Ok, so you’ve got your script – the one you spent months working on, rewriting, editing, cutting down and refining while going through instant coffee and packets of Marlboro like they were going out of fashion. And you’ve got your cast assembled – sure, they might not be perfect actors, but they’re cheap and they’re willing and they believe in your vision. And you know precisely where you’re going to shoot your film, since you’ve set it in one room in your mate’s massive house. So now what?
Well, if you’re very actually dedicated to making your movie, the first thing you’ll want to get hold of is a decent camera. Sure, if you’re feeling particularly brave or don’t mind a bit of shoddy handheld, then by all means grab your phone. But if you’re seriously serious, a camera is crucial. There are plenty on the market. The main thing is you want it to be digital – that might sound obvious, given we’re living in the 21st century, but cameras which capture on film are still pretty popular. The only real issue is that it costs an absolute bomb to buy up the film. DSLR are the popular choice, but certainly the only option out there. Also, make sure you have plenty of storage space too. You don’t want to film for 10 minutes and find out you’ve used up all the memory! One of the best cameras out there, in terms of both price and image quality, is the Panasonic HC-V750K.
Of course, you don’t have to shell out for a Red One – or anything anywhere near as expensive. Heading over to eBay is a sound idea, since many decent cameras are pretty durable. And if you’ve got the gift of the gab – and you will have, because it’s an important aspect of becoming a filmmaker – you could always try to borrow one from your local university, or hiring one on a temporary basis. Best of all, these will usually come with tripods too – because handheld motion sickness is so Blair Witch.
Taking care over the lighting of your film is another key facet. After all, you don’t want it looking like you shot it in a windowless basement at 4 in the morning, right? Even with all the lights switched on in the house, the film will still look a bit, well, amateur hour. So get your hands on a decent lighting rig. Or a semi-decent one, at least. This doesn’t mean you have to remortgage your parents’ house. You can easily pick up a high-powered light and stand from a hardware depot. Failing that, a guerrilla filmmaking rig can be made from lamps from around the home, attached to a portable stand. Don’t believe us? Check this out…
Sound is something which can really elevate a film from great to awesome – or conversely, take an awesome film and make it awful. No-one wants to sit through 90 minutes of crackles and buzzing and barely audible dialogue. After all, you’ve spent all that time writing and filming the script, so it’d be nice to actually hear what your actors are saying. Invest in a boom mic and high-quality microphones that can capture everything that’s said. After all, your story isn’t just told through visuals, but the audio as well. If you really want the best results, consider hiring a studio to dub the lines your equipment failed to pick up. Companies like L and F Music and Scotland’s Rage Music specialise in audio production and it can make the difference between a standing ovation and standing up and walking out of your picture.
Phew! That’s it, right? Well… not quite. You’ll want to get hold of editing software now. But which one? There are tons of free software out there, like VSDC, as well as more professional ones like Adobe available to purchase. And after all that, you just have one choice left – where to release it. Maybe you’ll submit it to a film festival. Perhaps you’ll get it up on Youtube. Wherever you put it, good luck!