The basics of film production

Understanding the basics of film production: Lights, camera, action

Are you interested in the film business and think about how movies are made? Where does it all start, who are the key players, and how does it all come together? If your answer to all those questions is yes, then you’ve come to the right place! From the final approval of the script to the end, when the audience is watching the film in the theatre, today, we are going to introduce you to the different stages and talented professionals who come together to make a movie. Get ready to learn about the fascinating world of filmmaking. Explore the magic of film production and bring your own stories to life on the big screen with the Australian Performing Arts Conservatory (APAC). Join us to explore the different stages and basics of film production! 

Basics of film production: Step-by-step process 

The average duration of motion pictures worldwide is typically between 90 – 120 minutes, but it demands a significant commitment because it can take approximately one to two years or sometimes more to complete all three stages of production — pre-production, production and post-production. These may be the basics of film production, but each stage is an integral part of the movie-making business and has several stages under them. Let’s look at all of them in detail. 


Pre-production plants the seeds and sets the foundation for a successful film. 

  1. Concept and idea: This is the very first stage, where you brainstorm ideas and try to develop the initial concept that will be the driving force for the whole movie. Here, you have the freedom to explore and experiment with your imagination.  
  2. Scriptwriting: After you have an idea, it’s time to craft a compelling script based on the concept. It should include a plot, story setting, proposed location, characters, dialogues and more in the universally accepted format, which typically follows a specific structure and layout.  
  3. Budget: At this stage, you carefully plan how much you will spend or are willing to invest to produce the film. This includes almost every resource you will need to make a movie, and it is important to be responsible and strategic in your financial decisions.   
  4. Crew and cast: A movie is a collaborative effort, and it’s the crew and actors that bring the script to life. Here, you assemble a team of talented individuals, including actors, camera operators, sound specialists, etc., to join you on this creative journey. 
  5. Scouting locations and design: Every movie has its own unique style and aesthetics. You have to find the perfect settings and create the visual style of the film you envisioned.  
  6. Storyboarding & shot lists: Before going into production, it’s important to visualise your scenes with sketches on a board and plan exactly what you want to film. 


The production stage is where the actual filming process starts and the script comes to life. 

  1. The set: You need a set to shoot a film. There are studios that you can transform into beautiful sets as per your requirements or build one from scratch if you have the investors, resources, and time to back it up. The goal of filmmakers is to create a balance between aesthetics and atmosphere to shoot perfect scenes. 
  1. Shooting schedule: Before you can start shooting, you need to organise your filming days efficiently, so they line up perfectly with the availability of actors, directors, and location.  
  1. Filming: This is the stage where the director says lights, camera, and action. You set up shots with the right lightning, start directing, and capture numerous scenes to edit later in post-production. You need the requisite equipment and must know the various filming techniques to capture the right emotion in the film.  
  1. Crew collaboration: Coordination and effective communication among various departments, such as camera, sound, design, costume and lighting, are paramount. Without it, the project can take years to complete, which means incurring more costs. 


Post-production is the final stage where all the elements of the film come together, transforming raw footage into a polished masterpiece. 

  1. Editing: In this stage, the director meets with the editor and other notable individuals to arrange the raw footage in sequences, add visual effects, and fine-tune the film.  
  1. Sound design: A movie is incomplete without sound. That’s why the sound department comes in. They either procure licenses for copyrighted songs or create new ones to enhance audio quality, add sound effects, create immersive soundscapes and enhance the film’s emotions.  
  1. Market and distribution: When the film is almost ready for the public, the marketing department comes. Their job is to promote the film to reach the masses. For certain big-budget movies, the marketing process can even begin before it even goes on the floor. The aim is to discover various distribution channels to market the movie and reach the target audience. 

Lights, camera, get creating with APAC! 

Take the first step towards your filmmaking journey with APAC. Our Bachelor of Screen & Stage (Screen Production), led by a team of professionals, will help you master the basics of film production. You will learn all the stages from beginning to end, including the art of screenwriting, various filmmaking techniques like sound design, lighting, camera gear, special effects, film editing, the role and responsibilities of the director, and the power of a collaborative and creative crew. Join us today to step into the magical and fascinating world of film production. 

Frequently asked questions about the basics of film production 

Q1. What is film production? 

A1. Film production is the intricate process and art of creating a movie from start to finish with a team of professionals. It involves everything from coming up with an idea and writing a script to filming scenes, editing footage, finding distribution channels and finally, releasing the movie for audiences to enjoy. 

Q2. What are the basics of film production? 

A2. The basics of film production typically consist of three main stages: pre-production, production, and post-production. In pre-production, all the planning and preparation are done; production is when actual filming takes place, and post-production is where editing and final touches are done to get the film ready for release. 

Q3. How long does it take to make a film? 

A3. The time required to make a film varies greatly depending on the complexity and depth of your project. Generally, short films or documentaries can be shot in a few days, but editing can take a while, whereas feature films can take months or even years to get to the big white screen. 

Q4. How much does it cost to make a film?  

A4. Costs for making a film can vary greatly due to various factors. What’s important to remember when budgeting for a film that even low-budget productions require some form of investment to procure the necessary equipment, scout locations, hire actors (if needed), and editing software. It’s best to start small and be resourceful when just beginning! 

Q5. Can you give some tips for aspiring filmmakers? 

A5. To create a successful film, it’s important to study the craft of filmmaking. Formal education in screen production from APAC can help you gain some hands-on experience and multiple networking opportunities with industry professionals and teach you to be a skilled professional passionate about pursuing your goals. Contact us to learn about our Bachelor of Screen & Stage (Screen Production) course.