14 iPhone Filmmaking for beginners

Smartphone filmmaking

Regardless of what you film on the same rules of filmmaking (or photography) apply. Don’t worry we will discuss these rules (or creative tips) as we progress.

The great thing about smartphone is that they are essentially small computers / cameras / editing stations / music payers and so on. They are amazing especially when used creatively. I was somewhat unconvinced initially by using smartphones to make films  (I think I was being a purest),  in resent years the technology has developed tenfold. RED (the legendary camera brand) created a smartphone, Zeiss (the legendary high end lens makers) make the camera glass for smartphones and the film Tangerine (2015) was shot on 2 iPhone 5s’ (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt3824458/).

A whole film and photography industry has grown around the popularity of smartphone filming and photography. You can buy:

Lenses (https://www.shopmoment.com/),

Steady rigs (https://www.dji.com/uk/osmo-mobile-3),

Tripods (https://joby.com/uk-en/gorillapod-phone-tripods/),

As well as a whole host of apps (I’ll link to some free and paid ones later).

And much more

You definitely do not need to spend any additional money on your smart phone to create great content. They already come equipped with brilliant technology. Additional equipment should used to enhance your film and photography. 

The best thing to improve your skills I just to do it. Try lots of ideas out, get it wrong, try again and importantly learn from your mistakes.

The tips below will help you compose the perforce shot for your scene.

Before you shoot.

Before you begin filming (shooting) you will have an idea or a script or a storyboard or a shot list (please tell me you have at least one of them?).

I use Celtx Script it’s free I think on iPhone /iPad. (https://apps.apple.com/gb/app/celtx-script/id381536091).

Next you’ll want to shot list the film (this makes it easier when you begin shooting). I use shotlister, it costs £9,99 I think (https://shotlister.com/). You can get a free template online. Again these apps are meant to help the process if they don’t work for you save your money.

The basics


If you want a ‘locked off’ still shot they a tripod is the best solution. You may use this for when interviewing etc. Using a tripod is essential if you don’t have a second person to hold the phone for you. (You do not have to buy an expensive branded tripod a cheaper generic one may work perfectly well for your needs, or if you have a tripod get a phone adapter).

Handheld is a stylised look and may be exactly what you are after. You will need a second person if you are the subject of the film i.e a dance or theatre piece.

Gimbals are great but tend to get over used. They create a ‘floaty’ effect. Again someone has to hold the gimbal. Make sure you practise using it before you shoot they take a little mastering.

If you have shortlisted your film you’ll know exactly what you are going to shoot and you will have decided on what kit (if any you need).

The iPhone camera app.

I use this app loads as its simple to use I do also use the moment app as I have moment lenses and they are designed to work together.

For this tutorial we will use the native camera app.

Once opening the app you’ll see a menu screen at the bottom. By default the PHOTO app is selected. 

To change to either VIDEO (which is what we will many use), SLO-MO, TIME-LAPSE (swipe left), PORTRAIT, PANO (swipe right).

Once you select VIDEO you’ll see  a few options.

In the top left corner you’ll see two numbers. In this case 24 and 4K, the 24fps is the frame rate (24 frames a second), the 4K is the frame size (4,000 pixels). Tap the number and you can change these fro 4K to HD (1080), 24fps to 30fps to 60fps. The higher the frame rate the the more detail stored in the file, 60fps is slow motion giving you a smooth dramatic fleeting. 24fps is the most cinematic as it’s the most natural to the human eye.

In the bottom left corner you’ll see a lightning symbol. In this instance it has a circle and an line through it. The lightning bolt acts as a light when filming in low light situations. When selected it’s yellow without the line through. Lighting is crucial in filmmaking.

At the centre top you’ll see a timer. This is the amount of time you’ve been filming.   

In the top right you’ll see a circle made up of two curved arrows. Pressing this swaps from the front camera and the back camera and vice versa. This can be used in interesting ways when making dance films to swap from one dancers to another. Make sure you practise this technique before filming. If you slide up next to the VIDEO you’ll see an extended flash/light menu.

In the centre to the right you’ll notice a 1x icon.  Depending on the phone you have this may or may not be here. I’m shooting if an iPhone 11 which has a dual lens system. If you’re seeing a 0.5 here you’re on the wide lens. Click this to switch between the lenses.

What you’re not seeing in the image is a small yellow square on the screen. If your touch anywhere in these creek the yellow square will appear. This is how you can control the aperture. To get the best results look for the mid tones and select there. If you select the sky for example you’ll under expose the rest of the shot and if you press the ground you’ll over expose the sky.

Finally you’ll see a grid formation. This is based on the rule of thirds.

Rule of thirds .

The rule of thirds is one of the main “rules” in art and photographic composition and stems from the theory that the human eye naturally gravitates to intersection points that occur when an image is split into thirds. (https://learnprophotography.com/rule-of-thirds/)



Lighting is incredibly important especially when using the phone to create. If you are using the phone without any accessories (additional lenses etc) the best bet is to utilise natural light.

This blog post from Canva explains it beautifully


Go and make magic.

If you’ve reached the point where your wanting more than the native camera app here is a list of apps to take your filmmaking to the next level. Most offer advanced settings beyond the native camera app.

(Disclaimer; these app are for iOS they are the same for android)


Moment app iOS  (https://apps.apple.com/gb/app/moment-pro-camera/id927098908)

Filmic pro (https://www.filmicpro.com/)

11 – DaVinci Resolve Tutorial

DaVinci Resolve Tutorial.

A complete how to guide.

I know this is a very strange time for us all at the moment. I’m self employed and have been in a state of limbo for the past week.

Which is character building.

Im attempting to treat the next 12 weeks as self development period, learn some new skills, finally pick up my guitar and use the fender app course, and make the move finally from Adobe Premier Pro to DaVinci Resolve.

I am also intending to keep the blog going. Its important to establish routines, not only for my sanity but also to be productive.

Right lets crack on.

What is DaVinci Resolve?

DaVinci Resolve is basically and all in one video editor, effects generator, colour grader and audio editor.

‘DaVinci Resolve 16 is the world’s only solution that combines professional 8K editing, color correction, visual effects and audio post production all in one software tool! You can instantly move between editing, color, effects, and audio with a single click. DaVinci Resolve Studio is also the only solution designed for multi user collaboration so editors, assistants, colorists, VFX artists and sound designers can all work live on the same project at the same time! Whether you’re an individual artist, or part of a large collaborative team, it’s easy to see why DaVinci Resolve is the standard for high end post production and finishing on more Hollywood feature films, television shows and commercials than any other software.’

For a full over view click here


If you’re familiar with Adobe Premier Pro and you’re thinking of switching to DaVinci Resolve have a look at this.

Let’s look at the interface.

