10 Essential Filmmaking Techniques

The following tips give guidance on essential film techniques that are critical for successful filmmaking. Some of them may seem more advanced than others, however all of them are important for both beginners and for those with experience. 

1. Tell a Story Through Visual Storytelling

Before you begin focusing on filmmaking techniques, make sure you have a compelling story with a beginning, middle and ending. 

2. Use Experienced Cast & Crew

Use experienced crew members, not just a warm body. If you know the crewmember’s work and it fits your production, then hire them.

3. Create a Production Design

One filmmaking technique for creating a production design is to have a “look book” that has images and drawings of the look and feel for each scene. 

4. Film the Story

Providing storyboards for the crew will reduce the technical questions and provide a blueprint for how each scene is to be shot. 

5. Camera Techniques in Film

Use a tripod for the basic shots and utilize pan and tilt movements to follow the action when it makes sense. 

6. Lighting Technique

Lighting techniques can help focus the viewer’s attention. Lighting can also demonstrate the mood of a character or tell something about how they view the world. 

7. Editing Technique

Sound Effects are ideal for adding a reality to a scene, but only if they are appropriate. Foley are the footsteps, body sounds and prop handling sounds that enhance the reality. 

8. Use Appropriate Music

Use music that does not have any singing or voices unless that is called for. Music with singing can compete with the actor’s dialogue. 

9. Sound Over Visual

Music and Sound Effects are usually secondary to dialogue. Sometimes music may dominate sound effects or sound effects may overshadow music. 

10. Special Effects and Advanced Filmmaking Technique

Once you have solid production skills then you can expand into the special effects field.