Every time you finish watching a great movie, do you sit back and wonder how much work was put into the filmmaking process? Not many people do that unless they are interested in building a career in film production. Others might only check out how much money the actors made or the kind of budget the filmmaking process involved. No one can know what it takes to complete the movie making process until you experience it yourself.

If you are an aspiring filmmaker and want to learn filmmaking for beginners, you have come to the right place. All those interested in getting the basic idea of the movie making process need to read these kinds of simple articles and guides before getting into the nitty-gritty of the stages of filmmaking. Think of this post as a beginner’s guide to the film production procedure.

Filmmaking is one of the most creative forms of art. Some refer to it as organized chaos. Movie making projects of any budget or scale can fail if the correct process is not followed. Classic movies are adequately planned and developed in a structured way. If the filmmakers are disciplined, you can avoid bad shots and create a fine film.

To create a quality film, it is essential to have good knowledge of the movie making process. Before discussing the stages of filmmaking, let’s define what filmmaking is.

What is Filmmaking?

Filmmaking is a lengthy process of making movies that often takes years. Film production goes through three main stages. First comes the development or planning stage, usually called pre-production. This is where all the details about the movie are determined. This stage focuses on casting, research, and scouting for a location.

When the shooting commences, we move into the actual film production stage. The shooting time varies for different movies, based on the type of story, its target audience, and other project requirements.

When the shooting concludes, you’ll proceed to the post-production phase. All the footage is edited, and a complete narrative is created. After your filmmaking is done, it is time to distribute the movie and send the final product to cinemas.

In short, you need to go through an organized procedure for filmmaking. It is best to assume that the overall film production process is divided into three stages.

  • Planning, also known as story development and pre-production
  • Filming, which is the actual film production
  • Completing the film, also known as post-production

The 3 Stages of Filmmaking

Let’s discuss the stages of filmmaking mentioned above one by one so that you can get a better understanding of each.

1. Pre-Production

This is the filmmaking stage, where you work out your idea about the movie and decide how to tell the story. The idea needs to be simple so that it’s easy to convey to the audience. It is best to write it down in a short excerpt of 50-100 words. That’s actually around the same size as a tweet on Twitter. If you cannot make it as precise as that, you need to work on it more to simplify it further.

Once the excerpt of your idea is ready, you can start preparing your script. This will involve creating storyboards and making lists of the shots. Before you begin shooting, you must make sure that all the people are available and all the required equipment is ready.

If you have already chosen a location, make sure you visit it before it’s time to shoot. You need to have official permission to do your film production there. You won’t want to get in trouble last minute if those in authority refuse to let you do your shoot at your selected spot.

In the pre-production stage of filmmaking, you must also check and confirm that the lighting is ready and okay. Ensure there won’t be any distractions or interruptions at the time of the shoot. There should be no noise or distracting background sounds that would reduce the sound quality in your shoot. Check if there is enough space to put all your cameras in the right positions.

If any legal agreements are required for filmmaking in the area, make sure you get them signed beforehand. It is highly inconvenient to argue over such requirements once your film production is done.

2. Film Production

Once you are done with planning and preparations, and your equipment is ready, you need to practice shooting short films. This is a good idea to master your filmmaking skills.

One of the best film production practices is to shoot more than you need. But if you spend hours and hours shooting footage that you won’t be using, it will become too tiring and time-consuming for you to filter out the scenes that you need to use. The general rule of thumb is that if you are shooting for a one-minute drama, you should shoot a 3-4 minutes video. But if you are shooting a documentary, you might need to shoot much longer.

shoot for film production

Once shooting is done, check if it’s okay before leaving the site. Did the colors and lighting come out right? Was the framing suitable throughout the shoot? Have you taken all the shots that you need? This is called coverage, which helps you avoid gaps or awkward jumps in your film when you put all the scenes together.

If you recorded live sound, pay attention to the quality of sound. If you add in some background sound, it helps your filmmaking at the editing phase.

3. Post-Production

Now that you have all the shots, go through the footage before the editing phase. An excellent way to start editing is to make a paper edit before putting all scenes together. You can also prepare a documentary script using a readymade template for it.

An essential part of this filmmaking stage is to prepare an individual sequence. This gives you the feel of the bigger picture and helps you visualize your end result. Organize your editing and refine the edit further. Then add elements like the title, sound effects, and extra lighting effects. When it comes to film production, less is more. This means most movies can be made better by making them shorter.

It is important to keep saving the film as you do the editing. Some video editing tools keep saving the file automatically, but if yours doesn’t, you should save it manually every few minutes. You wouldn’t want to lose the latest edited version of the file at any point during the editing phase. Keep a backup of your edits as well.

a series of videos added to a web page created on Strikingly

Image taken from Strikingly user’s website

The film needs to be reviewed from time to time during the editing phase of filmmaking. Keep checking if the story makes sense and its pace is suitable for the audience to capture your message. The sound should be consistent throughout.

When editing is done, the next thing to do in the filmmaking process is sharing the film with others. You’ll need to follow the instructions given in your editing software for this. It is best to always export a full-quality version from the software, even if it’s not required yet. You can export it from the software and share it on video hosting platforms, such as YouTube, Vimeo, etc.

marketing video embedded into a Strikingly user's website

Image taken from Strikingly user’s website

These platforms have compression guidelines that you’ll need to follow for quality uploads.

 a video added to a Strikingly user's web page through its Youtube link

Image taken from Strikingly user’s website

Concluding Remarks

When we watch a movie at a cinema or on a streaming platform, we often overlook the manpower and effort that goes into filmmaking. All the way from the initial stages of planning until the end when you distribute the film, it takes hours and hours of dedicated work to get a final product that can entertain the audience.

Along with the typical video streaming platforms, movies can also be shared or added directly on websites. For instance, if you build a website on Strikingly, you can add movies using the Big Media section by inserting the video’s Youtube or Vimeo link.

Strikingly editor showing how to insert a video into a web page

Image taken from Strikingly

These platforms make it very convenient for filmmakers to distribute their products. When you publish a film on a website, it becomes accessible for everyone as long as they have the URL.

Strikingly is among the fastest-growing website-building platforms with hundreds of users. We make the whole website development process easy for you to focus on your actual career or business. Whether you are into filmmaking, photography, or any other field, we are here to support you in building a professional website to showcase your services.