First up is the media page. This is where you import all of your media ready to edit.


Then we have the cut page. This is where you can do really quick cuts to your footage to get a sense of what you have and to show the rest of the crew (if you have one).


Theres the edit page. This is where you will edit your footage. For those used to editing programmes this will feel really familiar.


Once you’ve done your edit you may want to move to the fusion page. This is for your effects and any fancy things you want to do.



This is for Resolve 14, not much has changed to be honest.

Now is the page that made Resolve’s name. The colour page. This is such a powerful section.


So we’ve imported our media, done a quick cut, a full edit, added our effects and have done our colour grade now time for the audio.


Right you’re done. Well almost you just need to export your footage out or deliver it in DaVinci Resolve.

This is for Resolve 15 but again nothing much has changed.

Don’t want to scroll through all the videos. Here is a crash course for beginners.

Sweet your all set. Enjoy.

If this has helped/inspired you please do let me know. I can be found on all the social medias @waynesables or via the email at artistic@waynesablesproject.co.uk

10. Audio for your film (again)

Hello there,

So you are looking at making a film are you? Cool. Go for it I say. Have you thought about how you are going to capture your sound? I’m sure you have but just incase i’ve save you the trouble of searing the big wide web and found this brilliant article on recording audio.

It’s from PremiumBeat. After reading this you should definitely head over to their website and see what other great content they have on offer. https://www.premiumbeat.com/

Disclaimer: I would always recommend using a filmmaker if you have the budget. They will have specialised audio recording equipment and will know how to get the best sound for your scene/location/film etc. However if that isn’t an option have a gander at this.

Learn how to properly record audio on set with a traditional boom mic setup.

All images via The Film Look.

Here in the PremiumBeat office, we’re big fans of The Film Look — a YouTube channel dedicated to showing you how to make better films and videos (with new episodes every week).

We recently teamed up with The Film Look to bring you a series of tutorials on capturing better sound for your videos. The eight-part series will cover a ton of different audio recording and mixing topics, with plenty of tips and tricks for you to learn along the way.

In the first five episodes, you will learn how to work with audio on set. Then the series will shift focus to working with audio in post-production.

You’ll quickly see that it’s not about having the right gear — it’s about knowing how to properly use audio equipment. The audio kit used in the series is the basic setup for indie films and corporate video productions — a shotgun mic, boom pole, audio recorder, and headphones. There are also tips on recording with smartphones and on-camera microphones for those without this setup. (You can piece together a professional boom mic kit for around $500.)

Microphone Position Is Key

The position of your microphone is crucial to a quality recording. In the first episode, you’ll hear the difference between a smartphone recorder and a shotgun mic — but there’s a twist.

The smartphone audio was better in the first take because the shotgun microphone was too far away. To get better audio, place a shotgun microphone over the head of your speaking subject.

If you are on a windy set, try positioning the microphone underneath the subject, or for the best results combine that with a dead cat or blimp.

When it comes time to record, limit the movement of your hands. Use your arms and shoulders to reposition the microphone to avoid making noise. There are also some great tips in the video about the best ways to grip a boom mic.

Capturing Dialogue Is Your First Priority

The highest priority when recording a film or video is dialogue. Noises or sound effects are easier to  recreate in post — or to draw from an SFX library.

While on the topic of noises, if you detect any outside noise on set — like a plane, train, or automobile — be sure to bring it up if recording has not yet started. If you are already rolling, finish the take, and then mention any need for another take.

Before shooting, make sure the camera crew (specifically the 2nd AC if you have one) uses a clapper board to mark the take. This will help tremendously when editing and mixing the project in post.

Minimize Unwanted Noise

You can silence the set as much as possible to eliminate unnecessary ambient noise, but that doesn’t always prevent unwanted sounds. Episode three dives into separating dialogue from any noise the actors make on set.

If there is a loud action, like placing a glass mug on a glass saucer, you can eliminate the noise with some simple camera tricks and foley work.

Setting Audio Levels and Capturing Room Tone

The loudness of actors and actions differs in every take. Make sure audio levels don’t peak, and leave some room for any unexpected loud noises or increases in conversational volume.

In this episode, you’ll hear the audio clip when one character shouts. Be sure to lower the gain while recording dialogue. Also, be sure to capture about two minutes of room tone to help avoid unnatural silence. This ambient noise makes conversations sound more realistic, and it can cover up hard edits. (If you forgot to capture room tone, check out our pack of 15 free ambient noise tracks).

Record SFX (Wild Takes) On Set

Wild takes are sound effects recorded on set without dialogue. If cameras aren’t rolling (and if you can convince the crew to be quiet) you should try to record some on set SFX. They can be as simple as an actor’s footsteps or the clashing of dishes, doors, or machinery.

The goal is to capture the sounds that could be difficult to find in a SFX library. While we may have hundreds of thousands of SFX here on PremiumBeat, you may not find the exact sound to the exact time you need. For example, if you are shooting a scene with an old car, it’s best to record real engine sounds to keep the sound as authentic as possible.

Something to keep in mind: you don’t need to turn up the gain to capture all these SFX. Since they will become layers in post, you’ll want to keep them accurate to the levels you’d hear on set. So if footsteps are quiet and slightly registering on your recorder, that’s ok. Try to record each SFX in a few different ways, including different microphone angles, positions, and distances.

Wow how comprehensive and good was that? I don’t know about you but I feel a better filmmaker already.

If this has helped/inspired you please do let me know. I can be found on all the social medias @waynesables or via the email at artistic@waynesablesproject.co.uk and my website www.waynesablesproject.co.uk.

9. Projection mapping with HeavyM basics

Projection mapping using HeavyM

You’ve probably heard of projection mapping, in fact you’ve probably seen it. It is ever more present in today’s music shows, light nights, New Years celebrations and arts festivals and they look amazing right?. Now we need to just manage expectations the big event projection mapping you’ve seen probably cost shed loads and by that I mean thousands, uses loads of projectors, has had specific content created and a full crew managing and running it. Don’t let that put you off, we can work up to that. The concept is the same. 

You may have seen that the first paragraph is the same as my previous blog xxxxxxinsert blog link xxxxxxx that’s because the information is the same where the rest of this blog differs from the previous is this one uses the projection mapping software HeavyM (https://heavym.net).

I have to say HeavyM is a phenomenal piece of kit, it’s intuitive and easy to use. One of the great things about HeavyM isn’t the software it’s the additional stuff you can buy. The bods behind the programme have created something called the Olga kit.

This is direct for the HeavyM website:

The Olga kit is the perfect accessory to add volume and relief to your project. It works very well with HeavyM. Indeed, the trianglugar shapes and ready-to-use effects included in the software, allow for a simple and fast project creation. For instance, here on the right, the same arrangement of triangles is sublimated in several different ways with the effects of HeavyM.

