Thursday, February 28, 2013

Frugal Fast Release for $3

With the recent lack of stock for the two least expensive quick release systems for your camera, I thought it was high time that someone came up with a DIY version.  I've used both the Sima Quickonnect and the Manfrotto 323 RC2 clone and they are very effective.  The problem has never been IF you should use these systems, only IF you can find them.

The "Frugal Fast Release" is my solution to the problem.  Granted, my version isn't nearly as robust, but it does work (on smaller cameras) and you can make three of these for the price of one of the other models. There is no locking mechanism on the FFR, so be aware and act accordingly, and nothing bad will happen to your camera.

Metal Flash Cold/Hot Shoe Mount Adapter with 1/4" threads
3/8" washer
1/4" rubber grommet
1/4" tapered machine screw, 1/2" in length

Countersink drill bit(s)

Friday, February 22, 2013

The Making of "Conversation Hearts"

Another short film, another look at what made it happen!  Conversation Hearts was the first film that was a total "Frugal Shoot", meaning I used only equipment that was mine or frugal in nature. No C-stands or Arri light kits allowed.  I kind of break this rule with my microphone (which is almost as expensive as my camera), but that's it.  Everything else can be built using videos on this blog.

Here are the links to all my DIY gear used on this shoot:

Tripod Dolly
Clamp Lighting
PVC Light Stands
Dry Erase Clapper Slate
Audio Crate
Budget Light Kit
Mic Shockmount

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

$11 Manfrotto Quick Release Clones Back in Stock

UPDATE: Turns out there is a version of the correct Manfrotto Clone on eBay, and it's even a couple of bucks cheaper!  Thanks to Zach Wong for pointing this out on the Facebook Group

If you've been looking for an inexpensive quick-release system to add to your many camera rigs, you would have been out of luck.  Both the Sima Quickonnect (a favorite of The Frugal Filmmaker in the past) and the Manfrotto 323 RC2 Clone (here's the original for comparison) have been out of stock at Amazon for at least a month.

Now, the Manfrotto Clone is back, and even if the price is a wee bit higher than what it has been in the past, it's good to know that you can buy them again. These are very well-built knock-offs and if you want to give all of your camera gear fast interchangibility with your camera, you are going to want a few of these.

While I feel the Manfrotto Clone is still the overall best of the cheap quick release systems, I still use my Simas for small gear with a more compact profile. Sadly, the Quickonnects seem to be gone forever (they've been out of stock for a long time), even though they are still listed on Amazon. Sometimes they still pop up new on eBay, but the price is so outrageous that you shouldn't even bother.

With all this demand and no supply, I've been pondering a DIY quick release system and might have a winner. It won't be as robust (or cost as much) as the Manfrotto Clone, but could come in handy, especially when the supply runs out (again) and we are left with no options.  Look for the "Frugal Fast Release" in the near future.

P.S. Make sure you don't get duped into buying the cheaper version of the Manfrotto 323 RC2, as the base plates on these fake-fakes don't have any threads (check the photos).  This makes it more difficult (though not impossible) to attach to your rigs and makes them less universal. I don't recommend them.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Recap Q&A: Did I Forget Something?

Facebook Group:
Twitter Feed:

43" 5-in-1 reflector

XLR-PRO audio adapter/mixer

Hey DigitalRev, that's my camera!

800 watt DIY flourescent daylight light boxes

DIY shoulder rig

Waxing poetic about creating content for the internet

$15 boom pole

Review of 720p key ring spy camera

Conversation Hearts (short film)

Five tips for finding free or cheap video equipment

Building a Kinoflo-like light on the cheap

Pre-production 101: developing characters

AmazonBasics SLR backpack review

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Conversation Hearts (short film)

Conversation Hearts is my latest short film (I'm calling it a surreal rom-com) that fully employs The Frugal Filmmaker mentality.  It's the first short using my "new" Sony NEX 5n camera and vintage Minolta prime lenses and the Sony 18-55mm kit lens.  It also features all Frugal gear that I've built (no C-stands or Arri lighting kits allowed), seen here on this site. If you're curious about the details about how this short was made, stay tuned for a "Making of" episode coming soon.


Monday, February 11, 2013

Recap Q&A: Favorite eBay Item for DIY Builds?

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Watch "Camera Crane / Jib for $30"

Watch "Frugal Crane 2.0"

DJ speaker stand (frugal crane support)

Mini ball head

Using a home projector for rear projection

Camera tracking tutorial

Sony camera firmware update

DIY simple video light

Huge 6' shoot-through umbrella

$1 Budget: Sleeve Adapter Timer Stand!

Cheap and easy PSU for Canon

How to make an ear prompter

Friday, February 8, 2013

$1 Budget: Sleeve Adapter Timer Stand!

This month I cobble together another group of inexpensive goodies from various sources. They include an audio adapter, a tablet stand, a neoprene sleeve, and digital timer used as a camera slate. If you have any ideas for inclusion in this show, drop me a line and I will send some traffic your way!

1/8" mono to 1/8" stereo adapter

Zoom H1 Handy Recorder

Oval backlit LED clock with temp, date and timer

Turtledudeprod's YouTube channel

15" neoprene laptop sleeve

7" neoprene e-reader/tablet sleeve

Monday, February 4, 2013

Recap Q&A: Alternatives to PVC?

Facebook Group:
Twitter Feed:

Chris Gatcum's "Creative Photography"

My older short films

My newer short films

How to build the RotoRig (crane/shoulder rig)

Cheap car camera mount

Sci-fi film on Kickstarter budget

How to clean your DSLR sensor

Review: $10 mic shockmount

Proving you don't need to go to film school to make it

Free courier font made for screenplays


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