Tom Inniss Journalist and podcaster

How to create amateur films: Equipment and software


I will confess that I am not a filmmaker by trade; Bhavesh is certainly much better qualified than me! I have only dabbled in recording videos, and that has often been to accompany an audio interview.

That being said, I understand that there is, and always will be, a significant difference between Hollywood blockbusters, and amateur films that are posted on Vimeo, YouTube or other video hosting websites.

While the equipment may be less expensive, that does not mean your film will be any less creatively striking. In fact, I have often witnessed that those who have less to work with become more creative with their resources, which makes for a more interesting and awe-inspiring end result. Remember that philosophy, for it is almost always needed in the creative sector!

Purchasing Equipment and Software

So, you can’t afford a camera that shoots in 6K and 3D simultaneously. That’s not shocking, but I like your aspiration. It is important to ask yourself ‘what can I afford?’ and be honest with your answer. I would recommend having an overall budget for the pursuit of your passion, and then allocating funds to software and hardware as you deem appropriate. It doesn’t matter if you prioritise one over the other, so long as the balance is right for the work you require. There are countless pages and forums all over the internet advising on one lens over another, or one piece of editing software over another. The best advice would be to get thoroughly stuck into researching, based on your particular needs.

Once you have decided what is right for you, WAIT! Do not hop onto Amazon and purchase immediately after making your mind up. Hold out for a while, have a look on other websites or even – and bare with me here – go into actual shops and ask the workers there what they recommend and if they can do deals. It helps to be patient with purchasing expensive items, as prices fluctuate so often.

Do you need to spend money?

Believe it or not, many of you actually have all of the equipment you need to create an amateur film already. The modern smartphone is a technological feat that is still evolving and advancing all the time. With discussions of docks that turn phones into fully-fledged computers, it isn’t long until EVERYTHING can be done from the palm of your hand. However, in the present, your mobile phone can still prove more than capable in recording an amateur film. The iPhone is the most popular camera in the world for a reason – it’s really good! Many Android phones are similarly impressive in the recording department, and both are already plugged into your social networks, meaning everything is ready for you to upload your footage when you’ve finished filming. If you insist on editing, there are a plethora of apps available.

If you are looking for a computer-editing suite, then you don’t need to immediately rush to the expensive professional software of Adobe or Sony. Both Microsoft and Apple provide free editing tools with their operating systems, Movie Maker and iMovie, respectively. These are more than adequate for quick and easy edits.

For those who are incredibly creative, or love a challenge, then you should perhaps look into downloading an app called Vine. It is a service where users can record a video of up to 6 seconds, and then upload it to the world. Very simple, very easy to get into, very difficult to do well. However, some of the most creative amateur content I watched last year was found on Vine. Everything from the hysterical to the sombre and thought-provoking was covered by users eager to share their fifte- six seconds in the spotlight. The BBC are now using Instagram’s service (which allows for 15 second videos) to deliver the news!

So amateur filmmaking doesn’t have to be expensive, but there is still a lot of consideration that needs to be put into it. Unfortunately there is no ‘one size fits all’ scenario, and you will have to do the legwork into finding what is most appropriate for your needs. However, that is part of the fun, and you build up your knowledge of the industry as a whole in the process.

Don’t forget once you’ve created and uploaded your film to share it on Voice!

About the author

Tom Inniss

Tom is a journalist and feature writer with interests in politics, technology and culture. He currently works as the editor of Voice - an online magazine for young people interested in art and culture.

Tom Inniss Journalist and podcaster

Tom Inniss

Tom is a journalist and feature writer with interests in politics, technology and culture. He currently works as the editor of Voice - an online magazine for young people interested in art and culture.

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