Right back to the software.

Once you open the application you’ll see the below screen.

Let’s talk through it. At the top you have a series of shapes -square, circle, triangle etc double click these and they’ll appear in the interface. You will add media to these for your projection map. As you’ll see there are small dots on each of the shapes. You can control the size and shape with these. On the far right is here the media assets live (see below image).

In the assets section you can control virtually every aspect of the asset, from the timings, colour, opacity, gradient etc. The best way to find one that suits your needs is to experiment  

At the bottom you’ll see the scenes this is same as in Madmapper. Once you’ve built your projection map click the scene and it’ll store it. You can then change the image/animation etc, then click the next scene to store that and so on.

When you click projector icon you’ll get a second screen appear which will show you what is projected. You will have to have a projector connected to see this. 

Note: The icon with the square and the plus sign is how you add your own media such as a video.

Honestly it’s really that simple. You can create scenes as complex as your imagination will allow.

Here are a few projection maps I’ve created both with and without the Olga kit.



If this has helped/inspired you please do let me know. I can be found on all the social medias @waynesables or via the email at artistic@waynesablesproject.co.uk and my website www.waynesablesproject.co.uk.

8. Projection Mapping – MadMapper basics

7a – Bonus blog – Capturing live theatre performance – multi camera set up

5. Independent filmmakers vs companiesCapturing live theatre performance – multi camera set up

Recently I published a blog post on filming live performance which covered the basics of filming a live show, I recently however did a multi-cam film shoot for a theatre show and realised there’s a few things extra that I’d like to add.

On a multi cam set up there are a few things that you must figure out before we film.

I’ll assume you have not read my previous blog for catching like the form and so will do a quick recap here.

When shooting on two cameras let’s say camera A and camera B. Camera A will be your master camera, this wants to be placed ideally at the back of the room with a full view of the stage. You will want to put the camera on a tripod, lock it off so you’ve got a wide shot of the entire space. If everything else fails you will have this master shot to give to the company so they can they sell their show and they have a record of what took place.

When you set up camera A up make sure you work with the lighting and sound technician to get the level correct for the show, get them to turn the brightest light in the show on so you can set your Iso and aperture that way you won’t overexpose.

Remember, if you are shooting this on your own this camera will be unmanned so it needs to be set correctly. With Camera A ideally you will want to get a line out of the sound desk so you have a clean feed. In an ideal world, the actors will be miked up. This will save you no end of trouble when you enter the postproduction stage and will give you good audio levels.

Now you’ve got cameras a set ready charged with a fresh clean memory card in let’s move onto camera be. When doing a multi-cam set up, you really need to use the 180 rule.

What is the 180 degree rule

The 180 degree rule is a filmmaking guideline for spatial relations between two characters on screen. The 180 rule sets an imaginary axis, or eye line, between two characters or between a character and an object. By keeping the camera on one side of this imaginary axis, the characters maintain the same left/right relationship to each other, keeping the space of the scene orderly and easy to follow.

When the camera jumps over the invisible axis, known as crossing the line or breaking the line, and it can produce a disorienting and distracting effect on a viewer.

Camera B will be your close up/mid shot tracking. This means you can cook close on the actors you can follow the action you can create an intimate feeling as if the camera is almost on stage with the performers.

A cautionary note, make sure you set your ISO frame rate, Kelvin level the same across both cameras. If you are using the same type of camera, this won’t be an issue. Again, this will save you more time in postproduction if you’re having to cut between two cameras.


When I do a multi-cam set up I always send the footage from camera A straight off to the company so they have a record of the show which they can then send out to producers/theatres etc.

Once you’re in the editing suite (or in my case your laptop) you can sync both cameras together using the editing software of your choice.

If this has helped/inspired you, please do let me know. I can be found on all the social medias @waynesables or via the email at artistic@waynesablesproject.co.uk and my website www.waynesablesproject.co.uk.

5. Independent filmmakers vs companies

7. Creating a dance film

Upon The Stairs filming

7a – Bonus blog – Capturing live theatre performance – multi camera set up 

Northern School of Contemporary Danc
Dance Film shot in Leeds
Wayne Sables

So you’re thinking of making a dance film?

Well, I don’t mind telling you you’ve come to the right place. As you probably know I began my career as a dancer before moving into film. I’ve made quite a few dance films both for myself and for other people.

Is the dance film for yourself? i.e. it’s your project or are you making a dance film somebody else i.e. a choreographer? The reason I ask is that you approach each slightly differently.

For the sake of this blog I’m going to assume your making a dance for camera work.

Northern School of Contemporary Dance
Wayne Sables

The first thing you want to figure out is your choreography. When making material for the camera you have to approach it slightly differently,  you don’t have a front per se. Meaning that the audience don’t watch it from one angle. One of the things I really love about making dance films is that you essentially re-choreograph it when filming and again when editing. You in control every step of the way. It’s exhilarating.

If this is your first time making dance films my advice is to try lots of things, try lots of ideas and definitely don’t be afraid to get it wrong. The great thing about working on film is that it is NOT live, you can do as many tasks as you and your dancers are able and they all don’t have to be done in the same day. (Obviously if you’re on a budget that impacts things somewhat).

Quick note; making a dance film is different to making a dance promo for a dance piece so for example if you’re making a dance promo you need to make sure you get the key points and narrative of the dance piece across in a short space of time, if you’re making a dance film you are re-writing or developing the narrative.

Intense Attachment
Intense Attachment a dance film  
Wayne Sables

The first thing you’re going to want to do is figure out the concept and a rough guide to what the material will look like, if you are making specific material for the camera you will choreography it with the lens in mind. You don’t have to have a fully formed choreography, it can be sectional or bitty or just small ideas. You can tie it all together in the edit if necessary. You’re basically building up you narrative. In filmmaking terms this would be called the narrative character arc in dance terms it’s getting your shit together.

Once you figure out how the content is put together and roughly what you want to say it probably  would be a good idea to storyboard and shot list it. This will keep you on track when you start shooting the film and it will also give you a good sense of what it look like in the planning stages without wasting time and resources. Note; this is just one way to do it. You could of course just dive straight

interactive film Man Made Youth Company
Wayne Sables

Once you’ve got your shopping list and more storyboarding place it’s time to get cracking. Now there are no right or wrong ways to feel anything really it’s all down to your artistic interpretation, you’re filming and I, and what you want to say in how are you want to say it.

There are a couple of things however that I think will really help you create something dynamic. As you’re filming movement you have lots of choices as to how you capture the action. Taking the camera off the tripod and having movement within the shot always add another layer of dynamism to the finished film. Then it’s a case of cutting between establishing wide shot / close-ups / micro shots etc  focussing in the eyes or the body parts cutting across screen, you know the drill.

