How to calculate the cost of shooting any short film?

The budget of a short film is all about the contents in the film the director wants to add, so we can now classify them into three basic parts:




  1. Pre production :

Before you get into production of short films there are a couple of things you need to get done :

  1. The total length of the short film 
  2. Hiring a writer
  3. Break down your script into pages per day
  4. Prioritize difficult scenes 
  5. Have budget actors 
  6. Think of budget for extras 
  7. Include stunt budgets as well
  8. Budgets for special effects, vehicles that will be used 
  9. Budgeting crew salaries
  10. Budget for equipment 

Now that all the above things are completely done, you can enter the stage of production.

2. Production:

            Production is the main part while considering the budgeting of short films. It is essential to have the right look and feel of the genre, but at the same time, the costs may not be under your control if you think of a Science Fiction, War, Fantasy film for that matter.It includes your daily location costs, crew wages, equipment rentals, costume and all other services.For a newbie, it is always good idea to shoot in free locations, available lights and affordable production costs. Daily production costs can be anything from small meals for your crew to a big generator truck which doesn’t even play a role on the screen but plays a crucial role .Also consider every possible cost that is important , if you don’t do so the production costs may pile up to mountain proportions.

Lets see the factor that are considered in production cost :

  1. Location

Shooting in a single location is one way you can keep your film contained in scale without necessarily constricting the story. Some stories lend themselves quite naturally to the confines of a single space. Others are even augmented by it, making the location its own character and player in the drama. Keeping an estimate of 50k to 5 lakhs would be sufficient for newbies.

  1. Cast

Finding casts is a major part of filmmaking. you have to find a local creative group, reaching out to casting agencies and so on. Keep an estimate of 2 – 5 Lakh.

  1. Crew

The main crew members you need cinematographers, sound  recordists, direction assistants, art directors, makeup artists, costume designers, art directors, makeup artists, costume designers, and grapplers . The total estimation will cost you about 5L-10L.

  1. Arts and designs :

Instead of creating sets, you can instead add authenticity to the frame  by using props and some set extensions to support the story. They will cost about 50k to 2L on average.

  1. Types of equipment:

Equipment is the expensive part that includes cameras, lenses, gaffer’s lightings, sound equipment, and so on . they will be costing around 2 Lakhs – 10 Lakhs.

  1. Production services :

As we discussed the main part of production similarly we need the spot boys and caterers for refreshments and meals. Portable toilets and other outdoor equipment like public address systems, water storage, etc. are necessary if you shoot at distant places with no access to such things. So these costs are included in other production services. the approximate estimation will be around 50k to 2lakhs

Also Read: 6 ways to make money through short films

3. Post production cost:

Post productions cost includes the below-given parameters

  1. Editing the film:

The editor fees and the editing studio costs are separate. But for a short film, you should always hire editors who have their editing suites and do not function on an hourly basis

  1. Sound and design:

You should be on the lookout for talented guys who are hungry for recognition and charge you in packages otherwise it would get costly.

  1. Digital Intermediate:

Digital Coloring the film is a fashion nowadays, and for short films, they play a vital role in enhancing the quality of the film. A good colorist can charge 100 per hour which is filthily expensive. Crack a deal with an enthusiast who can do it under your budget. 

  1. VFX:

Digital Coloring the film is a fashion nowadays, and for short films, they play a vital role in enhancing the quality of the film and enhancing standing out your film . A good colorist can charge costlier which is filthily expensive. Crack a deal with an enthusiast who can do it under your budget. 

  1. Marketing and promotions:

There are thousands of film festivals where you can showcase your work. But, many of them have a fee and the courier charges to send the hard copy aren’t cheap either. So do research and then plan your promotion wisely.

Concluding we can say that the total estimation of post-production will be about 3 L- 5L.

Now take a glance at estimated costs we need to understand the part of calculations.

  1. Figuring out the storage size, price of storage, the format required
  2. Calculating size per minute 
  3. Calculating price per minute

By considering our production analysis one can make an appropriate calculation for the production of the short film.

Also read: Top OTT Platforms vs Theatres – Who will survive?

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