How to produce video and audio content on a budget

Platforms and formats

Producing video and audio content can be expensive, but there are other ways to produce quality content on a smaller budget. This article will give you an overview of equipment and online tools that can help.

Before you get started

Thinking ahead and planning before you press record will save you time and money. Firstly, think about what kind of content you want to create. Are you creating a video for YouTube or Facebook, an Instagram Reel or Story, or some short-form audio? All of these formats and platforms have different demands and some have different technical requirements. This can feel overwhelming: focus on one to start with, get to know its requirements and give yourself a chance to practice and perfect your production skills.

It is also worth thinking about what you have at your disposal that can form the starting point of video or audio content. Do you have existing video content that could be edited into new formats? An archive of interesting images that could have audio overlaid onto them? Or do you have a cast and crew of willing participants who could help create and present your content? Using what you already have as a starting point for creating content can help your budget.

Producing your content

It is important to be realistic about what you can capture on a budget. Filming full-scale performances or large events often pose challenges that can’t be solved with low-cost filming set-ups. Aim small – think one-to-one interviews, talking heads and short clips. It’s also important to check the basics when recording on a budget: is there enough light, is it quiet, is the camera lens clean? These things can’t be fixed in the edit, so get them right before you press record, and your content will be better for it. Also ensure you have permission from everyone involved to film or record them and publish on your chosen platform, especially if you are capturing an artistic work.


What equipment should I use?

If you are hoping to film or record your own content, it is worth investing in some low-cost kit to help you. Using an iPhone or smartphone is a great way to film or record on a budget, and adding some additional kit will enhance the quality. Look for tripods or grips to help steady your shot; a low-cost microphone that plugs into the headphone jack is a great investment to improve sound quality. Look for additional lenses and lights that can be attached to a smartphone to improve the picture quality. A lot of YouTubers get started with setups like this; search for ‘vlogger filmmaking kit’ to give you an idea of the kind of set-up you could start with. Remember that video calls on Zoom or Google Meet can be recorded and turned into content too.


Editing your content

There are range of free and paid-for apps available to edit video and audio content. One of the advantages of filming on a smartphone is being able to edit the footage on the phone without having to transfer footage to a computer first. The iPhone camera roll has some basic editing features such as trimming, cropping and adjusting lighting. Most phones with a memo or voice recorder have basic editing features for audio clips.


Some other free editing apps include:

iMovie (Apple) or Windows Video Editor (PC)


Adobe Premiere Rush


Filmic Pro


Tools to format and finalise your content

Formatting your video or audio footage can help transform basic clips into engaging and professionsl content. Look at up-to-date guides such as Sprout Social’s Social Media Video Specs for video formats for each different social media channel. Platforms such as Canva can help produce specific formats too.


Other tools that can help your content are:

Pixlr – a free image editor, useful for making thumbnails

Zubtitle – a paid-for subtitling app

Audiogram and Wavve – paid apps to create video from audio clips

Handbrake – a free app for compressing clips to smaller file sizes


Producing video and audio content doesn’t need to be expensive. If you’re interested in finding out more about content capture, read our resources on live streaming and filming.

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