If you’re looking to up your filmmaking skills, whether for school or a hobby, there are many easy ways to make quality movies without a big studio budget. From making a plan to choosing quality editing software, you can make professional-looking movies. Here are some methods on how to film stunning movies like a professional that anyone can accomplish.
Make a Plan
The most significant factor separating professional filmmakers from enthusiasts is the comprehensive planning of all things movie-related. If you enter a shoot or start a project without a plan, chances are your film will miss its full potential. As the director, your strategy should be dense and cover every aspect of the filming process.
Always gather a shoot list, which is a detailed breakdown of all the shots you plan to film. This may include location scouting beforehand to ensure the image will work with the setting. You must also coordinate with talent and extra crew members to ensure there are no last-minute surprises.
Edit With Quality Software
The truth is that you don’t have to break your wallet over the premiere editing software. You can easily edit a quality film using programs with fewer features.
Ultimately, you must find the program that’s right for you and your project. If this film is a simple short or school project, something like iMovie can work if you’re on a budget.
As you up your filmmaking game, you might choose to invest in higher-level software. Taking this step allows you to experiment with new features that professionals use. You’ll find that your editing skills and film quality will improve drastically with practice.
Let There Be Light
Nothing is more uninteresting than a poorly-lit amateur film—the audience will barely pay attention to the dark movie, and low light is a strain to look at. Instead, pay close attention to your lighting, whether it’s natural or not. When filming outside, consider overcast days with mostly diffused sunlight or film during golden hour (right before sundown) to capture a natural warming glow.
You’ll need to create a light source if you’re filming inside—a ceiling fan light fixture won’t cut it. Unless you’re making a film noir, you must limit the shadows in a scene, especially from your actors’ faces. Coordinate with your crew or friends to determine the best angles for your hot/LED lights.
Get Creative With Angles
A professional film is dynamic, filled with exciting shots that draw the audience’s attention. Diversify your images with creative angles that help tell the story of your movie.
For moments of dread, consider an off-balanced Dutch angle. If your movie is more grandiose and exciting, long sweeping shots add depth to a scene and keep the energy high. You can easily accomplish an excellent overhead shot by setting up an overhead camera angle.
Ultimately, knowing how to film stunning movies like a professional is more about passion than anything else. While the big studios have access to the best gear and programs, they still produce several flops each year—this is because the best films are the ones shot with purpose and attention to detail.