Discover the Hidden Gems of Low-Budget Filming

Your Essential Guide


The big brand commercials, feature films and TV dramas often come with sky-high budgets, making it seem almost impossible for smaller production teams to compete. Yet, some of the best content has emerged from teams who innovated with limited resources. From a friend’s living room to a nearby park, budget-friendly film locations are more available than you might think.

Finding these cost-effective spots might seem daunting, but stepping off the beaten path and away from using an Agency or Location Library can reveal hidden treasures. This guide offers practical advice for production companies looking to stretch their budgets without sacrificing quality.

For advertising shoots, we recommend looking at the APA website which has lots of useful resources.

For film and television funding opportunities we advise that production companies or producers reach out to the BFI.


Unearthing Budget-Friendly Film Locations

Virtual location scouting

Start your search with virtual location scouting using tools like Google Earth. While this helps narrow down options, always visit in person to ensure the locations meet your needs. Tight budgets shouldn’t mean compromising on quality.


Minimise location changes

To keep costs down, minimise the number of filming locations and select sites close to each other. This reduces travel expenses and streamlines your schedule. If a particular location is crucial, seek additional spots within a 10-mile radius


Mind your budget

Remember to account for additional expenses such as catering, permits, equipment, and crew wages. Having a clear budget from the outset can prevent unexpected costs from derailing your production.


Filming in public spaces

Public spaces can provide excellent low-cost film locations, provided you secure the necessary permits and permissions. However, check that the space is genuinely public as some may appear public but are privately owned.

Regulations vary, so contact local council or film office for guidance. Film London is a great place to start if you are filming in London or Filming in England if you are outside of the M25. If you are in Scotland we always advise contacting Screen Scotland. For Welsh film makers it’s Creative Wales.

Public liability insurance is also typically required, for one off shoots you can buy short term cover using Performance Insurance.

Maximising Existing Resources

Even with tight finances, your network can be invaluable. Reach out to friends, family, and fellow filmmakers for suggestions or potential locations.

Utilise online social media platforms, we find this group can be particularly helpful – People who work in TV who wants locations etc

You could pitch your need for low-cost locations and see what other filmmakers might offer in exchange for favours rather than cash. For instance, you could trade an editing role for access to a unique location.

Always be clear about compensation, whether it’s monetary, exposure, or mutually beneficial services. Respect boundaries and ensure everyone involved understands the terms through professional agreements.

Transforming Spaces with Props and Decor

Creative use of props and decor can turn an ordinary location into the perfect film setting. Choose locations that can be easily transformed for different scenes. Avoid script elements requiring expensive or hard-to-replicate settings.

You could also search for props and materials in charity shops, car boot sales, or online marketplaces.

We all know that creating a low-budget film is challenging, particularly with locations consuming a significant portion of the budget. However, with creativity and resourcefulness, you can independently find outstanding locations that elevate your production.

Courtney Mendez

Account Director - Express & Unscripted TV

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