11 Important Filmmaking Trends You Need to Know in 2016

Where do movie trends come from? How do they evolve?
The funny truth is, nobody knows exactly why they happen or how they occur. People perceive them to be as changeable as the weather. But what we can definitely observe, is how certain trends quickly gain traction.

We want it bigger, better, more spectacular, and often we want new features we haven’t seen before. Filmmakers know that. So new trends are adopted rapidly to satisfy the desires of the audience.

But how will the process of film production change through new trends and innovations? And how has it already changed the way motion pictures appear today?

As we are curious about the relevant, technical filmmaking trends ourselves, we won’t deprive you of our findings. We collected the most important film trends 2016 has seen so far.

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Teal and Orange Color Grading

Have you ever noticed this major new Hollywood trend already? Movie makers limit the range of colors to orange and blue. In specialist jargon this color scheme is called “orange and teal” or “amber and teal”.

Remember in preschool, when our teachers taught us about “complementary” colors? These “opposite” color pairs produce a greater contrast when paired together. Film producers recognized this opportunity when making movies and noticed that color grading had a noticeable effect on the audience.

Nowadays, as all movies are shot digitally, it’s much easier utilise the full color spectrum.


For the purpose of illustration, have a look at the examples below. But be warned! You will never be able to watch a movie without noticing this color scheme again.

Colour Grading Tutorial

Find out how you can make your movie look like a summer blockbuster

Future prospects

As color grading technology continues to improve, we might see more filmmakers diversify. Until then, keep an eye out for more orange and more blue – it will prevail for a long period of time!

Kinect – The Future Of Green Screen?

What does this mean?

Simply explained, the word Kinect derives from “kinetic connect”. Which means to create a connection between hardware and motion, then adjust them to each other.
Kinect was developed by Microsoft in cooperation with the company PrimeSense. So far, it has only been popular in the gaming scene.

What you need for this type of control:

– PrimeSense-Depth-Sensor
– 3D-microphone
– Color camera
– Suitable software


– Easily insert 3D footage in real-time scenes
– Separate live action subjects from the background without a green screen
– Quickly rotoscope actors and objects and more.

Filmmakers are already able to do these things, they are just spending a lot of time doing it.


In addition to the Kinect, all you need is a DSLR camera, a projector and the RGBD Toolkit. This is an open source platform that utilizes a hacked Kinect depth sensor. When paired with a DSLR video camera, it is able to create a unique hybrid form of the three-dimensional kind of video.

Future prospects

Kinect is a time-saver and relatively inexpensive to purchase. The software and plug-ins in this field are constantly evolving.

This open source technology allows even amateurs on a tight budget, to create motion pictures by tethering their Kinect to the camera. Creative newcomers will be able to showcase their art to the world without any significant effort.

Even green screens, the staple of every small-town television station, can benefit from the support of Kinect technology. Nevertheless, despite Kinect will not make the breakthrough to Hollywood productions in the near future, it is a great opportunity for smaller artists to realize their ideas.

Drone Cinematography

Drone Cinematography

What does this mean?

You’ve probably seen tons of videos filmed with the help of drones. One can imagine a drone as kind of robot controlled by human beings. But how is this technology compatible with filmmaking?

Creatives simply attached cameras to their drones. This idea opened up the possibility to film in areas where they did not even have to be present. Drone cinematography is a wonderful way to show the world from new angles.


The internet is full of great examples of drone cinematography. Some of my favorites are the videos by the team from Flying Dragon. They are engaging in aerial cinematography by means of the latest drone technology. Your can visit their website for more details.

Check out the state of the art drone: 350 QX3 AP Combo from the brand Blade.
However, if you like to film underwater, you can use Trident – the outstanding underwater HD camera. Or maybe this model: The iBubble drone, which is for example able to film scuba divers.

This is a Showreel of Helix4Motion, a filmmaking company from Stuttgart working with drones:

Future prospects

Drone technology creates many new ways to shoot fantastic pictures. Many film directors have already taken advantage of the technology and many more will soon recognize its potential, especially as we see hardware advances in every functional area of drones.

Aerial and underwater cinematography enables filmmakers to experiment in ways that have not been possible before – without any significant cost factor.

Once decent cameras shrink down in size and weight, we might see usable camera drones that weigh just a few ounces and can navigate by themselves.

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For Beginners: 15 Tips for Cinematic Drone Video

by Charles Yeager, Cinematographer & Motion Graphics Artist

Time Lapse Cinematography

What does this mean?

