3 Low-Budget Set Design Tips for Students in Film Training

Posted on June 17th, 2016 - Written by: Trebas Toronto

Low-Budget Set Design Tips for Students in Film Training

Film students know that set design can have a big impact on a movie. Just imagine Harry Potter without Hogwarts, The Lord of the Rings without Middle-earth, or Titanic without, well, the Titanic. Movie sets help bring to life the worlds behind each story—whether it’s set in Victorian England or modern-day New York. But how do film students on a budget make sure that their sets don’t suffer from financial limitations?

Here are three cost-saving ways budding filmmakers create film sets.

1. Students at Movie Making School Start Planning Sets Early to Stay in Budget

As you begin your film courses, you’ll learn each and every aspect that goes into making a movie—from crafting the perfect script to properly lighting a set. You’ll also learn that another important lesson in filmmaking is to plan early.

Film students know that when working under constraints like a tight budget, it’s often best to keep these restrictions in mind right from the get go. If you’re still at the scriptwriting stage, for example, you could look over scenes, determine which sets you’ll need, and if they can all fit within your budget. In some cases, you might find that a particular set is essential to your movie. As production designer Fiona Crombie discovered while working on Macbeth “Early on with Macbeth, we made the decision that Inverness should be a village, comprised of tents, rather than the castle of the play.” By making that decision early in the process, they were able to plan their budget with those considerations in mind.

But, if a set would take a big portion of your budget and doesn’t play a crucial role in your story, you might be able to find a good substitute or cut it out from your script to avoid unnecessary costs.

2. Students in Film Training Use Local Locations to Cut Costs

Completing your film training in Toronto places you in the heart of one of the most film-friendly cities in North America. And so why not take advantage of Toronto’s top locations when filing your own scenes?

Toronto offers a wide variety of locations—from the University of Toronto to the city’s bustling financial district. As you scout out locations for your movie, consider starting the search in Toronto before opting for a pricey trip to another city.

3. Purchasing Used Props Helps Students in Film Courses Design Sets on a Budget

Another way film students can save on set design costs is to search for free or second-hand props. In fact, several sites are dedicated to this. For example, the site ReadySetRecycle.com helps filmmakers in Toronto sell or simply give away props, sets, and costumes that they’re no longer using and don’t want to send to a landfill. So far they’ve been hugely successful. As the site’s creator Grant Heggie boasts, “in the first 3 months of 2016 we have seen over 140 tons of scenery come through our website and go into the hands of people and companies who need it.  ”

Purchasing Used Props Helps Students in Film Courses Design Sets on a Budget

If you’re looking for cost-cutting options for your set design, these second-hand sites might just help you stretch your budget even further.

Want to bring your visions to life at a top movie making school?

Visit our website to find out how Trebas can help you start your career in film!

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