Why Low Budget Doesn't Mean Compromising on Location

Most modern movies, especially the ones that fall into the fantasy or sci-fi genre, rely on digitally rendered environments or constructed sets. Well, that’s the benefit of working with such genres. You can be as creative and imaginative as you like.

However, when it comes to plots that take place in real-life, filmmakers need to rely on actual physical locations. We may be able to create surreal worlds using CGI, but your average drama needs an apt physical location.

Choosing the right film location is very important. It can make or break a project. A good location is just as important as the script or the actor. Now, Hollywood might be able to create a new set for each shoot, but, in actuality, even they do not do that. The mainstream film industry also relies on real-life locations, such as actual businesses and houses.

A well-chosen location can serve as the perfect setting for your story. It can complement the message that you're going to convey. You can even choose going down the road less traveled when deciding the kind of location you want. A horror movie doesn’t need to be shot in dark and gloomy areas and a thriller can be shot in a desert.

The point is that a good location can have the same impact as a good actor can. It is a major visual element in any film production. Every other element in video or film exists within the chosen location. So, identifying the right location can be a very powerful factor in determining the success of the film or video.

Now that we know how important location is, let’s look at a few tips on how to choose a good location with a minimal budget.

film house

BORROW/RENT A HOUSE

You can always borrow a house from a friend or family member or rent one out. There are actual listings for filming locations that people put up. It’s a fairly lucrative industry, but more importantly, it’s a great option for low-budget projects.

However, avoid student accommodations. They're often a dead giveaway. The posters, fire door signs, and shatter-resistant glass will make it obvious that you've worked on a tight budget. What's worse is that they can interfere with the reading of the film.

But, then again, student accommodations can be your only option. So, it might not be the worst idea depending on your circumstances. Something’s better than nothing, right?

FILM SCHOOLS

Many film schools and academies come to boast studios of their own. Of course, the sizes may vary. Anyway, it's a good idea to call them up and find out if the studio is available for a shoot. But make sure you investigate if the studio is a fit for you.

A film school can provide you with all the space and resources you need. It is up to you to use it in an imaginative and resourceful manner.

In fact, you can even get in touch with art schools to help out with art direction and art design. This will help you add people to the production team, which is always a good thing. Many aspiring art designers out there that would love to help you out.

filming location

SOCIAL MEDIA GROUPS

One of the best ways to gain access to film making resources is by connecting with the film making community via social media platforms. There are many groups like that on Facebook and you will find them to be very helpful.

A lot of the members in these groups are people with experience and knowledge. So, you have a plethora of opportunities to exploit. The experts can guide you and even assist you in finding locations or even equipment.

Start by posting on the pages of local film making groups. Ask them for location ideas and such. You can even attach photos of the kind of location you are looking for. There is a very good chance that you’ll find exactly what you are looking for.

You don’t even have to post images. Just post links or list out movies that show similar locations. There are man ways you can get your message across. The results are bound to be satisfying.

Lucas Chu

Melty Cone is a full service video production company in NYC. We make commercials, corporate videos, branded content, brand videos and the best videos in New York!