Film Making Production Process: Step-by-step – Final Take Production

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Film Making Process

From start to finish, concept to completion, this guide helps by breaking down the key steps of the film production process. Like most creative art forms, the film production process is known as organized chaos. By failing to follow the best process, projects of any scale or budget can be derailed.

By being more disciplined, Bollywood’s finest avoid bad shoots. By taking a good idea from plan to development and beyond in a structured way, classic movies are made.

Your own effort can be a success story too with a good knowledge of the film production process. This guide explains the production stages with practical filmmaking tips and resources, from pre-production all the way to promotion of the final film.

Pre-production

Film Pre Production Guide

Pre-production is the preparation part for the earliest phase in the film production process. Alongside the organizing of how the film will be shot, planning of your film happens here and sees an idea take shape.

1. Idea and Concept Generation

With the spark of a story or situation and the central characters you will follow, a film concept is the very basic thought of what it can be. For generating more ideas, this first, often vague notion provides a creative jump-off.  The high-concept idea is preferable in movie making. It’s easier to get people on board with the project if the film can be described simply and quickly.

2. Budgeting

You make a budget to spend money on your film carefully. Throughout the film production process, decide a realistic limit on what you can afford early enough and track spending. Think about where costs are necessary and the resources required. On purchasing or renting equipment, how much will you need to spend? In paying for people, props and costumes etc., what will be the likely price.

For financing a small film, simple budgeting formula is:

  1. Your script should be broken into separate pages (p).
  2. 8 script pages per day (d) might be shot for small films. So, by a realistic number, divide your total number of script pages. (p divided by d)
  3. Multiply by b by calculating a reasonable daily cost (c).

Consider using a template to record spending for a more detailed film cost breakdown.

You may be able to do a full shoot very cheaply or even for nothing, when starting out. Don’t let budgeting put you off your creative ideas and accept free help where you can.

3. Idea Development

A repeatable step is the development of film ideas. To refine the quality of your production along the way, it should happen throughout the film production process.

To have something you can write and film, at first, it’s about adding story details to the concept. New creative paths can be found with the help of brainstorming, be it alone or with other people.

Here, useful tools can be apps like ideas for Writing for iOS or Android.

4. Scriptwriting and Screenwriting

It’s time to write down the ideas when it’s ready. Detailing each scene, setting, and personal interaction, every film works from a “screenplay” or script.

Mostly about dialog and how the various characters speak is what is described as scriptwriting. Primarily you want a script that tells the story through their words along with the descriptions of place or situation that set the scenes.

For writing a good film script, the tips are:

Average 90-120 pages are feature film scripts, so make every word count. Good exposition is given by snappy and sharp dialogues.

  • Telling a realistic story is the key, so write how people talk which might seem obvious.
  • By taking a course or reading a book, study scriptwriting.
  • For easy readability and sharing, format it well.

5. Hiring, recruiting crew and cast

Adding personnel to the production is likely since we all need help occasionally. To reduce labor costs, lower budget ‘indie’ films use volunteers. Actors, set dressers or even camera operators are the roles played by friends, family and local film students.

But the process is similar, whether it’s on formal or informal terms. As long as the budget allows, you want to find the best people for each role.

  • Audition and screen-test actors and hold script-read throughs.
  • To check the technical skill of new crew members, watch showreels.
  • Advertise a job on a casting website and put the word out.

6. Production design and scouting locations

Scouting is known as finding suitable locations for film shoot. Best fitting those described in the script, scouts search for interior and outdoor places likewise.

  • Rather than changing the script to fit, find adaptable, versatile spaces.
  • For filming, get permission. If required, seek and secure permits.
  • For virtual backdrops, shoot in one place or use green screening.

For on-set previsualization, CamTrackAR is a free iPhone app. To create certain scenes for your film you would have to produce expensive production sets in the past. Now to create photorealistic environments for next-to-nothing, you can use CamTrackAR in combination with other free software like HitFilm and Blender or Unreal Engine.

Along with the building of any sets or lighting rigs, production design includes location scouting. To allow filming to start, think of it as preparing a location.

