DIY Film Project - Create a Weekend Movie

DIY Film Project

If you want to make movies you have to start somewhere – if you have some free time this weekend and a camera at the ready it is time to get moving!  Here are 5 great ideas to get you started:

  1. Short, Engaging Fictional Movies

Making movies is easier than you think!

Not only do you get all the fun of filming and editing you also get to put your ideas and visions on screen.  Being a filmmaker has never been easier – with excellent and affordable DSLR cameras you can turn any location into a film set.  That said, it is never just a case of ‘point and shoot’ and you will need to take into account several factors before you pick up the camera including:

  • Your story: You need a basic idea as a minimum, but if you can come up with a storyboard or script even better.
  • Your cast and crew – family and friends often volunteer, but to get a quality movie you will ultimately need professional actors.
  • How you will light the movie, the audio recording equipment and how you will move the camera
  • Locations – depending on where you are you could need a permit or permission to film
  • Logistics – camera angles, transporting cast and crew, feeding everyone, etc
  • Contingency planning – what to do if things don’t go completely to plan.

Putting in some forward planning means that you are learning the film making process as well as enjoying the experience of filming on the day and at the end of it all you will get to watch a much higher quality product.


  1. Rocking Music Videos

Music videos are one of the easiest movies to make and perfect if you are just getting started.  Music videos lend themselves well to most subjects, in fact, you can cut together various shots of the most mundane events and adding music will produce something very entertaining.

Anyone can pick up a smartphone and film their dog, but you are learning to be a filmmaker so some planning is needed to make sure that your music video shows an element of finesse.  The wonderful thing about music videos is that you can make them fairly easily by taking multiple shots around a theme and then adding appropriate music.

For example, perhaps you like the beach.  Why not take some footage of your family enjoying a day at the seaside.  ing the changes by mixing some handheld footage of people having fun, mix with close-ups, use depth of field, capture seaside objects like shells, the surf, beach balls, views across the dunes – you get the idea!  Use your imagination.  At the end of it all, you can cut it all together and add some appropriate music.

You can experiment with different techniques, different points of view and different camera movements to give the video a unique feel.  Even if you feel that the finished version is not top-of-the-line the beauty of music videos is that adding a soundtrack does boost the impact of the finished product.

Once you have made a few of these videos word will spread and you may find that a friend or family member asks you to make a few videos for them.  If you know anyone with a music band, offer to make a classy video to showcase their talents.

Filming a Music Show

  1. Big Events & Celebration Videos

Music videos are a great launchpad to making videos that highlight key events on special occasions like birthdays, weddings and other events.  These types of films are usually 3-5 minute shorts and work well when you add music.

Maybe the news of your film making has spread or a family member asks you to film their wedding.  You like the idea’s a scary thought! 

With a little planning, you will be able to produce a good looking, quality film that would be the envy of a professional videographer.  You will be going through the same process as for the music video but instead of a band, there will be a happy couple and lots of interesting things happening throughout the day.

The key to a good event video is to take shots of all the essential goings-on.  You will only need to include a few seconds in the final edit and you can add an appropriate soundtrack.  For things like weddings, fading out the audio so you can hear the vows or parts of a speech always goes down well. 

You may decide you have a feel for event film making and can start to advertise your services as a weekend videographer!

Wedding Photography

  1. Compelling Documentary Movies

Once you have done a few music videos, got to grips with short movies and maybe done a celebration film or two you might be wanting to move into non-fiction.  Equipped with your new camera, lights and other equipment you collect along the way you will be able to make a film that has an impact on the viewer.

A basic, short documentary can be just as easy to make as a music video but includes interviews or someone telling their story. For example, a wedding video could include each member of the couple telling the story of how they met.  Using this as a base and editing in all the highlights of their day, adding a soundtrack and keeping the natural audio of the vows and so on can make your film something they will treasure forever. Who knows? It may be something that could become a good money maker too!

interview lighting

  1. Going Pro?

Making short documentaries can lead to a whole new career.  These form the basis of all of the non-fiction genres you see on YouTube, right through to major TV channels.  These videos will always tell a story – often involving verbal interviews, a narrator, music, cutaway shots and all the other techniques you should now be familiar with.  Once you have mastered music and event videos this should start to become second nature.

There are plenty of opportunities to go professional if you should want to – think about things like local groups or organizations who need a film for something like advertising, a Kick Starter or other fundraiser or to use on their website or social media.  Perhaps someone is looking for publicity for a personal challenge they are undertaking for charity?  There is no end to the variations out there or the people that are looking for a good videographer.

In short, your weekend hobby could easily become a full-time career -  so get started today!

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