Surviving as a content creator in Hollywood isn’t easy, and without a big budget, it can feel downright impossible. Fitting the costs of cast, crew, gear, insurance, permits, catering, vehicles, and locations into a four-figure budget requires a combination of financial wizardry, stubborn persistence, and a certain amount of good luck. Whether you’re currently planning out the costs of an upcoming shoot or merely scoping out the feasibility of future passion project, a great place to start your production budget is to figure out the price of your filming locations.

Locations are typically the first or second largest production expense on any shoot, so saving money on them will go a long way in keeping the entire project under budget. Sean Baker’s award-winning film micro-budget film Tangerine spent the majority of their budget on filming locations and permitting around Hollywood, relying on first-time actors and extremely light crew and equipment costs. While cameras can be borrowed and people will work for credit  – good film locations cost money – with most Los Angeles properties falling in the $1500-$3500 per day range.

If you don’t have thousands of dollars for locations, don’t worry – there are still a lot of hidden gems available for a couple hundred bucks. To make finding these budget-friendly spaces a little bit easier,  we thought we’d put together a list of highlighting some of the best deals in the city.

How did we rank the most affordable houses for filming?

To build our list we combed through Giggster’s entire residential location library. We have over 2,800 LA homes on our site, with prices ranging from $30 to $3,000 per hour.  While we considered simply publishing an unbiased list of our cheapest film locations in LA, we realized that many of our lowest cost properties lack the ‘wow factor’ to make them standout for ambitious content creators.

Instead, we decided to rank our homes by the best bang-for-your-buck.  While the properties had to be cheap (under $100/hour), they also needed to offer enough personality and charm to make them highly bookable for a variety of different types of film and photo shoots. We looked at five core criteria and ranked each property on a scale of 1 (below average) to 5 (exceptionally good).

Interior: Everything inside the home – space, decor, design aesthetic, interior lighting and accessibility
Exterior: Everything outside of the home – yard, garden, curb view, landscaping, outdoor features
Location: How film-friendly is the neighborhood – parking, access to highways, permits, neighbors
Value: How fair is the price relative to properties with similar features
Personality: How unique or distinctive is the home? How much decoration will be required?

To supplement our scored ranking, we’ve included important location details for each property such as price range, max crew size, and geographic location, as well as a direct link to the full location listing on our website. If you’re interested in booking any one of these properties, you can get more details, and contact the homeowners on that page.  

#10: Vintage Hollywood Apartment with Designer Details

Hourly Price: $54
Minimum Price: $216
Neighborhood: Hollywood
Perfect For: Small Commercials, Indie Films
Max Crew Size: 20 people

Interior:★★★★
Exterior: ★★★
Location: ★★★★
Value: ★★★★
Personality: ★★★★

We scoured hundreds of affordable LA homes to create this list, and suffice to say, all ten of these properties are excellent options for low-budget filmmaking and photography. That said, we had to put someone in tenth place, and for that spot, we chose this beautifully decorated 1920’s Hollywood apartment. The vintage finishings and tasteful furniture pieces throughout this location are fantastic, and with a starting price of only $54 per hour, it’s an absolute steal. The biggest downside is that, unlike most of the other properties on this list, the location does not have any exterior, making it less flexible and more logistically challenging to film in. Its location in Hollywood is a double-edged sword, offering easy access but relatively poor parking options.

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#9: Mid-Century Modern Gem with Stunning Views

Interior: ★★★★
Exterior: ★★★
Location: ★★★
Value: ★★★
Personality: ★★★★★

Hourly Price: $66
Minimum Price: $264
Neighborhood: Highland Park
Perfect For: Photoshoots, Youtube
Max Crew Size: 10 people

In the world of filming locations, certain features like a pool or a great view almost always demand a premium. That’s what makes this Highland Park hideout so exceptional, for $66 per hour you not only get a stunning hilltop vista but you also distinctive architectural residence with charm and a consistent vintage design aesthetic. While it’s only available for small crews (no more than 10 people), it’s an incredible option for photographers, fashion brands, and individual content creators on Youtube and Instagram looking to up their game.  

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#8: Poolside Tiki Bar Home

Interior: ★★★★
Exterior: ★★★★★
Location: ★★★★
Value: ★★
Personality: ★★★★

Hourly Price: $65
Minimum Price: $780
Neighborhood: North Hollywood
Perfect For: TV, Films, Commercials
Max Crew Size: 40 people

If you’re like your locations a bit on the wild side, this North Hollywood home is going to be a dream come true. With an ample backyard, dozens of colorful props, and big beautifully maintained pool this property is a party waiting to happen. If tiki bars and pool floaties aren’t your thing, the home can also fill the role of a middle class suburban home, as the interior is more subdued than the backyard. One of the negatives is that based on the current pricing listed, the home is only available on 12 hour minimums, making it less desirable for smaller film projects and photoshoots.

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#7: Calm and Cozy California Bungalow in Highland Park

Interior: ★★★★
Exterior: ★★
Location: ★★★★
Value: ★★★★
Personality: ★★★

Hourly Price: $62
Minimum Price: $248
Neighborhood: Highland Park
Perfect For: Commercials, Indie Films
Max Crew Size: 40 people

Rather than boast a single standout feature, this Highland Park home does just about everything well, providing a flexible blank canvas for inventive filmmakers. Original hardwood floors and warm neutral tones throughout make it a decorators dream, and it also offers an impressive curb presence for the price point. The biggest downsides are a relatively limited set of exterior filming options, and lack of cinematic set pieces for photographers and content creators looking to shoot the location “as-is”.

