How to Make a Short Film: An Introduction to Filmmaking
Kick-start your filmmaking practice with simple techniques and basic equipment
Film is the ideal medium for telling stories, communicating ideas, and entertaining friends and family, so why leave it to the professionals? This course has been specially designed to help anyone interested in filmmaking to master the essentials and start making their own work.
Each week, our step-by-step guide will help develop your skills and enhance your understanding of the medium. Starting with the significance of a single shot, you will find out how films tell stories, consider how to show movement, and use sound. You will also discover how to script and storyboard, organise a shoot, choose what to film, and plan and polish your work in the editing process.
You will learn by interrogating a wide range of British films including student work from the BFI Film Academy, archive titles from the BFI National Archive, and videos specially created by your course leader. There will also be plenty of opportunities to learn from each other as you are encouraged to share and discuss your ideas, experiences, and what you have made.
Learning on this course
On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.
What will you achieve?
By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...
- Apply filmmaking techniques and concepts learnt on the course in a practical way
- Develop an understanding of the basic skills required to make a film
- Engage with and learn from a wide range of films from archive titles to student work
- Practice a range of filmmaking skills such as framing a shot, using camera movement and editing a sequence
- Demonstrate the ability to read a film scene
- Describe the different ways that film can show the passing of time
- Identify the different types of film sound and think about how to apply them to your own work
- Create a short film, from the initial idea to a finished video
Who is the course for?
From absolute beginners to those wanting to refresh their skills, How to Make a Short Film is designed for anyone with a passion for film and filmmaking.
You might be a student or filmmaker at the start of your career, a professional who wants to incorporate film into your work, or an educator - such as a teacher, youth worker or arts practitioner, who needs the skills to support and develop the work of others.
You might also want to try filmmaking as an expressive activity in itself, experimenting with different techniques, and using the activities to discover the creative potential of the medium.
What software or tools do you need?
To take part in the course, you will need something to film with and something to edit on. You could film and edit with just a smartphone or tablet, but using a still camera or camcorder provides you with more creative options. It is also easier to do more ambitious editing on a computer, particularly if you have access to a program like Adobe Premiere Pro or Final Cut Pro.
The course requires you to have a video editing program or app. You could use a free program like iMovie, VN Editor or Hitfilm Express. Pro options include Adobe Premiere Pro CC or Final Cut Pro.
Using a tripod, handle/filming case (for a smartphone) or a stabiliser will help you film steady shots. A basic clip-on ‘lavalier’ microphone and headphones helps improve sound quality, but are not essential. To make the most of natural light you could also use some affordable folding reflectors.
Last but not least, you will need one or two friends or family members who are happy to be filmed!
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