How To Make A Video

So you want to learn how to produce great films with just a camera and the lint in your pocket? Welcome to the one-stop resource where you’ll find a wealth of information about writing, directing, producing, and lots more related to indie filmmaking.

This website is intended to be the most powerful, extensive guide on how to achieve great results, even if you’re faced with the budgetary constraints often associated with indie filmmaking. We have information about how to build everything from the most basic beginner setup all the way up through advanced techniques for visual, sound and lighting design.

Charismatic Directing

It’s true – this website is probably the most informative free resource you’ll ever find on how to actually make your film. But I still get asked quite often by filmmakers about how to work with actors. They have trouble creating hype for their films, and whether their actors are paid professionals or just friends, many indie filmmakers find it difficult to work in a social setting with actors. You have to be direct, show awareness, and elicit emotion from them all at the same time, and when your actors are working for free (or for very little) that’s difficult to do without putting a strain on your relationship with them. Fortunately, this site contains details on how to form better relationships with your actors and improve your directing skills at the same time.

Indie Filmmaking

You’re in the driver’s seat the instant you take your place behind the lens. Your camera becomes an extension of your body, and the rhythm and style with which you handle it will directly affect the outcome of the time you spend behind it.

Wouldn’t you like to know how to capture smooth, professional-looking video footage? The Basic Camera Techniques page covers everything from how to hold your camera, to a description of each type of framing and manipulation. Then on the Smooth Camera Movement page, we discuss some methods for achieving jitter-free motion shots and some commonly found items you can use to help you do this.

If you want to jump right in, take a look at our quick crash course on How to Make a Video.

Cameras For Filmmaking

As we’ll talk about later, the only thing you really need to make an independent film is the camera itself. Anything you can dream up, capture, and act out can be achieved with as little as a video recording device to put it on.

Sure, you can make a slideshow of images on your computer without a camera, post it to YouTube™ and call it a video. But we’re making real live moving pictures here, so don’t sell yourself short – you can do much better as you set out to learn some tips to improve your skills.

Cameras are among the most commonly purchased electronics devices available to the average consumer. It can be somewhat confusing trying to choose the right camera when you aren’t sure what you’re looking for or what you need. Go to the Cameras For Filmmaking section to learn about the features that will serve you best.

Your Non-Existent Budget

If you just want to make videos or practice for fun, and your budget is essentially $0, there is plenty of information here about how to make that happen. Articles about lighting gear, audio recording rigs, and filming on location – among dozens of other topics – are all over our site.

Having a couple dollars to spend will help you a little bit, and having several dollars will make things a lot easier. Our goal here is to make something out of nothing though, whether you just want to make something fun to put up online, produce high-definition video, or start your own website to present your indie films to the world. Check out our page on Setting a Budget for more tips on knowing how much you should spend.

Quality and Experience

While it can generally be said that you get what you pay for, this isn’t always true when it comes to indie filmmaking. In fact, experience is your best teacher in most cases, and creating engaging, dynamic indie films with even subpar equipment is very possible. You can film some pretty impressive projects with just a camera and your imagination!

Filming or Taping?

Technically, using a video camera to record things should be called “taping,” since you’re recording to a tape or other blank digital medium. But “filming” just has a nicer ring to it, don’t you think? Even though chances are likely you aren’t using film to record, the end product you are creating is still a film. So we’re going to use this somewhat inaccurate terminology and call it “filming” on our website because, after all is said and done, your final product is what counts.

Getting Started With Your Film

Whether learning the basics is all that matters to you or you’d prefer to skip straight to all the advanced indie filmmaking information, there are plenty of both on this site. You can read each section from start to finish for more fully encompassing guidelines, but an overview of some of the highlights is provided here. Each page link below has its own short synopsis and description, so feel free to skip around to whatever suits your learning curve best.

The Filmmaking Process
This section contains a complete overview of filmmaking principles and guides you through the steps from start to finish.

How To Make A Video
Learn the basics on how to make a video here, for complete beginners.

Film Composition
Understand the spatial relationships within the video frame that are used to create an effective image.

Software Reviews
Brief review and comment on some of the audio and video production software packages currently on the market.

The Future of Video
What does high-definition video mean for the way films will be produced in the years ahead? Video broadcast standards are changing. Learn how this will effect your filmmaking efforts.

Glossary of Video Terms
A collection of all the bolded keywords that appear throughout the site have been gathered and defined on this single page.

The Differences Between Video and Film
Film cameras capture imagery with a certain quality that digital video has yet to fully replicate. The differences are apparent enough that you should be aware of them and have an idea of the intrinsic quality behind each media format.

Making Your Video Look Like Film
Once you know how to spot the differences between how video and film work, use these helpful tips to give your videos that cinematic look and feel.


Comment from Brad White
Time: March 14, 2010, 5:33 pm

Thanks for this website. I’ve only read the main page and am already sure you’ve put information I need and want as a bigginner videographer (on a very low budget).

Comment from Jason Breens
Time: March 22, 2010, 1:50 pm

Well done for this website Jay! I am looking into the world of film making after becoming seriously fed up with the poor wages now being payed to carpenters – which i have been for 15 odd years now. The fact you have given all this information on-line for free is amazing and makes a huge difference to people like myself who are considering self teaching/learning this creative medium.

I’m quite enthusiastic by my new chosen interest and the likes of your site help keep that going.

Keep up the good work.

