Four tips to get cinematic footage from any camera (Part 2)

It's possible; here's how

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If you have any interest in filmmaking then chances are you tend to deal with a bit of gear envy. You could make that movie if only you were shooting on that new 8k sensor! We're here to tell you that the gear doesn't matter as much as you might think. The main thing that matters is the story you want to tell; that will outshine any technical equipment used to capture it. If your only option is a slightly older DSLR, camcorder, or even just your smartphone; we're here to help you out with some tips to get the most out of your options!

3: Cinematic movement

Your audience will quickly lose interest if your handheld footage appears to be slightly over-caffeinated, stable, elegant movements are so important to making your movie feel like a movie.  We would all love to have the latest sliders, gimbals, drones, cranes, but those tools aren't necessary to achieving those movements.

Get yourself a cheap monopod and stand on a ladder, using the monopod as a make shift crane.  Have a buddy push you in an office chair as you operate the camera.  If you don't have a slider use a coffee table or ironing board and put your camera on a book or towel and drag it.  Making steady controlled moves, count slowly to five as you do it, giving yourself plenty of "pad" at the beginning and end of the move, you will thank yourself later when editing.  

Hand holding a tripod with your camera attached can also help to steady the shot, use your camera's strap if it has one, or use as many points of contact as you can, pressing the viewfinder against your face can help brace the shot.  Bottom line is being aware of your camera and the story it is conveying to your audience by it's movements.


This is the most crucial aspect of anything you do in filmmaking.  Gathering light IS making a movie.  You don't need giant Hollywood lights, go to a hardware store!  Just know the basics and use the light to make your video a film!  You are using light to add depth and texture to your image, learn how to shape it, how to isolate a subject, what a harsh light or soft light can change the look and establish a mood.  Definitely play around, set a rehearsal day just to experiment with lighting positions.  Taking the time to light your scene is what will elevate your project from an amateur look to a professional look.  A properly lit and exposed scene will make it very hard to tell what camera you shot it with and your audience won't care as by this point they are hopefully invested in your story.

If you love movies, check out Film Challenge Detroit ! You can enter your own film, with the theme of "Fight or Flight," starting now.
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