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Making Films & Videos/Question on Movies


Good day
In making movies, I have heard some movies cost for than $50 million to make.
I was wondering what are the main costs involved in making a movie and is it possible to make high quality movies for under $20,000. If so how and what technologies could be used.

Actually, Mahabir, Pirates of Caribbean in 2007 cost $300 million.

The lead character (Johnny Depp) got $53 million for the 2011 version of Pirates.  Leading men who are great actors command a huge salary because they will bring people to the box office and return more than they are paid.  It's the same with great directors to a lesser extent.

These days, CGI (Computer Graphic Imaging) is a huge cost, sometimes wasted.  Ten years ago I was involved in a film with a middle-ages theme.  There were some production trucks in the background of a dozen shots.  The director was advised and said, "We'll fix that digitally in post-production".  That decision cost the film $350,000.

Films like Avitar cost a fortune in CGI.

Of course you can make a high quality movie for a few thousand dollars.  I used to visit UCLA film school for student film nights.  They always had several 20-30 minute short films that were made for under $1000 and were absolutely great.  You don't have to spend money to be clever.

Pro-sumer digital video cameras are now rather inexpensive.  Renting them is even cheaper.  Since almost all post production is digital, it can be a do-it-yourself effort.  Combine that with volunteer labor and a clever premise, and you have yourself a good, cheap film.  Film festivals are filled with such films.

Chris Bushman
Colfax, California

Making Films & Videos

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Chris Bushman


I`ve been involved in the technical aspects of the motion picture industry for the past 35 years. In 2007 I received a Scientific/Technical Academy Award for my contribution to archival film preservation.


In late 2008, I retired from managing a small motion picture film laboratory in Hollywood, California. I have broad experience in many technical aspects of the motion picture business. I have worked as an animation cameraman, production manager, optical printing foreman, still photographer, color timer, sensitometry control foreman, video engineer, customer service foreman, analytical chemist, director of quality control.

Member, Society of Motion Picture/Television Engineers - Member, American Radio Relay League - Member, Quarter Century Wireless Assn. - President, Zen Nippon Airinkai, So Cal Chapter - Member, Maltose Falcons Homebrewing Society - Alumni, American Brewers' Guild

UC Davis, BS Zoology

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