Reading all these web articles on indie films and so- called 'cheap' equipment, I keep asking myself one question- Why?
The camera was handheld by the actors, so that eliminates the entire crew. There were only three actors in the whole picture. First of all, this was no top Hollywood production, so I don't think the people working on it had much of a choice when it came to salary. Let's say you'd pay each actor $300. You only need one crew member, probably the guy with the idea, who doesn't require any payment. In fact, Oren Peli could have completely eliminated the concept of 'salary' by simply asking some friends to help/act.
Then comes the equipment. They chose a giant movie camera for found footage? Where's the logic? Who the hell uses that kind of camera for a home video? My guess is that he already had a home video camera, so I don't get it- why bother yourself with all these unnecessary costs?
So we covered the entire cast, crew and equipment for $0. The last costs to be thought of are the location costs.
Location costs? The guy used his own home- where did the money go? Of course, it's said he had to redecorate the house because 'it didn't look too cinematic'. After all, I guess the main element in having a realistic found footage is to keep everything just like the usual. They say that found footage is a genre itself, so it still needs the cinematic look. Indeed, a guy moving around his house with a video camera might be boring, but once you add the special effects, things get a lot creepier. I think he should have kept the house as it was and concentrated on the suspense and story.
What does this mean? This means he just covered the cast, crew, equipment and locations for no money. Time for the special effects.
Most of the film is based on sound: 'did you hear that?', 'i think there's somebody downstairs', etc. The most complex special effect in the movie is dragging somebody out of bed and onto the hallway while being invisible(which can be done in many ways, such as stop motion). If challenged, I promise to remake all the special effects for free.
Again, I ask myself- why spend so much money for... nothing?
Either way, let's add a few expenses, such as food on the so- called 'set', ropes, whatever... about $150. Where you add that these aren't even movie expenses.
And that's how you make a great feature length for $0. So my question to you guys is- why did these guys chose to take the hard way and spend $15.000 for something that could be done for free?