Creating High-Quality Videos—Without the High Cost

by | Feb 21, 2024 | Video

Video is an effective communication tool for businesses and organizations. It serves all sorts of purposes, from educational content to social media videos.

Nowadays, video equipment and technology are not prohibitively expensive. It’s also not difficult to learn how to use them for projects that are relatively straightforward.

Even if you have no money in your budget for video, you can make something that’s polished and compelling.

Here are our best tips for shooting professional-quality videos on a shoestring budget.

Production tips

You don’t need expensive lights or an elaborate set to capture decent footage. Basic equipment and planning ahead go a long way.


  • Use a smartphone, tablet, or DSLR camera to film your videos.
  • Shaky footage can sink your video. Invest in a tripod for a professional look. Budget tripods cost as little as $25.
  • Audio is important. An inexpensive lapel or shotgun mic will sound better than your camera’s built-in microphone. If you can’t afford a mic, consider using a phone or tablet to capture audio separately. But you’ll need video editing software to support a separate audio track (see below).


  • Sound: Choose a filming location with minimal background noise. All things equal, a small, carpeted room is better than a large auditorium, as it absorbs sound and helps reduce echo. There’s a reason why some podcasters are known to record in their closets.
  • Lighting: Use natural light to your advantage. Shoot near windows or outdoors, and make sure the light source is positioned behind your camera (not behind the subject). If natural light isn’t an option, consider an inexpensive softbox lighting kit, which can be found for less than $50. Or explore DIY solutions like white bed sheets to diffuse light from lamps.
  • Framing and composition: Use the rule of thirds to compose your shots. Keep your subject off-center for a more visually interesting frame.
  • B-roll: If you’re capturing someone talking on screen and think you’ll need to make edits, capture additional footage to cut away to during editing. This can add visual interest and cover up any jump cuts.

Post-production tips

Once a time-consuming and complex task reserved for professionals, video editing is now accessible to all. You have a variety of free and affordable software to use:

  • Free editing software like DaVinci Resolve, iMovie (for Mac users), or Shotcut can handle basic editing needs. These tools offer features like cutting, color correction, and adding text or transitions.
  • Descript is an AI-powered audio and video editor that offers tools like text-based editing, filler word removal, and speech cloning. Its basic version is free.
  • Adobe Premiere, which is what we use, is a robust tool that can integrate with other Adobe tools (Audition, After Effects) for more complex editing needs. A monthly subscription is as low as $22.99 per month for Premiere only.

When to save, when to spend

Video equipment and software have become less expensive over the years, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you should spend money on them.

Unless you plan to have a dedicated video content producer on staff and regularly produce content, think about investing in expertise and labor. In other words:

  • Don’t buy the video camera, hire the videographer.
  • Don’t buy the video editing software, hire the video editor.

If you can do all of the planning and writing, look for a freelancer or production team to shoot and edit it for you. Many charge a flat full- or half-day rate for filming and an hourly or daily rate for editing.

In your initial discussion, they can give you an idea of how long it will take to shoot and edit.

Close up of someone's hands on a computer

Photo credit: Keith Pitts, | Unsplash

If you have future video projects on your calendar and you’re hiring a professional videographer, this is a valuable opportunity to get beautiful footage you can use for other projects too. Ask your videographer how much it would cost to get all the footage from the shoot. You can use it later to create additional content.

Alternatively, you could purchase high-quality stock video and/or photos and licensed music to make your idea come to life.

Sora, OpenAI’s tool that generates realistic-looking video from text, will also likely be an option soon.

Creating professional-looking videos on a budget is possible with some creativity and careful planning. By focusing on good audio, stable shots, and effective lighting, you can produce engaging content that resonates with your audience.