Filmmaking Techniques

Filmmaking Techniques

Are you interested in making your own film?

This lesson plan looks at ways to improve your understanding of the filmmaking process and your awareness of the different styles and techniques. It aims to develop your filmmaking knowledge and gives opportunity to practice skills.

Key Stage:

KS 2, 3 & 4 Art, KS 3 & 4 Media Studies


This lesson plan will help:
⁃ to develop an understanding of film production stages.
⁃ to improve understanding of storyboarding and planning.
⁃ to develop knowledge of camera angles and types of camera shots.
⁃ to highlight the structure of a film.
⁃ to develop skills which can be adapted and put into practice as part of a film project.
-as part of an investigation into the work of director Alfred Hitchcock.

<b> Background - Alfred Hitchcock </b>

Background - Alfred Hitchcock

Alfred Hitchcock was a film director and producer. He is known for some of cinema’s most famous psychological thrillers including Psycho, Rear Window, Vertigo and The Birds. His use of camera techniques, quirky angles and ability to have the audience on the edge of their seat earned him the nickname of the ‘Master of Suspense’.
<b> Hitchcock’s Reel </b>

Hitchcock’s Reel

Hitchcock’s Reel (1996) is a sculpture by John Edwards. It is located in Shoreditch Park in London.
It was placed there because Alfred Hitchcock made some of his earlier films at Gainsborough Studios which was located nearby.
<b> Production Stages</b>

Production Stages

Production can be broken down into five stages:
1 - Development

2 - Production

3 - Pre-production

4 - Post-production

5 - Distribution
<b> Activities</b>


Here is a selection of jobs involved in film production, can you work out which of the production stages they fit into?
- Storyboarding
- Filming
- Script writing
- Ideas
- Sharing
- Editing
- Planning
Which filmmaking role would you choose and why?
<b> Structure Your Film</b>

Structure Your Film

Your film has three acts - a beginning, a middle and an end. Your beginning sets the scene and introduces your story and characters - think about where the film is set. Give plenty of detail about your characters.
The middle is where everything changes. During this part of the film, the life of the protagonist (main character) is changed forever. The protagonist is faced with some sort of challenge which forces them to go on a personal journey. And finally .. the end. This is where your story reaches its conclusion.

Film made by a school

In this short film a group of young people from London created a film celebrating the work of Alfred Hitchcock focussed around the Hitchcock's reel sculpture. Check out their film.

Consider or discuss the camera angles that have been used. Camera angles and shot types can enhance a scene. How can you use a camera angle to make a subject feel powerful or powerless?
<b> Audio</b>


Soundtracks are a very important part of a film. A funny or uplifting soundtrack has a different feel to something that creates a feeling of dread. Think about the soundtrack used in the Hitchcock’s Reel. How would you describe it? How does it make you feel? How do you think it was made? Now play the film again this time playing a different piece of music alongside this film and see how it changes the feel of the clip.

Camera angles and types of shot

As you have seen the choice of camera angle and type of shot is important. You can make your film visually interesting for the viewer if you use the right shot or angle. Have a look at our Basic shot sheet which lists the types of shots used in films and video.
Then pick a short scene from a favourite film and pay attention to the camera angles used. Identify the shots and think about how they affect the scene. Download Basic Camera Shot Types.pdf


Storyboards are an important stage in your filmmaking. They help you to plan your film, visualise scenes, get an idea of how the story will look and flow, and help you to spot any problems that might crop up. Alongside the visuals, you might also inside notes on camera directions, sound effects, and script. Now storyboard your own short film in the style of the Hitchcock's Reel film about an object of your choosing. Here is a basic template to get you started. Download storyboard-template.pdf

Development Activity:

With the information gathered so far, through exploring the work of Alfred Hitchcock, looking at camera angles and techniques, considering the impact of soundtracks, and the various stages of filmmaking, students can develop their own film ideas.
Students should begin by identifying production roles based on areas of interests.
They can work in groups of four or five.
Film is versatile and students could explore any curriculum topic of interest. Areas such as History and Geography would be ideal areas for KS2 groups to begin.
Students can also explore genre in film and consider how film directors use camera angles and shots, soundtrack and cinematography to create impact.

Learning Objectives:

Through using this lesson plan students should:
-Have a better awareness of filmmaking vocabulary.
-Develop a better understanding of the various production stages.
-Build their knowledge of the work of various directors and their film styles.
-Improve problem-solving and team-working skills.
-Understand different filmmaking roles.

Research, Notes and Links:

Download this lesson plan