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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


A Media Commons Subject Guide providing suggested resources and other information for beginning research on the media production process.


Many locales require permits for filming, particularly if you need to close down a street or use weapons. It is very important that one gets the proper permits as this can prevent your shoot from being interrupted, which can cost you time and money. Additionally, private locations may also have their own rules. 

For instance, the library has a video/photography policy.

Champaign County video/photography policy.


Decide what equipment works best for your production.

Think about motion in your scene. Are you filming a scene full of panicked individuals? Do you want to hand-hold the camera? If so, do you want to use a camcorder or a smartphone? Do you want to have a more static shot? Do you need tripods to hold the camera?

Also, think about what the scene requires with lighting and camera equipment. Is this taking place in the daytime? If so, do you want to rely on natural sunlight or would you like to artificially create sunlight on a closed set.  Do you want even lighting on the face or do you want to play with shadows on the face, etc.?


Storyboards allow you to determine where the camera is going to be placed in each shot. This allows you to plan where the lights and the actors should be located. You can frame your shots so that you can control how the audience responds to the story. For instance, if you are filming an emotional scene, you may decide to do a close-up of the actors’ faces in this scene. You may use other techniques like dolly zooms to convey to the audience that this is a scene that they should pay attention to for emotional resonance. 

Additionally, a shot list should be written. This breaks down the storyboard in written form. Storyboards and shot lists will be created prior to filming.

Afterwards, you can take your script and shot list and plan out what props, actors, and locations are needed. That is called breaking down the script. This will help you determine what items are absolutely necessary for each locale you will be shooting at. Movie Magic is a company that sells software for budgeting and scheduling. They offer free tutorials. You do not need to purchase this item, but this is a good resource on how scripts are broken down. 

For more information, visit the Storyboard Library Guide.