Filmmaking or film production is the process by which a motion picture is produced. Filmmaking involves a number of complex and discrete stages, starting with an initial story, idea, or commission. It then continues through screenwriting, casting, pre-production, shooting, sound recording, post-production, and screening the finished product before an audience that may result in a film release and an exhibition. Filmmaking uses a variety of technologies and cinematic techniques.

Although filmmaking originally involved the use of film, most film productions are now digital. Today, filmmaking refers to the process of crafting an audio-visual story commercially for distribution or broadcast.

In pre-production, every step of actually creating the film is carefully designed and planned. It is where all the planning takes place before the camera rolls and sets the overall vision of the project.

In production, the film is created and shot. In this phase, it is key to keep planning ahead of the daily shoot. The primary aim is to stick to the budget and schedule. Animated films have different workflow and crew at the production phase, in that voice actors can record their takes in the recording studio at different times and may not see one another until the film’s premiere, since most physical live-action tasks are either unnecessary or are simulated.

The post-production stage is usually thought of as starting when principal photography ends, but they may overlap. The bulk of post-production consists of the film/video editor reviewing the footage with the director and assembling the film out of selected takes. The dialogue is also edited; music tracks and songs are composed and recorded if a film is intended to have a score; sound effects are designed and recorded. Any computer-generated visual effects are digitally added by an artist. Finally, all sound elements are mixed down into “stems”, which are synchronised to the images on the screen, and the film is fully completed.

Filmmaking also takes place outside of the mainstream and is commonly called independent filmmaking. Since the introduction of digital video technology, the means of production have become more economically viable. Filmmakers can conceivably shoot and edit a film, create and edit the sound and music, and mix the final cut on a home computer. In the past, most independent filmmakers have relied on film festivals to get their films noticed and sold for distribution. However, the internet has allowed for the relatively inexpensive distribution of independent films on websites such as YouTube. With internet movie distribution, independent filmmakers now have the ability to reach global audiences.