Feast your eyes on these quick filmmaking tips

We’ve all been there, on set, with a thousand problems and no answers. As a filmmaker, every tip should be greatly received because one day, you may well thank that internet person that told you about using a shotgun mic instead of a lavaliere mic. Or about not over doing the slow mo. Or, maybe even about using a painters pole to get some drone like shots…true story. The video below by Elite Video will give you 16 excellent quick filmmaking tips.

1. Bring a portable LED light for back lighting and hair lighting

Some situations require very quick setups, especially if you’re running out of time on location and you need to get one last reaction shot. After all, what is your horror movie without a nicely lit killer? They are a cheap piece of kit (£30/$40), they generally come with a gel and they run on batteries. Nice.

2. Bring a soft box

You’ll always find a soft box handy. Giving you that soft lighting off to the side of your subject is much better than just pointing a light in your actor’s face or worse, no lighting at all!

3. Bring along an inexpensive, low F-stop lens

You can generally pick up a decent lens for as low as £40 ($50). This lens will mean that you will be able to throw the background out of focus. Everyone loves a nice bit of depth of field.

4. Use a shotgun mic instead of a lavaliere mic

Your sound will increase dramatically if you’re using a shotgun mic. You will get clearer dialogue from your actors and a deeper sound with more bass. Which means you can do more with it in post.

5. Use slow motion on a very short segment

Lots of people use slow motion, there’s nothing new here. But you should think about when and where you use slow motion and make sure it works within the story of your film.

6. Lazy background lighting

Instead of lighting up your background, look first for a background that is already lit. Especially if you’re filming in an office or museum or anywhere that the lighting you already have, looks good. You’ll save a lot of time and you’ll only be trying to emulate what you already have.

7. Slow, stabilized circles around the subject

Get yourself a steadicam or glide cam or one of the other many awesome pieces of kit that allow better image stabilization. A small amount of movement in a shot will allow your viewers to get a different perspective than just a static shot.

8. Add some flair!

Templates come with most video editing software packages these days, like Adobe Premiere, After Effects or Final Cut. You can also go to places like video hive to buy a premade template for a few dollars. Templates can give you that opening title or that nice bit of lens flair you’ve been looking for.

9. Make shots from multiple cameras match

Next up in our list of quick filmmaking tips is our old favorite, Post! Post production is a wonderful, magical place where everything is fixed. In this instance, indie filmmakers will probably have several different cameras and lenses. So, do a few test shots and make sure you are confident that you can match these shots.

10. Get a painters pole!

How do you get those drone shots without a drone? With a painters pole of course. Attach a camera mount to the end of your painter’s pole and watch your camera soar to new heights!

11. Time lapse camera

You can pick up a time lapse camera very cheaply these days. The one in the video is only $150. Even if your movie doesn’t call for a time lapse, you could still set this up and leave it. That bonus DVD footage has to come from somewhere.

12. Speeding/Slow motion in the same shot

Feel free to play around with speed in your filmmaking. Sometimes the best shots come from trying something new. This is technique used in reality TV shows all the time. It’s also used in extreme sports quite often, speeding up the skater until they get to the jump and then, slow motion.

13. Get shots from the ground/floor angle

Cinematographers and directors will know that using this camera angle can portray power between subjects in a scene. If you didn’t know that, check out some of our courses. It’s also just a nice shot to get sometimes, especially if time is of the essence.

14. Reaction shots

Sometimes the real action is the reaction. If you’re filming an event or something happens in your film, make sure you spend some time filming reactions.

15. Walk/Reach the camera over things

Sometimes it’s nice to go completely back to basics with just you and your camera. Sometimes you need to do that get the shot. Don’t be afraid to throw that fancy gear away (don’t actually throw it away) and film from strange and hard to reach places. You’ll get that shot no one else has put the effort in to get.

16. Pull back and twist

Try something different occasionally. The next time you have a shot that is pulling back from your subject, try twisting the camera too. It’ll give you a nice camera motion not many other people have.


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What are some of your favorite quick filmmaking tips? Let us know in the comments below. We’re sure this list could have been about 1,000 quick filmmaking tips longer!