Do It Yourself Filmmaking (How to Make a Low Budget Movie Yourself)

You can do anything if you set your heart and mind to it. In filmmaking, you would think that you need to have the backing of a studio to have a movie made. Some famous film directors like Steven Spielberg started out this way by making amateur films with little or no budget. While you might not profit from it, this allows you to develop the skills you need to be a good filmmaker.

Bear in mind that the first rule in filmmaking is “you invest after you learn.” What this means is you need to learn the essential things needed to make a movie. Here are simple steps on how to get started by making a low budget movie by yourself.

Make do with what you have

Take stock of the essential items you need that is currently available to you. For starters, you do not necessarily need all those fancy and sophisticated equipment used by major film studios. Probably the most important equipment you will need is a video camera or any (digital) camera that can take videos. The best way is to find an activity to record to learn the various angles to get the best shot and make full optimum use of the camera’s features. If you cannot afford the other equipment you need, you can craft one yourself.

Learn the basics.

There is more to filmmaking than just working a camera. Do some research, identify the other aspects of filmmaking ranging from color grading to visual effects.  The Internet is a ready source of all the things you need to learn about filmmaking yourself. If reading websites is not enough, there is YouTube to provide you a visual guide on how to do it.

As mentioned earlier, there is more to making movies than just using a camera alone. You also need to know how to make use of lighting. The correct use of lighting will make your movies more cinematic and less amateurish. This would mean investing on lighting equipment. For a DIY budget, lamps and DIY accessories will be needed. If you cannot afford a light diffuser (used to lessen the intensity of light), putting paper over the lamp will do the trick.

After taking your videos, it is time to edit them to remove parts you do not like or need and enhance the rest of the film. Browse the Internet for suitable editing software (Davinci Resolve 12.5 and Cinestyle Picture Profile are recommended).  Like the camera, master the features of the software to get the most out of it. Once you master it, you can produce industry-standard films.

Next up is sound, another essential part of filmmaking. Ever notice microphones strategically positioned in a film set? You may have taken the film but the sound quality may leave a lot to be desired. A sound design, depending on how it is done, can make or break a film. With this in mind, you may need to invest on a (digital) audio recorder.

Market yourself

Of course, it is unlikely anyone will “Buy” your product so for starters, give it out for free by uploading it on Youtube. The likes, followers and subscribers are likely barometers on how good you are. Sooner or later, someone will discover you and offer you a job and you take it from there. But of course, do not stop learning. Keep on improving your craft as soon as you can get better equipment.