9 Tips on how to shoot short films

February 15th, 2018  |  by perlatkociaj

Learn some great tips and techniques about lighting, camera movements and more

Shooting short films isn't easy, and with loads of people searching daily for tips on how to shoot short films we've picked our top 9 tutorials that could help you in creating your short film. These are all from the Film Riot channel, as over the years they've created some cracking content addressing exactly this question. Read on to see our chosen selection of tutorials.

Camera Movement

Learn the importance of camera movement in this 15 minute video. Cinematographer Vincent Laforet breaks down a Steven Spielberg movie to show you how the camera movements are motivated by the scene. This will really help you setup and block your shots better for your own short film.



Someone important once said that film could be described as 'painting with light'. If that's true then this tutorial on basic lighting techniques is going to be very valuable for your short film.


Spent all of your money on a shiny new camera or your previous gas bill? Here's a great way of making a bounce board for next to nothing.


Lighting a car scene can be tricky business. In this video Film RIot gives some great tips and tricks on how to shoot a night time car scene that has moon light, ambient light and in car light effects.



Getting your gun visual effects in your short film to look realistic can be tricky. Film Riot demonstrates how adding muzzle flashes, smoke and recoil can enhance your gun shot effects.


Fancy nuking a town or setting a car on fire? Not literally of course. This great tutorial breaks down how to get some realistic fire effects into your short film!



Smashing heads can be a great thing to do in a short film, especially if you're shooting a zombie horror film or a psycho-thriller. This tutorial gets down and dirty with some great techniques on how to create a realistic head smashing sequence or realistic vomit.


Horror Effects

Thinking of shooting a horror short? Film Riot breakdown how to get a ghostbusters inspired horror look using light strips and smoke. You'll need Adobe After Effects or another piece of compositing software to finalize the post-production side of this horror effect.  

Film Noir Effects

Are you after that Sin City/film noir look? Here's a great tutorial on how hard lighting and post production can give your short film that classic film style. You can also use stock emulation from FilmConvert if you have it to further give your short that grainy film look.


We hope these tips helped you with your upcoming short film. If you're looking to enter the Film Riot One Minute Short Film Contest, you can check out our guide and rules for the contest.

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