The possibilities really are endless (for those that are old enough that’s a Bob Hoskins reference). Make sure you get lots of coverage and lots of different angles of the same material, that way you’ll have lots of options in the edit process, you can always recut the movement if you’ve not quite captured it.

Intense Attachment
Wayne Sables

There is NO one correct way of working or creating a workflow when making films (despite what film schools will tell you). There are a few  simple things such as do make sure you press the record button (I literally have done that before, if that happens you can always say let’s do another take for good luck). Try different filming approaches such as getting static shot so you’ve got coverage (you can always cut back to this if the other shots don’t work), to following the action so in affect the camera almost becomes part of the dance.

Right let’s assume you shot all of your footage and I’m guessing there is a lot of it (if you’re anything like me). It is and I can’t stress this enough IT IS vitally important that you figure out a comprehensive filing system. The last thing you want to be doing is searching for ages to locate specific shots or sections of your peace.

Wayne Sables

So go figure out a good filing system. I do something like card one, day one and the content that is on it and then I go through each clip and label adding notes on what is in that clip. I know it sounds boring as hell and it is but I promise you it will save you time in the edit. Some cameras also allow you to do this on the camera itself so it burns the metadata into the file. Proper timesaver.

All you need to do now is pop it in the editing program of your choice, get your second creative wind and get cracking and create a really amazing dance film.

I personally would love to see it once you finished it so please do send me a link.

If this has helped/inspired you please do let me know. I can be found on all the social medias @waynesables or via the email at artistic@waynesablesproject.co.uk 

Here is a link to some of the dance films i’ve made. There are loads more in the film page http://www.waynesablesproject.co.uk/films/


Man Made Youth Company
Wayne Sables

3. Cinematography- your film needs it

8. Projection Mapping – MadMapper basics

Projection mapping

Madmapper basics

You’ve probably heard of projection mapping, in fact you’ve probably seen it. It is ever more present in today’s music shows, light nights, New Years celebrations and arts festivals and they look amazing right?. Now we need to just manage expectations the big event projection mapping you’ve seen probably cost shed loads and by that I mean thousands, uses loads of projectors, has had specific content created and a full crew managing and running it. Don’t let that put you off, we can work up to that. The concept is the same.

Projection Mapping uses everyday video projectors, but instead of projecting on a flat screen (e.g. to display a PowerPoint), light is mapped onto any surface, turning common objects of any 3D shape into interactive displays. More formally, projection mapping is “the display of an image on a non-flat or non-white surface”.


There are a few projection mapping software options out there I personally use Madmapper (https://madmapper.com/) and have recently discovered lightform (https://lightform.com/) and have used HeavyM (https://heavym.net/en/) in the past. The fourth option is a programme called resolume (https://resolume.com/), which is actually VJ software but does have projection mapping functionality.

I will focus on madmapper for this blog. I will do versions on lightform and heavym so it doesn’t become to overwhelming and to avoid this being to long.


You can download a free version of Madmapper which has full functionality you will have a watermark and you won’t be able to save your project. However bbefore you commit to either buying or renting the software you’ll be able to test it out to see if it’s a good fit for you

Madmapper Is available for both Mac and PC. On a basic level you can do phenomenal things, if you are technically aware you can add any number of DMC fixtures, use Syphon/Sprout, Midi, NDI, OSC, DMX, Artnet, sACN, HID devises to connect any Madmapper parameter live. 

Once you open Madmapper you’ll see the start up screen

Let’s break this down. On the left you have the quads. These are the shapes you’ll map, there are 4 basic shapes, squat, line, triangle and circle. These can all be manipulated to fit your surface. You also have a mask and 3D function (that’s beyond the basics of this blog).

On the far right you have the media panel. There are lots of stock media that you can adapt. Or by clocking the plus button you can import your own media (including films, animation, photos etc).

At the bottom you have something called scenes. This is where you can store your projection maps and play them back later. It’s a great addition to the interface and give you much more flexibility.

To add content to your quads you move over to the media section (on the far right) and double click the media.

Once you’ve build your projection map you can connect your projector. To do this in the top right of the interface is a projector symbol. Click that and select your projector

(you can have multiple projectors connected but that goes beyond the basics of this blog. I’ll add links to online tutorials at the end).

Remember once you click the scene button at the bottom it stores the media in the quads. You can then add new media, or adapt the quads or add new ones and as long as you click the second scene button that will also be stored. You can be as simple or as complex as is needed.

Here is a great article on shortcuts for developing you projection mapping.


Here are some useful links to online tutorials .



As with all of this stuff the best way to learn is to have a go. I will do another blog on using different mapping software both on a laptop and tablet.

Here is a great little video to inspire you.


If this has helped/inspired you please do let me know. I can be found on all the social medias @waynesables or via the email at artistic@waynesablesproject.co.uk

4. Making marketing videos

4. Making marketing videos

Hello there,

So you’re looking to make a marketing video hey? Cool right on. Have you seen the other blogs i’ve done? If not they maybe worth a gander, I’ve covered smart phone filmmaking, cinematography and capturing good audio. Let’s assume you have ether checked them out and popped back over or you already know about that stuff and crack on.

I should probably introduce myself my name is Wayne Sables, I’m a filmmaker (go figure), projection mapper (blogs coming on that soon) and a digital artist. I made my first film in 2004 and fell head over heels in love with filmmaking. I’ve been very lucky to have been contestant making films since then. I’ve made all sorts, some good, some great and some rubbish. I’ve been thinking about what to write to help you on your journey to creating marketing videos. I did a little googling and came across the article below. It’s better than anything I could have written to be honest so to save you having to ready my drivel I’ve popped it below.

I can’t find the original author but kudos it’s brill. I’ll check my search history (dangerous I know) and add it in later. In the mean time enjoy.

Marketing Videos: Pre-Production

1. Create a Storyboard and/or Shooting Script

The best marketing videos don’t just happen – they’re a result of meticulous planning and preparation.

Before you even think about getting your camera equipment ready, consider putting a storyboard and shooting script together. Storyboarding helps you figure out exactly what shots you need before you start filming, and a shooting script is like a screenplay for your video.

Storyboard panels for ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2’

You don’t have to draw a stunning masterpiece for your storyboard. In fact, you don’t need to draw it at all. You can use a series of still photographs as a storyboard, or even rough sketches or stick figures – whatever is easiest. Just make sure you know what shots you need before you start filming.

Remember – the more time you spend planning your marketing video, the less likely you are to find yourself missing footage later on.

2. Prep Your Presenters or Interview Subjects

Make sure all your presenters or subjects know what’s expected of them beforehand to minimize mistakes or wasted time on the day of the shoot. You should have a good idea of what the finished product is going to look like long before you arrive at your location, and your presenters should know exactly what they’re doing.

