Submitted by njdevils901 t3_115mn3b in movies

I'm interested in the idea of low budget movies hiding their low budgets in clever ways, through lighting, miniatures, matte paintings, or camera angles. My favorite one has to be the final scene in Whiplash, where since it was a low budget movie and it was a Blumhouse movie, I have a doubt they actually could get such a huge amount of extras there so the way Chazelle films it is by filming the audience part of the stage in shadow. And having most of the focus be on Andrew and Fletcher with close ups, and camera angles to shift away from the audience. I feel like this is just a simple, but clever way to hide the fact that the film is a first time filmmaker's low budget Blumhouse movie, so he had to find interesting ways to film a sequence like that without having the budget for a whole crowd of extras.



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Offal t1_j92n6vz wrote

Monty Python and the Holy Grail's replacing horses with coconuts.


Accipiter1138 t1_j92pw5p wrote

And doing a literal cop-out rather than have a big fight scene at the end.


kadmylos t1_j937bd4 wrote

I thought that was because one of the actors was allergic to horses.


riegspsych325 t1_j92iq2v wrote

filming the monster/demon chase from its own POV in Evil Dead as it chases Ash


njdevils901 OP t1_j92kn09 wrote

It still blows my mind Raimi was in his early 20s (around 20-21) when he directed the first Evil Dead movie. So much of that is so damn creative, natural born filmmaker


Doppelfrio t1_j94lbrb wrote

Was it ever supposed to be a physical entity though (perhaps that’s because of the budget like you’re saying). I always imagined it as a presence the characters feel rather than see


GabbiStowned t1_j95wm99 wrote

Similarly Carpenter using a steadicam from Michael Myers’ POV in Halloween.


AndyKaufmanSentMe t1_j92oiwd wrote

There's something in The Blair Witch Project that still haunts me, and I don't know if it was discovered in the editing room, or always planned.

A few times throughout the movie, the DAT sound recorder for the 16mm camera is farther away than the person holding said camera. This dissonance is scary, particularly in the final shot. The DAT is on the basement floor and Heather is still holding the 16mm upstairs... so her screams get closer, louder and more hysterical as she descends further down. Yikes.


WhereIsThatElephant t1_j92sy68 wrote

It was originally cleverly posted as a one-of-the-first "found footage". If you just read it, and did not read the reviews, subsequently going into a movie theatre with the perception it was an actual documentary - it did hit the right way.


Elon_Kums t1_j95b2ak wrote

I knew it was fake and it still hit hard.

One of the few horror films to actually scare me.


middleagedukbloke t1_j952ej2 wrote

I thought it was a load of shite. I almost burst out laughing at the end when the whole cinema was just sat staring at a black screen.


njdevils901 OP t1_j96ycas wrote

Yeah that tends to happen at the end of movies


middleagedukbloke t1_j974ysw wrote

It was just before the end, when we were supposed to be scared because it was dark.


chadisdangerous t1_j939qsi wrote

Cube is set in a gigantic maze-like cube with thousands of different rooms that have various obstacles the characters have to deal with as they explore, but the movie had a tiny budget so they only built one room.

So what they did was build the room with removable panel walls that were different coloured gels. They simply swapped the panels from scene to scene so some rooms were red, some were blue, etc, and simple camera angles were enough to convince you the characters were travelling through this giant structure. Very cleverly done!


Vidzphile t1_j92mp2u wrote

The Fountain (2006) was initially supposed to star Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett with a $70M budget. But Pitt ditched for Troy and the project was scrapped. Aronofsky rewrote the script (cutting huge set pieces) and got Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz on board. What was really cool was his use of low-cost macro photography for the space scenes instead of CGI.


ChrisLAD1 t1_j92j07s wrote

Jaws. The use of suspenseful music and low budget anamatronics is done so well.


drelos t1_j92rlox wrote

I don't think that was low budget at the time, the salt corroded the mechanical shark, the idea of using the barrels as a proxy of the shark attacking was truly innovative.