This is a technique used to show motion at a very accelerated rate. You can observe a naturally slow process like the sunrise, cloud-pattern development or the blossoming of flowers at an exponentially quicker pace.


If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video can certainly explain this technique better than a description:

“Stunning timelapse featuring blooming flowers” by David de los Santos

Future prospects

This trend has asserted itself in the filmmaking industry and it’s here to stay. Time lapse cinematography has already been used in a whole range of documentaries and is, unsurprisingly, still gaining popularity.

Shorter, please!

What does this mean?

We are all fast drivers on the information superhighway, aka “The Internet”. You share everything you like and would like others to see.

This presents an obvious opportunity for movie makers and other creative heads to utilize popular online platforms. As a consequence, the movie makers can reach a broader range of people all over the world.

But, you need to keep in mind that the attention span of the common audience is short. Viewers want videos to be brief, yet feature the same high-quality content that attracts them to videos in the first place.


There are some mainstream blogs and channels showcasing lots of brief videos. Therefore they earn great attention. Even though it’s more or less a platform for amateurs, vine.co is one of the leaders in short video clips. They started a trend by limiting videos to a length of 6s and made it incredibly easy to produce clips.

man using the internet in a cafe

Future prospects

This trend is already present and it won’t change anytime soon. People simply lack time and prefer shorter videos. Just think about yourself, what do you rather watch, a brief video or a lengthy one?

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Generation Dubstep

What does this mean?

This musical phenomenon all began one day in England. Those first sounds are still known as “drum and bass”. Next producers let their imagination run free and mix styles together. Dubstep is extremely evocative and powerful in some scenes. Nowadays it is used as great musical backdrop in movies as well as in trailers.

To sum it up: If you don’t like it, you should become friends with this music genre regardless.


Compilation of scenes with Dubstep

Future prospects

Dubstep has attracted more and more people. Particularly, the new generation of moviegoers and those who ensure box office earnings. As with all trends, we’ll see how long this will last.

Mocap – Tracking Physical Activity

What does this mean?

Broken down, motion capturing (mocap) is the practice of recording the movement of objects or people. But recording films with conventional tools does the same, right?

Well, there’s more to it than that. When utilizing mocap, producers want to illuminate the complex motion of the performer’s whole appearance and transfer it to an animated character.


motion capturing

Optical systems:

– Passive systems: Track position markers on the body of the actor in the form of dots or balls
– Active systems: Those markers light up or blink distinctively
– Features in 3D-animation process

Markerless systems:

The producer can also use algorithms from match-moving software. These track distinctive features, like an actor’s clothing or nose. The captured motion then will be displayed on a virtual skeleton. After which, the created character then will be animated with real-life performers.

In order to get a better understanding of how this motion capturing works, you can watch this video. It shows how motion capturing has been used in the Lord of the Rings films.

Here is a video that shows “How Motion Capture Really Works in Movies” by actionzone

Future prospects

Motion capturing has big advantages compared to other technologies, especially in terms of accuracy. Another perk is the ability to view multiple subjects from any angle. This will make mocap the tool of choice when it comes to animated filmmaking.

Virtual Reality Filmmaking

What does this mean?

You hear a lot about virtual reality, but what’s behind it all?
Basically, it is a technology that replicates an environment – real or imagined – in which the user finds him/herself and then has the ability to interact with it. It is also called computer-simulated reality.
Virtual reality gives rise to a sensory experience. This can include a sight of 360 degrees, touching, hearing, and smelling.

Nowadays, as all movies are shot digitally, it’s much easier utilise the full color spectrum.

Virtual Reality


Philipp Maas and Dominik Stockhausen realized that virtual reality offers new ways of storytelling. Take a look at their trailer for the movie SONAR by Sundance.

With the help of the firm Nurulize, director David Karlak had the chance to produce a VR-short.

Another great example is Google’s virtual reality painting:

Another example is the 360° filmmaking. With this kind of camera, you can be filming while you turn around during filming – and the camera stays focused.

For understanding you can watch this video of SWISS flight team:

Future prospects

VR cinema could become pivotal to virtual reality’s success, making it the box-office hit per se.

The Explosive Growth of Video Content

What does this mean?

