Thursday, May 31, 2012

$1 Budget: Stop, Clean, Reflect!

The advantage of being able to do short, easy-to-produce, alternate content is that I can whip up an episode when I don't have a short film at the end of the month. I wanted to have a more complete version of Sleeper finished, but it wasn't to be. Instead, it's a bonus episode of The $1 Budget, which a lot of people seem to like.

This time out, I spend all of my money at Dollar Tree, which seems to have all kinds of goodies that us filmmakers need to fill in the gaps between more costly gear. I appreciate all the suggestions I received for this episode and if you are reading this and can think of any others, please comment below.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Recap Q&A: Story Ideas from Where?

RSS readers: Click on the title above to reveal the hidden video.

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Vegas Pro 11 Editing Workshop (book/DVD)

Get Slow Motion 60fps On Your iPhone 4

Canon a1200 Powershot (great for entry-level video) for $72

Sylvania 7" portable LCD TV - $50

Tascam DR-07mkII handheld digital recorder - $99

Quick Release Showdown

Lighting for mood

DIY track dolly demo reel

Cell phone rig

Lens diffusion that works on any camera

Shotgun microphone for $20

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Quick Release Showdown

After using the Sima Quickonnect for all of my sub-$10 quick release needs, another product has shown up on the horizon recently. A clone of the Manfrotto 323 RC2 quick release system, this Chinese knock-off is a solid product that comes in at 1/4 of the price of the original. Both systems are great for allowing you to move your camera between DIY builds, but this Manfrotto clone is the better buy in my opinion.

The New Jersey eBay supplier seems to randomly jack up the price up to $108.48 (why?), so double check before you buy, or use the Hong Kong supplier.

Manfrotto Clone, Hong Kong Supplier ($9.30)

Sima Quickonnect, Amazon ($8-12)

Monday, May 21, 2012

Recap Q&A: Favorite Movie?

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New quick release camera mount for $8.48
New Jersey supplier for $8.48:
Hong Kong Supplier for $9.30:
Amazon link for $10.59:

New material for DIY projects

Full body greenman suit - $25

Shooting great portraits (or video) with minimal setup

67" monopod for $12

Video production: getting permission

Off the shelf ring light - $25

Getting better prodcution audio is easier than you think

Simple Snorricam for $7

Making fake realistic looking instestines

Refurb Kodak PlaySport ZX5 waterproof cam for $59

Canon T3i vs. Kodak ZX5

Sima Quickonnect back in stock

32" Collapsible 5-in-1 reflector - $10

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Simple Snorricam for $7

Another viewer request, this time I make an attempt at creating a Snorricam, a rig that makes you look like you desperately need a nap. This has got to be one of the simpler rigs I've ever built.  Most Snorricams have lots of padding and straps, but I did away with all of that in favor of a counterweight system.  It isn't as rock solid as the traditional version, but you get to see more of your actor as well as some other nifty options not found elsewhere. Who wants to be like everyone else anyway?

Monday, May 14, 2012

Recap Q&A: What Techniques?

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If we Cannes, you Can! (e-book, mentions The Frugal Filmmaker)

Entry level 720p camera with focus and exposure lock - $78

DIY filmmaker can lights

DIY $2.50 rotational spider dolly

Free downloads for writers

How to make money online

Video camera mount for your car for less than $20

Camera tabletop dolly - $40

720p vs 1080i HD explained

DIY microphone stand & audio mounting

$1 Budget: slate, cap, grenade!

The Complete Frugal Filmmaker Radio Interview

Tascam DR-40 XLR digital audio recorder - $150

Production dialogue - microphone placement

Small clapper board - $4

Camera L-bracket w/2 shoe mounts - $8

Zeikos multi-coated UV filter review

Tripod to softbox stand

Bicycle camera mount

Fisheye lens for $6

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Fisheye lens for $6

Knoptop and Quick FX returns with his version of putting a peephole onto his point and shoot camera. This gives the coveted "fisheye" look of a super wide angle lens that distorts everything. I've seen different videos using this specific hack, but never quite seen it the Knoptop way. And if it uses PVC, you can bet I'm going to pay attention.

Also, check out Knop's "uncut" version that shows more of the parts collection process as well as a trip through the drive-through to get a doughnut. It's classic Dave.

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Complete FF Radio Interview

Last week I participated in my first ever radio interview for "Grow It, Build It, Live It", hosted by Joni Dahlstrom. Joni was a very gracious host and was aided by her son Jake, who is a film student and suggested me as a potential interviewee. There were some prepared questions as well as those that were provided by listeners who were logged into a chat room. I think the show went well and we were able to get some very useful information out into cyberspace. Internet radio is just another example of how the web has changed all forms of media and I had a lot of fun participating in the show.

If you missed it and would like to hear the entire broadcast, click on the audio player above. If you would like to listen on your own device, you can right-click here and select "Save Link As...". I've cut out all the four-minute breaks, which brings the whole show in just over two-and-a-half hours. Enjoy!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

$1 Budget: Slate, Cap, Grenade!

This time on the show I find some more goodies that only cost a buck. These are a dry erase board that can easily be used as a camera slate, a toy grenade that has lots of prop potential, and a lens cap for a camera that already has one.  If you have any good ideas for the show, please let me know and I'll give you full credit if it makes the cut.

Press play!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Radio Interview Tonight!

If you haven't heard already, I'm going to be interviewed tonight (6-9:00 PM PST) on "Grow It, Build It, Live It!" hosted by Joni Dahlstrom.  It's a first for me and I hope that it all goes well and I don't say anything lame. If you'd like to just listen, go here: If you want to ask questions (filtered by the host, I won't actually see them) go here: and click on "chat".

Wish me luck!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Recap Q&A: Does the Format Work?

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I'm going to be on Grow It, Build It, Live It! hosted by Joni Dahlstrom
May 8, 2012, 6:00-9:00 PM PST
To listen:
To chat: click on "chat"

Give away your film's soundtrack for free

Sony ECM-AW3 wireless bluetooth microphone review

Microphones & audio syncing tutorial

The Frugal Filmmaker: Europe

DIY on-air studio light

Video lighting with outdoor flood lights

Patriot 32GB class 10 SD card - $22

How to make fly through cloud footage

Tip: Floor Lamp Lighting

5 tips for controlling natural light

CameraSim simulates a digital SLR camera

Canon VIXIA HFR20 - $283

New to DSLRs?

VR light stands (light box)

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Tip: Floor Lamp Lighting

This month in the tip episode, I share something I've been using recently that's efficient, thrifty and effective. When shooting any video in my apartment (intros, build instructions), I would normally have to assemble some PVC light stands and attach clamp lights, or bounce some work lights off of the ceiling. The problem was, I was spending more time than I wanted on the setup/teardown. I am often doing these videos late at night and when I'm done, I want to go to bed, not spend another 30 minutes striking.

I started looking around at available lighting and found that I could use two floor lamps, a ceiling fan lamp, and a kitchen light to get a similar result to the DIY gear. The only catch was I had to be standing up (the floor lamps are about 6' tall), but that just created a new look for the videos (never a bad thing).  After some experimenting and moving lights around, I found a good combination that provides a decent look with only about 5 minutes of setup time.

I believe the floor lamps came from IKEA, but you can find them just about anywhere. They are very common and will only run you about $9-12. The best part is, when I'm done, they go back against the wall. It's just more evidence that if examine your immediate surroundings, the answer to a filmmaking problem might be right in front of you.


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