Student leading a presentation with a smile

“FNH480_May2015_101” by Duncan McHugh/LFS Learning Centre, All Rights Reserved

Filming Support

  • The LFS Learning Centre in MacMillan Rm 260 has computers available and staff on-hand to support students in filming projects. The staff are willing and keen to support students, but are often very busy so make sure you book meetings in advance.
  • The Learning Centre computers have iMovie and Final Cut installed, and can be booked in advance if you need editing time
  • iMovie is great for basic editing
  • Final Cut is a higher quality program with more effects, but may require some training from the Learning Centre staff to use
  • If you are using Learning Centre computers to edit your content make sure to remove your files when done! Files left on these computers are regularly cleared out.

Preparing to film

Group of students discussing

"FNH480_May2015_001K" by Duncan McHugh/LFS Learning Centre, All Rights Reserved

  • Location Scouting: Go to your filming location a few days before filming
  • Observe lighting, space, noise, available props and make any adjustments so filming will go smoothly
  • Meet any necessary people at your locations (e.g. owners, directors, managers, actors) and ensure they are aware of your filming-day procedures
  • Make sure you have the appropriate security clearance to film in the location you are using
  • Make sure you have consent forms ready for anyone who is going to be seen on camera
  • Send scripts and instructions to your actors ahead of time so they can prepare. Allow them to make minor changes rather than memorizing the script.
  • It might be helpful to instruct them to read the line out loud, and then close their eyes and say the line out loud to see if they are able to say it without reading. This helps to ensure the script is simple enough for them. See Scripting section.
  • Things to think about and communicate with actors:
  • Will costume changes be required? (Are you representing things that take place on different days or in different places?)
  • Clothing with small patterns doesn’t film well (think Don Cherry) – tight stripes or patterns tend to ‘dance’ on screen and are distracting
  • Do they need to bring any special props?


  • Plan to take shots from multiple angles 
    • Example: for one conversation you could try three different shots: (1) from where you can see both people, (2) from behind one person’s shoulder (facing the other person) and (3) from behind the other person’s shoulder)
  • These shots are more interesting to viewers, but also more work to edit, so keep in mind the amount of time you plan to spend editing while you are planning your shots
  • Plan to take some B Roll footage 
  • This is extra footage taken that can be used to fill in holes, set up shots, or for extra visuals needed during narration. Usually things such as the outside of buildings, conversations (with sound removed), people walking, etc. are used
  • It's better to film more on the day of filming, rather than having to go back to get extra shots
  • Having a storyboard is useful when planning your B-roll footage, because it shows the overall flow of the movie, and how the visuals and audio will tie together
  • Always film extra footage. This can include b-roll, but it’s also a good idea to film multiple takes of a scene, even if you think it went well.
  • A good rule of thumb is to have at least 2 good takes of each shot. Remember that whatever you leave the shoot with is what you have to work with.


Film Crew looking towards scene with large camera

"The Film Crew", by Stephen White, Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

  • Aim for as much natural light as possible — fluorescent lighting makes people appear yellow
  • If filming outside, avoid direct sunlight, as it will overpower the actors. Aim to be in the shade or have someone hold a ‘sun blocker’.


  • A collar or lapel microphone will provide the best audio
  • Observe any background noise in the location you want to film (like traffic) – will this be distracting? Even small noises like air circulation, wind or a projector fan can take away from the overall sound clarity.
  • Filming in rooms with hard walls will usually result in echo – if you must film in a room like this try to close curtains or drape sheets over a wall to soften the echoing

Editing & Saving

Note: 1 hour of footage requires about 30GB of storage space

  • Video Quality:
1. Save a video or screen-cast as 1080p or 740p:

  • This will be good enough quality for most screens
  • Ensure that all imported visuals are also high quality because iMovie can only save the video as high quality as the lowest quality visual content
2. If uploading a video to YouTube:

  • Use HD video to upload a higher quality video
  • However, it will be a large file and will take more time to upload. Use an Ethernet cord rather than a wireless internet connection as it will be more reliable and fast.

