Shooting Tips for Novice Film Makers


You are ready to go, all the planning and preparation is complete, the next stage is to go out into the field and begin to shoot your masterpiece, but maybe you have never shot a video before, these basic tips will assist you in film production and hopefully help you to avoid some common beginner mistakes.

Common Mistakes

Novice film makers tend to get a bit carried away with all the different types of settings on their camera and sometimes over use controls such as panning out and zooming in, before you decide to zoom out on a specific setting, consider why you are using this option and how does it benefit your movie. Are you just fidgeting around with all the buttons on the camera or do you really need to use that particular option for this screenshot, these are questions you have to ask yourself before you start taping. If you do not really need to pan or zoom, it is better to save these options for parts of your film which require these settings to emphasise certain screenshots.

Unstable Camera

Everyone hates to watch a movie where the cameraman is continually shaking, making it impossible to focus on the action, this is one of the most common errors made by individuals who begin to make amateur movies. The best way to avoid having your camera shake while filming is to purchase a stable, reliable tripod or mounted stand, these products allow you to firmly secure your camera during video production eliminating any unwanted shaky scenes in your movie. Tripods usually come with adjustable heads so you can easily rotate your camera 360 degrees to capture perfect images when creating your film.

Allow for Overscan

When shooting a movie, remember that when your film is transferred onto a larger monitor such as a TV, it can end up looking like you are missing all the heads of the characters you are supposed to be filming, this can occur if you fail to consider overscan. Overscan is an  occurrence which cuts off about 10% of the picture when it is viewed on commercial TV sets, the margin size is reduced so film makers have to keep their shots in focus allow for this issue. If you shoot your movie with characters and the lens is directed too high you will end up with an unusable film production, you must carefully consider headroom and focus on keeping your target centred on your camera monitor.


One of the best ways to improve as a novice filmmaker is to learn from others around you, especially well established directors and film production company’s, if you are based in the U.K., go and visit a movie production company in Manchester or London, and see firsthand how they produce high quality films for a multitude of markets. Additionally, you can always go online and study various film productions.

Film production is a specialist field, you will not become an expert overnight so just keep learning and continue to enjoy the movie making process.