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How to make homemade movies for fun.
Have you ever thought about making a homemade movie with your friends? Or maybe you've tried, but it didn't come out the way you expected?
Here I will share with you some knowledge I have learned over the past few years while making movies with my friends. Please keep in mind though that I am NOT a professional, and the tips and hints these movies are intened for homemade movies only.
Probably the most important aspect of the whole film making process is the plot. Even if your movie had the best effects, camera angles, and actors, it wouldn't be any good without a strong plot.
Try to stay away from the overused plots. An action scene is only good is there is a reason for it. Gather your friends together and try to think of a new, unique idea.
There are many things to keep in mind during production. For every single scene that you film, you must keep an eye on lighting, weather, cinematic effect, and other small details that vary depending on your type of movie.
For example, if you shoot a scene without really looking at the view finder, you could end up with a video too dark to see. Also, if you don't keep up to date on the weather report, it could start raining in the middle of your shoot; causing confusion and possibly ruining your equipment.
Another thing that I have trouble with during production is the actor's clothes. We film what ever scene we can at the time, and if we are not careful, we can forget what cloths to wear.
To learn how to make your movie cinematic, check out my other article.
Here is a basic list of things you should check for in every scene before you start filming:
- Lighting. Make sure you can even see the subject, and if not, move location or use a light. Keep an eye on the contrast; filming against the bright sky will cause your actor to become very dark.
- Clothes. Make sure your actors are wearing what they should be!
- Legal issues. Make sure you don't film any one's face who doesn't want to be filmed, and keep an eye out for logos and other copyrighted content that may be on your actor's clothes or in the background.
- Realism of props. I use a BB gun that looks like a real pistol for some of my videos. On the bottom of it's handle is a screw that is used to insert CO2 containers. Make sure small things like this is not shown.
- Weather. As said above, it would NOT be good if the clouds opened up during your shoot! Also, some scenes may require certain weather conditions. If you are filming a sad scene, it would actually be a good idea to film in the rain if you are able to.
- Camera placement. Make sure your camera is level, or your audience with notice.
- Repetitive scenes. If you are like me, and only have one camera for multi-camera angle scenes, you must make sure that what the actor[s] do and say are the same from each angle.
Once you have all your scenes for your movie, you need to put it all together. Most computer's come with a free editing program that you can use.
However, there are things like sounds, music, and effects that not all editors have. [Although some do]
Something I've noticed from experience is that music is key. Even a silly home movie can look [and feel] awesome if you've got the right music. Make sure your music matches the scene.
You can try to create music yourself using Garageband or Mixcraft, but this requires quite a bit of money for a homemade movie maker and requires practice to create a decent track. The easiest and best sounding would be to buy your music, but this can get VERY expensive. The cheapest "good" music I've seen costs $30 per track. I've even seen site that sell music that is $30 per track, and $20 per USE.
Buying music is not the same as licensing it. Buying it gives you the file and the right to listen to it, but only licensing give you the right to use it in a video. Using music illegally could get you sued.
Just like music, sounds are very important. It is best not to use the same exact sound over and over, or the audience could get bored and annoyed. Sounds can be very hard to find legally, but the best I've found is this: Let's say you need the sound of a gun shooting. Simply search for it on Youtube, and find a video that has a good sound. Contact the uploader of the video, and they will likely let you use the sound as long as you credit them.
Another way you can get sounds is by using a free service called Findsounds, but MANY of these sounds are illegal to use. Be sure to check before you include them in your movie.
Remember: Only use music and sound you KNOW is free. "Royalty free" is NOT the same as "FREE." I've gotten in trouble multiple times because I wasn't careful. Don't make my mistake!
Special effects can be a little more complicated, but they are the perfect way to amaze your audience. It is hard to get really good free effects, so you may need to save a little bit of money if you want to do this.
It's hard to recommend free special effects software because there are no programs that include everything you need. One program might allow you to use green screens, while another will let you create explosions and muzzle flashes.
If you really wish to have special effects, you should save up for a program that does everything. The BEST that you can get your hands on is After Effects, but it costs $1000 for a standard license. A cheaper version of this is made by FXhome and it's called Hitfilm. It's price ranges from $150 to $400. Both of the products are quite advanced, and will require lots of practice and research to use the way they were intended.
After your movie is all done, you need to show it to people right? Showing to family and friends can be fun, but why not take it a step further?
Before you broadcast you movie, be sure that all the actors are OK with being displayed publicly, and that your movie contains nothing copyrighted.
Here are some good ways to broadcast your movie: [Not in any order]
- YouTube - Youtube is one of the most popular video hosting websites. This is probably the best way to go.
- Vimeo - Vimeo has no limit to how long your video is, but has a low limit [500 MB a week] and is not quite as popular as Youtube.
Lets "Study" one of my videos. We can learn from it, both the bad and the good.
UPDATE: Here is a better video.
Take a look at the video below.
Lets go through this short video little by little.
PLOT: The plot was mostly underlying. Most of my videos are "action and special effects" related. I know I said all videos should have a good plot, but this was something we simply made in one day.
CAMERA AND FRAMING: The movie was shot in HD, which is a great way to make your movie look professional. Also, the wide screen letterbox you see was created to make the video look more cinematic.
As for framing, you can see I did my best to get as many close ups as I could. This is usually a good way to go, but it all depends on your style of film making.
LIGHTING: Take a closer look at those explosions, you'll see that everything but the fireball got very dark. This makes it that much more realistic because that is what a camera would do if there was a sudden and bright light.
Other then that, there wasn't much to be done because this was shot outside. Remember: sunlight is the best light you can have.
SPECIAL EFFECTS: Click here for a breakdown of the sign and fireball effect. The first explosion was better then the second because it was more "dynamic." Look closly and you will see that for a second it is behind the actor then it envelops him. The second explosion was flat and didn't really do anything to the shed.
MUSIC: What music to use really depends on your style. This track was by a french composer named Grégoire Lourme. His music is free for non-commercial videos, and you can download it for free here.
SOUNDS: The notable sounds were the gunshots and two explosions. The revolver gunshot came from a website called Soundsnap, but their sounds are no longer free. The Desert Eagle [big black pistol] gunshot came from a video I found. The explosion sounds were also from Soundsnap, with the first one being mixed with some "booming" slow motion sound.
Here are some great resources for movie making. None of the lists are in order.
- Soundsnap.com - Used to be free, but isn't anymore. Prices start at about $2 per sound, which is very low compared with other sites.
- Findsounds.com - Searches the whole web for sounds. Has both high and low quality sounds, but you must make sure that the sound is not copyrighted.
- Fxhome.com/sounds - Great sounds; All that is required is that you give credit.
- Partnersinrhyme.com - Not the highest quality possible, but it's free! They also used to have a program where you put a link to them on your website and you get hundreds more free sounds, but I don't know if they are doing this anymore.
- Incompetech.com - Free music! What more could you want?
- Rockstudios.org - Free music that I created. All that is required is that you give credit.
- Jamendo.com - Free high quality music, just make sure it's legal to use in videos.
- Partnersinrhyme.com - Not the highest quality possible, but it's free!
This concludes my article. I hope you learned something and remember:
This most important thing is that you have fun.