Monday, July 30, 2012

Recap Q&A: Which Editor and Why?

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Frugal Filmmaker T-shirts (new logo)!

Maybe someone doesn't like GoAnimate?

Dimmer switch for $7.25

Why short-form video is the future of marketing

Eyes vs Cameras

Poles aplenty for frugal mic adapter

$0 DIY rotating platform for product videos

Dollar store lighting accessory kit

5D helmet rig

DSLR debate: The Cartoon!

No Budget Film School course - use FRUGAL code for 20% off!

Carry Speed LCD viewfinder review

Sony Vegas: Exporting videos to YouTube

Kipon Canon EF to MFT+E-mount adapter review

P&C Pistol grip review - easy rig with Pico friction arm

DIY 600 LED light for under $30

DIY LED light panel - $6

Friday, July 27, 2012

Sony Vegas: Exporting to YouTube

People keep asking me about what export settings I use when I send content to YouTube. While I covered a more methodical approach in "Episode Workflow", I recently stumbled across a free plugin that removes all the heavy lifting, analyzes your project, and sends it away based on your quality selection. The good news is (besides being free), Video4YouTube renders faster and creates a smaller file than the old method.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

DSLR Debate: The Cartoon!

And now for something completely different, I decided to take a stab at Animation for Dummies, by using YouTube's GoAnimate.  This program lets you do simple 2D animated stories and has just enough features to make it worthwhile. I won't go into everything, but after using it all day to create the above short, I can see its potential for non-animators. My favorite feature is the ability to import audio files, which are a lot better for your production than the cheesy "text-to-speech" gizmo that gives you robotic dialogue.

I don't know if these "cartoons" will become regular productions with me (we'll see what the reaction is like), but it is cool to branch out into forms of storytelling I've never tried before. It's all part of the perpetual learning experience.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Poles Aplenty for Frugal Mic Adapter

When doing research for my last Frugal Filmmaker episode (Painter's Pole Mic Adapter), I came across several poles that were very good candidates to use with said adapter. The adapter lets you easily attach a mic to your basic painter pole thread (you know, the really coarse one), giving you a quick boom pole whenever you need one. These pole types didn't really get time in the episode, so I thought I'd run them down here, giving all the basic stats and cost.

Broom / Mop Handle (free-$5).
If you have a broom or mop in your possession, then all you have to do is unscrew the head, attach your adapter, and your done. If you don't have one of these you can easily pick them up anywhere, including your local Dollar Tree. While these are very cheap to acquire, they also don't extend, giving you a shorter length in which to reach your actor's lips.

Fixed length Extension pole ($5-10)
These are basically a more robust broom handle, found in the paint section of whatever store you choose. They are sturdy wood or aluminum and don't collapse. Like the broom handle, they are only one length, but are affordable and strong. Make sure you have the space to transport it and you'll be fine.

Two-section Extension Pole ($12-20)
These stand at about 5', but can extend to another 4' to give you greater distance to stand out of frame and record dialogue. I've got the Wal-Mart pole and I really like it, especially the "twist and lock" control over the sections which is much faster and convenient than traditional screw collets that take more time and break easily.

Three-Section Extention Pole ($20-30)
These poles give you the greatest reach (12') and collapse to the smallest size (4'). The most familiar of these is the Bayco light bulb changer kit, found in most hardware stores. Just unscrew the pole from the bulb changing hardware, and you're ready to add the adapter. This yellow metal pole is very recognizable in DIY circles for the great length, small size and "twist and lock" functionality. There is a cheaper version ($16) at Wal-Mart, but it feels flimsy and has plastic collets instead of the twist locks (boo!)

One of these poles should fit your adapter needs. If you have no money and don't need much length, snake the broom handle from your kitchen pantry. If you want better reach, but don't have a lot of money, go for the two-section model at Wal-Mart. If you want the best pole that fits all needs, get the Bayco. It's a great one, and the $20 probably won't kill you.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Recap Q&A: How do YOU Storyboard?

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Frugal Filmmaker T-shirts (new logo)!

Casting your micro-budget film
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Storyboard templates

Cheap graphics tablet I'm interested in

Celtx - free screenwriting software w/storyboarding feature

Pegasus 7" SD monitor - $60

Fix your broken XLR cable

Cage Rig / Monopod Hybrid

Virtual motion tracking in Sony Vegas

Fotga variable ND fader filter sample

$1 Budget: Dollar Tree Lights!

YouTube face blurring tool

Build a DIY ring light

Sony Vegas: Screen Layout

PROAIM 6-CF carbon fiber shoulder rig kit review

DIY $35 all-in-one shoulder rig, steadicam, and FigRig

DIY Electroluminescent Armor ($30)

Dual Art Pre with wireless mic test

Friday, July 20, 2012

Sony Vegas: Screen Layout

I know this seems pretty basic, but how you layout your screen can impact how efficiently you edit projects. Sony Vegas is so configurable, you could have any number of setups. This is what works for me.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

$1 Budget: Dollar Tree Lights!