7. Shot lists and Storyboards

What will happen or what is needed, Shot lists go alongside to describe the contents of every shot or scene.

For the camera to follow, Storyboards are like a script. They describe key scene shots and camera angles with illustrations instead of words. They break scene action into a sequence of panels numbered for production reference, a bit like a comic book. You needn’t be an artist to get the point across when typically hand drawing in a rough sketchy way. In this part of the film production process, software like Plot can be helpful.

8.  Production Schedules

Typically taking the form of a day-by-day calendar, spreadsheet, or chart that timetables the filming,  a production schedule helps with keeping the film production process organized.

  • Allowing extra time for complex scenes, divide script pages into days.
  • For scene elements, make breakdown sheets and production strips.
  • Rather than in script order, schedule in practical filming order.

To instruct the crew on what needs to be done, by who, where, and when, call sheets can then be created.

Production

Production can begin with the project all planned. Including both the visuals and audio, this requires filming (or shooting) all the scenes you have scheduled.

9. Shooting

The main single step here is shooting or filming. All the shots and sounds that the script demands, it’s all about capturing the raw video.

The main concern will be your equipment assuming all the other elements are in place. Along with microphones and any lighting too, Foremost is a suitable affordable camera of course.

With different lighting or even adjusted dialog, you may decide to capture alternative camera angles. To tell the story in the best way, keep in mind to stay flexible with your vision.

For a successful shoot, top techniques are:

  1. To match your storyboard/shot list, frame and nail your shots.
  2. For adequate exposure and setting the mood, pay attention to lighting.
  3. Shoot multiple takes and if possible use multiple cameras.
  4. To capture audio, don’t rely on the built-in camera mic. Get a great sound.

While capturing mobile video, the CamTrackAR app tracks camera movement. Before post-production begins, it aids your shoot by previewing any 3D effects and green screening. For adding VFX in the next phase, this is a great tip for directors keen to optimize the shoot.

Post-production

All the work performed on the film after shooting is termed as post-production. It’s time to finalize the project ready to show once recording ‘wraps’ and footage is in the can.

Film Post Production Process

10. Editing

As written in the script and drawn in the storyboard, editing is crucial to telling the story and takes time with a lot of skilled work. Every best shot or ‘take’ for each scene is sequenced in this section. While also optimizing the running time, the goal is to entertain and captivate the viewer.

In a way that makes sense, start by storing and logging the filmed footage. As you ‘cut’ several versions, pick the best takes and make them findable.

  • Logged footage into a basic, linear timeline is placed by First Assembly.
  • The first assembly is trimmed into an overall first draft in Rough Cut.
  • A more in-depth look into refining individual frames and each cut between shots are given in Fine Cut.
  • The Final Cut includes all of the new VFX, sound effects, color grading, and other elements. With great software available, working digitally makes this process easier. With essential features for editors, HitFilm is a free video editing software.
  • Unlimited audio and video tracks are supported by Timeline.
  • For faster, sharper and smarter cuts, there is Adaptive trimmer.
  • Professional 4K export formats.·        
  • Dissolves, splits, fades and slides are examples of transition effects.

11. Sound Design

Usually, this process involves creating additional sounds that weren’t recorded on the set. To create a ‘soundscape’ that helps build an immersive atmosphere around your visuals, sound design typically includes adding extra sound effects including ‘diegetic sounds’ (sounds that exist in the scene) or ‘non-diegetic sounds’ (sounds that are used for emphasis or to aid in telling the story). Any audio used that isn’t music or dialogue is basically sound design.

It can have a big impact on how you use, edit and mix these elements. In addition to delivering narrative cues and creating tension, sound can “bridge” scene transitions as well.

There are helpful resources though it is always best to create your own sounds. Royalty-free music and SFX assets are available from libraries such as Epidemic Sound or BOOM Library. At freesound.org, you can also get plenty of free sound effects.

To avoid licensing issues, be mindful that using any audible commercial music is subject to costly permission.

