What is it that makes low budget movies look “raw” while high budget look all more put together?


Every time I start a lower budget movie, I can instantly sense it in the sounds and video that everything just seems more “raw” like it was filmed on an iPhone or something. How come big budget movies don’t generally seem like this, a ton of post processing? Why can’t low budget folks do this?

In: Technology

Some of the big differences that are really hard to hide are good quality lighting and sound, a ‘cinema’ quality camera, and post-production processes that smooth the sound and picture quality (grading and mixing).

New tech is closing the gap between low and mid-range budgets as long as you have the know-how.

That said, low budget productions are also inclined to lean into the lofi aesthetic, especially if they’re making a genre film.

There are a number of reasons, some of which have already been covered by u/Blahdyblahblahisme. While the technology is certainly available to lower budget productions, the experienced personal in the field are out of the price range. If you could get award winning camera operators, editors, sound mixers, and colour technicians to work for minimum wage, you could get a professional looking production at a budget price.
In fact, one of the professional digital editing packages (Davinci Resolve) is available for free. But the experience and knowledge to get the most out of it, is going to cost.

Audio is something every producer on a budget who knows their arse from their elbow will focus on. Granted it doesn’t affect it looking ‘raw’ but bad audio quality is ALWAYS noticed before bad camera quality. Think about City of God, David Mierelles made a conscious choice to use 18mm film instead of the standard Hollywood 60mm to give it the grainier, poorer quality but the film still has perfect crops Hollywood audio on dialogue, foley etc and a killer soundtrack. It’s often what brings a project from amateur to professional.