Lights can come from all kinds of stores, but I've been really impressed what I've found at the local Dollar Tree. Sure, it's all cheaply made, but I can afford it and there are some really interesting applications this time around. Some of these ideas aren't fully formed yet, but I like sharing anyway in case something strikes a chord. Look for slightly more money being spent (as you have been encouraging me to do so) in the near future.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Cage Rig / Monpod Hybrid

Deejay adds some more content to his DSLR Film Noob channel with this excellent tip. Here he combines his fancy cage rig (think square FigRig) with a basic monopod for a great combo for fast, stable shooting. The thing I like most about this setup is how quickly it tears down for running away. And the time will come when you need to run away.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Recap Q&A: Where do you Audition?

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The Frugal Filmmaker T-shirts!

Location release

Talent release

Muslin green screen (9'x 15')

Auto focus on yourself

Cheap Par-38 can lighting

Hand Held DSLR shooting tip

Modified Frugal Floater

Get a new royalty free music track every day for the month of July

How to update to Magic Lantern 2.3 on a Mac

John Alton's Test Light

The perfect DIY firelight

Cheap vs not-so-cheap shotgun mic test

How to crash a car

4TB RAID for $299

Sony Vegas: Timeline Tricks

Big "gorillapod" costs $25 and works as shoulder rig

Cheap light stand with reflector

Friday, July 13, 2012

Sony Vegas: Timeline Tricks

Managing all the material on your Sony Vegas timeline can be somewhat of a challenge. If you're not careful, your project can quickly become a tangled mess. Here a few tips that may you help take better advantage of whatever screen real estate you have been given.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Tip: John Alton's Test Light

Awhile back, I remember flipping through a great cinematography book called Painting with Light. Written by cinematographer John Alton, it covered a wide range of topics from lights to modifiers to techniques. Some of the equipment may be dated, but there is a wealth of knowledge in that book and I'm glad it is still available.

One item that stuck with me (and is the inspiration for this video) is Alton's "test light", a DIY device that lets the cinematographer check how light will fall on a subject's face before actual lights are brought in. It's a great time saver, and allows for simple experimentation. Watch the video to see how to make one, or rather re-purpose something you already have.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Hand Held DSLR Shooting Tip

Deejay has started a second channel, DSLR Film Noob, where he plans to place random gear reviews and short tips like this one. Here he explains a great technique on how to use the camera strap around your neck as a stabilizing device. I love tips like this where you might think you need some specialized piece of gear, when you already have something that performs a similar function.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Recap Q&A: DVD or Digital Download?

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The Frugal Filmmaker T-shirts!

Benefits and limitations of DSLRs vs. Camcorders

P&C Pico Dolly Review (+ DIY shoulder rig mod)

Painter's pole mic adapter

Fujian 35mm 1.7 & Azden EX503 review

YouTube defaults - auto description, title and tags

Sony Vegas: Freeze Frame

5 tips for holding the slate properly

Great cinematography with only one light

Patriot 32GB SD card, class 10 - $18

NGFN Review: Frugal Stabilizer Rig

DIY Matte Box MkII

Four-way microphone comparison - part 1

Camera table dolly

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Sony Vegas: Freeze Frame

In the first part of a new summer series, I profile how to achieve one of my favorite effects, the freeze frame. I use this all the time, and because it is so easy in Sony Vegas Pro, I think you will too.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Painter's Pole Mic Adapter

Having homemade rigs around for awhile means I get to revisit them and hopefully come up with improvements. This time out I was examining my DIY Boom Pole episode (as well as others out there) and came up with a unique variation. Instead of modifying an existing pole, how about a portable attachment that fits onto any painter's pole (and broom handle) threads that can also double as a pistol grip?

Paint roller (dollar store)
Microphone Clip:
5/8" to 3/8" adapter:
3/8" threaded rod (hardware store), 3-6" long

Optional Frugal Shockmount adapter
3/4" PVC coupler:
3/4" to 1/2" PVC bushing:

Drill with 1/4" & 5/16" drill bits
Two pairs of pliers
PVC cutters:
2x 3/8" nuts

Monday, July 2, 2012

Recap Q&A: Three Shows a Week?

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The Frugal Filmmaker T-shirts!


Zoom H1 Field Recorder Setup

Don't hire someone to run your Kickstarter campaign

Lighting Tip - foam board trick quick tip

"I'm sorry, Dave."

Dummy security camera prop - $4.56

Nuclear explosion effect!

Build your own spider dolly

Frugal Clamp 1.5

DIY DVD shelf holds 1,000 DVDs for under $20

Source Filmmaker could change everything

4DSLR's Zoom H4n Cradle


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