This movie explains iMovie Version 9.0.9. iMovie is only available on Mac computers, but every student has access to the Learning Centre computer lab if they would like to use the iMovie program.

Creating a New Project:

1) Click on File → New Project

2) Title your movie project

3) Select the aspect ratio

  • Widescreen (16:9) is the best aspect ratio to use as most TVs and computer screens are close to this ratio. This will maximize the screen space that the video occupies, as well as the quality.
    • Go to File → Project Properties → widescreen
    • Keep the same aspect ratio in any other materials imported into iMovie (e.g. PowerPoint slides, screencasts, images etc.). This avoids the presence of black ‘dead-space’ around visuals, and maintains the same quality throughout the video.

4) Select the frame rate: use the standard 30 FPS

5) Click Create → The new project will automatically be added to your project library

  • Drag your footage into the project timeline from the event library

Development Tips:

  • Will a theme add to the content of your video or distract users by adding unnecessary busyness to your project?
  • The “Automatically Add” checkbox refers to visual effects that will be added between all visual clips. It may be best to unselect this box, as these effects can be added and customized later if wanted. 
    • Automatically adding effects may be useful if something consistent is desired for the entire duration of the video.
    • Keep in mind that this may interrupt the fluidity of the video
    • Keep transitions to a minimum unless needed for the project to be understood

Importing PowerPoint Slides

  • PowerPoint slides can be saved as slide images and be imported into iMovie to be animated

1) Go to page setup in PowerPoint and set slides to be 16x9 (on-screen show)

  • It is important to do this if slides will be exported to other multimedia formats such as screen-casting and video, which will be in widescreen format by default
  • It is also important to do this first, because if this is done after slides are developed, all of the images on the slides will be stretched

2) Develop the slide content

3) Save the slides as JPEG files

  • On PPT 2008 with MAC: Save as → Other formats → JPEG (or JPG) → Options → Choose 300 dots per inch → Save
  • Results in slides of 250-300 kb (rather than the default JPEG size of 40 kb)
  • It is essential to the quality of the video that visuals imported are of high quality. iMovie will only save the video in as high quality as the visuals allow.
  • On some PC’s (PPT 2007) you may need to change the settings for saving the PPT as a JPEG. 
  • Beware of the potential for issues when switching PPT files between Macs and PCs. Some details may not be conserved (for example spacing, font, and some images).
  • If using a PC to develop the PPT files, save them as JPEG files on the PC before transferring to iMovie

4) Note that saving slides as JPEG files removes any graphic effects created in PowerPoint

Importing Images

NOTE: images should be saved as JPEG files

1. Locate the image(s) that you wish to import 

2. Click and drag it into the iMovie filmstrip. The image can be ‘dropped’ into iMovie when the vertical green bar appears between two pre-existing clips

  • It is also possible to use the image library of iMovie to upload the images to the project. The images must first be added to the iMovie library and then can be dragged from the library to the project filmstrip

Importing Movies

Screenshot of starting page of iMovie '08

"iMovie '08", by Josh Bancroft, Flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0

1. Go to File→ Import→ movies

2. Find the file you would like to import and select it

4. Under “optimize video” select whether you would like your movie to be imported in its "original size (full)" or "large size"

5. Select "copy videos" unless you would like the video to be deleted from its original location

6. Select Import

7. The imported video will appear in the grey box beside “event library” under the title you selected. The videos will appear in filmstrip format.

8. Dragging movies into the project:

  • Select the movie you would like to import by clicking on the filmstrip, then clicking on the blue wheel that appears on the left hand side of the clip (do not select one of the options, instead click somewhere outside of the clip). The whole clip should now be outlined in yellow.
  • To Drag the clip into your filmstrip, move your mouse over the selected clip until the hand icon appears. You can now grab the clip by clicking and drag it into the filmstrip window. The video can be ‘dropped’ (inserted) into the filmstrip when a vertical green bar appears.