Monday, June 28, 2010

Some Kind Words...

This blog recently received a little attention from International Movie Trailer Festival. Site master Murray Suid sent me an email directing me to their links page where they sent a little love in this blog's direction:

The Frugal Filmmaker offers some of the Web's most practical information for producing high quality movies on a shoestring budget. The site's author Scott Eggleston has a clear, encouraging manner that makes his specific advice seem totally doable. And his 12 point philosophy—which includes the recommendation "If you can't buy it, build it"—is a beacon for those of us making movies on limited budgets.

Many thanks to Murray and don't forget to give his site a look!

Weekly Recap Link List 6-20-10

Another week, another set of links. Many thanks to subscribers of this blog (or on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Instructables) who have gone out of their way to thank me for sending this information on a weekly basis.

You're very welcome!

Thoughts on audience building
http://workbookproject.com/newbreed/2010/06/21/thoughts-on-audience-building/

You might be watching an HD DSLR film if...
http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/showthread.php?t=214728&goto=newpost

"The Thing About Space Travel" (made for less than $50)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B0PUj8PvYlo

Chessycam.com: an excellent DIY video production site
http://cheesycam.com/

You're already self employed
http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2010/06/youre-already-self-employed.html

Resourcefulness
http://killinghimself.blogspot.com/2010/06/resourcefulness.html

Light dimmer or voltage regulator?
http://filmflap.blogspot.com/2010/06/light-dimmer-or-voltage-regulator.html

126 LED lights on eBay
http://cheesycam.com/?p=1681

The Frugal Filmmaker, Episode 10: "DIY Boom Pole"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LwQJFRec2-E

Free sound effects, royalty free sounds, nature effects
http://www.partnersinrhyme.com/pir/PIRsfx.shtml

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Make a DIY Boom Pole



Time for another episode! This one concerns making a pole to hang our handy-dandy mic shockmount on. Originally I wasn't going to bother with this one, but viewers (and some local filmmakers) kept asking. Since it paid for itself--why not?

After making this video, I'm realizing that things are getting more complex. Not everyone is going to have a rotary tool or access to one. I have a Dremel my mom bought for me years ago and it has come in really handy since I started building inexpensive film gear. PVC stands no chance against a man with a rotary tool!

Anyway, if you can't afford a Dremel (the entry level wired model is around $40), consider the alternative from Harbor Freight Tools. They start at $10 and you will use the thing over and over and not just for filmmaking purposes. They are amazing.

Click on the big giant arrow!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Light Dimmer or Voltage Regulator?


Father's Day brought me a real cool gadget--The Dremel Workstation. This allows me to mount my Dremel rotary tool in a drill press or bench grinder configuration (vertical or horizontal). This is going to come in very handy in constructing various camera rigs and other DIY goodness.

What was even better was realizing that the dimmer project that I built a few episodes ago is literally a voltage regulator. This is super handy in adjusting the RPM of the very-fast Dremel. The rotary dimmer allows me to slow the tool way down and make drilling more like a real drill press. Nice!

As you may recall, this dimmer can be built for $7.25, which is a lot lower that devices sold for this specific purpose, even at a discount house like Harbor Freight Tools. Their model sells for almost three times the price as our homebrew version.

I love finding new uses for stuff like this. Now the dimmer will take up permanent residence near the Dremel where I can control the speed to a more acceptable level.

Of course, this means I need to build another one for my light kit...

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Make a PVC Table Dolly for Under $20



Here's a very useful gadget you can build that will give you smooth rolling shots in a compact package. It won't take you long to build and the skill level needed is low. Everyone who sees one of these seems to be impressed, though I don't rank it as high as the PVC light stands, which I use every time I shoot. Any dolly is indispensable (nothing can replace one), so here's a version I came up with.

Producing this video took me forever (three weeks since the last one) and I apologize for the production gaffes you may spot. I won't point them out here (some I make fun of in the clip), but it's just proof that any production can have issues.

Enjoy the dolly, I've already used it a few times with impressive results (see the video). Like any piece of gear, practice makes perfect, so don't give up if you find your first shots disappointing.

PARTS LIST:

Cheap tripod
2x 3/4" PVC pipes, 3" long
7x 3/4" PVC pipes, 1 1/2" long
3x 3/4" PVC T-joints
2x 3/4" PVC elbow joints
5x 3/4" PVC couplers
1x 1/2" to 3/4" PVC adapter
1x 1/2" PVC pipe, 1 1/2" long
4x 3/4" PVC plugs
4x Rollerblade wheel
4x 1/4" bolt, 2" long
8x 1/4" nuts

UPDATE: You also might want to check out the smaller, cheaper, and easier-to-build Table Dolly Junior.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Weekly Recap Link List 6-7-10

A very slow week--only four links to report! I didn't help by being behind with another video installment, but the next one (to be posted this week) is worth the wait.

The GH1 DSLR rig on the cheap
http://ftsnow.com/archives/183

Reflector Primer - The DIY photographer's best friend
http://www.diyphotography.net/reflector-primer-the-photographers-best-diyed-friend

Did you know Home Depot carries gaffer's tape?
http://filmflap.blogspot.com/2010/06/did-you-know-home-depot-carries-gaffers.html

PVC mic stand
http://filmflap.blogspot.com/2010/06/pvc-mic-stand.html

Friday, June 4, 2010

PVC Mic Stand

Here's a combination of two previous projects that worked together to solve a production problem. The problem was a boom mic shadow that would appear no matter where we tried to place it over head. The solution was to create a plant mic from the shotgun that would hide below a kitchen counter out of camera range.

The stand you see above is a combination of parts from a PVC light stand (the stand + an elbow joint), a 3/4" to 1/2" adapter and the PVC mic shockmount. It assembled quickly and we had our audio.

I seem to find new uses for the PVC light stand parts every time I go on a shoot. They have become an indispensable part of my filmmaking tools. Stay tuned for more contraptions.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Did You Know Home Depot Carries Gaffer's Tape?

Apparently they do. I wonder how many filmmakers were pestering these guys? Note the tag "you asked for it, we got it" stuck to the shelf. If you want your local Home Depot to start carrying film supplies, start bugging them now!