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Make a Cinematic Video in 10 Easy Steps With Any Camera

Last Updated: Sep. 24, 2020

Making a cinematic video with any camera is not a dream.

However, it often occurs that you may shoot some footage, but it doesn’t look like what you’ve seen on the screen.

So, how could it happen?

In this blog, we will show you 10 tips to make your video more cinematic and unveil the secret to help you film a video as good as the professional cinematic ones both in producing and editing your videos.


What Makes a Cinematic Video?

The word “cinematic” is a general term, referring to any video or film produced with the features of quality motion pictures.

Though there are no definite rules to the making of it, many would agree that a cinematic-look video features unique storytelling (e.g. flashback, through characters, or chapters,etc.) and impresses viewers with thoughtful composition, delicate lighting, subtle color grading, proper sound, choreography, and other visual effects.

Key to Remember When Filming a Cinematic Video

With clear cinematic video ideas in mind plus basic gears, you can create an eye-catching “blockbuster” yourself and get more thumbs-up than you expect.

Here is what you should know:

# 1: Frame Your Shots or Film Composition

Placing the actors and props in the right place is essential to filming. It helps to direct the audience's attention and create visually-appealing images.

A go-to method is to use the rule of thirds (also known as the golden ratio).

Use the rule of thirds, dividing the frame into trisection vertically and horizontally separately.It’s better to place the subject on the cross point to emphasize the subject or highlight your theme and make the frame feel more comfortable and cinematic.

cinematic video composition role of thirds

Use role of thirds for cinematic video composition

Surely, the rule of thirds is only one of the most classic film composition rules. If you wanna learn more rules of film composition, please look for 10 Essential Film Composition Techniques.

Besides, to achieve the cinematic video ratio i.e. is 2.35:1 or around 21:9, don’t forget to change the camera setting.

If such a button is not available in your camera or with a limited budget, you may use the free online video editor Flexclip to easily crop your video.

adjust cinematic video ratio with flexclip

Adjust to the cinematic ratio with Felxclip

# 2: Create a Shallow Depth of Field Video

Shallow depth of field video enables you to make blurry backgrounds or blurry foregrounds. In this situation, viewers focus on the clear part of the image and make your video look more cinematic.

To do so, you may use a prime lens like 24mm F1.4 or 85mm F1.4 or 135mm F.4 and bring the maximum aperture to f2 and even F1.4. and focus on the object. Then, the rest of the image will become blurry with creamy Bokeh.

Use of depth of field in film

In certain scenes, like a close-up shot or for the portrayal of the relationship and the distance between the main object and the background. Using the shallow depth of field does make your film more dramatic.

Of course, use it wisely, otherwise, you will lose all the background information. Check how to give your video a vintage look.


  • You may also use a zoom lens like 70-200mm F2.8 to achieve the same effect. The difference is that the longer the focal lens, the closer the background and subject will be and the area you shoot gets narrower.

# 3:Stabilize Your Moving Footage

Having stable footage is one of the basics to tell if your film is amateur or professionally-made.

The easiest way to achieve video stabilization is by using a stabilizer, such as a gimbal or a camera dolly (wheeled cart).

handheld video vs using gimbal

However, if you are in a rush to meet the deadline or can’t afford a stabilizer, you can fix the visual vibration with the Warp Stabilizer in Adobe Premiere Pro.

Fix shaky video with Adobe Premiere Pro

Adding the effect of warp stabilizer makes the image feel more pleasant to your eyes.

# 4: Slow motion

Slow-motion is widely used in motion pictures to slow down a dramatic moment like the falling of raindrops, or the movement of the bullet as you have seen in the movie “The Matrix”

Bullet dodge scene in “The Matrix”

Of course, not everyone has the budget to achieve such a blockbuster movie scene and what you can do is shoot at 60ftps, and then convert it to 24 fps.

Or you may use the Flexclip to slow down a timeless moment and romanticize a story. Just upload your video and adjust the time speed, super easy.

Slow down video speed with Flexclip

Slow down video speed with Flexclip

#5.Create Depth

Unless you are filming a dynamic wartime scene, never change the movie perspective by random zooming in or zooming out.

