How Expensive Is Filmmaking As A Hobby? (Beginners Guide)

Filmmaking can be an expensive hobby filled with many ups and downs.

However, you can still get started by investing a few thousand dollars to buy equipment.

Don’t overburden yourself by hiring expensive crew and equipment when you can make funny web videos by involving your friends and using a simple camera.

So, How Expensive Is Filmmaking As A Hobby?

Filmmaking is a diverse niche, and the amount of money you spend on production depends on many elements. There are cases where reputable, major studios use more than$65 million to produce a movie. For example, it cost around $100 million to produce The Lord of the Rings movie, which premiered in 2003.

Production of such movies involves the usage of high-end cameras, editing software, reputable actors, and production crews which can be quite expensive. However, you can still start doing independently by spending a couple of thousand dollars on production costs.

Four Things That Will Determine Your Filmmaking Budget

1. What Types Of Films Are You Making?

Your expectations of the film you want to produce will determine the cost.

Small three-minute clips are cheaper to create compared to producing long clips.

Also, consider where you will sell your films.

Companies like require you to use specific cameras to accept your content. Such cameras can be pretty expensive and not ideal for those on a budget.

2. How Many People Are In Your Cast?

First, determine the number of casts you want to include in your film.

Consider including a few characters if you’re on a tight budget, and add the number as you progress.

3. How Many People Are In Your Film Crew?

The more working crew you involve, the higher the production cost.

Try to include your talented relatives and friends to help you in lighting, editing, and acting to cut costs.

Offer to help them in their projects in return.

4. What Types Of Equipment Will You Use?

Determine the location and equipment you need to produce a clip. Some types of filming equipment are expensive, and you need to insure them.

Those on a budget can consider buying older models or renting from reputable dealers.

They might also consider shooting their film in public areas instead of going to private locations, which are way much more expensive.

Six Things You’ll Need To Start Your Filmmaking Hobby

You can buy all the necessary filmmaking gear with a couple of thousand dollars. Here are the essential things to start with.

1. Camera

You can start filmmaking with almost any camera, including the iPhone camera.

However, it’s advisable to use a mirrorless camera, camcorder, or DSLR for you to produce content that people will like.

For example, camcorders are liked by most people because they are more convenient when shooting documentaries, news, or events.

A standard lens camera will cost you around $75.

Pay special attention to the lenses when selecting a camera because they determine the quality of the images.

You can either buy a camera with an interchangeable lens and kit zoom lens or buy the body alone and select lenses elsewhere.

2. Sound

Sound is also essential when filmmaking because it helps viewers understand what is going on.

Some cameras come with a microphone, but you need an external microphone to produce great audio.

Most people prefer using Lavalier microphones because they are affordable and produce great sound.

Some cameras come with limited audio recording options, and you might need a separate audio recorder when shooting a film.

3. Tripods And Camera Support

Supporting your camera helps you produce steady images. Some cameras come with built-in stabilization, while others need extra support.

A tripod or monopod comes in handy because it supports and keeps the camera steady.

Use a fluid head tripod to tilt or pan the camera smoothly. You can also include additional support products like sliders, jibs, and electronic gimbal stabilizers.

4. Lights And Reflectors

It’s essential to control the lighting and reflection when shooting a video.

There are numerous inexpensive reflectors like the Lastolite TriFlip that you can use.

Start by using basic work lamps to help you understand basic creative lighting.

Those on a budget who want to do filming on the go can use CFL softbox lights because they’re practical and affordable.

5. Editing Software

You can edit your content using phones, PCs, and tablets. Most people prefer using Mac and PC because phones lack important specs to run editing software. Get software that offers value for your money.

For example, Adobe Premiere Pro has vital features such as score mixing, After Effect, and Automatic Dialogue Replacement.

These features aid in removing unwanted background effects, and help make beautiful titles.

6. Storage

People doing small projects can keep their videos in the computer’s main system drive.

However, you will need eternal drives to produce many large projects.

You can choose hard drives or SSDs, although the latter is more expensive than the former.

Seven Ways To Cut The Costs Of Filmmaking Equipment

You can save money by using the tips below when buying filmmaking equipment.

1. Don’t Buy New Models

New products such as cameras tend to be expensive when they first appear in the market. Instead, wait for a few months until the prices drop. Alternatively, you can buy an older model or those sold at a discount.

2. Buy Used Equipment

Nowadays, you can find second-hand equipment sold by enthusiasts who upgrade their products when a new model comes out. Ensure you check the price and the condition of the product before buying it.

3. Buy Only What You Need

Buy the most basic equipment if you’re starting. There is no need to buy a new full-frame camera when you can find another standard camera at a lower price.

4. Hire If You Can

Only hire equipment if you are sure you won’t use them regularly. Hiring allows you to use better filming stuff like microphones, lenses, and cameras without using much money.

5. Buy Consumer Film

Buy consumer films such as Kodak Gold because they are cheaper than professional films like the Kodak Portra.

There are numerous consumer film cameras under $100 that you can choose from.

Also, ensure you buy rolls that come in 36 exposures instead of those with 24 exposures to save more money.

For example, it will cost you around $3 per role when developing a clip.

6. Buy In Bulk

Buying equipment in bulk can be challenging at first, but it helps you save money in the long run.

7. Develop And Scan The Film At Home

If you intend to shoot many films, consider buying supplies and chemicals because it saves money in the long run.

Those who are not ready to shoot the film on their own can check whether there are offers in their nearest editing labs.

Wrap Up

Filmmaking can be a rewarding hobby, especially if you learn to do it right.

Start by planning and then gather as much information as possible from books and videos.

Numerous online social platforms like Quora and Reddit have useful information to help you get started in filmmaking.

If you’re a beginner, start small and make short films first, and you can make long clips as you advance.


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