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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".
And don't forget: Hey it's a Wiki-page, feel free to extend / change this text!

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.

  1. Film the same scene from different angles: use more than one camera or play the same scene again
  2. Don't press stop too early at the clip. It's important to have a few seconds at the start / end of each clip to be more flexible when editing it (you can make nicer crossover effects with more footage).
  3. Filming is like taking pictures 25 times a second. So everything you learned in photography is more or less adaptable to videography.
    • Don't film against the sun, try to film with it.
    • Keep your hands still, and avoid shocks to the camera while filming
    • fix it

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.
Software: There are thousands of programs you can use to capture and edit your recordings. Here is a small selection:

Free video software:

  • Auteur (opensource, non-linear video editor)
  • Cinelerra (opensource video editing tool for Linux)
  • Cheese (opensource webcam tool for Linux, recording videos or take still pictures via GStreamer library, for Gnome desktops)
  • Kdenlive (opensource, powerful multitrack, non-linear DV and HDV video editor - see screencast tutorial here)
  • Kino (opensource, non-linear DV editor for Linux, support FFMPEG and GStreamer library, imports just via firewire possible)
  • Movie Maker (included in every Windows since XP)
  • PiTiVi (opensource video editing tool for Linux, Gnome desktop, using GStreamer library)
  • VirtualDub (video capture/processing utility for 32-bit and 64-bit Windows platforms)

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.

  1. Editing is a form to express yourself! You know that in the closing credits editors are often named separately.
  2. When you want to edit a movieclip you recorded, be self-critical! Watch edited parts in the timeline again and again, and think about if background, lights, colors fits your requirements?
  3. Rule of thumb: do not show more than 3 seconds of one clip / scene. Cut another clip (from different angle) into it. So the scene is not so boring to your audience. Sure, if want to make an experimental movie with 90 minutes and one shot, this rule doesn't count for you.
  4. The flow of the different parts should fit, if you want to make a movie with more action ("cut faster" - use small clips in your timeline) or with more passion and quiescence ("cut slower" - use longer clips, look after a calm camera view with less commotion).
  5. Don't use too many effects on your clips, unless you want to scare somebody (wink) . You wouldn't use thousands of sheet-moves and blink effects in a serious presentation sheet, either.

Export your movie (final steps)

You can export your movie as a file or burn it on DVD or Blu-ray discs. DVD and Blu-ray are standard formats and you don't have many export features to set up.

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!

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