How to Make Your Own Indie Masterpiece

Do you ever find yourself watching a movie and critiquing the director for his camera angle choice, or the actors for having the collective skills suitable for a high school musical? Well then quit complaining and pick up a camera and get to work! If Spielberg can do it so can you right? In this Moment In History article we will delve into the liberation of movie making in this digital age and explain how you can get started making your very own masterpiece. Yeah, maybe this is only pseudo-history, but it's still really cool!

The first thing any budding director needs is a camera. Now if you are really serious you can go out and buy some very expensive hardware, but we are going to focus on equipment that the average person can afford. Although camcorders have been on the market since 1982, it wasn't until the late 90's and the introduction of digital cameras that quality indie films truly became accessible to the masses. Now not only are the cameras small, light-weight, and easy to use, but it is simple to transfer all of your carefully recorded work over to a computer where editing is no longer an exercise in frustration but a means of expression. You can now buy a decent camcorder for under $300, and an exceptional one for around $1,500, making filming an affordable hobby.

Of course, unless you are absolutely brilliant and every take is perfect, you will probably need some editing software. As mention above, with the advent of digital technology, editing has become much easier. If you own a Mac the best choice is Final Cut. This software comes in two versions: Pro and Express (which is more or less the same as Pro just without some of the advanced features and sells for a reasonable $199). If on the other hand you use a Windows-based operating system, both Avid and Adobe Premiere are popular, but also relatively expensive. You don't have to spend a lot of money to make great movies though. Both Macs and Windows come with free video editing software (iMovie and Windows Movie Maker respectively). These programs obviously have fewer features but they get the job done for simple films. In the case of more complex films, a simple search on the internet (I fight the urge to call it a Google search because I have a soft spot for Yahoo!) will return numerous other video editing programs that are free to download and use, and yes we mean legally download and use.

OK, so you now have your beautiful new camcorder and the latest in video editing technology, but what's a movie without some special effects? Below is a list of some cool and simple special effects that we have found in our travels. This list is by no means exhaustive. If you have an idea in mind there is probably a tutorial on the internet explaining how to do it, so just run a search and see what comes back. Remember, special effects can be dangerous so always be careful, stay safe, and have fun making your own award winning flicks!

Indy Mogul website

This site contains lots of videos on how to make all sorts of really cool special effects and tips on cinematography.

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