Veni_Vidic_Vici t1_j92viof wrote

Watch James Cameron's masterclass. He used miniatures, reverse projections and matte paintings for future war scenes in terminator, shot in streets with car dealerships so that he had well lit streets at night, and often meticulously planned every shoot so that the budget remains as constrained as possible.


TomBirkenstock t1_j92wpke wrote

In the Wrath of Kahn, the bridge of the Enterprise and the bridge of the Reliant (Kahn's ship) are the same set with slightly different configuration.


WhereIsThatElephant t1_j92slg0 wrote

  • Monsters (2010) - original budget of $1.5k. Nobody except two leads knew they were in a movie. Special effects edited by the same guy who shot it, in the course of 2 years.
  • Cosmos (2019) - original budget of $0. Shot with the borrowed equipment and savvy fellows who knew a thing or two about radioastronomy,
  • Reservoir Dogs - original budget of $15k. You shoot it with a bunch of actor friends in an empty mini-warehouse.

Here's some ideas from the past.


guywoodhouse68 t1_j93lkhn wrote

Reservoir Dogs was certainly not 15k


WH1SKEYHANGOVER t1_j94bwf9 wrote

It probably started at 15k. I think the budget went up when keitel signed on


LoanedWolf666 t1_j94nz8p wrote

1.2 million was the budget for Reservoir Dogs.


WH1SKEYHANGOVER t1_j95i96u wrote

Didnt have a budget for costumes either. Told everyone to wear a black suit to the set. Tarantino was saying on howard stern that weinstein (yes that one) wanted him to cut the torture scene as well


Zachwy t1_j94k4ky wrote

Which makes the budget of the film more than 15k


SimpleDan11 t1_j94abm3 wrote

Monsters was Gareth Edward's. Who went on to Direct Godzilla and Rogue One.


DaveshPatel93101 t1_j92ucy2 wrote

I've heard of filmmakers hiding in the bushes during battle or crowd scenes of big budget movies and filming the scenes for their own movies. Gettysburg with Martin Sheen comes to mind.

Also, John Waters used to hide his camera in the back of a van to avoid permits when shooting at public buildings.


kingofzdom t1_j92k4oc wrote

"marble hornets" is an early YouTube ARG with practically zero budget that used a combination of POV, conservative shaky cam, "Slenderman" camera distortions and basic CGI. (Fun fact, this series is also the origin of the modern Slenderman)

The result is one of the most compelling and interesting amateur films I've ever witnessed


StreetMysticCosmic t1_j931axw wrote

Slenderman existed as photoshop images and a creepypasta on the forum SomethingAwful before the excellent Marble Hornets videos came out.


DrakeandCo t1_j93hw1o wrote

While this is true, the first episode was posted within weeks of the first Slender Man photoshop images being created on SA. Troy Wagner, the series creator, was a part of the original forum thread where Slender Man was cooked up.


kingofzdom t1_j931hoj wrote

'tis why I specified "modern" slenderman.

He was a simi-obscure art project pre-marble hornets.


VrinTheTerrible t1_j92msir wrote

The Whale is shot entirely in one room. Sure that helped with the budget.


-ORIGINAL- t1_j92xnsj wrote

It's adapted from a play so it makes sense that most of it takes place in one room.


Curious-Tangelo-4480 t1_j92izsu wrote

Ed wood didn't even hide it, neither did Rodger corman they relished their small budgets and made it their trademark.


njdevils901 OP t1_j92kcj8 wrote

I mean Corman's movies still had great matte paintings and miniatures to create a sense of scale that they couldn't accomplish on such a low budget. Hell even look at the Fantastic Four 1994 movie, it's cheap, but it does the best job possible at trying to make a superhero movie on a $1 million budget. In fact, the Thing costume looks better in that than in the adaptations afterward haha


Curious-Tangelo-4480 t1_j92kjta wrote

Yeah but then Corman also did death race 2000. Lol.


