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In this day and age, making video for the web and even for television or theatrical release can be relatively cheap and relatively easy. Many well-respected sites, like MSN.com, post video shot on a cell phone and Oscar-winning "films" are being shot on camcorders that are practically consumer-grade. You may be behind this technological curve, but the turn isn't that sharp. So, if you really don't know nothin'; 'bout makin'; no videos or you've tried and the result kind of sucked, try again, but consider following our suggestions first.

The Three Phases of Production

If you have never made a movie before, it's possible to believe that all you need is a camcorder in order to complete your project. Only the simplest of projects can be shot without editing. If you really want to insure that your project turns out well, as much effort must be put into planning the production and editing of your project as is put into shooting the footage. Video production is divided into three phases - pre-production or the planning phase; production, when the actual shooting takes place; and post production, when all the elements are edited together to create your finished product.

Pre-Production

  • Preparing a Pitch - How do you visualize your project completed? This page covers topics that you should explore before you begin shooting, including audience, objectives, format and style.

  • Script or Treatment? - Television and film are humanity's latest adaptation of the storytelling tradition. The story you decide to tell through video will be the blueprint for your project. This page helps you work through the process of constructing a good story.

  • Storyboards and Shotlists - Once you've visualized your project, you'll need a plan for your shoot. This page will help you determine which shots you'll need to cut your progect together so that the story will be told in a clear and concise manner.

Production

  • Equipment - All you need is a camera, and a computer with basic editing software to make a video, but accessories like microphones, lights a tripod can take your project to the next level.

  • Basic Camera Operation - If you've never used a video camera before, this step-by-step guide might prove useful.

  • Composition - Even the practiced videographers can use a review of these basic rules.

  • Basic Lighting - Lighting often defines the difference between the amateur and the professional. Here are some tips.

  • Basic Audio - No matter how pretty the picture, you can't have good video without good audio.

  • Shooting Techniques - Practiced videographers have these rules down cold. How about you?


Post-Production

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