Film School: Isolation Challenges

Philip Bloom | Improve your lighting skills using a weird mannequin head! Philip Bloom | Improve your lighting skills using a weird mannequin head!

Stuck at home, but still want to make movies? Here are some ideas for shooting, editing and VFX on your own.

You can always be your own film crew:

Cabin fever may be setting in. Maybe it’s something you’re trying to fight off – or maybe it’s something you’re inspired by to have some fun – here’s a range of video creations and challenges.

Film Yourself

Tips from cinematographer Danny Gevirtz and the Straight 8 festival show how, even shooting with just the camera in your phone, good visual storytelling is about planning:

Take inspiration from TikTok, play with in-camera transitions and lighting:

Film Things

Documentarian Mark Bone, nomadic filmmaker Brandon Li, and the creative crew at Cinecom.net have a bunch of fun, easy-to-try ideas with things lying around the house:

Daniel Schiffer is all about commercial-style B-roll and dynamic visuals – try replicating his challenge, and other Ways To Shoot A Commercial, At Home:

Light Things

DIY filmmakers Philip Bloom and Brady Bessette suggests using your time at home to practice your lighting on the most patient subject possible:

Rear Project Things

Experiment with using a projector, or even your TV, as both backdrop and lighting source. Here are a couple of explainer-and-tutorial roundups:

Sound Things

Why not build your own sound library, which you can use forever? You could begin with capturing and manipulating realistic or hyper-real sounds

… or avoid naturalism altogether, and experiment with completely unexpected or otherworldly sounds:

Edit Things

Great ways to learn (and improve your own) filmmaking is to recreate scenes from movies you love, or create stories using only stock footage – and have some fun with it:

Colour Things

Take a cue from Colour Palette Cinema and others, by freeze-framing your favourite movies and breaking down the colours they use

… or analyze their colour grading, and apply it to your own footage:

VFX with Things

Ordinary objects can be made to look extraordinary with careful polishing in post-production:

A guide to recreating space battles from Star Warsat home, and with no CGI:

How To Get Started

Here’s a roundup of tutorials on how to get set up to shoot narrative or talking-head videos by yourself:

Remember: have fun!