A cinematic video favors a 3-dimensional perspective and a smooth transition between different scenes.

You can put your camera on a slider on a dolly and use the different focal lenses combined with the use of the foreground to create depth and a sense of space to direct your viewers' attention.

Use the slider to create depth

Make Video Look Cinematic in Post-production

Just as important as realtime shooting, adding a cinematic look in post-production is a crucial step for making a cinematic video.

Here is what merits your attention:

#6. Add the Cinematic Bar

Well, nowadays, not all films have a cinematic bar or the typical black bar on the top and bottom of the screen.

However, the interesting thing is by adding one, your video can immediately trick your audience into thinking that they are watching a movie with the cinematic format.

Add the cinematic black bar to your movie

Add the cinematic black bar to your movie

If you can’t make it happen during the actual filming, the user-friendly Flexclip can help you do it at great ease.

Simply, upload your video and adjust the video format to 21:9 ratio, and export it. The cinematic bar will automatically appear. Pure magic, isn’t it?

convert to cinematic video with black bar

Convert to 21:9 ratio to get a cinematic black bar

# 7: Color Grading

Color grading video footage is one of the most effective ways to add a touch of cinematic look to your movie.

Just as photographers refine the color tone of raw photos for retouching, you can adjust the hue, saturation, and luminance of your movie to get the desired contrast and fix the skin tone of actors and evoke special emotions.

Here is the difference between unedited footage and edited one.

color grading your video with flexclip

Before and after effect after color grading with Flexclip

To do so, you can upload your raw video to Flexclip and press the "Adjustment" button and fine-tune the color temperature, contrast, saturation, tint, shadow, and vignette, etc. to get the visual effects or atmosphere you prefer.

how to do color grading with flexclip

Color grading the video with Flexclip

#8.Avoid Overexposing

Cinematic video lighting is subtle and delicate. Don’t blow out the highlight, use a histogram on your camera.

If you pay closer attention to the highlight, mid-tone, and shadow of the Hollywood blockbuster movie "Lord of the Ring", you will be surprised to find that the highlight is never blown out while the shadow is never pitch-black while the mid-tone contains lots of details.

Delicate cinematic lighting of "Lord of the Ring"

If you don't get ideal lighting as you shoot the movie, you can use easily adjust video brightness to either restore the details from the highlights or bring back the details by brightening the shadow.

cinematic video composition role of thirds

Reduce the brightness to restore details in the highlights


  • You may feel free to use Rembrandt lighting to highlight the main character while darkening a bit of the secondary elements in the scene.

#9. Use Cinematic Fonts

Like color grading, cinematic fonts are another way to add an extra cinematic touch.

While which exact font you need depends on the theme of your movie, personal preference, and others. Check the ultimate guide to the cinematic title.

Some of the Hollywood favorites usually include The Bold Font, Museo Sans, Roboto, Didot, Adam Pro, Caviar Dreams, Banda,etc.

You can have many tons of options for your ideal fonts in Flexclip. Just feel free to swap for the right one.

Add cinematic fonts with Flexclip

Add cinematic fonts with Flexclip

#10. Add Cinematic Video Music

Music is the soul of a movie.

In terms of cinematography, adding the proper cinematic music or soundtracks to your film can effectively heighten the atmosphere and shape the character’s emotional response and add a rhythm to the scenes, etc.

That’s why Hollyhood movie directors spend a large sum of money, hiring composers or instrumental soloists and professional band to tailor-make the original movie soundtracks.

However, you don’t have to go bankrupted to have all these amazing music for Flexclip offers you plenty of royalty-free movie soundtracks for you to choose from.

 Add cinematic music to video with Flexclip

Add cinematic music to video with Flexclip

The Bottom Line

Making a cinematic video is a lot more than buying the right camera. From pre-production to post-production, every aspect of filmmaking works together to create a beautiful video.

With original ideas, basic gears, and careful planning, you can create stunning cinematic videos as well. Besides, if you are bothering a lack of footage, there are thousands of video templates you may wanna use.

For more video filming on pre-production or post, you may wanna look through the article on how to make a travel video as a great example.

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