Also, try to avoid having your presenters memorize pages upon pages of script – they’re probably not actors, and asking this of them is likely to cause more anxiety (and mistakes) than allowing them a little freedom.

3. Know What B-Roll Footage You Need

Planning to intersperse shots of your team hard at work into your video, or cut away from your presenter to other footage? Then you need what videography professionals call B-roll footage.

B-roll is essentially any footage that isn’t of your primary subject. If you’re filming an explainer video showcasing your software product, B-roll footage might include shots of satisfied customers using your product, or an external shot of your offices, for example.

Whatever footage you need, figure it out during the pre-production phase to avoid situations in which you need footage you don’t have. Remember – there’s no such thing as too much B-roll.

TIP: If you need a shot of something that would be difficult or impossible to film yourself, such as aerial shots or footage from exotic locales, you can always use stock B-roll footage. I’ve used footage from Beachfront B-Roll several times in the past, and the quality and diversity of the footage is excellent.

Marketing Videos: Production

Whether you’re shooting a video or taking a photograph, composition is crucial to the finished product. Composition is so important it deserves a post in and of itself. However, since this is a crash course, we’ll just cover the basics for now.

Composition is the proper term for how a shot is framed and staged, or “composed.” This refers to how your subject – whatever it is you’re filming – is arranged and positioned within the shot.

4. Use the Rule of Thirds

Whenever you’re filming anything (or taking photos), remember the “Rule of Thirds.”

Imagine your shot is divided into nine equal sectors by two horizontal lines and two vertical lines, like so:

Notice how the primary subject in the image is positioned where two of the four points (which are known as the “anchor points”) intersect? This technique is used to draw the eye toward the main points of interest in the shot. The viewer’s eye will naturally gravitate towards the top-left anchor point, and many people will spend longer dwelling on this area than other parts of the shot, making it a logical point at which to position the main area of interest in your shot – in this example, the face of the subject.

This is a pretty standard composition using the Rule of Thirds, and although it might not seem that remarkable, composing your shot in this way makes it easier for the eye to “read” and results in a much more aesthetically pleasing shot overall. Your audience probably won’t even notice the composition of the shot, because it just “works.”

The Rule of Thirds can be applied to just about any type of shot, including landscapes. Using the horizontal lines is a great guide for where the horizon line of your exterior shots should be, and where your subject should be positioned:

In the example above, the upper of the two horizontal lines is the logical horizon point for this shot, as using the lower of the two would result in the shot containing way too much empty sky. Of course, this might be precisely the effect you’re trying to achieve, so think of this as a guideline rather than a hard-and-fast “rule.”

Many cameras enable you to overlay this grid onto your viewfinder, making it easy to compose your shot before and during filming.

However you choose to frame your shot, make sure that you keep composition in mind, especially when setting up your camera. To read more about shot composition, check out this great guide to line, shape, negative space, and other composition techniques.

Marketing Videos: Lighting

Few things will ruin a marketing video faster than a shot that is either too light or too dark. Yes, you can correct image brightness and contrast in post-production to some extent (more on this later), but it’s better to get the shot right on the day of the shoot than relying on “fixing it in post” later on.

5. Avoid Conflicts Between Natural and Artificial Light

When it comes to lighting in video, different kinds of light have different temperatures. These color temperatures are measured in degrees Kelvin (°K):

Again, this is a complex topic and could easily warrant its own post, but for our purposes, all you need to know is that mixing two light sources with different color temperatures will make for an unevenly lit shot.

Let’s say you’re shooting an explainer video featuring a member of your team. You’ve chosen an indoor room with good acoustics (more on this later), and you’re ready to start filming. The room is lit primarily by fluorescent lights, but there’s a problem – a large window that lets in plenty of natural daylight.

If you position your subject too close to the window, you could run into a potential contrast in light sources – the fluorescent overhead light with a temperature of around 4500° K, and the daylight, which has a temperature of around 5600° K. This kind of conflict can be difficult to compensate for, and it’s a headache you really don’t need.

Wherever you’re shooting, ensure that your primary light source is even and consistent. If you shoot indoors, avoid rooms with windows. If this isn’t possible, position your subject sufficiently far from the windows to avoid the daylight interfering with your shot.

6. Manually Set Your Camera’s White Balance

Now we know that different light sources have different temperatures, we need to account for these temperature ranges by manually setting the camera’s white balance – a process that basically tells the camera what “true white” looks like in an environment to avoid color casting.

In the image above, the shot on the left has a blue color cast caused by the natural temperature of the daylight in the shot. The white balance of the shot on the right has been set correctly, capturing the true colors of the image.

Many cameras have an auto-white balance feature, but I strongly recommend learning how to set it manually. This avoids relying on your camera to achieve a correctly color balanced shot. You can learn how to do this by referring to the instruction manual of your camera.

Even if the color casting in the example above is the effect you’re trying to achieve, film the shot using the correct white balance and adjust the color in post-production – don’t rely on lazy camerawork to achieve a particular effect.

7. Avoid ‘Spotlighting’ Your Subject

Unless you’re filming a Broadway musical, you should probably avoid placing your subject in bright pools of direct light. Intense primary light sources can blow out the brightness and contrast of your shot and cause unflattering reflections on your subject. There are many different lighting techniques, each of which can be used to achieve a certain effect.

If you’re lucky enough to have a professional light rig, don’t just point it at your subject – make sure your shot is lit evenly, and use a reflector and/or a diffuser to minimize harsh spotlighting or shadows (such as the “mustache” in the far-left example above).

To learn more about lighting for video, check out the awesome videos at the Vimeo Video School.

8. Check the Acoustics of Your Filming Location

Before you start filming, check the acoustics of the location in which you’re shooting. Is there an echo? If so, try and find somewhere else to shoot. You can fix a lot of audio problems in post-production, but even a faint echo can be a nightmare to get rid of completely.

You don’t need to soundproof a conference room in your office (but hey, if you can, go for it), but be sure to bear the acoustics of your location in mind when you’re scouting for possible places to film. It could save you a lot of headaches later.

9. Shoot Multiple Takes

Even experienced presenters make mistakes, and the last thing you want is a situation in which you only have a single take of a crucial part of your marketing video.

Even Norse gods mess up sometimes.

On the day of the shoot, make sure to run through multiple takes. This provides you with a safety net in case you notice something wrong with one of the takes, and allows you to edit together your final sequence from several clips of the same sequence rather than relying on just one.

Even if the first take goes flawlessly, shoot another – just in case.

Marketing Videos: Post-Production

Before we dive into my post-production tips, you need to choose and familiarize yourself with your editing software.

