How I Shot A Commercial With ZERO Budget: Start-To-Finish Breakdown!

In a world where big budgets dominate the commercial industry, it may seem impossible to shoot an engaging and professional advertisement without breaking the bank. However, believe it or not, I managed to shoot an entire commercial from start to finish with zero budget. From securing locations and assembling a talented crew to capturing stunning visuals and producing a captivating storyline, this blog will unveil the secrets and strategies behind my frugal yet successful commercial venture. Join me as I take you through the step-by-step breakdown of how I overcame financial constraints and turned a dream project into a reality without spending a dime. Get ready to be inspired and learn the art of resourcefulness in the world of commercial filmmaking!

How I Shot A Commercial With ZERO Budget: Start-To-Finish Breakdown!


Believe it or not, this whole thing started with a donut, and more specifically, it was an Apple Fritter. The story revolves around the struggle of not being able to get an Apple Fritter from a donut shop. In this article, I will break down how I shot a spec commercial for the donut shop with zero budget. We will discuss planning, shooting, editing, color grading, music, sound effects, and more. But before we delve into the details, let’s watch the spec commercial:

Planning Phase

The planning of this video started with a basic idea and a joke. It originated from a situation where my partner and I couldn’t get an Apple Fritter from a coffee shop called Discovery Coffee. I thought it would be funny to create a spec commercial that revolves around someone’s intense desire for an Apple Fritter, leading to an epic training montage. I shared this idea with my friend Ryan, a talented filmmaker, and he loved it. However, due to his busy schedule, we had limited prep and shooting time.

We reached out to our friend Sabrina to be the talent for the commercial, and Discovery Coffee agreed to let us film after closing time. We didn’t create a detailed storyboard but had a loose shot list. Our primary focus was to capture enough coverage during the running scene to create the final edit in post-production.

Shooting Phase

For the majority of the shoot, we used a Sony fx3 camera with a DJI Ronin 4D stabilizer. The running scenes were shot with a handheld, shaky look using the Ronin 4D in sport mode to create a sense of urgency. Additionally, we used a Sony 35mm F1.8 lens, which provided a familiar and versatile look.

In terms of lighting, we mainly relied on natural light, both outdoors and inside the coffee shop. However, we used an Amaran T2C as fill light in the forest when necessary. Overall, shooting was fast-paced and focused on capturing the desired shots efficiently.

Editing Phase

During the editing phase, the primary objective was to string the clips together to create a coherent narrative. However, there were a few important aspects that required attention. The first was selecting the right music. I found the music for the commercial from Track Club, a provider I often collaborate with. I searched for epic, cinematic tracks with a combination of electronic, orchestral, and rock elements.

Additionally, there was a tricky transition that had to be executed smoothly. Overall, the editing process was not overly technical, but it required careful attention to detail to ensure all the clips were seamlessly arranged.

Color Grading and Sound Effects

After editing, I proceeded to color grade the commercial. Since most of the footage was captured using natural or available light, the grading process aimed to enhance the visual appeal while maintaining a consistent look.

Regarding sound, the audio recorded on location was of poor quality, which necessitated replacing it entirely. I took on the task of creating and adding the sound effects to enhance the overall impact of the commercial.


Shooting a commercial with zero budget is a challenging yet rewarding experience. With proper planning, resourcefulness, and creativity, it is possible to achieve professional-looking results. In this project, we successfully brought the original idea to life by leveraging the available resources and collaborating with talented individuals.

Hopefully, this breakdown provides insight into the process of shooting a commercial without a budget and inspires others to pursue their creative ideas.

FAQ: How I Shot A Commercial With ZERO Budget

Frequently Asked Questions – How I Shot A Commercial With ZERO Budget

1. Q: What is the topic of the commercial?

A: The topic of the commercial is not specified. It can be any product, service, or concept.

2. Q: How did you manage to shoot a commercial with zero budget?

A: We leveraged our existing resources, such as friends, family, and personal equipment. We also utilized free locations, props, and costumes available to us.

3. Q: Did you hire professional actors for the commercial?

A: No, we did not hire professional actors. Instead, we asked friends, family, and volunteers to be a part of the commercial.

4. Q: What equipment did you use to shoot the commercial?

A: We used our personal cameras, DSLRs, and smartphones for filming. Basic lighting equipment, tripods, and microphones were also utilized.

5. Q: How did you handle post-production without a budget?

A: We edited the commercial ourselves using free video editing software. We also utilized royalty-free music and sound effects available online.

6. Q: Did you face any challenges during the shooting process?

A: Yes, we encountered challenges such as limited time, unpredictable weather conditions, and managing resources effectively. However, we were able to overcome them with proper planning and improvisation.

7. Q: How long did it take to shoot the commercial?

A: The shooting process varied depending on the complexity of the commercial. On average, it took us a few days to a week to complete the filming.

8. Q: Is it possible to achieve professional quality without a budget?

A: While shooting with zero budget may limit some production aspects, it is still possible to achieve a decent level of quality through creativity and resourcefulness.

9. Q: Can you provide tips for shooting a commercial with limited resources?

A: Yes, some tips include careful planning, utilizing free or low-cost locations, seeking help from friends and family, improvising with available resources, and exploring creative editing techniques.

10. Q: Did the commercial receive any recognition or success?

A: The success of the commercial may vary. While it may not have gained widespread recognition or won awards, it can still serve as a valuable learning experience and a portfolio piece.

I hope you find useful my article How I Shot A Commercial With ZERO Budget: Start-To-Finish Breakdown!, I also recommend you to read my other posts in my blog at this link.

If you need help with anything join the community or do not hesitate to contact me.

Best of luck! and follow your passion.

Please consider joining my newsletter or following me on social media if you like my content.

Don’t Fall For This Trap As A Creator…

Have you ever found yourself falling into the trap of trying to please everyone as...Read More

My nose leaked | New Zealand Ep.2

Have you ever been out in the wilderness and realized your nose won’t stop running?...Read More

Best LED hand held light for CHEAP!!!

Are you in need of a high-quality, yet affordable hand-held LED light? Look no further!...Read More

LET ME SHOW YOU… You need more sound design #shorts

Do you want your videos to stand out with top-notch sound design, but don’t know...Read More

SIGMA 56mm F1.4 // THE BEST Prime Lens for Sony A6400 and APS-C?!

Are you looking for the perfect prime lens for your Sony A6400 or other APS-C...Read More

Are these cine lenses even worth it? (Sirui Jupiter Full Frame Lenses)

Are these cine lenses even worth it? If you’re in the market for cine lenses,...Read More

Filming with the SONY BURANO | Hands-on & BTS + Cooke SP3 – CineAlta

Are you looking for a high-quality camera for your filming projects? Look no further than...Read More

Chris and Jordan Dig Through a MOUNTAIN of Your Questions! | The PetaPixel Podcast

Are you constantly seeking photography tips and tricks? Do you have burning questions about the...Read More

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *