23 August 2021

How to Make a Video Scary - at Halloween or Any Other Time!

What’s the best Halloween prank you’ve ever experienced? Was it a scary pop-up monster, special effects, spooky music? How about bringing all those together for one injection of adrenaline on screen? No matter what you film for such an occasion, if you want to learn how to make a video scary, you can resort to special visual and sound effects that will enhance your story and make it memorable.

Scary video makers advertise all over Google if you search for making a Halloween video or just one that jolts you upright when you watch it, regardless of the time of year. This is because a video is so much more engaging and effective in eliciting an emotional response than a card or static set-up. Additionally, you can always go back and review your scary video, adding it to your collection and creating memories that will last a lifetime. 

You don’t have to pay someone to do your scary video or download a template when there are so many ways to do it yourself. Here’s a look at how to add scary effects in video and how to create the best mini-horror movie for your “victims”. 

Coming up with the best scary story

So, you’ve decided you want to shoot a scary video either as an animated card to send to someone or as a backdrop to your Halloween house decorations. If you’re looking for inspiration, the internet has plenty to offer. Here’s how to make a scary pop-up video that sends shivers down your visitors’ spines.

Research a scary story

One sure-fire way to create a scary video is to start from a scary story, fictional or historical. Research your local library archives to see if anything scary happened in the history of where you live, that you can refer to or draw inspiration from. Or watch some scary video pranks online for inspiration of fictional storylines.  

Commit your actors

If you want to create a scary video, you’ll need to find some committed actors to work with. Either convince your friends to go along with the script, or put a call-out on social media to find some willing volunteers. Your scary movie will only work if it’s played right, so this is a gamble!

How about funny scary videos?

Don’t forget about making scary videos that also make your audience laugh! A scary movie doesn’t have to be all about horror and suspense, it can also just be a very funny scary prank. Have a look at some of these for inspiration on how to make a scary YouTube video that elicits some laughs. 

Write a script

Writing down your ideas will help you focus and visualize the final film. Put them all down on paper, even if it’s just a rough outline of your video. In case you’re using several actors, too, a script will have everyone on the same page (pun intended!).

How to make a scary video: tips on shooting your scenes

Now you have a script and a theme, the next step in how to make a scary video is the actual shooting. The best movies in all genres benefit from a range of camera angles and special effects, as well as techniques that control how the information is conveyed to your audience. 

Consider lighting

Lighting will make a huge difference in your overall atmosphere. If you’re looking at how to make a scary pop up video, you’ll see that the element of surprise can combine with darkness to make it even scarier. Similarly, using clever lighting to conceal some element that appears at the last minute, like a bloody knife or a monster from behind a piece of furniture, will yield great results.

Perspective

Somewhat linked to lighting, this refers to what your characters can see on screen versus what the audience sees. For example, you may choose to have the camera focused on your character walking through a haunted house, without them seeing the ghosts lurking in the background which are visible to your viewers. This enhances the suspense and will turn you into a very effective scary video maker. 

Music

If you can add music while shooting, think of how the atmosphere can be enhanced with an effective music score. Jaws is a classic scary movie where the music has become synonymous with the dread of seeing the shark attack. As you shoot, think about what music you can add over some of the scenes in post-production to make them scarier. 

Shaking hands make it scarier

Remember The Blair Witch Project? One element of horror in that movie was the way it was shot, with a shaky hand that conveyed the fright of the characters. You can use a shaky camera to alter the mood of your story and enhance the scary feeling of your video, too. This also works really well with shooting on your mobile to make the scene feel less staged. 

Make a scary video even scarier with these post-production tricks

Once you’ve created a compelling story and acted it out, you can do a lot with a video editing app to render your scary movie really effective. For example, use special visual filters to make everyone’s faces look different or add some scary suspenseful music to your scenes. Here are some tips on how to add scary effects in video that’s already been filmed.

Use horror sound effects 

There are a lot of free sound effects you can add to your video to make it scarier, like in this online library. Some ideas include howling wolves, creaky floorboards, creepy laughter, and more. Your video editing app may also include some built-in effects you can try.

Image filters can make your video scarier

In your video editing app, select a filter to transform the look of your video and immediately create a different atmosphere to make it look creepier. For example, if you’re filming a scary video about a historic murder or ghost story, use a black-and-white filter to make everything look dated, or add shaky effects to the camera to make the film look older and lower quality. 

You can also use a mirror effect on a scary pop-up video where you’re speaking to the camera, distorting the image to further confuse your viewers.

Finally, you can use a filter that distorts the colors and makes it look like the image is breaking up, like from an old VHS tape or as if you’re watching TV and it’s about to cut out. That’s an excellent scary video effect for a storyline that cuts out unexpectedly, leaving your viewer on the edge of their seat. 

Choose your score

A well-chosen musical score will also make your video scarier. Haunting music reminiscent of the X-Files helps make a walk through a dark corridor seem ominous and other such scores can be used depending on your theme and story.

How to make a scary face video

One easier post-production trick is to make a scary face video. This is a message-to-camera scenario where you can distort your face and/or your voice to create a creepy greeting. For added chills, you can make a scary pop-up video that plays as your Halloween party guests enter a room, with the TV tuning special effects to start. Then, record your greeting and alter it with your video editing app, adding a mask or scary face filter, a voice filter, and even some creepy background music. End it with a sudden noise or TV tuning effect and leave them in the dark for maximum thrills.


Whether you’re setting up for a Halloween party to remember or sending a scary prank video to someone, this guide on how to make a video scary has all the tips and tricks you need to make an impression. Remember to enjoy yourself filming and share it all on social media!

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