Budget Breakdown: $1,000 to Make a Video with an iPhone

Budget Breakdown: $1,000 to Shoot a
(Usable) Commercial Film with an iPhone

It’s rare to hear a team share their budget breakdown for a film, especially when it’s a “no budget/low budget”. So I was pleased to discover Wistia shared how the video agency Sandwich used $1,000 to make a commercial film with an iPhone that could be used.

This challenge of shooting with an iPhone for $1,000 was part of the project One, Ten, One Hundred where Wistia challenged Sandwich, the video agency with a hipster name, to shoot three videos with three different budgets ($1,000, $10,000 and 100k) to advertise the same product.

They documented the whole process that you can discover by clicking on the link just above, but here is the budget breakdown for the video shot for $1,000:

  • An iPhone tripod = $30

  • A budget tripod = $150

  • Rent professional audio-gear= $250

  • Glitter, posterboard, props = $75

  • Music Licensing + Post-production expenses = $300

  • Food for the crew = $295

So yes, of course, the iPhone is not included in the budget. But what I find particularly interesting is that: they spend nothing on lights and put a third of the budget in music and post-production, which is usually what people skip during pre-production, thinking they’ll handle it later on.

For many, $1,000 is already a big budget to make a short film. But as you can see from the list, things can add up very quickly. And this is without paying any human involved in making the said video.

It’s actually a very good way to realize why filmmaking is still an expensive art form, even though everybody says making films costs nothing nowadays. Nothing besides time and technology.


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