Digital Filmmaking: How to Get Started

Thanks to advances in technology over the last couple of decades, digital filmmaking is now accessible to more people than ever before. All you need to make your own productions is a digital camcorder, a computer and editing software. When you combine those tools with your unique ideas and hard work, you will be on your way to creating your very own entertaining productions. Here is how to get started.


If you're reading this article on your own computer, then the odds are pretty good that you have one that can handle video editing. For video editing, there are two requirements that a computer should meet. It needs a decent amount of RAM for speed and it needs memory for hard drive storage. RAM is extremely important for high quality video to playback smoothly. For this reason, newer computers are better than old ones for editing. If you're computer does not have much hard drive space, then you can get around that by purchasing an external hard drive.


If you already have a camcorder that you bought within the last few years, then it should be digital. But, if you're looking to purchase a new camcorder for your video projects, then you should get one that has its own internal hard drive and is capable for shooting HD. These camcorders connect to your computer with USB cable that allows you to transfer the digital video files directly from the camcorder to your hard drive.

If the camcorder shoots video directly to tape, then you will need a firewire cable to allow the video to play back on your computer where it can be digitized through your editing program.

Editing Software

You're going to need a non-linear editing program to help you turn your video clips into a polished movie. There are dozens of great programs out there to choose from. Some are more advanced than others and some are designed for beginning video makers, which makes them easy to use. The choice you make should depend on your budget, skill level and desire to learn. For example, a program like Pinnacle is easy to use and will have you editing basic videos in almost no time, while a program like Adobe Premiere is more advanced and will take longer to learn. But, once an editor masters a complex program like Premiere, he is able to accomplish more in post production. 

If you want to be editing your movies quickly, then get the basic software. But, if video making is a craft you want to explore and grow into, then get the more advanced program and buy a book to help you master it.

Other Things You Will Need

A camcorder, computer and editing program are the three necessary tools needed for digital filmmaking. But, there are other things you could use to make quality productions. Professional microphones are always great to have because the one in the camera is not always the best. If you're making narrative fiction videos, then you also need a great script, location, actors, costumes, props and lights to make them the best they can be.