Cinema Perfecto Magazine - Issue 1

10/10's - Ten Lists of Ten Tips for Digital Filmakers & Professional Videographers

Ten Tips On Making Your Film Look More Professional on a Budget
By Karen Nedivi

It's an obvious giveaway that you're watching an entry level, low-budget film when the sound is horrible or even just noticeable, the actors are semi-professional, the sets are obviously sets, and the camera work and editing is a mess. The following tips will help any film look more professional without throwing a lot of money at your shortcomings.

1. Real people. Until you have the money to pay a professional actor for their time, you might as well use real people with an interesting look and character. Write your story based on that person and then they don't have to act, but just be themselves.

2. Real locations. I have seen too many student shorts in my film school days spend so much time building a set and lighting it from scratch, running around like a bunch of wannabe professionals. The result is a location that doesn't look real and distracts the audience from the story. Use locations you already have access to and write your story with them in mind.

3. Sound. If you notice the sound, it's bad. There really is no way to get around this one. Sound is important. Hopefully, you don't have too much dialogue and there is a good music score you can overlay, cause recording sound and mixing is important. If you can't get good sound, you might want to consider making it a silent film.

4. Create your own style. Pick something that will make your film stand out and go with it. You don't need a ton of money to make your film have style, you just have to stick with one idea and use it the whole time. A mistake is something that happens only once. A theme is something that happens many times.

5. Turn a negative into a positive. Don't have a tripod, go Blair Witch Project or Dogme 95. Don't have a D.P, use natural light and shoot at the most beautiful time of the day. Don't make it obvious that you couldn't afford what you want.

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