I strongly recommend using Adobe Premiere Pro, which has been my go-to editing package for almost a decade. This remarkably robust editing program has everything you need to start producing professional-quality marketing videos, and the pricing plans are very reasonable (around $250 per year for an individual license), meaning that the barriers to entry have been lowered considerably, even for small businesses.

Despite being a comprehensive professional editing suite, Adobe Premiere Pro is also surprisingly user-friendly, and the learning resources and user community at the Adobe website are amazing.

If you’re working on a Mac, you might be tempted to opt for Apple’s Final Cut Pro. Although Final Cut Pro is a fine editing package, I still recommend using Premiere Pro. In my opinion, the ease with which you can seamlessly move between Premiere Pro and other Adobe programs such as After Effects and Photoshop alone makes it the stronger software program.

10. Tidy Up Your Clips Before You Start Assembling the Rough Cut

When importing your footage into your editing program, clean up your clips as you import them. Most editing packages allow you to set “in” and “out” points for each clip, reducing their length by trimming out pauses, giggles, and false starts.

Editing the final sequence together using trimmed clips is a lot easier than adjusting each individual clip on the fly.

11. Always Cut ‘On the Action’

When editing a shot of someone doing something, make sure to cut to the next shot during the action that your subject is performing.

For example, if you’re editing together a sequence of someone opening a door before walking through it, cut to the shot of the subject opening the door at the precise moment the person turns the door handle. Cutting away before or after the action can look jarring and distract the viewer. You may not even have to worry about this, but it’s worth bearing in mind if you’re working on a more ambitious video.

12. Assemble the Rough Cut Before Working Out Any Timing Issues

Once you’ve got all the clips you need imported into your editing program, it’s time to start actually putting the rough cut of your marketing video together.

Editing a sequence can get complicated quickly, so tidy up your clips as you work.

However, before you begin the painstaking process of frame-by-frame editing, get your clips roughly into place. There’s no point agonising over precise timing issues until your video has already begun to take shape. It won’t look pretty, but it’ll give you a solid idea of which parts of your marketing video need the most work.

13. Don’t Overdo It with Transitions and Effects

Unless you’re making a Star Wars parody video (which would be kind of awesome in a marketing context), don’t use radial wipe transitions – or star wipes, or any of the other “zany” effect presets that come with your editing software. The more attention to draw to your transitions and editing, the cheaper and more amateurish your video will look (and yet we still forgive George Lucas for this).

If you have to, use simple cross-fades to transition from one shot to another. Let your content do the talking, not your editing software.

14. Choose Your Music Carefully

Not every video needs background music, but if you’ve decided that yours does, be careful about your choices. For example, you probably wouldn’t expect to hear Norwegian death metal in a promotional video for an animal shelter. Ensure your music is suitable for your project.

Also, pay close attention to the licensing requirements of the music you plan to use. Unless you use royalty-free music or compose your own, most music is subject to stringent copyright restrictions that could land you in some seriously hot legal water if you don’t play by the rules.

Remember – a record company won’t care if you’re “only” using copyrighted songs in a short marketing video. It’s copyright infringement, plain and simple, and it could result in a costly lawsuit, so tread carefully and err on the side of caution.

TIP: There are several sites that offer royalty-free background music and sound effects, including:





You can also use certain songs and orchestral pieces if they are considered to be within the public domain. You can read more about public domain music at the Public Domain Information Project, and browse a selection of public domain artists and genres at Public Domain Music.

15. Don’t Assume You Can Fix Everything in Post-Production

Editing packages such as Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro are extraordinarily powerful and enable you to accomplish a great deal with your videos, but they’re not magic.

Don’t assume that any and all problems with your video can be fixed in post-production. Sometimes, you simply won’t be able to correct the brightness or contrast of a shot as much as you need to, or manage to isolate a single person’s voice in a room crowded with hundreds of people. Yes, it might be possible given enough time and skill, but post-production should be seen as a process to add polish and finesse to your video, not an opportunity to go back and fix mistakes that could have been easily avoided during a properly planned shoot.

Wow how comprehensive and good was that? I don’t know about you but I feel a better filmmaker already. The only thing I would add is i’ve recently switched from Premiere Pro to Davinci Resolve and Davinci it superb. Premier Pro is expense there is no getting away from that. Davinci resolve has a free and paid version. Th free version is great and to be honest you’ll use that for a good year before (if ever) you’ll need to upgrade.

If this has helped/inspired you please do let me know. I can be found on all the social medias @waynesables or via the email at artistic@waynesablesproject.co.uk and my website www.waynesablesproject.co.uk.

3. Cinematography- your film needs it



Lovely to have you here, I’m glad you stopped by,

How’s things?

You well?

Good, good now we have done the pleasantries lets crack on.

This is the third instalment of my blog on all things filmmaking. In this bit I’m going to discuss cinematography. What’s cinematography I hear you ask. Well let me tell you. In fact let’s let these chaps tell you (below). They explain it better than me anyway. Disclaimer I’ve found this on the world wide web and where possible have credited the author. If you a wanting to make your own films do check out my other blogs on smartphone filmmaking and using light in your films.

I would always recommend using a professional filmmaker if you have a budget, but if not I hope this helps.

Cinematography is the act of capturing photographic images in space through the use of a number of controllable elements.  These include the quality of the film stock, the manipulation of the camera lensframingscale and movement.  Some theoreticians and film historians (Bordwell, Thompson) would also include duration, or the length of the shot, but we discuss the long take in our editing page.  Cinematography is a function of the relationship between the camera lens and a light source, the focal length of the lens, the camera’s position and its capacity for motion.


compiled by Alexander Bewkes & Trey Hunsucker

Deep Focus

Depth of field is the measure that can be applied to the area in focus within the frame.  Deep focus, which requires a small aperture and lots of light, means that the foreground, middleground and background of the frame remain in focus.  In the image below, from Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941), the extended depth of field gives the frame a 3-dimensional quality, showing multiple planes of action at once.  It also allows the filmmaker to demonstrate the largesse of Kane’s dinner party and his personality.

The ability to achieve deep focus was the result of a technological development in the lens in the late 193os and its adoption as a discursive mode is largely attributed to Welles.

Shallow Focus

Shallow focus is a function of a narrow depth of field and it implies that only one plane of the frame will remain sharp and clear (usually the foreground).  In contemporary cinema, shallow focus is often combined with deep space for artistic purposes or to demonstrate subjectivity.  It is typically a feature of the close-up.  The following images, from Rossellini’s Rome Open City (1945) and Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette (2006), respectively, are demonstrative of shallow focus.

Each signals to a pivotal moment in the character’s life – Don Pietro awaits his execution and Marie Antoinette approaches the alter at her wedding.

