If you’re a film and TV enthusiast, you have probably found yourself fantasizing about making your own home movie on more than one occasion. How hard can it be, right? All you need is a good camera, an intriguing script, a few actors, the right kind of lighting and you’re good to go. Or so one would think. The truth is, it’s not all that easy to make a home movie that will look professional enough to show off on YouTube. There are various factors to consider before you even get started, and adhering to a few simple rules will make the difference between a wobbly, dark and amateurish film, and a well-lit and steady movie with an indie vibe.
Before you create intricate backdrops, hire your local retirement community as actors, and get the camera rolling, check out the five important tips that will help you make a great home movie. Check out this resource on The Talent Bank for general advice on making movies.
1. Get to Know Your Camera
Before you even begin to start filming, make sure you have familiarized yourself with all the options and features your camera has to offer. It would be really frustrating to have to call “cut” and stop to fiddle with the camera’s settings all the time. Spend a few days or even longer filming everyone and everything around you before you start filming your actual movie. In doing so, you will be able to experiment with different camera settings, lights and the zoom, and will get a clearer idea of what you will need to pay attention to when the time comes to shoot your film. This way you will ensure a smooth filming process with minimal disruptions.
You don’t need a professional camera for your home movie, you can even use your smartphone if its camera is of high enough quality. Hollywood directors will appreciate a movie well done whether its shot on a phone camera or the last bad-boy used for serious cinematography!
2. Know Your Script
If you’re looking to have a laugh, get drunk with a few friends and just see what happens – by all means: improvise and just go with the flow. But if you’re serious about making a great home movie, you’ll want to follow a script. Write up a script focusing on three key details: the environment, the subjects and the dialogue. Even if you end up improvising certain things, it is always good to have a guideline. Plus, if you are working with other people, they will know what is expected of them prior to shooting a scene, and will go into it with more confidence.
Once you have put your script down on paper, you will also be able to determine whether you can use specific filming styles to complement the storyline. For example – is the protagonist drunk or intoxicated? Perhaps consider using a hazy filter to emphasize it. Is the lead character depressed or sad? Allow your backdrop to reflect his feelings by placing him against a lonely, dark backdrop or a desolate landscape. Get help with writing your script on the Writersroom.
The most important aspect to making a great home movie is the lighting. Yes, there’s a reason why all Hollywood actors look amazing on film – and it’s not just the make-up! The lighting will not only set the tone of your film, it will also contribute to how your actors are perceived on film. If you are shooting outdoors, early morning to noon provides the best light possible. If you’re trying to bring a whimsical, romantic flair to your film, you can also experiment with the sunset, just keep in mind that your time will be limited as the light changes rapidly at these hours. If you are shooting indoors, consider investing in flood lights – by positioning them in different corners of the room, you can achieve near professional lighting, or even play with shadows.
If you want to add more depth to your home movie, film your subjects from different angles. Not only will this add to the visual complexity of your movie, it will also add another layer to your characters. Your audience will subconsciously begin to study your character’s emotional landscape based on the angles he is shown from and what he sees, urging viewers to read between the lines.