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#6: Backyard Beach House in Santa Clarita

Hourly Price: $38
Minimum Price: $190
Neighborhood: Santa Clarita
Perfect For: Music Videos, Youtube, Commercials
Max Crew Size: 40 people

Interior: ★★
Exterior: ★★★★
Location: ★★★★
Value: ★★★★★
Personality: ★★★

While it’s not the fanciest pool in Los Angeles, it is the cheapest one currently available for filming. A starting hourly rate of only $38 puts this Santa Clarita bungalow in the ultra-budget category and a solid option for students and first-time filmmakers looking for an affordable single family home. It’s also in Santa Clarita, which despite the long commute gives it the benefit of easy parking, affordable permits, and limited-street traffic. The biggest downside is probably the interior, which is small, and features a colorful and eclectic decor, that’s hard not to notice.

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#5: Sun Drenched Bi-Level Loft in the Heart of DTLA

Hourly Price: $83
Minimum Price: $332
Neighborhood: Downtown LA
Perfect For: Commercials, Photoshoots
Max Crew Size: 40 people

Interior:★★★★★
Exterior:★
Location: ★★★
Value:★★★★★
Personality: ★★★★★

If you value good design, you’ll love this location. It’s a spacious bi-level loft space in downtown Los Angeles, custom-made for this city’s growing community of online influencers, and self-made fashion stars. The owners are incredibly experienced with hosting shoots and can help walk you through all the logistics you’ll need to make the shoot a success. While the property is technically an apartment within a larger building, it’s located on street level with large garage-style sliding doors making loading and unloading a breeze. Parking is going to be a bit trickier than other locations on this list, and other than a small alleyway their is no exterior to speak of.  

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#4: Fabulous Mediterranean Home with a View

Hourly Price: $83
Minimum Price: $664
Neighborhood: Santa Clarita
Perfect For: Music Videos, Big Shoots
Max Crew Size: 60 people

Interior: ★★★
Exterior:★★★★★
Location: ★★★★
Value: ★★★★
Personality: ★★★★

Of all the properties on this list, this Mediterranean Mansion is probably the greatest pure value, as this type of pool and view combination is typically impossible to find for less than a few hundred dollars an hour. While the large home’s interior doesn’t quite match the glamour of the yard, it’s an incredible film option, and a no-brainer for low-budget pool shoots and party related content. The only downside is that it’s not available for very short rentals making it relatively expensive for a quick photoshoot.  

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#3: Affordable Designer Bungalow Near Abbot Kinney

Hourly Price: $49
Minimum Price: $147
Neighborhood: Venice
Perfect For: Instagram, Photography
Max Crew Size: 30 people

Interior:★★★★
Exterior:★★★
Location: ★★★★★
Value:★★★★★
Personality: ★★★★

If you haven’t already noticed, none of the residential filming locations on this list are located west of the 405. This small bungalow is the single exception, offering a rare combination of affordability, design, and functionality just off Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice. Though it offers a lush, plant filled yard and wide quiet street, the properties small size and intricate decor make it best suited for smaller photoshoots, and commercials that require limited set dressing. It’s close position to the Venice canals and the boardwalk, also make it an excellent option for lifestyle brands looking to shoot some quintessential California B-roll.  

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#2: Mad Men Mid Century

Hourly Price: $35
Minimum Price: $140
Neighborhood: North Hollywood
Perfect For: Period Piece Films, Students
Max Crew Size: 40 people

Interior:★★★★★
Exterior:★★★
Location: ★★★★
Value:★★★★★
Personality: ★★★★

Extremely affordable film-friendly homes are hard to find in Los Angeles, especially ones with a consistent design style and enough space to host a full film crew. That makes this 50’s themed home in NoHo a rare find. Unsurprisingly, since joining the site in early 2017, it’s been one of the popular locations on Giggster attracting shoots of all shapes, sizes and budgets. The only major downside is that the backyard is quite sparse, and the period-specific interior makes it less flexible than some of the other well designed homes on this list.

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#1: Downtown L.A. Stripped House

Hourly Price: $59
Minimum Price: $236
Neighborhood: Downtown LA
Perfect For: Music Videos, Films
Max Crew Size: 20 people

Interior: ★★★★★
Exterior: ★★★★
Location: ★★★★
Value: ★★★★★
Personality: ★★★★★

Great locations aren’t always beautiful, and sometimes they can be downright scary. While a decrepit crack den may not be everyone’s cup of tea, this style of home is incredibly rare, and offers a huge amount of cinematic possibility.  From creepy horror shoots in the basement, to rap music videos on the front steps, this little property has hosted an amazing array of projects. It also avoids any obvious indication of its California locale which helps add to its flexible appeal. While this house likely wouldn’t be popular on Airbnb, for photography and filmmaking it’s a hit, and definitely worth considering the next time your looking to add some grit to your project.

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Summary

So there you go, our list of the best residential filming options in LA. Hopefully, it will help inform your choosing a location, and giving you a reference point on market rates in the city. If none of these options feel like a good fit, you can always explore more locations on Giggster.com.

Need a location? Explore +4,000 affordable spaces on Giggster.com

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