Start Making Movies cover

Learn Filmmaking With My Step-by-Step Ebook

Detailed 163-page PDF
★ Over 400 illustrations
Secure instant download


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This ebook guide will show you how to make great short films and videos.

Making a short movie can seem like a big challenge. What equipment should you buy? How do you tell stories with film? How can you make sure your movie makes sense? Start Making Movies takes you step-by-step through what you need to know.

Starting with the basics, the book explains the filmmaking process, what you need, and how to plan, shoot and edit your movie. You’ll learn about the different kinds of shot you can use; lenses and focus; light, colour and movement; and how to combine images and sound to tell your story.

Start Making Movies is written in clear, easy-to-understand language by experienced film teacher Tom Barrance. It’s packed with photos, screenshots, film stills and diagrams.

Extras include story ideas, a detailed glossary, and links to online short films and planning templates.

Sample Pages

180 rule page

SMM demo page

Customer Reviews

Five stars
Extremely Useful

An extremely useful, concise and complete book with all the images supporting the content when needed. A must read for every aspiring filmmaker. Jahangir, UK

Five stars
A Great Primer

Lots of pictures and clear explanations of how you do it. A great primer for people wanting to make films. Rod, USA

Five stars
Clear and Comprehensive

If you are interested in making movies this well thought out guide is a great place to begin. Full of great tips and advice. It’s concise, easy to read and well-illustrated. Deborah, Australia

Read all reviews

Contents in detail

Filmmaking Step by Step

  • The five stages of filmmaking
  • How to plan, organise, film and edit your movie


  • What you need to get started
  • Types of camera and features to look for
  • What else you need
  • Editing programs and apps

How Films Tell Stories

  • Anatomy of a short movie
  • The key elements of film language: shots, sequences and sound

Picture: Planning and Filming your Shots

  • Camera settings
  • Using different shot sizes
  • Where to put the camera
  • How to arrange things in the shot
  • Using lenses, focus and zoom settings
  • Working with light
  • Using colour to tell your story
  • Using movement in your movie
  • Filming on your own or as a team


  • Using sound to tell your story
  • Recording sound
  • Which microphone to use
  • Starting with sound: adding video to audio


  • Coverage: getting all the shots you need
  • How filming extra shots can make your movie easier to edit
  • The Continuity System: how to film sequences that look natural
  • Montage: Combining different shots to create an impression


  • Different kinds of film time
  • Parallel editing: showing action happening in two places at once
  • Time shifts: flashbacks and flash forwards
  • Time effects: slow motion and timelapse

Essential Scenes

How to film six different kinds of sequence:

  • Piece to camera
  • Interview
  • Demonstration or explanation
  • Journey
  • Dialogue scene
  • Live performance or event

Editing and Sharing

  • The editing workflow
  • Editing programs
  • Editing sound and image
  • Planning your soundtrack
  • Colour correction
  • Compositing: combining different layers of video
  • Is your movie finished? What to check
  • Sharing your movie


  • Fifteen ideas for fiction movies
  • Links to downloadable templates
  • Glossary
  • Index

About the Author

Tom teaching

Tom Barrance has taught filmmaking for over 25 years. He’s provided filmmaking workshops and training for hundreds of organisations including the British Film Institute, University College London, schools, nonprofits and multinational companies. Tom runs the popular film education website

“Tom Barrance understands how to take the mystique out of film making and make it accessible to all”
Chris Whitney, Literacy and Film Education Consultant

“One of the most experienced film and media educators in the UK”
Mark Reid, British Film Institute


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