Making Movies Make Sense

Learn or teach about film and filmmaking with this highly engaging, interactive guide for ages 9 and up. It’s been developed specifically to support Primary, Secondary and K-12 filmmaking.

This 148-page multitouch book is made for Apple Books, with dozens of video clips, stills, interactive pictures, audio clips and pop-up tips and questions. It also includes practical activities and links to downloads.

For iPad, Mac and iPhone. Download a free sample.


“Beautifully put together and illustrated with great examples throughout – highly recommended.”
Dr John Potter, UCL Knowledge Lab

Introduction to film language

Making Movies Make Sense on iPad 

Before you start making movies, you need to understand film language. So the first six chapters of Making Movies Make Sense use videos, stills, interactive images and easy-to-understand text to explain:

  • What makes a movie: shots, sequences, and different kinds of sound
  • How the camera helps tell the story: shot size, camera angle, how the shot is composed, camera movement, and using the lens
  • Different styles of lighting, light position, three-point lighting
  • The basics of continuity: how to use camera position, framing and editing to help your film flow (shot-reverse shot, the 180 degree rule, action match and eyeline match)
  • The types of sound that can go into a movie soundtrack (diegetic and non-diegetic sound, music and sound effects)
  • Editing for continuity, montage editing, pace, transitions and special effects

Filmmaking step by step

Making screenshots

The next part of the book introduces equipment and explains how to plan your movie (scripting, storyboarding and organising your shoot), with an illustrated introduction to how to film as a team.

Editing pages

It also explains how to edit and share your movie, with short video clips showing key video editing techniques.

Practical filmmaking activities


Over twenty pages of filmmaking activities help to build planning, storytelling and filming skills and develop understanding of camera position, shot size, sequences and sound.

Clips and templates to download

Downloads screenshot

There’s a download link where you can access two sets of video ‘rushes’ to practise editing, and a set of templates to help with film planning.

About the author

Making Movies Make Sense was developed by Tom Barrance, director of Learnaboutfilm and a film educator with over 30 years’ experience of working with children, young people and adults.

Who it’s for

Making Movies Make Sense is designed for ages 9 and above. It’s also a useful introduction for educators who are new to teaching film.

Download a free sample.

“Making Movies Make Sense is the complete resource for beginning to make films in school, in after school clubs, at home, anywhere… It benefits from great expertise in filmmaking, rendered easily accessible for teachers, children parents and carers. You learn that the moving image has systems for making meaning, its own grammar and structures which can be learnt in simple creative exercises. It benefits hugely from being scalable for any filmmaking equipment you have, from your phone through to the latest cameras. Beautifully put together and illustrated with great examples throughout – it’s highly recommended.”
Dr John Potter, Reader in Media Education, UCL Knowledge Lab, UCL Institute of Education

Reviews of previous editions

“Superb…should be in every school”
Jack Kenny, Agent for Change

“Every school should have this app”
iPad in Education

“A really excellent resource and very teacher friendly”
Bernard McCloskey, Head of Education, Northern Ireland Screen

“Highly engaging, comprehensive, well researched and structured”
Media Education Journal

(These reviews are of the previous DVD-ROM and app versions of the resource.)

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