Racking Focus

Filmmakers can change the focus of the lens to a subject in the background from the foreground or vice vera. This can be used to shift the audience’s attention or to point out a significant relationship between the two subjects. In this sequence from Wes Anderson’s Rushmore (1998), racking focus is used to show the miserable relationship between Herman Blume and his wife.

Zoom Shot

The zoom shot occurs when a filmmaker changes the focal length of the lens in the middle of a shot. We appear to get closer or further away from the subject when this technique is used. In this sequence from Rob Reiner’s Stand by Me (1986), the zoom is used on the writer to emphasize his newfound inspiration for a story.



The standard rate for a film is 24 frames per second. If more frames are added to this second the film will seem to slow down. The film will speed up if there are less than 24 frames per second. Doug Liman shoots this sequence from Swingers (1996) as a reference to Reservoir Dogs. By shooting it in 12 frames per second and then speeding it up to 24, he gives the group of guys a unique look as they leave their poker game to start their night out.


compiled by Trey Hunsucker & Daniel Hurley

Image A:

Orson Welles includes strange people and objects in the frame to reinforce the unsettling quality of his narrative.  The blind woman has no role in the story but her presence in the foreground as Vargas telephones his wife is vaguely disturbing.  Perhaps she serves as a subconscious link or an uncanny suggestion (for Mike and the spectator) that Susan is unsafe.

Mike Vargas telephones his wife.

Image B: Likewise, the inclusion of this sign and its message serve to increase suspense by heightening the viewer’s awareness of the possibility of evil lurking nearby.

Vargas telephones his wife from a general store.

Angle of Framing

When filming from below or above the subject of the frame, it is known as a low or high angle. Filming from different angles is a way to show the relationship between the camera’s point of view and the subject of the frame. In this sequence from Sofia Coppola’s The Virgin Suicides (1999), Lux wakes up the morning after homecoming lying in the middle of a football field. The high angle highlights the desolate field and her feeling of abandonment by Trip Fontaine.

Level of Framing

This refers to the height at which the camera is positioned in a given shot. Different camera heights are often used to display or exaggerate differences in points of view.  In this scene from No Country for Old Men, as Anton Chigurh approaches his victim, the low level position of the camera creates suspense by suggesting the perspective of an unsuspecting character on the ground.

Canted Framing

Canted framing is where the camera is not level but tilted. It is used in action films and other films with lots of movement. It may suggest danger or disorder. In The Borne Identity, canted framing is used just for this purpose; as the official moves toward Borne, the titled frame signifies the start of an action sequence.

Following Shot/Reframing

A following shot is a shot that follows a character with pans, tilts, and tracking. It is unobtrusive and focuses all of the viewer’s attention on the character. In The Godfather, the camera follows Fredo as he breaks up a party. As the camera follows him, we see his growing frustration with his brother and the slow-moving partygoers.

Point of View Shot

A point of view shot pla

ces the camera where the viewer would imagine a characters gaze to be. This is a technique of continuity editing, because it allows us to see what the character sees without being obtrusive. In No Country for Old Men, we see a trail of blood from what seems like Anton Chigurh’s perspective. This gives the audience information about how Anton determines the whereabouts of his enemy.

Wide-Angle Lens

Wide-angle lenses distort the edges of a frame to emphasize the amount of space in a shot. They are used in enclosed areas where space is limited. In Signs, a wide-angle lens is used for the extreme close-up of Graham Hess before a flashback of his wife’s death.


compiled by Charles Lennon

Extreme Long Shot

An extreme long shot is when the scale of what is being seen is tiny.  In this sequence from Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), the extreme long shot is being used as an establishing shot as Gandalf (Ian McKellen) enters the Shire.  It was most likely shot from a crane or a helicopter, and it shows the viewer much of the fantasy world that is Middle Earth.

Long Shot

A long shot is when the scale of what is being seen is small.  In this sequence from Kathryn Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker (2008), Sergeant Thompson (Guy Pearce) takes up most of the screen when upright, and then less when he is knocked down due to the explosion.  The entire background is dust and debris from the bomb that detonated, and the scale of the long shot gives the viewer the image that Thompson was very close to the point of detonation.  This is important to see because the explosion ends up killing him.

Medium Long Shot

A medium long shot is when what is being viewed takes up almost the entire height of the screen.  In this sequence from Sergio Leone’s The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1967), Blondie (Clint Eastwood) is seen staring down Tuco (Eli Wallach), and Sentenza (Lee Van Cleef) right before they duel.  Blondie’s gun is visible which is important for the viewers to see for a duel sequence.  This is why the medium long shot was used for most westerns.

Medium Close-Up

A medium close-up is when what is being viewed is large and takes up most of the screen.  In this sequence from Frank Darabont’s The Shawshank Redemption (1994), Red (Morgan Freeman) is seen from the chest up sitting in front of the parole board.  He is fed up with the process of parole and is making a long speech about the penal system while he is just about the only object in view on the screen.


A close-up is when what is being viewed is quite large and takes up the entire screen, such as a person’s head.  In this sequence from Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange (1972), the face of Alex (Malcolm McDowell) is practically all that can be seen on the screen.  He has an evil smirk on his face as he sits in the milk bar while the eery music of the opening credits still plays.  The close-up is the perfect way to introduce Alex because by simply looking into his face, the viewer can see just how terrible he is.

Extreme Close-Up

An extreme close-up is when what is being viewed is very large, usually this is a part of someone’s face.  In this sequence from Martin Scorsese’s Gangs of New York (2002), the camera shoots an extreme close-up of Bill the Butcher’s (Daniel Day-Lewis) left eye.  It is made of glass and the pupil is in the shape of an eagle.  Bill has this eye because he considers himself a patriot and a native to America, unlike the Irish immigrants who he is about to fight in the battle of the Five Points.


compiled by Ryan Smith

Crane Shot

A crane shot is achieved by mounting a camera on some type of crane device. The weight of the camera is countered by free weights at one end where the camera-man (or sometimes a remote control) can control the movement of the shot. Crane shots are often of practical use to the the filmmaker when a scene demands a shot that a normal camera person cannot take, as seen in the photo below.

A filmmaker using a crane to get the desired shot.

The crane enables the filmmaker to move the camera through the air in virtually any direction. Crane shots are often long takes with anywhere from medium to extreme long framing. In the selected clip below, the use of a crane shot with medium framing in David Dobkin’s Wedding Crashers(2005) allows the audience to feel as if they are floating above Jeremy Grey (Vince Vaughn) and Gloria Cleary (Isla Fisher) descend down the steps in the Cleary family foyer. Towards the end of the shot, the filmmaker is able to incorporate a third character, Christopher Walken that previously existed in offscreen space.