njdevils901 OP t1_j92kwi9 wrote

That's true, I've never seen it so I can't say much. I will give him a ton of credit for The Trip (1967), the hallucination sequences in that are wonderful for something that cost so little. There's a reason so many filmmakers who worked under him became bigger names afterward, a fantastic teacher. A lot of what Cameron did on The Terminator seems to be a lot of what Corman probably taught him


Curious-Tangelo-4480 t1_j92lils wrote

Yes Corman and woods were masters of their craft. Ever see plan 9 from outer space? Woods shot that for under a thousand dollars.


bugogkang t1_j93w3mz wrote

Resevoir Dogs - get Harvey Keitel


SirFritz t1_j940fuw wrote

All the stuff done in El Mariachi. Like if you flub a take you just cut just before it to not have to refilm the first part so you save film..


HardSteelRain t1_j94f4sp wrote

Carlos forgot to pay a vendor for a Cocoanut so Rodriquez fixed it with narration..Carlos talked about getting a free Cocoanut.


Affectionate-Peanut1 t1_j94z81h wrote

Carpenter’s Halloween (1978) had a low budget even by 70s standards iirc & it became one of the largest & easily recognizable horror icon franchises ever. the original film still holds to this day & is underrated as hell. carpenter spent something like 1/3 of the budget on just a free-moving camera dolly that was new tech at that time & had to cut a bunch of corners with the budget bc of it. that risk ended up being the right one. the netflix doc “the movies that made us” did an episode on it & it was super interesting


jayeddy99 t1_j92l9fu wrote

I used to watch the saw 1 commentary and the way they used that budget always amazed me . I think one cut was them walking from a dungeon set to the police department and it was one take they just moved between a beam or something


Plasticglass456 t1_j92sqrc wrote

I don't know if there's one specific thing to point out, but Nolan's commentary for Following is great for this stuff. Nearly every shot is economical or for a purpose. The movie was heavily rehearsed so they could film as few takes as possible and thus save on 35mm film costs. He shot the opening framing scene very professionally and static so when the rest of the movie goes handheld, it seems like an artistic choice for the story within a story. The commentary's filled with stuff like that.


ZorroMeansFox t1_j9446h6 wrote

Tarsem Singh was primarily a Commercial Director, a career which took him all around the world.

When he was on location in various exotic locales, he would seek out the most striking environments and then assemble his cast there to shoot a single scene from The Fall. In this fragmented way, he eventually put together a breathtakingly beautiful epic film which feels very expensive --but which was made for just 30-million.


dotskee t1_j94su9y wrote

Robert Rodriguez used some really clever jump cut techniques out of necessity in the action sequences of El Mariachi which I only noticed because he pointed them out in the commentary. Of course that is the film that put him on the map.


AndyKaufmanSentMe t1_j95s2k6 wrote

I've watched El Mariachi more times with commentary than without. It's wonderful.

>"You want to be a filmmaker? I've got good news for you, you're a filmmaker. Now go make movies."


Twothounsand-2022 t1_j94t5f4 wrote

Speilberg & Cruise decide to not recieve salary for Minority report because Speilberg didn't want the production cost over 100M

Him & Cruise recive 15% from movie total gross around 55M each


CluelessNoodle123 t1_j94ki0j wrote

I remember learning about how the space ships in Alien where basically Star Wars models/miniatures that were mixed and matched for the external ship shots. And I never would have known if I hadn’t watched that making-of documentary.


brutustyberius t1_j94sop1 wrote

The girl who’s mom goes to college choreographed Napoleon’s dance at the end.


GabbiStowned t1_j95wu1o wrote

The Thing (1982) using the camp burnt down at the end for the Norwegian camp.


lostwanderer02 t1_j9dgqrd wrote

When Kevin Smith made Clerks he filmed it in black and white and shot it in mostly in the store.


JeanMorel t1_j933soz wrote

For the Dutch historical naval epic Michiel de Ruyter (trailer), which has a massive budget for a Dutch but a small budget compared to an American epic (about $8.5 million), director Roel Reiné juggled three ships around to make it seem like the naval battles on screen had many, many more.