This is a small HowTo to describe the basic steps making a movie. Its been started after Craig Cmehil s great idea of "30 seconds".
Preparation (ideas arise in your head - so write it down)
First of all if you want to make a movie have an idea. Not only about the topic or object you want to record. It's very important to become aware of the details for every single scene you want to shoot (e.g. from which angle you want to record your object, which picture language you want to use and how should your movie affect the audience). A script or a screenplay can be very useful to not forget any detail you thought about earlier. You'll see a script increases the quality of your movie and the story will be much more continuous.
Your thoughts before taking a camera should also include how the weather should be, what light situation you prefer (maybe you need additional lights), which sounds and from where should they be recorded (think about additional microphones) - important for post-processing.
Recording (where all creativity starts)
All you need to record your favorite clips is a video cam or webcam.
Capturing (digitize it to your computer)
Hardware: Be sure you can digitize the recording with your computer (PC/Mac or Laptop). An easy way to digitize your footage is to do it with a firewire cable (iLink cable, IEEE 1394 interface), most laptops have an adapter onboard and also modern PCs. Macs have had firewire on board for years, I think. Otherwise if your computer doesn't have such an adapter buy a firewire PCI-card and plug it into your computer; they're not expensive today.
Free video software:
Non free video software:
Additional video software for effects and DVD/Blue-ray authoring (non free):
Editing (why tools matter)
Maybe you often heard this sentence for audio tools: "It doesn't matter which tool you use, what counts is the result". This isn't really transferable to video tools. The more a product costs, the more functions, filters and video-transitions you'll have. Unless you ever used a video tool before, try out a freeware / opensource or a low priced product. If you've fun by editing videos, you can try out more expensive tools. To become a good movie editor is a long process and you'll get better with each single short-movie you'll finally export.
Export your movie (final steps)
If you're choosing file export you often have several options for the right encoding container, video and audio format. As you can see, a lot of different formats exist; in the 2000s we still have a format war. So it's hard to advise a special format; you'll have to find out by yourself which encoding fits to your quality requirement. A format which is free and has good encoding quality is OGG (container), which can use Vorbis as audio codec and Theora as video codec. Please respect the license aggrements by MPEG LA and don't use encoders you're not allowed to! Using H.264 codec for your videos may be is not allowed through license issues! Please read the license for your video encoding software carefully!