You want to shoot. You want to be creative. You want to change the world with your visionary filmmaking. Great. But do you have millions of dollars and decades of expertise? No? Then leave your lofty goals intact, but operate within your means. The best way to do that, is to keep it simple, stupid.
Here are three ways you can simplify your foray into the cinematic arts.
#1. Ditch the cinema cameras and use your DSLR.
Using the DSLR you’ve already familiarized yourself with will give you many advantages on set. It will be more intuitive for you to adapt your shots. It will be easier – and less costly – to equip yourself with a suitable range of lenses. You will be able to film in places where a cinema camera would stick out like a sore thumb. The list goes on.
#2. Light with a single light source.
Like everything else, this will take some practice to master, but trust me, it’s a lot easier to practice with one light source than it is to practice with three (or five or ten or a hundred). Also, it’s cheaper, you’re more mobile and there’s less that can go wrong.
#3. Color Grade like a boss. Yourself. In Final Cut Pro.
Many things will set your film apart from the multitude of independent projects out there. Good sound, yes. Good story, yes. Good actors, yes. These things will all set you off down the right path, but don’t think that the professional look you’re going for is out of your reach. Add “good color grading” to the list of things that will make your film a winner. Color grading always stood out to me as something you would only bother with if you had the budget and the time to employ a professional. It sounded daunting. But it’s actually a whole lot simpler than you might think. As long as you keep it simple, stupid. Color grade right in the software you’re familiar with editing in. Don’t use tech add-ons or install gigabytes of filters you’re not gonna learn how to use. Just make it look good.
Now that you know to keep all of the above stupid simple, why not pour your creativity into the story itself?