Film Production - Process of Making a Film

Process of making a film involves several specific stages that were introduced even in the first years of silent film, and evolved through decades, technological advancement, fashion changes and new eras of cinema. These important steps follow creation of the film from its inception, initial development, production, post production, release and many other steps between them. With rich history of film production, many countries around the world have created their own specific cinematic techniques that take full advantage from their region-specific traditions and resources (both technical and manpower).

Film clapper with clipping path

The basic components of modern day film production are:

Development

Before any large scale work has done on the film, producer, screenwriter and director gather and select the story they want to bring to life. This may be original story, adaptation of a book, play, old film, or reenactment of a true story. Then, initial “outline” consisting of 20-30 pages is created, describing film in simple way, helping producers and screenwriters to visualize final product. This synopsis is then offered to film studios, producers and distribution houses in hope to get the necessary funding for the filming. With finalized financial plan and the initial vision of the scrip, film production can being.

Pre-production

Film pre-production is the important stage of filmmaking in which every aspect of the movie is designed and planed, script is finalized, storyboards are painted, sets and locations are created or scouted, detailed schedule of every film day is finalized, budget is calculated (including insurance against accidents).

During this time Producer also hires entire film crew, ranging from 8-10 people for small indie film to several hundred people for Hollywood blockbuster. The most important positions in the film creation are:

  • Director – Responsible to manage day-to-day filming process, artistic changes in script, and controlling actors on set.
  • Assistant director (AD) – Responsible to film smaller scenes that often don’t include main actors, maintain work schedule for filming crews, manage logistics and more.
  • Director of photography (DP) – Supervises photography of the film (lighting, lenses, colors).
  • Director of audiography (DA) or Sound designer – Supervises audio recording and audio editing of the entire movie.
  • Unit production manager – Works with budgets and production schedules.
  • Casting director – Manages auditions to find actors for film roles.
  • Location manager – Finds locations for filming and creates schedules for work in those areas.
  • Art director – manages creation of production sets, and the look of the entire movie, together with Production Designer.
  • Composer
  • Choreographer
  • Storyboard artists
  • And more…
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Production

Period of time when film is shot on stage, booths or on locations. During this time entire film crew works together with goal to film movie as efficiently as possible. Many films are filmed out of sequence with their script, traveling from location to location, sometimes during several time seasons. Each scene is most often filmed with more than one camera, and each scene must often be filmed for dozens of times to capture all the angles of character interaction. Times that are spent to “reset the scene” between the takes can last between seconds to several hours.

Post-Production

With all the scenes filmed and stored, film enters the post production stage in which sound, music, effects, computer-graphic visual effects and other elements are added to the film, with film editor carefully picking which scenes, camera angles and durations are best. After all elements are added, and director and film editor are satisfied, film becomes finished (or “locked”).

Distribution

Final step in the film production is distribution, or manufacturing of film copies (film reels for several types of projectors), sending of film reels (or digital copies) to cinema. Consumer space is also taken care off, with careful production of DVD, Bly-Ray and other physical media, and special digital copies are prepared for digital distribution channels. Marketing department also receives large amount of film assets, which are used for advertisements and promotion.

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Inside a movie house
Shooting movie on beach
Shooting a film