12. Color Correction

The process of adjusting the colors in your footage to make it look more ‘true-to-life’ is known as color correction. To ensure that skin tones and other colors in the scene appear realistic, that everything is appropriately exposed, and that there are no weird color casts is the main goal of color correcting footage. Getting realistic skin tones is one of the most important and most challenging parts of color correction.

To color match all of your shots is another important thing about color correction since color inconsistency can shatter the immersiveness of your film especially if they were shot in the same location.

In the film production process, color correcting occurs before visual effects but after editing. This is due to the fact that a colorist only wants to have to spend time fixing footage that will really be utilized, and VFX artists can produce more realistic visuals when they have an authentic starting point.
To get you started for free, HitFilm comes with plenty of color correction tools.

13. Visual Effects

Visual effects, known as “VFX,” are images added to the movie that were impractical or impossible to shoot in the stage of production.

To add or delete items, people, places, and fireballs, VFX artists employ software. The objective is making the CG elements appear as natural and credible as possible within visual effects shots, or perhaps only to correct an issue that arose on-set.

However, available on the market are great VFX software for beginners. HitFilm is a robust VFX production suite with a plethora of professional features, in addition to being a free video editor.

Please note that to track, frame and preview VFX shots during filming, CamTrackAR can be used as well.

14. Sound Mixing

When every audio element within a film’s soundtrack is correctly balanced, it is called sound mixing. To set the volume levels for achieving clarity is the primary goal. To achieve a crystal clear ‘mix’, audio processing techniques like equalization (EQ), panning, and compression are then used.  To help define the environment and make everything sound as though it was recorded together in one space, sound mixing artists might also use effects like reverb or delay. This part of the film production process can be lengthy depending on the amount of recorded sound.  As much as 50-100 hours of sound mixing work can be required in a short film of 30-40 minutes long.

For good film sound mixing, 3 techniques are:

  1. Using a good pair of studio speakers or headphones, monitor the mix.
  2. Across different devices, listen to how rough mixes sound.·        
  3. To set loudness, use HitFilm’s audio mixer meter.

15. Color Grading

Color grading is different from color correction. To style a film’s picture color in less natural and more intentional ways, color grading is used and it is more artistic. Using certain palettes or filters, every frame can be re-tinted digitally. Often a sense of time, mood or atmosphere can be suggested by this.

With 32-bit color grading features at any resolution, HitFilm helps here.

  • Across the whole or part of a frame, apply custom color.
  • To select the best possible hues, use color wheels.
  • Up to 8K UHD, footage can be graded.·        
  • From a library of color grading presets, pick wisely.

Distribution and Promotion

It’s time for release with the film ready to go. How and where the finished product gets screened is termed as distribution. Promotion is the way in which the audience hears about it.

Film Distribution and Promotion

16. Distribution

A film distributor markets and screens finished films. The distributor releases the film to the public, separate from the film’s main production team.

Four of the top film distributors in the trade are Disney, Warner Bros, Sony and Universal. They set the release dates and run the advertising by working with theaters or even airlines.

Extra work may also be needed in case of global film releases. Often handled by the distributors are foreign language subtitles and regional age certification.

However, the distribution of films is evolving. New ways to premiere movies are made possible by the rise of streaming TV platforms like Netflix, Amazon, and Disney+.

17. Promotion

Any work done to make people aware of a film is considered promotion. Usually devised and run by the film’s distributor are the marketing campaigns. However, a preview or trailer precedes most of the film promotions.  To achieve maximum impact, these are in fact made by specialist agencies rather than the production team. Playing a central role in attracting audiences, trailers are shown in cinemas, on TV and online.

For making an effective film trailer, top techniques are:

  • With TV spots 15-60 seconds, cinema trailers average 1.5-2.5 minutes. So, get shorty.
  • Without spoiling the plot, give glimpses of the most exciting scenes to tantalize viewers.·        
  • To speak easily and explain things fast, try using a voice-over or text titles. Like Facebook and Twitter, film promotion today leans heavily on social media. They will still include links that take users to the trailer’s official website or YouTube channel.
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