Image by Hugo. Creative Commons licensed.

These days, everyone with a smartphone carries a decent video camera in their pocket. YouTube, iMovie, and Moviemaker have made a previously expensive set of production tools affordable and therefore accessible to millions of people worldwide. Simply put, video production has gotten wonderfully user-friendly. But even though there’s no need to be intimated by the entry-level tools of video production, you’ll still need to be thoughtful, careful, and realistic about what goes into making an effective video.

The following sections provide an overview of the Processes, Tools, and Resources for making your own thought-provoking and emotionally engaging video.

Getting Started

Choose your editing software. If you’re a PC user, Windows Movie Maker is a free option. If you’re a MAC user, iMovie is already installed. For more advanced software, Adobe’s Premier Pro is an option for both MAC and PC users (although you can no longer purchase it as a standalone program—you must buy a subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud). MAC users can use Final Cut Pro X.

In Progress

Use the following stages of production to plan your video and guide your filming process.

  • Pre-Production: Visualize the movie and make logistical plans. Plan a list of the video shots you will record, consider the types and angles of shots, and develop your movie idea through storyboards or scripts.
  • Production: Create the content that will become your movie. Consider what’s needed for good lighting, useful audio, and clear video shots.
  • Post-Production: Import your video from the camera to the computer, and make decisions about memory and file storage. Then, use Mac software (iMovie) or Windows software (Movie Maker) to assemble your content, edit it into a movie, and prepare it for distribution. Learn about storyboard view, working with a timeline, and adding transitions and effects.

Finishing Up

To polish your video, read more about videography with helpful tips from these sources.

    • This site provides tutorials and guides for using cameras, setting up shots, editing video, and working with different formats.
  • BBC Good Shooting Guide
    • An interactive site with plenty of details about how to work with different camera angles.


“Windows Live Movie Maker: Getting Started” video tutorial

Video tutorial created by Joshua Daniel-Wariya, former Assistant Director of the CDEx

iMovie Tutorials

Video tutorials created by Alex Roberts, CDEx Staff Member.

iMovie 11 Tutorial

Video tutorial created by Joshua Daniel-Wariya, former Assistant Director of the CDEx.

Quick Tutorial for Grabbing YouTube Videos:

Tutorial created by Dr. Curt Rode, Director of the CDEx.

Audacity Tutorial 101

Video tutorial created by Joanna Schmidt, former Assistant Director of the CDEx

iMovie Tools

Microsoft Photos Tools

Copyright-Free Image Sites

  • Dreamstime
    • Very large collection of photographs, illustrations, and clip art (many free). Also, a place to upload and sell images.
  • Flickr
    • Free access to high-quality, Creative Commons-licensed photographs.
  • Free Digital 
    • “Download free and premium stock photos and illustrations for websites, advertising materials, newspapers, magazines, ebooks, book covers and pages, music artwork, software applications and much more. All our free images are of high quality, produced by our community of professional stock photographers and digital illustrators. Our free photos and illustrations are ideal for business, personal and educational use. Every image is free, with an option to buy larger images at reasonable prices.”
  • Free Media Goo
    • A smaller collection that includes photos, textures, and backgrounds.
  • Google Images: Advanced Search
    • This takes us to the advanced search page where we can filter by usage rights.
  • ImageAfter
    • This is also all free for any use and has multiple search features.
  • morgueFile 
    • “Looking for high resolution stock photos for your illustration, comp or design needs? Search morgueFile for free reference images. Yes, they’re all completely free. Whether you’re an illustrator, art director, instructor or looking to add a defining visual to a presentation.”
  • morgueFile Classroom
    • Lesson 1 about composition and impact is helpful for students and teachers working on new media projects.
  • Open Photo 
    • A free database of images, supplied by the community of photographers. Images are organized in many categories such as Animals, Light, Recreation, and Technology.
  • Stock Vault /TextureVault / Shutter Stock
    • Includes 44,000 photos, along with textures and video clips; many are free. Stock Vault also offers tutorials in Photoshop, Dreamweaver, and CSS.

Copyright-Free Sound and Media Sites

Free Resources

Resources Requiring a Free Account

  • CCMixter
    • A source for copyright-free music with robust search features.
  • Freesound
    • “Freesound is a collaborative database of Creative Commons Licensed sounds. Browse, download and share sounds.”

Resources Requiring a Paid Account