3 Tips for Maximizing Your Budget for Outdoor Shoots

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Last Updated: Sep 26, 2022


When picking your locations, there’s nothing more tempting than deciding to use the natural environments mother nature creates for us. After all, with natural lighting, scenery, and little to no human interruption, shooting outdoors must be a cheap solution for a crew on a budget? Not necessarily!

Unlike indoors or in a fixed studio, shooting outdoors means being at the behest of a natural environment, which introduces various factors usually out of our hands. To ensure that your outdoor shooting doesn’t waste you and your crew’s time and money, here are three suggestions to save you time and money.

1. Power Your Shoot

The biggest challenge when shooting outdoors is trying to keep your equipment powered. Any decent shooting location is likely far from a reliable power source, and your car’s engine cannot take on an entire crew’s worth of equipment.

If there’s one thing that doesn’t encourage a quiet film shoot, it’s old school petrol-powered generators. The constant engine rattle creates a significant sound disturbance. Needless to say, they are not the most eco-friendly solution to your power problem.

For the best portable power station, consider an eco-friendly battery generator. It will help keep your shoot’s energy consumption down and save you money, and your sound crew will also thank you for the lack of noise.

2. Sound or No Sound?

One consideration is whether you need sound at all! Video promos, short films, and advertisements may rely on dialogue, but out in nature, things tend to be hard to control. Unless necessary, try and consider ways to avoid recording sound at all. You may save yourself time and money.

ADR (Additional Dialogue Recording) is one of the most underrated ways to speed up outdoor shooting. Sound experts such as Randy Thom suggest that some of the films they have worked on are 90% ADR. Your sound team will have to ensure that they get a clean recording of your talent or acting team but can record a better, cleaner version later in post-production.

In film, time is money, and not waiting for wildlife or nature to quieten down can make a massive difference.

3. Know Your Location

You have undoubtedly taken the time to scout your location properly. But if there’s one thing we can rely on when shooting, it’s that Murphy’s law is king, and things never go as planned. Try your best to prepare for the unpreparable and do the best you can to know your shooting location like the back of your hand.

Knowing little details such as weather patterns, sunrise and sunset times, and all the factors you can make a big difference when on set. You may not be shooting the next big nature-centered feature film, but horror film shoot stories such as The Revenant were only pulled off by saving film crews who knew their locations and planned carefully and accordingly.


A filmmaker’s vision doesn’t have to be limited by the budget, but it does have to be practical. When the worst happens, your backup plan could save you days of shooting, and your pocket will thank you for it.

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