5 Best Tips to Create Your Homemade Movie

If you want to irritate your audience, by all means, pick up a camera and start shooting. But if your intention is to entertain, inspire, and take your viewer on a journey, then it takes a surprising amount of effort to create a movie… even if it’s homemade. But if a little blood, sweat, and tears don’t spook you, these 5 best tips will get you on the right track. 

  1. It All Starts on Paper

Creating screen magic requires a lot of preparation before you even pick up your camera. It all begins with an idea that becomes a story that turns into a script. The script is the foundation of your movie. From there, you’ll start to plan your scenes and locations, the equipment you’ll need to realize your scenes in your locations, your cast, crew, and budget. Write it all out in a production plan and organize your shooting days so you won’t encounter any surprises while your cast and crew are ready to shoot.  

  1. Craft Your Picture

Your audience will judge your movie by the quality of your photography. Shaky footage in bleak daylight of an unjustified scene is a surefire way to lose your audience’s interest from the start. Carefully select each location and angle for a pleasing setting in which the action or dialogue takes place. Make sure to create depth around your actors and avoid distracting backgrounds. Shoot your outside scenes when the light is good, usually early morning or late afternoon. Take full control of the lighting with set lighting, reflectors, and other lighting gear. Finally, invest in image stabilization. A tripod is a must-have, but you don’t want to shoot a whole movie from a tripod. Your camera needs to move, too, and that’s where gimbals, sliders, and bodycams come in.

  1. Craft Your Sound

A movie with a great script and stunning visuals is still a bad movie if your sound sucks. Invest in capturing great sound and don’t plan to fix anything in post. Get it right at the time of recording. Mind background noise like ambient sounds, air conditioning and fridges, and your own crew’s mouth breathing. It’s always better to record in a silent environment and add ambient sounds in post. This will help you keep full control over the soundscape of your movie. Invest in a boom mic and record your sound separately. Camera microphones are worthless. You do have a Hail Mary when it comes to dialogues, which you can dub in post if needed.  

  1. It All Comes Together in Editing

Congratulations, you got your raw footage and sound files all perfectly captured. Now is the time bring them together in post-production. We’re lucky to live in an age where the tools of Hollywood are available to us mortals. We recommend Adobe Premiere for editing and Adobe After Effects for special effects and compositing. When you’re done cutting your film, don’t skip color grading and sound editing. This is where you create a uniform style in your sound and images, so your film looks like a coherent story, rather than a string of separate scenes.

  1. Mind The Time

Making movies is a time-consuming endeavor, from writing the script to exporting your finished movie. Putting a time estimation on it is difficult. It depends on the nature of your film and your team’s experience. It will take much more time to create a sci-fi movie than a slice-of-life film and it will take much longer to direct a team of beginning actors and crew than an experienced one. To give you an idea, as weekend warriors in filmmaking, my friends and I create comedies, thrillers, and short stories. As a rule, every minute of film takes us a day of shooting and a day of editing. The bottom line: factor in sufficient time. You can’t rush movie magic. Have fun! 

Featured Image Credit: Unsplash