SteadiCam Shot

Steadicam shots are used by filmmakers, commonly, for motion tracking shots. A steadicam device is essentially a harness that uses the camera person’s body as the support device for the camera. Steadicam was a novel way to shot a scene as it isolates the movement of the camera person from the camera. Stabilizing mechanisms counter the movements of the camera person to eliminate the inevitable imperfections present in handheld shooting (i.e. shaking).

A filmmaker uses a steadicam at a sporting event.

A filmmaker can adjust the amount to which the camera person’s movement is isolated from the camera. In the following clip from I Am Legend (2007), Francis Lawrence uses an imperfect steadicam shot for the majority of the sequence. The use of steadicam, here, is to heighten the audience’s feeling of Robert Neville’s (Will Smith) surprise when one of the mannequins he has set up around a post-apocalyptic Manhattan has moved.


A pan shot is a camera movement which follows the action, or reveals previously unframed space, as it moves horizontally. Pans occur in varying speeds for dramatic purposes. Although the most basic concept of a panning shot adheres to the movement below, a pan can also incorporate zooms, tracking of action shots and/or movement of the camera base itself.

The motion of the camera during a panning shot.

In the following climactic clip from Miles Forman’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975), a tracking pan follows the action of Chief (Will Sampson) as he breaks free from the mental institution that imprisons him. As the camera moves from right to left the frame changes from showing the dark mental institution to facing out a window where the sunlight (resembling a new day of freedom) is just breaking on the horizon.


A tilt shot is essentially a vertical pan, where the camera moves up and down rather than from one side to another. Tilt shots often heighten an audience’s level of suspense as they are unaware what the shot will uncover. Tilt shots, like pans, serve to reveal some previously unseen space to the viewer. These shots may include zooms, tracking of action shots and/or movement of the camera base itself.

In the following clip from David Fincher’s Fight Club (1999), a tilt shot is used to reveal Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) to the audience. Simultaneously, the tilting shot connotes that Durden is in control of the situation (literally above Marla Singer, as depicted by Helena Bonham Carter). If Durden does not keep Singer awake, she will succumb to the drugs she may have overdosed.

Tracking Shot

A tracking shot follows action through space in a variety of directions. As the action, or character, moves along the screen the tracking shot enables the audience to feel as if they are moving with the action through space. This sensation is achieved by mounting the camera on a track, dolly, or moving vehicle to smoothly follow the action along a choreographed course. Recently, steadicam shots (see above) have made it possible for filmmakers to track more spontaneous action.

Tracking shots were originally called Cabiria shots after they were first used by Giovanni Pastrone in Cabiria (1914).

A camera is mounted on a track used by a filmmaker to follow the action through space.

In the following clip from Old School (2003), directed by Todd Phillips, a tracking shot is achieved by placing the camera in the passenger seat of a moving vehicle. This particular tracking shot follows an inebriated and nude Frank Ricard (Will Ferrell) as he goes streaking.

Whip Pan

A whip pan follows all the same rules as a normal pan. However, a whip pan involves a quicker movement that may momentarily blur the images onscreen. Whip pans are often abrupt and imply a rapid unfolding events (i.e. action movies).

The following whip pan from Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver (1976) doubles as a point of view shot. In this clip, Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro) quickly adjusts the focus of his attention from a roadside distraction back to the street ahead of him.

Here’s a great video Cinematography 101

4. Making marketing videos

If this has helped/inspired you please do let me know. I can be found on all the social medias @waynesables or via the email at artistic@waynesablesproject.co.uk and my website www.waynesablesproject.co.uk.

5. Independent filmmakers vs companies

Independent filmmakers vs companies

Ok so you’ve been tasked with hiring a filmmaker/company for your business and/or brand, how do you decide whether to use a company or an independent? Cost? Reputation? Quality? Prestige? All of the above?

In this blog I’m going to go through the pros and cons of both. It’s by no means conclusive, it’s my opinion having both run a company and been an independent filmmaker.

Let’s start with quality. There is sometimes a misconception that big companies have the best kit, the best resources and the best people. This certainly used to be true in the bygone days of film when kit cost you and arm and sometimes a leg. Today however with innovations in camera technology those costs have come down exponentially. Don’t get me wrong its still not cheap to get a good camera and the peripheral kit but its not going to cost you an organ. And there are the hours and hours and hours it takes to be great at using it we will definitely get on that later. In my experience you can’t differentiate the quality as much these days. Basically independents and companies are mostly using the same kits or have access to the same rental houses.

What kit should you look for? I get asked this question quite a bit and its a weird one to be honest. You can make a great film on your smart phone look at the film Tangerine. Shot on 2 iPhone 5s’ with a full crew. It did have a proper sound set up mind. To be honest I don’t really know and its not that important as long as the quality of the visuals and the audio looks and sound great winner winner chicken dinner.

So if you’re worried about the prestige of the company/individual making the film it’s maybe worth looking at the motivation for the film. It should be about your brand/product/company so who’s really that bothered as long as they are great at what they do, you build a good bond with them, they can take changes/feedback/amendments etc and they deliver an amazing film that telly your story.

When it comes to reputation (as you already know) you need to do a bit of research, look at their website, any reviews, look at previous films, speak to people who they have worked with before, There’ son point having an amazing filmmaker if they don’t turn up, are difficult to work with and make the whole process unenjoyable. Meet them before for a coffee and chat. I often find if you can socialise with someone you’ll get a good gauge of their personality and values and you’ll know if you can work together. I get most of my work from face to face coffee meetings, to be fair I love coffee so its win win.


Ok the biggy cost! Obviously everyone has a different pricing structure but independents generally tend to better value for money as they don’t have large overheads, expensive office rents, pension contributions etc. In my experience you usually get more for your money too as they tend to be more flexible. They tend to be able to film, sort audio and lighting etc. This of course isn’t the case every time. And it’s equally if not more important to have a good relationship between yourself and the filmmaker/company. Usually if your budget is significant and is more than a one person job i.e you need multiple cameras and sound, lighting etc an independent will have a network of fellow filmmakers/cinematographers that they can call upon. To be honest smaller film companies regularly bring in freelancers to boost their team on larger jobs.

As I mentioned previously i’ve run a company and I spend a lot of time balancing the books, squeezing every penny, maximising time which in turn meant that on occasions we’ve under delivered on creativity. I went back to being freelance a good many years ago and I love it. The flexibility and freedom is fantastic. In fact ive worked on more exciting projects than I would have done previously.

So pulling all this together if you have a great relationship with your current film company and its working really well why change it. But if you are looking for a filmmaker don’t discount the freelancer/independent because they are small in comparison the quality will almost certainly be the same.

If this has helped/inspired you please do let me know. I can be found on all the social medias @waynesables or via email at artistic@waynesablesproject.co.uk and my website www.waynesablesproject.co.uk

if you’ve not read my previous blogs here’s http://www.waynesablesproject.co.uk/making-marketing-videos/