Working on a shoestring…

by Oct 6, 2016

Doing anything on a budget is always a thrill for me, as it means I have to be resourceful and make do with whatever I have, or whatever I can afford. I love making do with minimum cost and materials.

Last year, on holiday in Bali, I was asked at the last-minute to shoot for a wedding outfit rental start-up and agreed. I improvised by wrapping a large tray in tin foil and another with a white cotton pillow case as reflectors to fill-in shadows, and even bounce-flash.

DIY reflectors for budget shoot.

Recently, I needed a backdrop for a studio setup. One trip to a tailor for black material, two pieces of plastic pipe and connector, and three screw-hooks later, and I have a 4.5m wide 2.5m studio backdrop that sits across my lounge-diner and can be set up and taken down in less than 5 minutes. It works great, and for less than £25!

DIY Studio Backdrop

Last month, the people at TARION where I’m currently consulting wanted to make a promotional video and asked me to help. Kiem, who takes all their product photos, and MinShi, the account manager, got together and planned a shoot to be done in one day. The idea was to show a film-maker thinking he’s got it all sorted, only to spot a mistake on the final product that could have been avoided, naturally by using one of the TARION products; in this case their field monitor.

So, with a few notes, no budget, a willing office worker as model, and any items we could find around the office, we set out to make the video. Here it is:


Kiem planned the shots of the till, clock, and other static pieces and shot those before we ventured outside. After filming by the local lake, we returned for the voice-over and left Kiem to edit. Not bad for a promotional film on a shoestring and with limited resources and materials.

Fill-in                                                              Final Planning

Location                                                             Crew

The feedback and attention we get from these will hopefully persuade the management team to invest in more of these to present the brand TARION from in-house productions and not rely on third party product reviews. Seeing is believing, and the initial response has been very promising.


Sometimes in business we see a need but find it difficult to persuade or convince others that it’s worthwhile. Here is an example of a team of workers doing something they are passionate enough about to get together and produce something to make their point known, and it appears to have worked.

In summary: Being resourceful and making things happen on a shoestring is very rewarding in itself. Making things happen on your own initiative because you believe in it and want to make a point is sometimes necessary in business because the PowerPoint presentation wasn’t enough. Both of these also demonstrate useful skills to your senior managers, and should be something they recognise and reward. So, do you have a project you can get done on a shoestring to make a difference?