Filmmaking Vocabulary

Students are introduced to the vocabulary of film as they go through the process of creating a short original film. This unit provides instruction on key aspects of digital video filmmaking: plotting, script, storyboarding, camera work (shots, angles), and editing (transitions, title, credits, visual effects, sound effects, etc.). Once students are familiar with the techniques and terms introduced, they can apply their new skills to bring other content areas to life through filmmaking.

Following a novel study, this lesson would complement a showing of the film based on the book. In addition to completing a graphic organizer (e.g., Venn diagram, T-chart) comparing and contrasting the novel and film, students could learn the techniques and vocabulary of filmmaking while viewing the movie. The activities involved in filmmaking can be particularly helpful to English language learners (ELLs) because the visual component helps ELLu2019s consolidate their knowledge.

Standards & Objectives

Academic standards
Include multimedia components (e.g., graphics, images, music, sound) and visual displays in presentations to clarify information.
Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing as well as to interact and collaborate with others; demonstrate sufficient...
GLE 0601.7.3
Recognize how visual and sound techniques and design elements (e.g., special effects, camera angles, music) carry or influence messages in various media.
Include multimedia components and visual displays in presentations to clarify information.
Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to collaborate with others; type a complete product in a single sitting as...
Alignment of this item to academic standards is based on recommendations from content creators, resource curators, and visitors to this website. It is the responsibility of each educator to verify that the materials are appropriate for your content area, aligned to current academic standards, and will be beneficial to your specific students.
Learning objectives: 

Studet Objectives:

Students will

  • Learn the basic terminology of filmmaking by creating their own films and by reviewing other students’ films
  • Develop collaborative skills by working in small groups
  • Learn how to use a variety of tools to create and edit digital video


Lesson Variations

Blooms taxonomy level: 
Extension suggestions: 


  • Have students burn their movies onto DVDs and use the interactive CD/DVD Cover Creator tool to design a cover for their movie.
  • Use the filmmaking techniques learned in this unit to teach vocabulary in any content area (e.g., science, social students, mathematics, language arts). For example, students could create videos illustrating specific concepts in economics (supply and demand, opportunity cost, ethical business practices).
  • Have students use digital video to create original stories, documentaries, commercials, or public service announcements (see MyTube: Changing the World With Public Service Announcements)

Helpful Hints

Materials and Technology:

  • Digital video cameras (one camera per group of 3–5 students) capable of communicating with iMovie or Windows Movie Maker (some mini DV cameras will not upload files into these programs)
  • Digital still cameras (optional, for use with Celtx software for creating a storyboard)
  • Computers (one per student or one per group) with video editing software (iMovie or Windows Movie Maker) and printing capability
  • Tripods for video cameras (recommended)
  • LCD projector or document projector
  • Smartboard or chart paper