27 May 2021

Finding No-budget Locations and Cheap Movie Places For Your Film

Finding No-budget Locations For Your Film

Finding suitable locations to shoot your film can be hard especially if you have little or no budget to make your film. In the film world, renting a professional studio or set can be very expensive and sometimes not even worth the cost compared to what you can find for free. There are an endless amount of great filming locations out there that are free and just as good as somewhere that you may rent. In this article, we will discuss how to find cheap movie places and film locations, when you need a permit for no-budget film locations, and what to look for when selecting your locations.

Finding No-budget Locations Online

Back in the day, finding low-budget film locations meant physically searching for scouting the location. Rather than driving or walking around searching for locations why not use the internet! There are a number of great ways to scout locations online that will save you a lot of time and headache. The added benefit of looking for a location online is you can see how other people shot it and get some creative ideas of what angles look best. Below we will outline some of the best tools to find a no-budget location for your film.

Location Scouting on Instagram

Thanks to Instagram hashtags and geotags finding locations using Instagram is very simple. Instagram allows users to tag the location of their photo by using what they call a "geotag". If you are shooting in Los Angeles for example, go on Instagram and look up the geotag for Los Angeles. Save or screenshot your favorite locations that you see on Instagram and you can even make a mood board from your favorite images at that location. This mood board will serve as a great compass when you are planning your shoot for the location selected.

Location Scouting on Reddit

Reddit is an undervalued way to find hidden gems around the world. If you are traveling to a new destination Reddit will be your friend. To find locations using Reddit simply look up the Reddit Community of the location you are shooting in. For example, if you are shooting in Venice Beach California you would go to the /LosAngeles Reddit thread to find information. Alternatively, you can google "best places Venice beach Reddit". This search result will have lots of local info on cool locations that many tourists won't know about!

Location Scouting on Google

Google Streetview is a huge asset when scouting locations online. Using Google Streetview you can virtually walk through neighborhoods on your computer and look for your shoot location. This is a great way to pre-scout your location. Just make sure you check it out in-person first to ensure the Street View photos aren't old!

Free Film Location Suggestions

  • Film in The Wilderness

If most of your film is outside anyways, finding a remote location to shoot is a great option. Simply rolling up to a crowded city beach might draw some attention to your production and could lead to a fine for not having a permit. If you find a remote enough location chances are you won't need a permit and/or there will be no one there to enforce it. Be careful when shooting your films in government-owned parks as they typically require permits and can be heavily patrolled. When in doubt look up the region you are shooting in and see how strict they are with filmmaking permits.

  • Use Community Creator Spaces

Community creator spaces are on the rise in big cities and they are a great place to shoot films. YouTube launched YouTube Space, a program for YouTube accounts with more than 10,000 subscribers to access any of their creator spaces. Their creator spaces have community tools such as green screens, lights, and podcasting spaces. If you aren't near a YouTube Space have a search for other independent creator spaces in your area, you might be surprised to find you have one nearby.

  • Do You Need a Permit? 

If there are so many great free film locations, then why would anyone ever pay? Many locations legally require permits to film there and must be abided or else you can get a hefty fine. Luckily these days cameras are so small and compact, you can shoot a professional production without people even noticing. Back when film cameras and crews were huge, it would have been impossible to shoot a film without turning lots of heads. These days if you need a shot of someone walking on a crowded beachfront, you could easily shoot this in 4k using a compact DSLR like a Lumix GH5 or Black Magic Cinema Camera. We recommend that you look into permits to stay out of trouble but usually you can get away with filming a small production in most locations!

Cheap Movie Places In Summary

It's never been easier to find your dream film location online even if your budget is $0. With a bit of creativity and using Instagram, Reddit, and Google Earth you can scout any location in the world and find cheap movie places. Remember to make use of local creator spaces if you're lucky enough to have one nearby or use the great outdoors as your location. Make sure you pay attention to local permit requirements to avoid getting fines. We hope you enjoyed this guide on finding no-budget locations for your film. The world is your movie set - Get out there and start creating.

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