Film Production Process – An Easy Step By Step Guide
Film Production Process – An Introduction
After watching a film, very few people would actually sit back and imagine how much work it might have taken to make a finished film. They might in some cases check out how much the actors and actresses were paid or about the kind of budget of the film, but it’s impossible to know the true depth sitting as an audience or onlooker.
Film production is a demanding process that requires maximum attention and effort. The film production process, like most creative art forms, is known to be organized chaos. Behind every great film you have ever seen there is a back-story and it mainly revolves around how good or bad their production process has been. Sometimes great ideas don’t translate to the screen and it is because of poor execution of the film’s production process.
Generally speaking, there are three main stages in film production; pre-production, production, and post-production which are further segregated or divided into various other branches. Today is your lucky day if you are an avid film buff or aspiring to be a filmmaker, as we go through it all.
What is Film Production?
Film production is not as easy as the finished product seems to be. It is a lengthy process that takes many steps to conclude itself. Sometimes it takes years to produce a feature-length film. Film production basically goes through three main phases as mentioned above which are namely the Pre-Production phase, Production or filming phase, and Post-Production phase.
The first phase of film production is more of a developmental stage, where all the initial details of the movie are figured out before actually calling up actors and filming. This is done to avoid chaos at the film set. It heavily focuses on research, casting, and location scouting.
After pre-production is complete, shooting can commence. After the shooting is over the most chunky and time-consuming post-production phase begins, where footage is edited and arranged into a complete storytelling narrative. The production will then move into the distribution phase, and the final product is sent to theatres, a streaming service or like in the olden days a DVD is released. Let’s talk about all this in detail.
One of the first or earliest phases in the film production process is the pre-production phase which deals with the preparation part on behalf of the film. Planning your film’s central theme and idea happens here and sees an idea take shape alongside with organising logistics on how it is to be shot.
Step 1: Generation of concept and idea:
The very basic thought of what a film could be is called the concept of a film. It is that holy grail that everyone will keep in mind and follow religiously. Concepts and ideas can often be vague but it provides a creative jump-off for generating more ideas. In film-making, the high concept ideas are preferable. If a film plot can be described quickly without any jargon then it’s easier and more feasible to get people on board with that particular project.
Step 2: Budgeting:
Budgets are made to spend money on the film more judiciously. Film-makers often set a realistic limit on what they can afford early enough and track expenditure throughout the film production process. As there are a lot of resources required to make a film one must differentiate between what is essential and what’s not, this way tasks like renting or hiring equipment become easy. Paying the price of freelancers, props, costumes, etc. is derived by budgeting.
Step 3: Screen-writing:
When the idea is ready, it’s time to write them down very aesthetically. Every film has a “screenplay” which may also be called a “script” sometimes. A Screenplay acts like a blueprint for filming purposes which includes detailing each scene, setting, dialogues, parentheticals, and personal interactions. Scriptwriting is mostly about creating dialogues and how the various characters interact with each other in a story. It might seem obvious while writing or planning a screenplay of a film, but telling a realistic story is actually the key here.
Step 4: Hiring cast & crew:
Help is essential in a film set, so adding personnel to the production is very obvious. Lower budget films use volunteers to reduce labor costs.
Step 5: Scouting, recce, and production design:
Finding suitable locations for a film shoot is known as scouting. Scouts search for interior and exterior locations that fit the bill and are closest in terms of description in the script, this process is sometimes also called “Reece” as a film slang.
Production design includes the building of sets if any or creating lighting rigs around the set.
Step 6: Storyboarding:
Storyboards are like a script but written in a visual art form for the camera department to follow. Instead of words, they describe key scene shots and camera angles with illustrations or drawings. Shot lists go alongside to describe the contents of every shot or scene, what will happen, why it will happen, and what’s needed.
Step 7: Creating production schedules:
A production schedule is like a day-by-day calendar of various timetables, spreadsheets, etc. It helps with keeping the film production process organized. Call sheets are also a part of creating production schedules, they are created to instruct the crew on what needs to be done, by who, where, and when.
With the project all planned and finalized, principal filming begins and it is called production or referred to as “the film is on the floor” by industry insiders. This requires filming or shooting all the scenes as they have been planned and scheduled, including both the visuals and audio.
Step 8: Shooting:
Shooting a film is a synonymous phrase we’ve all heard, it is the most easily described phase in the filmmaking process but far from the most simplest, easiest or shortest thing. Filming is the main and one of the most important single steps. It’s all about capturing the raw footage that we never get to see, all the shots and sounds according to the script’s demand. Assuming all the other principal elements are in place, the main concern is equipment that is bulky and expensive.
Film-makers or film directors have to keep in mind that staying flexible with their vision is of utmost importance and will allow them to tell the story in the best way possible. It’s a great thing for directors keen to optimize the shoot for adding VFX in the next phase of production.
Post-production is all the behind the scene work performed on the film after shooting is concluded. Once recording is a “wrap” and the footage sorted in drives and clouds, it’s time to finalise the project and make it ready to be presented in the theatres to its audience.
Step 9: Editing and visual effects:
Taking the time and a lot of skilled workers, editing is considered one of the most crucial parts of film-making. This is where every best shot for each scene is sequenced and sorted accordingly. The goal is to entertain and captivate the viewer while also optimizing the run time.
Visual effects or ‘VFX’ is the adding of a sequence of images to the film that was impossible or impractical to shoot in the production stage or for something which went wrong and can’t be re-shot.
Step 10: Sound design and mixing:
It is about the creation of additional sounds which were not recorded on set. Sound design typically includes adding extra sound effects that help in building an immersive atmosphere around the visuals.
Sound mixing is the process that ensures every audio element within a film’s soundtrack is correctly balanced or synced.
Step 11: Colour correction and grading:
Colour correction is the process of adjusting the colors in film footage to make it look more appealing to the theme of the story. While color grading is a much more artistic approach. It is used to style a film’s mood, atmosphere, and sense of time.
Step 12: Distribution and promotions:
When a film completes all the stages above and is ready to go at that point in time distribution and promotions play a huge part in the marketing of the film.
Distribution is all about how and where the finished product gets to land. Finished films are marketed and shown by a film distributor, the distributor releases the film to the public.
Promoting a film is any work done to make people aware of the type of film they might want to see which includes marketing campaigns that are usually created and run by the film’s distributor. Like releasing a few trailers, merchandising, etc.
Filmmaking is a diverse art where production plays a major part but other important steps like we have talked about above are impossible to miss and this is how a motion picture or a feature film is made and presented to the audiences.