Meanwhile, companies show smaller clips of advertising on the internet rather than expensive and lavish TV-productions. Using the Internet as a borderless distribution platform is cost-effective and ensures a faster connection to the audience. On the other hand, the target group is highly fragmented and more specific content is required. This generates a need to create more video content in a cost-effective way.


In order to gain easy online presence, there are a lot of companies and tools that can help.
The latest invention is probably the YouTube Director. Small Businesses can now easily create quick video ads. This finally enables them to reach their customers in a way only big companies were able to.

We developed a helpful tool that makes the video production process easier and more cost effective. It is called Filestage. It’s a web application that helps to collaborate on videos and to review video files with clients in the browser.

Here a short Filestage Walkthrough:

Future prospects:

We can observe how obvious the prevalence of this trend is. Online content is growing at a tremendous pace. Just have a look at the statistics of YouTube. It is growing for more than 50% a year for three straight years.
Companies create more and more video content and are looking for more cost-effective ways to produce. So they optimize their content production workflows. New software helps them to achieve this. Many great tools were created recently and many more will follow in the next years.

Live Broadcasting

What does this mean?

Generally speaking, live broadcasting is a real-time transmission of motion and language. It refers to various types of media that communicate without any significant time lag.


Apps like Periscope and Meerkat are the pioneers in the development of live streaming. For the first time, users got the possibility to use live broadcasting on mobile. They made it possible to create their own short movies and showcase them to the world.

At the end of 2015 Facebook and YouTube recognized this trend. They improved their offer with a live broadcasting feature and lifted the trend to a new level.

social media

Future prospects

After this trend became mainstream, the advertising industry began to take note. Thus, over the next few years, a lot of money will be going into live streaming content. Filmmakers will have to consider this trend, or even create new formats for the marketing of their films.

China’s Rise to Dominance in the Film Industry

Chinese movies

What does this mean?

China is one of the prime players when it comes to establishing global arrangements and partnerships. Currently, their big plan is to take over the film industry and expand into this market. One reason is that the Chinese government currently only allows 34 foreign releases to screen in the country per year. While co-productions and movies produced exclusively in China, on the other hand, face fewer restrictions.


The Chinese notably focus on American studios. The more well-known Chinese actors and actresses act in established American productions. In fact, a number of studios have already co-produced films with Chinese companies. China also builds production studios in the country in order to gain better access to the world’s fastest-growing film market.

For example Furious 7 and Jurassic World were the results of co-productions with Chinese companies.

Future prospects

By next year China is predicted to overtake the US box office making it the most important market for filmmakers in the world.
While the European market is experiencing a slow increase of box office revenue, China recorded an increase of 36% from 2013 to 2014. In 2015 alone, there was a tremendous growth of 48%.
More co-productions with China and the state-owned China Film Group are fixed. This will likely result in outsourcing more US production jobs to China in the near future.

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“The only reason that we cannot make genre movies is the barrier that censorship sets. If I want to make the movie here, I have to portray all the communists as superheroes…This would betray my original idea and make it difficult to develop the story.”

Jia Zhangke, Chinese Film Director

How will the Craft of Storytelling Change in the Future?

What does this mean?

The ongoing process of development in technology will change how stories are perceived and told. This leads to the presumption that the craft of storytelling could change. If this is the case, then how can filmmakers and other creative heads adapt?

If we take a closer look at the reality of the situation, we can observe that the structures and archetypes of storytelling are timeless, because, good stories evolve naturally. However, the tools of storytelling will change – at best, in favor of it.


A good example is the bullet time effect. It makes us experience reality in a new way.
We all know the famous scene from the movie The Matrix where they used this bullet time effect:

Another example is transmedia storytelling. A story is told across several types of media to spark the audience’s interest. This could be something like a book having additional videos for every chapter, providing background information.

Future prospects

The presence, activity, and emotions of the audience became a high priority. Therefore, we have to adapt to an enhanced perception, as technology and inter-connectivity steadily develop. As a consequence, we perceive the world differently and so our stories will change, so as to mirror new experience.

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“Sometimes reality is too complex. Stories give it form.”

Jean-Luc Godard, Director

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There will always be new trends in the film industry. On the one hand, because the technology development process won’t stand still. On the other hand, creative heads continuously seek cheaper, faster and better ways to produce and showcase their motion pictures.

To stay on top as a creative professional, it’s essential to keep up to date with the latest movements. International networking is already omnipresent and will only gain influence across the whole film-producing industry.

What do you think? Did we miss any essential trends? Please let us know in the comments!

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