How to make a film following my steps

Before I start it is necessary to say that I am not an expert, or a professional or even an amateur filmmaker! But, I have a “point of view” which I like ūüėõ

Anyway, let me explain a bit more. The first short film I made was a stop motion animation, while I was studying at the Foundation year of Art and Design. You can see it here:

As you can see it is a simple video made with hundreds of photos, sound effects and spelling mistakes! I didn’t have a tripod¬†back¬†then, or even a good camera! Also, it was the first time I used iMovie.

The concept for the video above was simple. I wanted to use my typewriter to tell a story. While the “writer” writes the story he/she is imagining the scenes, that are displayed as flash “images”. At the end, I wanted to show something funny and not too ¬†dramatic, this is when the tomato (red-blood) comes.

The second video I made was during the first year of the Interior Design course. It was a group project. I don’t really remember what ¬†exactly happened, but at the end, we were only¬†2 people out of the 4 in the group. For this project we had to ask people what they think is Interior Design, and we had to make a video out of it…

You can see the video here:

This 3 mins video was recorded using my iPhone 6. As a team we had a nice idea, to design a floor plan in the foyer of the university and to ask people to write their answer! What is interior design? Floor plans and models? Or pillow and curtains?
I remember that we went at the university in the morning and we had just 15 mins to design the plan on the floor, ask questions and record everything.  In the end our classmates voted our video as the best!

Of course, it’s not very nice, it is shaky. It is a bit fast and confusing. What is very nice about it is the story behind the whole idea you can read the youtube description here:

Joint Project 1st and 2nd year, interior Design, University of Ulster.

The project was inspired by the movie ‚ÄúMatrix‚ÄĚ; ‚ÄúFollow the white arrows‚ÄĚ (follow the white rabbit). Matrix presents an artificial world, the world we live in, the walls, the fabrics, the curtains, the pillows but also our attitude in relation with those items. Furthermore Matrix reveals the ‚Äúreal‚ÄĚ world, which exists behind the artificial one. The creators, the thinkers, the people who know how to ‚Äúcontrol‚ÄĚ and manipulate the space and the environment in a sustainable way. The classic novel ‚ÄúAlice in wonderland‚ÄĚ was also an inspiration. Big plan on the floor, small model, arrows, directions and a philosophic question: ‚ÄúInterior design is..?‚ÄĚ

It is like Alice eats the cookie and drinks the potion at the same time, while she is falling in the hole… We decided to use a pillow to place our question in order create an antithesis between the floor plan and the decorative accessories (pillow).Although people responded in a very positive way and their opinions showed that young people understand that interior design is not about pillows, fabrics and curtains, but about creative thinking and innovative planning, we feel that overall people don’t think about interior design on a bigger scale. They think mostly of homes and don’t tend to know that we as interior designers can change a space dramatically by adding or removing walls for example. We mostly do this to achieve the best of what is needed from a space.”

So now I’m on my 3rd and final year of the course. I’m trying to enjoy it and learn as much as I can.

For the first semester we had to map a city and create a video. A video that would present Newcastle (Co. Down, Northern Ireland). ¬†To be honest with you, I didn’t have a clue what to do! I visited Newcastle at least 5 times just to be able to make the final draft.

I travelled so many times¬†¬†to observe the city. To take videos. To observe the people. To walk in the¬†narrow streets. To find places hidden from the tourists’ eyes etc…

I was trying to “hear” the city’s voice, and see its colours!

In the time between ¬†I was working on my materials, on my post production. I was trying to figure out what to do, what works, and what message I wanted to pass through my film. Nothing, nothing came to me….

Here are some initial draft videos:

draft 1

 draft 2

draft 3

So I went over there for a last time (my project is still running so I might need to go again). But this time I didn’t record a video….

here is my final draft:


I used my camera Nikon d5300, a cheap tripod from amazon, and I set my camera to take 1 photo every 3 seconds for 10 minutes. (I gathered around 60gb for post production.)

I’m not going into the details about the meaning behind the video as it is too early for that.


Let me tell you what are the steps to make a film.

  1. Find your subject, in my case it was a city.
  2. Come close to your subject/object, touch it, smell it, hear it, see it, observe it.
  3. Take videos, a lot of videos. It doesn’t matter if they are shaky, you may don’t even use them. Don’t try to take beautiful videos. Just observe and record.
    Tip: DSLR¬†cameras are not very good to record videos, as most lenses will make a sound while recording using the autofocus. If you disable the autofocus it will be hard to record a video, for example, while you or your subject(s) are moving. So….
  4. Take photos, a lot of photos, as much as you can. Try different technics, use a tripod, take time lapse photos. Try night photography, double exposure. In one word, experiment with your camera.
    Tip: by taking time lapse¬†photos (for example 1 photo every 3″ for a period of time) you will have a better quality video at the end. Also use a tripod, it is a must.
  5. Search on google, youtube, vimeo, to find similar videos. Look how other people made their videos, did they use photos? videos? People usually add information on the description of the video, about the equipment, the software and credits they used.
  6. Choose your software, there are plenty programs out there. Some of them are iMovie,¬†Final cut pro x, Premiere Pro, Movie maker. I’m sure you can find some free or use a trial version.
  7. Experiment more! Copy, paste videos, photos, trim the videos.  Cut the photos, use photoshop. Be creative and take risks! It takes time but in the end you will find your way!
  8. Sound! The sound can bring to life or kill a video. It is a very important part of any film, but be careful. Music and sounds (and photos and videos) come with copyrights. You CAN NOT use music without permission, it is against the law. So, yeah, be careful. On the other hand, you can use music and sounds from the iLife and iMovie Library. Apple states clearly that you can even use the sounds for commercial use.
    Tip: Also, you can search photos on google that are free to reuse, without copyrights.
  9. And now that you finally found a sound and the photos and the videos you can search for effects!
    Tip: don’t over¬†do it. Effects are good, but only if you don’t have to say anything in your film.
  10. Last, don’t forget to add titles at¬†the beginning ¬†of your¬†video, and credits at the end!

That’s it! You are now ready to rock!


Hope you find the 10 steps helpful!







Cover image source