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March 2017

Charity video … on a tiny budget

How to make a charity video on a tiny budget

Not everyone has the budget to employ a production company to make a professional video but if you’re willing to give it a go, there are lots of ways that you can make a DIY video on a tiny budget.

We asked Emma Sullivan, Digital Content Producer at Relate, to share her super-useful tips on how they make charity video on a tiny budget.

Taking a creative risk

Making a video on very small budget can feel daunting but it can be a great opportunity to experiment and take a risk on a creative idea.

We make a lot of our video content on budgets of less than £250, sometimes for as little as £25. This means we’ve put a lot of thought into how to make engaging videos that don’t look like they’ve been made with limited funds.

Here’s our top 5 tips for making charity video on a tiny budget:

1. Go full-on DIY

When we started out we couldn’t afford actors or animation. This meant we needed to come up with a different way to get our ideas across. After getting some inspiration from the Adam and Joe show’s ‘Toymovies’ we decided that embracing the DIY look and giving the films a homemade look was a great way to give the video plenty of personality. So we decided to make our own cast using eggs, you can see the results in our first film:

2. Get away from your desk

It’s all too easy for video projects to get pushed back when you have other content projects on the go, we found booking a block of time away for our desks to complete the films made it much easier to prioritise making video. Working over one or two days was also much more efficient, we could do everything in this time, including making the set and buying props. It’s much easier to perservere and get the filming done in one day rather than try to do bits and pieces, here and there.

3. Plan to get the most out of filming

We wanted to have something going on in every shot — be it a shift in perspective, or a pan, or a tilt to keep things interesting, we planned this all out before we started filming­. Thinking ahead in this way and using a script and storyboard means you have a good idea of how it will cut together before you start editing. Editing also tends to be easier when you’ve decided how the set will look and decided the tone for the film. You can see how we put this into practice in our video ‘How do you know they’re the one?’

4. Start with a test scene to make sure idea will work in practice

Before diving in and making a full video, we made a test scene. We wanted to do this for a number of reasons, firstly, we wanted to see how our ideas for the film looked, it was a chance to check it didn’t look too homemade and had the right tone. Secondly, this gave us an opportunity to try out different ways of shooting a scene and allowed us to see what was practically possible: it became clear that we needed to simplify the set and characters so they could be quickly and easily moved around to shoot from different angles. Thirdly, this took a lot of pressure off, making just one scene meant a minimal investment of time and allowed us to produce something we could show to stakeholders for sign off before we spent more time on the project.

5. Have faith in your idea

We found that sticking with our ideas despites our worries about how they would be received meant we could make something unique and funny. It also helped us to put the case for increasing our video budget and led to us making some low budget videos with actors.

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Emma Sullivan, digital content producer, Relate

Emma is the digital content producer at Relate and manages their content strategy and digital content. Emma joined Relate in October 2015, having previously worked at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and Childline.

Magneto Films Logo London video producersMagneto Films is an award winning production company that specialises in working with brands, not-for-profits and the public sector. We specialise in telling real stories, working with cases tudies and real people to make films that move people to action. More about Magneto Films

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