How we made a distributed hi-def feature film in 4 months for $2350



Click above image to see the budget for “Guns and Weed, the Road to Freedom“.


The director is the author of the book $30 Film School. We recommend it. It has almost everything we know on how to make a movie….Though that movie was written about miniDV, not hi-def, but most of the info is the same. For an update on the hi-def info we used to make Guns and Weed, check out this blog post by Michael Dean, “Lo-cost Hi-def video gear list“, which covers gear and software used.We also learned a bit (including how to do animations and greenscren, which we’d never done before) from the good guide Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 Classroom in a Book.  (I already had Premiere, got it free from Adobe as a review copy.)
This book also helped us with learning to color correct. We did that ourselves, as well as the sound mix, and the book gave us good tips on in-program audio compression and EQ. It also taught us all we needed to know about outputting for hi-def delivery to our distributor, outputting to DVD for promo copies, and outputting hi-def cleanly for both iPad and for YouTube.

Here’s a post by Michael Dean called Secrets of Home Recording (Including “How to soundproof your home studio for under ten bucks”), which has information on the recording techniques we used for the music and voiceover, and here’s another post if you’re on a budget. The sultry narration for the film was done by Michael’s wife, DJ.

The entire film was made for $2350, including the hi-def camera, in a period of just over four months. Here’s an interview with Michael and Neema about some of the specifics of how that all worked.