Ps: My target is to become the next Guy Richie. Is that good!? ๐Ÿ˜‰

Time: April 5, 2010, 10:42 am

this website really helps alot for the information embeded in it..personally its really a blessing to me. thanks

Comment from Hanna A.
Time: November 15, 2010, 7:15 pm

Thank you so much for this website! It’s fantastic and has exactly the tips I need for my senior project!

Comment from singh
Time: November 19, 2010, 8:04 pm

very amazing website. something i was looking for long time

Comment from sol
Time: March 20, 2011, 7:09 am

Thanx u very much; you went right to the point, great website, keep it it coming.
Thanx again

Comment from Basdeo Panday
Time: March 25, 2011, 3:58 pm

Your articles are most helpful. I am a beginner and starting from scratch. I like the simplicity with which your teach…not to mention the humour.

Comment from Kenshaw10ne
Time: June 3, 2011, 4:31 pm

I’ve started out on my life long mission to become a Film Director. I’m so glad that I came across this informative site.

Comment from Corneillus Ah Chong
Time: September 15, 2011, 1:01 am

Over the last five years i have been studying media , and i have now taken an interest in film making. This site was very helpful. I have a small question , as a beginner I was wandering what camera i should use for my small movie that im going to make while im on my holiday in France ?

Comment from Gaurav
Time: September 20, 2011, 12:11 pm

Thank you for this website. I am going through this information and am hoping to make it big soon.

Comment from Nicholas Barcelo
Time: October 30, 2011, 5:11 pm

Great website! This is exactly what I need to help me produce my first indie film this coming December 2011! I’ve got tons of great ideas and the drive to do it, just not the experience on how to get started!


– Nicholas Barcelo

Comment from Noel Herrera
Time: February 3, 2012, 6:27 am

My name is Noel Herrera and I am an eighth grader at Albany Middle School. I am beginning a two month research project on a topic of my choice. I chose filmmaking because since the day I watched Jurassic park I have been fascinated in the world of filmmaking and what it takes to make one. i have seen many movies and have also seen the special features of those movies. What I am interested in is how you begin production of a movie and the steps it takes make a good one.

Since by the looks of your web site and its information, I was hoping you could answer a few questions regarding filmmaking.

1. How did you start filmmaking?
2. How and where do ideas for movies come from?
3. How do you get a cast and crew?
4. How many people do you really need on your crew?
5. What equipment works best when working indoors and when working outdoors?
6. How do you get a production company to finance your movie?

I want to thank you in advance for your assistance. If you know anyone else who might be of assistance in helping me with my search in this area, I would appreciate it.


Noel Herrera

Comment from Cherise
Time: March 6, 2012, 3:02 pm

I have been looking for something like this for so long!

Comment from Terry-Lynn
Time: March 6, 2012, 8:38 pm

Thank you so much for posting this information. I just started looking for some reliable information and thank goodness, I found it before I looked too far.

Now, all I need to do is find the ON button, remove the lens cap, and press play, oh, and do a bunch of other stuff ๐Ÿ™‚



Comment from Muhammad Waseem
Time: September 22, 2012, 9:02 am

i want to make a film so guys give me some suggestions which type of camera i should be buy

Comment from Tyler
Time: October 25, 2012, 5:46 pm

This is what may take my filming skills to the next level. This site covers it all.

Comment from Maxime Normandin
Time: August 5, 2014, 9:28 pm

My name is Max Normandin, and I’ve ALWAYS wanted to be a filmmaker. The problem is, I suffer from panick attacks and a pretty severe case of social phobia. I don’t get out of my house often, and I certainly don’t surround myself with people. Which makes it pretty darn hard to make movies…

This is the story of how I went ahead a shot a 25min short film all by myself, with no crew, using family members as actors. I don’t know if this is unusual or not, but I think the quality of the final product, given the very limited ressources I had, might be uncommon.

When my father passed away last year, he left me a little bit of money. My dad was always very adamant of my filmmaking/screenwriting, and no matter what stupid decisions I made to pursue my dreams (quit college, quit my job, etc) he never lost faith in me and did everything he could to help me reach my goals.

So with the money my dad left me, I purchased a Blackmagic Camera, a couple of lenses and a microphone, and went ahead and started shooting my first short film.

I was so excited by the idea of making this film that I began without a script, which made things a little difficult. Since I have virtually no friends and very little contact with the outside world, I cast my girlfriend in the lead role and my niece as the secondary. My mom and sister also played roles in my film, as well as myself.

Making a movie all by yourself is silly hard, but not impossible. I often had to operate the camera, pull focus and boom at the same time. Often times I would just abandon sound and do everything in post. It certainly involves a lot of foley, ADR and post production.

I shot basically all my ”alone” scenes by myself, when my grilfriend was at work. I would place a mirror behind the camera to arrange my frame and focus. I even tied a rope to a DIY dolley to pull some camera movements since I had no camera operator. I was filming theses ”alone” scenes, well, all by myself…

I shot for 5 months, on weekends, mostly at night. A friend of my girlfriend did come out to help on two or three occasions, and I credited him in the movie because he’s a great guy. But it’s safe to say that 99,99% of the film was made by a single dude.

Basically, the message I want to send out with this film is that if you’re really passionate about cinema, just go out there and make a film. You don’t need a budget and you don’t need a crew lol. I know that sounds ridiculous, but all you need is a little inspiration, alot of determination ย and a WHOLE LOT of patience.

Here’s the link to my film:ย

Thanks for watching, and I’m hoping you can help my movie garner a little bit of attention.

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