Perhaps the most beautiful thing about filmmaking is that you get to dive into infinity. Whether you choose to focus on the unreal, on things that are fleeting, or on relationships that aren’t just meant to be, you’re always in full control, free to be omnipotent, creative, and infinite.
Everybody has a story to tell, and what better way is there than to create a film and be heard by the world? So get up, and get your mind and gear ready. Even if you’re only beginning to fall for the art of filmmaking, know that it’s one of the most apt hobbies to have, given this digital age and time. Here is what you’ll need to make that dream happen.
We all have plenty, but choose those that have depth. Draw inspiration from pain, struggle, from the things that are beautiful, and from things that are repulsive. And when you have that idea, write it. Now, new stories and ideas might come to you at random, so it’s best to have a little help from your gadgets as well. If you’re walking, or at a commute and have no time to write, then open up your phone’s voice recording app, and record your creative outbursts. And if you do have time to write, even for just a few seconds, fire up that notes app of yours. Do yourself a favor and download the app Notability on your smartphone. Notability will do the job when it comes to quickly storing your thoughts, either in text or in audio format.
Do remember the first step, as it is probably one of the most vital ones. With a plethora of distractions, it’s easy to lose a good idea, so make sure you keep it documented. And when you do manage to have time to fully develop that idea, the next thing you’d want to do is write a script. For that, there’s Celtx. Accessible online, Celtx can help you organize your productions as well as provide you with the tools to write your screenplay. As a rule of thumb, always write with passion!
Now, the thing about filmmaking that you could consider both a blessing and a curse is that it is done alone. And that’s a good thing. For you to be able to mold that idea into something that’s actually worth watching, you’d need all help you can get. If there’s one thing to be considered a myth in the creative industry, it’s that people are only as good as their gear. And although that should be taken with a grain of salt, it pays to have decent gear that will meet at least the bare essentials. Each department should be geared up, here are some of the essentials you or your team may want to have:
You don’t need a RED camera or a Sony Alexa to capture a good scene. Numerous Indie productions and music videos have been shot on full frame DSLRs, and they’d pass as more than decent. When it comes to choosing a camera, video quality and portability are big factors to consider. Lightweight mirrorless cameras are now dominating the market, and many from the Nikon and Canon camp are already making the switch to Sony or Fujifilm. Although the color science varies in different camera models, it’s best to always try it yourself, so go to a tech store, and test, test, test! A hot piece in the market now is the new Sony a7III, which is something to consider due to its competitive pricing and quality. If you don’t have the budget to invest in prime lenses just yet, try to invest in a telephoto lens, a 24-70mm one will do you wonders.
Additional gear that would be great to have to capture that cinematic scene is a tripod, a slider, dollies, rigs, and what not. Although all are not necessary to have, it pays to have them in case the scene demands it.
Sound goes hand in hand with video and should never be compromised. Go and invest in a mountable mic for your DSLR, and if budget permits, go invest in a sound recorder. You can go with the old but trusty Zoom H1, or take the leap and invest in an H4N or a H46. Clear audio translates to a well-made film. If you’ve seriously invested in making a striking script, the least you can do is to give justice by letting it be heard at its greatest sound quality.
It goes without saying that when editing, you can trust Adobe. There’s Photoshop for creating your movie poster, Premiere for video editing, After Effects for animating and special effects, and more. You can always self study by viewing Youtube tutorials, but it works better if you mirror while watching or if experiment yourself. If you’re an Apple user, you could also use Final Cut Pro X. The new 10.4 update brings in a variety of features, and among the most commendable is support for bettering coloring tools.
The more, the merrier
There are other departments in filmmaking. There’ the Production Design Department, the Lighting Department, and more. If time and effort permits, do take notice of those as well! No film is complete without proper lighting and props.
In the end, it will always be up to you on how far you’ll want to invest in filmmaking as a hobby. It follows that the more effort and passion you put to it, the more your message becomes valuable.
Words by Gerry Gaviola
Art by Theresa Eloriaga