Big budget films are known to have vast resources at their disposal. That’s why they are called big budget films after all. But this doesn’t mean that they don’t utilise standard filming techniques. They have to abide by strict schedules and often look for solutions which keep the production costs low. Sometimes filming has to be as fast and cheap as possible. For this, they use techniques which are more often associated with small budget movies. Here is a list that shows you the most affordable and most simple methods that big-budget productions use.
Maybe the oldest tricks in the book, shooting with forced perspective in big Hollywood productions is more common than you would think. And this technique is as simple as it gets. You place a scale model right in front of the camera and use a lens with an extended depth of field. The actors are set further back in the scene which gives the impression that the scale model is much larger than in reality. The actors appear to be standing right next to it, although they are just placed further away.
The Schüfftan Process
This one is similar to the forced perspective technique, but instead of a scale model, a half-transparent mirror is used. With the Schüfftan process, the mirror is placed in a 45-degree angle right in front of the camera. A scale set or model positioned beside the camera is reflected in the mirror. The actors are situated further away in the view of the camera and can be seen through the transparent part of the mirror. This way, the scale set or model appears as a giant backdrop through which the actors are walking.
Poor Man’s Process
Many movies would not work without the obligatory car chase scene. These are time and money consuming. But for close up`s on the faces of the actors while they are driving, the production can opt for this cheap and fast technique to save money and time. With this technique, the actors are not driving the car, and it does not move at all. What gives the impression that they do drive very fast, is a crew of production members positioned outside the frame of the camera. They shake the car in a way which gives us the impression that it is moving. Additionally, fast moving lights in the backdrop of the scene and a camera shake here, and there will create the perfect illusion.
Shooting at Day Time Near Windows
This technique is another time and money saver. And much more Filmmaker shoot this way than you think. Christopher Nolan shot this way in many of his movies. Shooting during the day will eliminate the needs for expensive lighting. The scene is being shot during the day and near windows. This way the natural light of the sun is utilised, which means the production has to be quick and make sure the scene is shot while the sun is in the right position.