Stay at Home Filmmaker: Studio Space in the Home

by Lance Ekum on · 0 comments

Creating a home studio is the realization of a dream for many professional filmmakers and now it's possible to live that dream even if making movies is simply your leisure time activity. Prior to the digital era, keen photographers enjoyed creating darkrooms at home in which to develop prints, and although using video and film requires different processes, the principle is the same. Here are some examples of how you can go about creating a state of the art studio space in your home.

The green screen

Firstly, think about what you will need to create a contained environment, one staple ingredient of which many professionals argue is the green screen. Alternatively, some people like to use a white backdrop, however, any solid color will generally serve the same purpose – highlighting the subject of your film without distracting attention from what is being said or done.


Good lighting is the key and of course this is not cheap, however there are budget DIY kits for lighting that you can put together if you want to keep your spending in check. In general, really great lights are worth the investment, but if you're watching the pennies you can certainly make do with less. You can even use your tablet to make a decent softbox light if you need to do so.

The fact is however, the more light you can use, the better quality you will achieve. Avoid using light bulbs from around the house and remember that fluorescent lighting is low maintenance and low temperature. Ensure you have three-point lighting rigged up so that your movie or video subject in the middle benefits from a backlight (behind them and to their right) a key light (in front of them and to their right) and a fill lighting source (in front of them and to their left). Generally, the best position for your camera in order to film the subject is between the key and fill lights.

Camera and audio

Recording devices include your camera and microphone, and the range of choices in this area is vast. Technically when it comes to recording visual material you can choose almost anything between an upscale video camera and a brand new iPhone. Make sure you have identified a way to stabilize the camera, such as using a tripod. Often, your built-in microphone on your camera is not of sufficient quality, however, there are plenty of other options including omnidirectional microphones, which can be very effective.

Hollywood at home

The first movie ever made is reported to be The Horse in Motion, by Eadweard Muybridge in 1876, which was commissioned to settle an argument about whether horses really do lift all four of their hooves completely off the ground when galloping (which they do). Movie making has moved on considerably from these early days, when basically a series of still photographs were strung together to make a continuous sequence. Hollywood film production continues to use ever more innovative techniques as advances in technology continue.

For example, well known producers such as Steven Spielberg, Ben Stiller, Mel Gibson and Marc Shmuger, who was named chairman of Universal Studios in 2006, continue to drive innovation and change in the business. Spielberg is considered to be one of the most influential and popular directors and producers in film history; Stiller has received multiple honors and awards; Gibson's leading roles have been critically acclaimed; Shmuger won the Producers Guild of America (PGA) award for Outstanding Producer of Documentary Theatrical Motion Pictures for We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks (2013).

If you're a budding movie maker then make that special space in your home for a studio, and prepare to produce the next Hollywood blockbuster. Every famous film producer had a modest project in their past that started their creative juices flowing and led them to fame and fortune.

Lance writes stories from his heart, aiming to inspire and motivate, as you align more fully with YOUR true peak. When he's not here, you can find him hanging out with his family, riding a bike, or just generally acting goofy.   Sign up for the Thoughts from the Treehouse newsletter and get additional inspiration in your email inbox!
Lance Ekum
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