How to use a CCTV camera, DVR system and Laptop to make a movie


Found footage films have become one of the latest and greatest fads in Hollywood, it all started back in 1999 with the release and subsequently huge success of ‘The Blair Witch Project’, it was hyped as the scariest film you will ever see and really generated a huge amount of press exposure. 8 years on in 2007 the genre was rebooted this time with ‘Paranormal Activity’, again it was billed as one of the scariest films you will ever see but this time instead of just being a handheld camera they also used static CCTV cameras. The film was rumoured to cost a grand total of $15,000 to make which by normal movie standards is minute bearing in mind that even straight to DVD, low budget, C-rate movies have a budget of well over $1million. It went on to gross $107million and has lead to 3 prequels and sequels being made with more to come. It left film studios scrambling to try and get the next big hit, they knew even if they went to town on the movie it would still only cost them about $100k so they could afford to invest in 15 or 20 films for the price of one normal one and only needed one to succeed.

The biggest effect the genre has had on cinema is that it means your average person can make their own film, as long as they have reasonable editing skills and a good idea they can put together a good little movie for barely any money. One of the most notable found footage films recently was an Australian movie called ‘The Tunnel’. It was going to cost $135,000 (AUS) to make and was ‘crowd-funded’ meaning the makers sold individual digital frames of the film for $1 each to members of the public to raise funds. They only managed to raise a total of $36,000 this way however which meant they had to get creative and use public areas such as disused underground tunnels and a public pool and subsequently shot the whole film in 14 days. They released the film at various cinemas, had a theatrical DVD release but most notably put it on Bit Torrent for free so that users could watch it legally and choose to donate if they wished.

This is all to show that it is possible to make your own film on a shoestring budget from home and make it a huge success. In terms of the equipment needed to attempt to do this yourself you need to start off with some good quality CCTV cameras. Your choice of camera will depend on what type of film you are making i.e. a film based at night will require an infra red, night vision camera that are best at short range, if you are making a daytime film then you can look at long range cameras and dome cameras enabling you to control them via remote making the film making process much easier. The DVR systems are the key part of the movie making process, you need to make sure you get a DVR with enough inputs to attach all of your cameras. Depending on how you are going to edit your movie afterward you also need to take in to consideration what recording capabilities it has, for example, will you be editing it on your computer in which case a USB mass storage device would be best or you may want to record directly to DVD.Making Movie Image

Once you have filmed your movie and got it on DVD/USB comes the editing stage. It is useful to have a laptop with plenty of RAM and a decent processor for film editing, this makes the process much faster and more bearable. The size and budget of your movie will depend on what editing software you use, Windows Live Movie Maker is an excellent free piece of software that will be on your laptop and is good for home movies. If you are looking for a more professional version with more options then take a look at some software like Magix Vide Pro X4 or Lightworks if you want a good free piece. You now have everything you need to get out and make movies so give it a go and get them sent off to a few studios, you never know what might happen!

Author Bio

Sarah Hewitt is an experienced writer who writes about anything and everything that interests her, this can range from travel to business, sport and electronics. You can contact her via her Google+  page.