September 25, 2017

Budget Cinematography: What Really Makes a Difference in the Quality of Your Image

Expensive cameras and fancy lighting setups aren't necessarily required to capture beautiful, high-quality footage.

Being a no-budget filmmaker, it's easy to fawn over all of the pricey gadgets and film equipment used in some of your favorite films. However, if what you're really admiring is the quality of the images and sound, you don't really need an ARRI Alexa or MōVI M5 stabilizer to get your own images close to their level. In this video, Simon Cade of DSLRguide shows you how he managed to capture cinematic images using the cheapest camera, audio, and lighting setups possible. Check it out below:

With a complete filmmaking setup that costs less than $540, Cade managed to shoot footage that looks pretty damn good. Here's what he used:

  • Canon T3i camera ($200)
  • Canon EF-S 24mm f2.8 lens ($150)
  • String "tripod" (free)
  • RØDE VideoMicro microphone ($59)
  • Tascam DR-05 external recorder ($99)
  • RØDE VC-1 cable ($12)
  • "Broom pole boom pole" (free)
  • Light fixture with clamp ($12)
  • 40W light bulb ($3)
  • Towels (free)
  • Garbage bags (free)

This challenge not only shows us how little money you actually have to spend to get decent quality footage, but it also shows us what really matters when creating cinematic images.

Yes, your camera and lens play a big role in image quality, but lighting was, is, and always will be the true champion of production value. As you can see in the video, shaping light is crucial to creating the look of your scene. If you simply stick your subjects in front of a bright light or window, areas of your shot are probably going to be blown out. That's a classic novice mistake. Flagging off unwanted light, using diffusion material, or just moving your subjects further from a harsh (and unavoidable) light source can mean the difference between a shot that is beautiful and professional and one that looks like total garbage.

So, if you don't have much of a budget to get your filmmaking career off the ground, that's okay. You really don't need that much money. In fact, what you do need is some knowledge of how to control light, because once you're able to you can seriously increase your film's production value to the point that no one will know (or care) that it was shot on a $200 camera.     

Your Comment

12 Comments

You can do a lot with a little, indeed.

September 25, 2017 at 9:33PM

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I run a very similar setup (VideoMic Pro, Zoom H1, few different lenses) and it works great for what I do. I'm sure many other students will say the same. Gear really shouldn't hold you back when it comes to cinematography.

September 27, 2017 at 3:40AM, Edited September 27, 3:40AM

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December 13, 2017 at 7:26AM

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baburao
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Cinematography (likewise called Direction of Photography) is the science or craft of movie photography by recording light or other electromagnetic radiation, either electronically by methods for a picture sensor, or artificially by methods for a light-delicate material, for example, movie stock. Regularly, a focal point is utilized to over and over concentration the light reflected from objects into genuine pictures on the light-touchy surface inside a camera amid an addressed presentation, making numerous pictures. With an electronic picture sensor, this delivers an electrical charge at every pixel, which is electronically handled and put away in a video petition for consequent show or preparing. https://www.speedyassignment.co.uk/our-writers/ written the outcome with photographic emulsion is a progression of imperceptible idle pictures on the film stock, which are later synthetically "created" into an unmistakable picture. The pictures on the film stock are played back at a quick speed and anticipated onto a screen, making the figment of movement. Cinematography discovers utilizes as a part of many fields of science and business and additionally for excitement purposes and mass correspondence.

January 3, 2018 at 6:41AM

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It is not necessary to have the high-end equipment to capture a high-quality image. You can capture beautiful footage using budget equipment with proper lighting and techniques. It’s all about how you are using that equipment in capturing the footage you need.
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February 20, 2018 at 12:22AM

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Alex Paul
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According to https://www.englishessays.co.uk/ cinematography is essentially similar to shooting a motion picture (you are utilizing fundamentally the same as masterful angles when capturing and recording), aside from you are catching it with moving pictures. Lighting, shading, tone, attire, state of mind, point of convergence, center, camera arrangement, profundity of field, and development are on the whole critical components in cinematography. Cinematography is the style of a movie film - it's what you see with the eye.

April 3, 2018 at 5:54AM

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April 25, 2018 at 12:54PM

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Portis659
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If you want to make a major break then yeah probably higher a crew who knows and study about photography. Getting latest equipment for your set won’t make the direction and lightning right. I would hire someone who knows the stuff for example for events in Florida https://teamdronezone.com/home/ these are the best guys you would like to cover your event with. So it's better if you let the professional do his work, it will minimize your cost to if the things are cover in one shoot.

July 12, 2018 at 7:51AM

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You are correct the Fotography is best way to produce and you teach very good. I found this intresting and keep reading always
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