3 ways to make a movie with just one person

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3 ways to make a movie with just one person
3 ways to make a movie with just one person

You have a camera, an idea, and everything you need to make a movie, but you don't have actors or a team of people to help you shoot it. Whether you're bored and want to film something, make a school project more interesting, or start your career in filming, there are many great ideas you can shoot without someone else helping you.


Method 1 of 3: Prepare to film

Make a Movie With One Person Step 1
Make a Movie With One Person Step 1

Step 1. Come up with a simple, recordable idea

Making a movie on your own means that you have to get rid of the actors or scenes that require several people to make them look good. Unfortunately, this condition eliminates most of the special effects and dialogue. However, these limitations can be liberating, helping to find unique and creative workarounds. Here are some ideas to keep in mind to record:

  • Art Films:

    some pioneers like Sadie Benning and Bruce Nauman have contributed greatly to the art world with nothing more than a camera and a willingness to experiment. You can do everything from video diaries to abstract videos that explore color and sound. Check out “Video Data Bank” for free for inspiration.

  • Short documentaries:

    all you need is a camera and a microphone and you can go out to interview and get shots.

  • Unipersonal:

    is popular on YouTube and on shows like La Oficina and is simply about talking to the camera, enunciating a monologue or doing a sketch. Sometimes this video is about commenting on a movie or a game.

  • Stop motion:

    Although it takes time, stop motion is one of the few options in which a filmmaker can make a film that looks professional on its own.

Make a Movie With One Person Step 2
Make a Movie With One Person Step 2

Step 2. Write a basic script

You don't have to cover the whole story with a loose idea, but having ideas on paper will guide you when filming begins. Almost all videos have a story, in one form or another, and almost all stories are divided into three sections:

  • The beggining:

    set the world of your movie. It can be you, the character, the location where you are going to record, or just the color or mood you want to explore.

  • The conflict:

    something alters, changes or modifies the original setting. For smaller works or art, it could be a change of pace or the introduction of a new topic. The "story" is told through this change.

  • The resolution:

    How does the story end, what is the message or idea? Some stories just end, but this implies that nothing has changed in the end.

Make a Movie With One Person Step 3
Make a Movie With One Person Step 3

Step 3. Work out the team thing

All you need is a camera and a way to edit the footage on a computer, but there is other equipment that will also help you make a movie on your own:

  • A tripod:

    If you want to film yourself in a scene, a tripod will be the best way to get a stable camera that can be moved, rotated, raised and lowered at various angles.

  • Illumination:

    one of the main differences between amateur and professional movies is good lighting. Even 3-4 clamp-on lamps purchased from a hardware store will be enough to give your film strong, consistent lighting.

Make a Movie With One Person Step 4
Make a Movie With One Person Step 4

Step 4. Experiment with the camera until you know all the features

If you are going to make a movie on your own, it is best that you know as many tricks as possible. The camera is your best friend and knowing how to manipulate it will be a big part of making your film unique and original. The best way to learn is to play, but here are some points you have to figure out:

  • White balance:

    change the "temperature" of your film or color. A well-configured white balance will ensure that all colors appear natural. Although it is possible to play with white balance to achieve different visual effects, it is easier to do so when editing.

  • Glasses:

    different lenses will profoundly change the composition of the shot. Play with wide angles, fish eyes, and macro lenses to change up the visual effects.

  • Focus:

    Mastering the approach takes a lifetime and you have to start now. Focus determines which part of the shot is clear and which part is blurry. Many cameras have autofocus, but to make great movie, you have to control it manually.

Method 2 of 3: Burn Your Movie

Make a Movie With One Person Step 5
Make a Movie With One Person Step 5

Step 1. Focus on telling the story or idea visually

Video is a visual medium and while narration and text are great for conveying information, they are not very flashy. If you are recording by yourself, you won't be able to use dialogue, actors, or lots of sounds to tell the story. However, what you have is all the time in the world to build good shots, capture good video footage, and work on creating attractive angles.

In each shot, have the mind of a photographer. Ask yourself if the image is interesting on its own

Make a Movie With One Person Step 6
Make a Movie With One Person Step 6

Step 2. Storyboard your movie

This is the comic version of your movie. It's an invaluable way of designing your movie that allows you to "see" it before you shoot it. So it acts like the manual for your movie. You can find templates online and print them out, or just draw your basic shots ahead of time with a pencil and paper.

Improvising for the camera has a place, of course. However, the storyboard is a good way to plan where the camera should go

Make a Movie With One Person Step 7
Make a Movie With One Person Step 7

Step 3. Use an external microphone instead of the one built into the camera

Camera mics are very bad and useless when you're away from the action. An external microphone will make a big difference in the quality of the production, as most audiences notice bad sound before bad video.

Make a Movie With One Person Step 8
Make a Movie With One Person Step 8

Step 4. Shoot in short intervals, not long takes, when you are recording a lot of material

Make discreet and engaging "scenes" instead of turning on the camera and leaving it running while you move. This ensures that you think about each scene separately and that editing is much easier.

