Monday, January 30, 2012

Recap: New Stuff on Wednesday or Thursday?

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Panasonic HX-DC1 (same as Sanyo XACTI VPC-CG20) $168 (pink!)

Sony Movie Studio HD, $36

Sony Movie Studio HD Platinum, $48 (includes color correction tools)

PVC ratcheting pipe cutter (Amazon), $8.50

PVC ratcheting pipe cutter (Harbor Freight Tools), $3.50

Sima Quickonnect

Rosco Cinegel Quarter Blue (1/4 CTB), 20"x24"

Roscolux 1/4 tough white diffusion, 20"x24"

Building a DIY mini camera crane

60 hours per minute and 4 billion views a day on YouTube

Rick Dobrowski's stabilizer rig for underwater camera housing

Bob Dorn's frugal light stand and "frugalfuser"

Merlin-style Steadicam part I, the gimble

3 simple tips for filming without lights (interior)

Cheap microphone! Audio-Technica ATR 6250 or ATR 25 (with test)

Wayne Poe's PVC stabilizer rig

Building a flexible top handle rig

DIY cam slider

Free Filmmakers and Acting Talent Network

Noah Goodman's PVC shoulder rig

How to add lens threads to your JVC GZ-MS230

Wayne Poe's method for adding external LED light to PVC stabilizer rig

DIY mic blimp rubberband assembly

Tamara Stampone's PVC stabilizer rig

DIY hotshoe adapter

Mike Lefebvre's PVC stabilizer rig

43" 5-in-1 collapsible multi-disk light reflector for $12.95

4 sandbags for $22 (sand not included)

How to create smoke for photography out of liquid

Rui Silva's PVC shoulder mount

Small LED light panel showdown

Donald Wren's FigRig clone

Olle Aranas' suction cup mount

Donald Wren's tripod mount for his PVC stabilizer rig

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Making of "Temp Insanity"

By popular demand, here is a "Making of" show covering my last short film, "Temp Insanity". I always learn a ton of stuff on every movie I make and I hope there is something here that could be useful to others. The smartest thing I did on this shoot was secure a real office (one that had been denied to other students previously) for a location. The dumbest? I wasn't aware the sun coming in a prominent window wouldn't be down at the start of shooting, which caused a one hour delay.

I've also included the screenplay in a normal .pdf and Celtx version (which also includes my sitck-man storyboards). If you don't know what Celtx is, it's free screenwriting and pre-production software that runs on any platform.

If you like the title font, here's where I found it.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Recap: Best Entry-Level Camera?

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Spring Double Eagle M41A G36 Rifle Airsoft Gun

Best entry-level filmmaker camera for $80 (Sanyo XACTI VPC-CG20)

800 watt portable generator

Noob shockmount adapter

Cowboy Studio professional tripod dolly

Getting better as a director: The power of collaboration

Rode introduces two microphones with built-in recorders

Camera Flo Pod

PVC to camera shoe adapter

Justin Loga's PVC stabilizer "battering ram-cam"

Halogen work light for under $10

Sima Quickonnect for $8.57

Vivitar Steady Pod (mini-tripod/hand grip) for $5.40

$25 DIY double shoulder mount

David Stembridge's DIY shoulder mount

7 tips for HD and DSLR color correction

Cowboy Studio shoulder mount for $16.44

DIY ring light - $20 filmmaker

Humphrey Bande's PVC track dolly

Really cheap microphone bracket

Andres Alonso Larrea Burneo's DIY crutch cam!

YouTube's "Your Film Festival"

Chris Butterfield's Pocket Cam Crane

Collin Baker's Cowboy Studio shoulder mount

Andrew Seitz' PVC stabilizer rig light

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

PVC to Camera Shoe Adapter

One thing I've always wanted to make was some way of connecting my DIY mic shockmount directly to the top of my camera. Sometimes you need a full rig of stuff to complement your camera and sometimes you just need one thing. This is a case of a simple adapter to hold a mic (or any PVC project) to the top of a camera. It can get more complex, of course, but that is up to you.


Opteka Canon Mini "Advanced" Shoe to Universal Shoe Mount

1/4"-20 Tripod Mount Screw to Flash Hot Shoe Adapter

1/2" PVC plug

1/4" hex nut
1/4" lock washer

Monday, January 16, 2012

Weekly Recap: What should I do with Twitter?

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Sanyo XACTI VPC-CG20 AC adapter

"Temper" Kickstarter page

Armalite Rifle font

Shotgun microphone shootout

Sima Quickonnect back in stock!

DIY lav mic - iPhone earbuds

All about lightstands

Jeffrey Collins PVC stabilizer / shoulder rig

DIY QuickTip - cheap greenscreen

DIY QuickTip - composing for 2:35:1 widescreen

Humphrey Bande's PVC stabilizer rig

Camera flash bracket from the $100 filmmaking kit

DIY cell phone stabilizer rig

Kris Kuhn's PVC stabilizer rig

Jared Novakovich's PVC stabilizer rig

$1 camera slider?

