How Much Does it Cost to Build a Film Set_

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How Much Does it Cost to Build a Film Set?

Building a film set for a shoot on location can have varied production and construction costs that you may not even consider if you’ve never been involved in this type of project before. There’s everything from the hourly cost of the production designer to the cost of location rental and individual costs associated with the actual construction of a safe, sturdy film set that the production crew and actors can work with. While most of this is underseen by the Director, you’re probably wondering, “How much does it cost to build a film set?” Here’s what we know.

The Location Manager has First Say

Once a film has a Director, the next step usually is for the director to hire a Location Manager that will scout various locations for areas that contain workable solutions that represent various areas or fulfill various needs of the film.

For feature films, this often includes the employment of complex researchers that seek out detailed architectural drawings and archived photographs from around the world to help them find historical buildings and locations that will meet the unique filming needs for the production. These artists are paid an hourly wage that is typically somewhere between $50 and $500 per hour depending on various factors including their skills and experience.

The Construction Manager Works the Magic

Once location areas have been found for the various film sets, and the art director has worked with a team to produce CAD sketches of the various film sets for the production the construction manager will receive blueprints for the building of the film sets. At this time, they hire all of the necessary crew including carpenters, painters, model makers, scenic artists, electricians, and anyone else necessary to bring the film set project together.

At this point, the cost to build the film set is dependent upon the individual needs of the project. A smaller set will likely cost less to build than a larger, more complex set. Keep in mind that the location, availability of construction materials, and timing required to build the set will also play a role in the total cost. A set build that requires very minimal construction will have lower costs than an advanced build with complex needs.

Often, a set build can be completed for under $10,000 as compared to the cost of renting a location which can quickly be significantly higher — think, a motel, or an amusement park. There are many advantages too that come with building the film set versus using a location that is pre-built and existing.


Before you build a film set, there are some considerations to make. Sometimes the cost to build a set is entirely cheaper than the cost to rent a similar location set. So this is the first major consideration to make. Can you rent the location for less than the cost to build? If yes, then why build? However, if you want full control over the visual appeal of the set, and you want to know the location entirely, building has those benefits. Additionally, if you’re working on a low budget, building a set may be the better option — you can build a film set in your garage for that matter, although we don’t necessarily recommend it.

Using the materials available first and being price conscious will also allow you to build a functional film set for a fraction of the cost. Consider these options before building.

Still wondering what to expect and how much it will cost to build a film set for your video shoot? Give Beverly Boy Productions a call to learn more about the potential rates involved and what you can expect.