Make a Movie With One Person Step 9
Make a Movie With One Person Step 9

Step 5. Stay in one place if you are going to record yourself

To focus a recording, center the image at a particular distance from the camera. If you move from side to side, the camera will have a hard time adjusting and will shift focus or blur.

Tape a piece of masking tape to the floor that tells you where to sit or stand for each shot

Make a Movie With One Person Step 10
Make a Movie With One Person Step 10

Step 6. Burn 3-5 times more material than you think you need

Films of any length are built in the editing booth. The more material or footage you have to work with, the happier you will be and the easier it will be to make a great movie. Capture the same shot from different angles, redo multiple lines, or record the atmosphere with atmospheric shots. Every extra shot counts.

Experiment with the shots. Take crazy angles, capture rare and abstract shots of everyday objects, and explore the area well with the camera. You may not use this material, but even getting an eye-catching one hundred shot will be worth it

Method 3 of 3: Edit Your Movie

Make a Movie With One Person Step 11
Make a Movie With One Person Step 11

Step 1. Edit the movie to tell your story or idea, not to be flashy

Editing is one of the most underrated art forms in cinema, but it is almost implicit. The best editors are invisible and cut and cut flawlessly. Consequently, the public should never think about editing. The shots just flow together. When you start editing your movie, make sure you know its story, idea, or thesis. All editions have to serve this idea.

Make a Movie With One Person Step 12
Make a Movie With One Person Step 12

Step 2. Learn to use the cuts to tell the story

The paint and brush editing is the "cut" that is simply going from one shot to another. This is the way the movies tell the stories, the images cut from one to another and each cut shows the audience a slight change or progression, for example "she enters the building" or "he is speaking now ". They can be simple or symbolic, like Stanley Kubrick's famous cut of a bone thrown at a space station in 2001: A Space Odyssey. Knowing how to use cuts to tell the story is vital to editing a movie.

  • Hard cut: a cut to another angle or shot without transitions. This is the most common in cinematography.
  • Smash cut: an abrupt change to a totally different scene or image. This technique draws attention to the cut, which usually indicates a surprise or a big change in the story.
  • Jump cut: a rough cut made from the same scene, usually at a slightly different angle. Although not common, it shows confusion or the passing of time.
  • J-Cut: Cut to the audio of the next take, but not to the video. This is a great way to link two scenes thematically or provide narration.
  • L-Cut: cut to the video of the next take, but with the audio of the first. It's a great way to show a character talking about something, like a promise, then following through (or not).
  • Action cut: a cut in the middle of movement. For example, show the door open in one room then cut when it opens to an outlet of the same door that opens on the other side.
  • Overlaying:

    when two different videos overlap, which implies that they are connected and intertwined. Often this resource is used in transitions.

  • Corresponding jacks:

    when the shape of one video is imitated in the next. For example, if you have a shot of your eyes and you cut your eyes with sunglasses or someone else's. This resource links the shots, but usually also points out a fundamental difference.

Make a Movie With One Person Step 13
Make a Movie With One Person Step 13

Step 3. Think about the rhythm and cadence of the scenes

Many editors think in terms of individual frames (the still shots you see when you pause the screen) and put them together the way musicians use musical notes. How does the movie flow? How does the speed of the cuts contribute to the rhythm of the video? Usually:

  • Quick cuts give a lot of power and propelling motion to the scene.
  • Slow and infrequent cuts build up tension, suspense, and focus. They slow down the movie, allowing the viewer to contemplate an idea or shot.
  • It takes a human brain between 3 and 5 frames to recognize an image. Therefore, you could confuse your audience if you try to go too fast. However, this could be the goal as well.
Make a Movie With One Person Step 14
Make a Movie With One Person Step 14

Step 4. Take the time to color correct your material

This is a process of adjusting the hue, saturation, brightness, and contrast of each video so that they all look the same. It's hard to get it right when you're shooting, so a basic color correction when editing is almost always necessary. All video editing programs have filters and effects for this purpose. Many programs have an automatic correction, but it often works or not.

  • You can also play around with color correction to achieve striking effects or specialty lighting, such as bright yellow highlights or deep and dangerous red tints.
  • If you want to present the film to festivals or events, consider paying for a professional color grading service.
Make a Movie With One Person Step 15
Make a Movie With One Person Step 15

Step 5. Watch the movie with friends and ask their opinion

The only way to become a better filmmaker is to share the movie with the world. Ask them to explain in their own words what they think happened and to comment on what they like or dislike. Brainstorm ways you can improve it together, and try to incorporate the suggestions into the next movie. Who knows, maybe they could help you do it.


  • Make your movies only have one idea at a time. Instead of cramming 4-5 ideas into a movie, focus on getting the best possible version of one on screen.
  • Experiment with pointing the camera at anything. You have the flexibility and freedom to do what you want, when you want.
  • If you add music while editing, make sure you don't have to pay for rewards or contact the author.


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