Quick and easy step-by-step guide to footage

Here are some key tips to make your videos look more cinematic!

Written by Sean Alami

Be it a movie, a music video, or even a commercial, we all want to develop a certain level of cinematic skill at some point. While there isn’t a clear way of making the most cinematic footage to sell a scene, there are some key elements to being successful at it.

These tips are designed to help you take your audience to places they’ve never been before.

You want to take their breath away, right?

Well let me help you!

In this video, I’m providing exactly what the title suggests – tips to make your footage look cinematic quickly. Check out the video below and read on to find out more.

# 1: record in slow motion

This will effectively attract the viewer. At 60 frames per second or 120 frames per second, you’ll instantly create a dramatic look that is hard to ignore.

For example, in my video, I shot the same scene at normal speed and in slow motion. There was a huge contrast.

The one at 30 frames per second was boring and not that flattering.

But once I slid in slow motion at 120 frames per second, the difference was considerable.

Recognition: Sean Alami

# 2: Make sure you get off to a good start

An establishing shot is the main proponent of “show not tell” when it comes to filmmaking. You want to put the scene in the limelight.

Usually filmmakers use drones for aerial shots or a long wide angle as their feed. In my video, however, I started with an abstract close-up followed by a character reveal to create a strong emotional connection with the audience.

# 3: add seamless transitions

My next suggestion is a seamless transition.

Why? Because it’s always a welcome addition to the party. You could say that this effect has been recycled a lot in modern times, but when used appropriately, no one can claim that it still adds the desired effect.

Originality is important to me, so adding that individuality to your shots and effects can make a huge difference. I decided to familiarize myself with FPV drones to gain the skills to master more cinematic looks.

After doing this, I feel like I am now able to make effective transitions from my FPV drones to my Sony camera.

# 4: have a storyline

Regardless of the length, a compelling story is important for any video.

The substance of a scene can be lost if the focus is on style. Make sure you create some motivation for the character. What is your destination? What do you do? How do you feel? Of course, you can get a cinematic take without these too, but by adding a story it takes your clip to the next level and increases engagement.

Recognition: Sean Alami

# 5: Get a variety of shots

Options are important when you return to the editing room. Start with the standard wide, medium, and close-up shots. They can be static, tracking, or pan, it doesn’t matter as long as you give yourself some choices to come back for the cut.

Now we come to the camera settings. You absolutely want to take photos with a large aperture, whatever your camera can process with f 1.2, 2.8, 3.5. This will draw the audience to your subject and soften the background to get their attention.

In daylight, however, you run into the obstacle that light can penetrate, and that’s why we use an ND filter. Drop the camera a few steps to get the correct exposure at 2.8 aperture, 1/100 shutter, and ISO 400.

Finally, always set your shutter speed to double your frames per second. For example, I was shooting at 50 frames per second, so I sat at 100 for the shutter speed.


Now that the footage is “in the can”, the work is not done yet. It is now your job to improve that work by finding the right music that goes with the images and stimulates your audience.

My process is listening to music for a full day and adding numerous moving or inspiring tracks that I think might work well. Then I follow by shortlisting my favorites, placing them on the timeline, and then tuning to what works best when editing. You will get a much clearer picture when you have the pictures with the music.

Helping new filmmakers develop is a real passion for me, so I want to offer as many opportunities as possible to help them succeed. I want to pass on the knowledge I have learned so that others do not run into the same problems.

If you incorporate these tips correctly, I guarantee you will succeed in making your footage look more cinematic. Check out the video and if you want to see more content like this don’t forget to hit the subscribe button!

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