques you’d like to capture and where your gaps lie. Will you need a voiceover and/or help recording audio for your video? (Look out for tips on easy to use editing tools and equipment in a later post.)
  4. For which parts do I need to hire out? It could be that you have some existing footage that you’d like to revamp, and just need some help with editing. Or, you have some video editing skills in-house, but just want a good shooter for an upcoming event. Develop a budget that accounts for how you’ll use in-house and skilled pros to come up with the best project within your budget.

Asking these questions will also help inform you where and how you can cut costs when you are working on a shoestring budget. Know that the quality of your story and message is always more important than the quality of your video. The good news is that there are so many new tools, apps and low-cost equipment available today that can help you create a finished product you’ll be proud of.

Once you’ve put some thoughts down on paper and brainstormed about what you may or may not need, it’s time to storyboard! Why, you ask? Storyboarding is an essential part of getting organized and helps you start visualizing your video.

Draw out your video scene-by-scene. Don’t worry about being a good artist, stick figures are just fine! Storyboarding is also another way to ensure that your team understands concepts, storyline and the overarching goal of the video. And if nothing else, it creates clarity and keeps your team on track.

Planning in advance and getting organized will not only help you stay on task, but will help your team – whether you’re a team of one or 10 – get on the same page and stick to a timeline from here to the finish line.

Are you a visual learner? We’ve got you covered:


Up next, we’ll discuss simple video techniques to DIY video making. Don’t miss out.

Marcela Gara