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Feb '18 | Low Budget Doesn’t Mean Low Quality

Low Budget Video Production Means Savvy Scoping

And that’s exactly what we did when producing a website launch video for professional chef Tori Richie. We got creative. Not on the page, or on screen, but in excel

Our Challenge

Our budget was less than $1,500, and yet our goal was to make Tori, and her foodie following, happy as marinated clams.

Tips for Marketers Who Skim

If your budget is low, try these suggestions:

  • Rehearse with the talent before production day.
  • Get a great looking location with natural light. (Hint: these do come free, they’re called favors.)
  • Spend a little money on art direction (we’re talking $50 bucks).
Bay Area Production Company

Behind the scenes with one 4k camera filming Chef Tori Ritchie.

 “​K’Dee is a total pro — I’ve worked with a lot of ​video ​producers and few are as fun​, ​efficient, and as good at directing as ​K’Dee is.”

~ Chef Tori Ritchie

Rehearse Before Cameras Roll

When possible, pull the talent or executives aside and rehearse the talking points prior to filming. Because once you start filming, those flubs and retakes become costly when you factor in the price of crew labor. Patina will always– regardless of budget– volunteer to rehearse with the talent before production day. Why? Because a great performance makes a fantastic video. And we’re in the business of delivering fantastic videos.

Location, Location, Location

The first way to increase production value is to find a great location with natural light. But we’re not talking sun beams streaming through windows, we’re talking soft, indirect light. In the case of Tori, we used her home. Patina’s producer scouted the location prior to filming to see when and where the light came in, and then we scheduled our production day accordingly. We also took note of the kitchen’s color scheme and with that knowledge, planned our wardrobe and set design.

A Pop of Color Goes a Long Way

Check out those flowers in the background, and the way they match the bowl of apples. Or the bench cushion we turned on its side so instead of white, we saw more orange and yellow. That’s no coincidence friends, that’s called set design! And it cost no more than $25.

Now, let’s talk wardrobe. Ever notice how actors in films always seem to match nicely with their environment? That’s the collaborative work of the costume designer and art director. But when you don’t have money for those two designers, just take 20 minutes prior to filming to discuss wardrobe with your talent.

Notice how Tori’s shirt brings out the color in her eyes. It also matches nicely with the pot and pans in the background. When choosing wardrobe, solid colors work best, and we suggest staying away from patterns, stripes, or distracting logos.

Thinking about these simple, low cost workarounds prior to filming can help you increase your production value, even when working on a tight budget.

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K'Dee Miller is the Founder & Creative Director of Patina Pictures.

Her feature films have premiered at Sundance Film Festival, AFI Fest, Newport Beach Film Festival, among others. Her corporate video clients span from technology companies such as Microsoft, RingCentral, DocuSign and Adobe, to Bay Area nonprofits such as Team4Tech and Hamilton Families.

She's studied her industry from every angle, receiving production training from The Juilliard School, an MFA of Writing from University of San Francisco, and a BFA of Acting from Marymount Manhattan College.

She is currently in the process of writing a memoir about growing up in the wilderness of Alaska.