Film school isn’t for everyone. In fact, you may be surprised to learn that many of your favorite directors either dropped out or never attended film school to begin with. That isn’t to say that working in film and video does not require a great deal of education. Quite the opposite, filmmaking requires passion, talent and a very detailed knowledge into every aspect of the process.

Whether you’re just starting out, or looking to sharpen your skills, here are some filmmaking basics and videography tips to add to your curriculum.

Framing Up Your Shot

Whether you’re shooting yourself or working with a DP (a Director of Photography), the art of shot framing is an important subject to study up on. While there’s more to it than just putting your subject squarely in the middle of the frame, the overall shot should be framed up to best visually tell the story in relation to the script. It should be the logical progression of the shot before it, as well as lead into the shot that follows.

To help with your framing, here are some concepts to keep in mind.

The Rule of Thirds

Foreground, Middle Ground, Background

Types of Angles and Shots

Planning Your Movements

There’s several schools of thought on how much the camera should move in filmmaking. There’s filmmakers like Michael Bay who prefer wild, handheld shots with lots of movements in all direction, then there’s filmmakers like Wes Anderson who prefer stationary shots on tripods with as little movements as possible. The movements will depend on the story and the style you are looking to create, but here are some basics to get your camera moving.

Lighting Your Shots

Lighting your shots and your scenes is another aspect of filmmaking that requires extensive knowledge into the craft. There are numerous elements to consider like color temperature, light intensity, colors, shadows and composition to name a few. That being said, if you understand the principles well enough, you can often work with minimal set-ups and natural lighting to best paint your scene.

Here’s a great video on the concepts, but you can read up on some other resources and DIY lighting tips as well.

Recording Clear Audio

Probably one of the most overlooked aspects of film and video production is audio. It’s easy to put your focus on cinematography and lighting, but without good audio all of it is for naught. The good news, however, is that with some simple planning recording clear, quality audio is achievable with minimal investment. The tenants of audio revolve around removing noise (or grain) by focusing on proximity and direction.

Here’s a breakdown of the different types of microphones and how to use them for production.

Unlike high school or college, filmmaking is a class that you never really graduate from, instead it takes an endless appetite for new tips, tricks and techniques along with lots of practice. If you’re looking to continue your education online, here are some great resources to check out and follow.

Cover image via Fer Gregory