5 simple ways to make your own light leaks

Best entry-level filmmaker camera for $80

DIY shoulder rig

Jared Novakovich's DIY shoulder rig

Bob Dorn's frugal reflector

Nicholas Thor Martin's PVC trigger grip

Digital Concepts wide and tele converter kit

Chris Butterfield using the $5 PVC light stands

John Shappy's Frugal Floater

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Best Entry-Level Filmmaker Camera for $80

In case you haven't been following the Weekly Recap shows, I wanted to give one last alert about the best kept secret on the internet (too dramatic?). The "secret" is that you can get the now-discontinued Sanyo XACTI VPC-CG20 HD camcorder for $79.97 at Radio Shack. They are only available in stores (which are everywhere) and you can easily detect stock through The Shack's handy CG20 product locator, which is hidden on their website. Enter your zip code and cross your fingers.

Why do I like this camera? Let me give you a few reasons. All manual features (focus, shutter, exposure). Focus and exposure lock. 5x optical zoom lens. 1080p/720p HD video. Records to YouTube-friendly MP4 codec. In-camera video trimming. Macro mode. Web cam mode. Flip out, rotatable monitor. Tripod mount. External battery charger. Records video to an SD card (not included). $80 price tag. Check the online manual for full disclosure.

It does have some cons. There is no mic input or headphone jack. The onboard mics are on the opposite side of the monitor (which is only a problem if you want to see yourself and record sound at the same time). Pick up a Zoom H1 Handy Recorder and snyc in post.

There is no AC adapter. You can only power the camera by battery, which probably last just over an hour. Cheap clones can be found on eBay, however, and you could be shooting while charging another on the external charger (get two for $8.85).

It's small. While the pistol-grip shape does help the small form-factor, it's still a tiny camera that may disappear in large mitts such as my own. Build and use the PVC stabilizer rig or the mini-camera stabilizer which is perfect for the CG10 & CG20 + the Zoom.

This is really a fantastic deal. I hope that any budding film jockeys will be able to nab one of these before they disappear forever. They have so many features and can also come in very handy as a portable "fast cam". I carry one in my backpack all the time now. Oh, and in case you are wondering about video quality, check my last Tip episode or a recent Weekly Recap episode. They were all shot on the CG20's little brother (which tops out at 720p), the XACTI VPC-CG10.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Weekly Recap: Help me spread the word?

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$4 porch tree bags (gear storage)

Knoptop upgrades the Zoom H1

Hope Depot Holiday light changing kit (boompole - $5)

Filippo Bortot's PVC stabilizer rig

Ryan Sasinowski's suction cup car mount

Great lighting for microbudget video

Tip: In Camera Editing

Getting better as a director: Learning how to talk to actors

Alex Forey's DIY matte box, cage rig, and rail system

DIY filmmaking comes of age

Eve Hazelton: Lighting for greenscreen

Filmmaking tools you can buy #2 - $20 filmmaker

DVTV: Action movie BTS, FaderND review

Keith Hecker's DIY shoulder rigs

Havard Nordgard's DIY teleprompter

Sanyo XACTI VPC-CG10 users manual

Sanyo XACTI VPC-CG20 finder at Radio Shack

Hands free tie clip omindirectional electret (lav mic)

Audio-Technica ATR-3350 lav mic

The Frugal Filmmaker - "Episode Workflow"

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Tip: In Camera Editing

In this tip episode, I cover what will probably interest video bloggers more than filmmakers. I discuss how I came up with a very fast production schedule for my Weekly Recap show, which needs to get out the door every Monday. I details all the ins and outs and how using a cheap $80 camera was the answer over my more expensive Canon.

Sanyo XACTI VPC-CG10 finder at Radio Shack's website

Sanyo XACTI VPC-CG20 finder at Radio Shack

$5 mini ball head

Get your own pickle jar!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Knoptop Upgrades the Zoom H1

Recently Zoom released a new firmware upgrade for its popular digital audio recorder, the H1. Knoptop takes us through the basic steps to get the job done. I have the H1 and haven't done the upgrade yet, but darn it if Dave doesn't make it look like fun!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Weekly Recap: Is this show too long?

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Sunny Sharif's DIY camera slider & tutorial

Cheap tripod ($10)

How to build a $25 boom pole

The best video cameras of 2011

2 Easy to use camera report templates

Filmmaking tools you can buy - $20 Filmmaker

Joshua Welker's chromakey paint formula

$100 filmmaking kit

Edward Burns and the socialization of indie cinema

Travis Scalan's slider dolly

Hollywood-style tricks on the cheap

Zoom H1 firmware update

Using a seat belt pad as a wind-blocking deadcat

Making a scar with glue and tissue paper

Happy New Year!

Public Domain Pictures - free stock photos

Paco Warabi's Treepod/Multipod

1/2" PVC plug at Home Depot

Knoptop's DIY deadcat for on-camera mics

Scott's older short films/'Midnyte' web series


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