Movie Making 101

The first films date back to the 1800s and were often just a few seconds to a few minutes long.

With so many inventors and creatives making moving pictures, it is hard to nail down the official first movie ever made but some say it was The Horse In Motion created in 1878 by Eadweard Muybridge.

Movie making has come a long way since then, and with film equipment now more accessible to a wider base, creating movies is easier than ever. These days, anyone can make a movie, but it does take some skill and creativity to make it a good one. 

The Idea

Every creative endeavor begins with a simple idea. A good place to start is with what you already have available. You could film in your home, your place of work (with permission, of course), or out and about in a city. Even if you just want a simple vacation video, a little forethought can go a long way to making it even better. 

If you are ready for an added challenge, try your hand at a scripted film. Sound is often the most difficult aspect of creating a movie for newbies, so a silent film might be the easiest way to go. 

The Filming

Here are three simple rules that will give you an overview of some of the basic principles of filming.

1. Keep it steady.

A tri-pod or steadicam are going to be your best options for keeping your camera steady during filming. If you aren’t able to acquire either of these, do your best to keep your hands steady and your feet planted. Avoid any sudden movements.

2. Mind the light.

Much like with photography, lighting is essential for film. Open shade or an overcast day often creates the easiest light to work with for beginners, whereas evenings and direct sunlight pose challenges, but can be used to great effect in the right hands.

3. Overcompensate.

It’s better to have too much footage than too little, so film longer than you think you need to. Transitions between clips often require a bit of extra time at the beginning and end of a shot so keep it rolling, you can always trim the clips later.

The Editing

If you’re just starting out, your computer’s built-in editing program may be the easiest way to go for editing your film. If you are looking for a little upgrade, there are some inexpensive and even free software options. DaVinci Resolve and HitFilm Express are just two examples of free programs that offer a lot more options than iMovie or Windows Movie Maker, and can really make your movie pop!

If you have a little competitive streak or just want to show your film to a wider audience, you can enter your film into a competition or festival. There are even festivals for movies created exclusively with mobile phones, so get out there and start filming!