Thursday, June 26, 2014

Review: 7" HD Monitor with HDMI for $56



Deal Alert! I've been on the lookout for a cheap HD monitor for awhile now, but I was never able to find one cheaper than $100. One day I was surfing Amazon and stumbled across an amazing deal. I found a 7" high definition monitor made for in-car entertainment systems for a crazy low $56! Happily shocked, I posted the deal to the Facebook group and bought one for myself. At the very least, it would make for a good review segment. At the most, it would be a great find and a great replacement for my old standard definition monitor that was no longer compatible with my current camera.

I'm happy to report that this unit is a great little production monitor.  Sure, it doesn't come with an HDMI cable or battery options, but who cares at such a low price. I address both of these shortcomings in the video and show how I've mounted the monitor on the Frugal Cage. It really is a great deal, possibly the best one I've seen since running this blog.

If you need on of these, this is a great time to nab one. I was worried that this review would be pointless to a discontinued product, but was thrilled when more stock came in at the same price. Here's hoping this monitor stays around so lots of folks on a frugal budget can take advantage.


7" HD Monitor w/HDMI input (black mahogany)
7" HD Monitor w/HDMI input (brushed gray)
7" HD Monitor w/HDMI input, power supply & HDMI cable (black mahogany)
7" HD Monitor w/HDMI input, power supply & HDMI cable (brushed gray)

90 degree down right angle mini male HDMI to female HDMI adapter
90 degree right angle mini HDMI male to female HDMI adapter
male HDMI to male HDMI coupler
9" mini HDMI male to mini male HDMI cable

Sony F970 battery
Sony F550 battery

Sony F970 F550 battery cradle
Sony F970 F550 battery charger

"Black Brick" 12v battery w/charger

Spring loaded cell phone mount with 1/4-20" threads
2x male to male 1/4" thread adapter

The Frugal Cage
Review of the Fotodiox 7" Power Arm
Review of the Fotodiox 96 LED light

Friday, June 20, 2014

DIY Lens Sun Shade



Even though lens flares are very popular right now (and you can get some really cool flares from vintage lenses), you may not always want them. Sometimes you will have to shoot in the direction of the sun, and you won't want the center of our solar system giving your footage that bright, hazy sheen. In these cases you'll need to block the sunlight with some kind of flag.

The traditional piece of gear that handles this is a matte box. These surround the lens with a box shape, blocking light from the edges of the frame (here's a $20, rail-based version on eBay). Another solution is to just get a big piece of foamcore and gaff tape it right to the camera.

This $11 frugal version will work on any camera with a shoe mount and if it doesn't you can always use the Frugal Cage. Either way, you get a flag on the end of a poseable arm which allows you to block the sun from shining directly into your lens. It's the first of several accessories that I will be featuring on the Frugal Cage. This is one that you will eventually need and it is handy and not as cumbersome as the aforementioned foamcore option.


PARTS LIST
gooseneck tube with dual female 1/4" threads
cold shoe tripod mount with dual nuts
male 1/4" to male 1/4" adapter
lightweight mini ball head
Some kind of flag

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Frugal Camera Cage



Camera cages are really cool. They surround your camera and offer all kinds of 1/4-20 mounting points (that's the standard thread size found on the bottom of your camera) for all those accessories you've acquired. The cheapest one I could fine online was around $50, but when looking back at The Frugal Stabilizer II and how "cagey" it was, I determined I could slightly reconfigure it as a cage and save some money.

The Frugal Cage is the exact same design as easy-to-build Frugal Stabilizer II with only a few additions to make it more useful (watch that video to learn how to make it). Essentially three L-shaped flash brackets assembled in a cage formation, the Frugal Cage can mount easily to a tripod and give you both male and female threads in which to mount your gear. These could be monitors, LED lights, battery options and more. I've been tinkering with this idea for awhile and if you stay past the end credits of the video, you'll get a sneak peek of what's possible, even without rails.

This is going to be my go-to rig for narrative filmmaking with my Sony NEX 5n. While I went more of a "Hollywood" route when I made my thesis film (renting a really nice camera, for example), this rig will return me back to my micro budget roots as I create stories for my channel using my much more modest 5n and frugal equipment.


DSLR aluminum camera cage
eBay : Amazon

Watch "Frugal Stabilizer II"

Dual L-shaped flash brackets
eBay : Amazon

Plastic knob with 1/4" metal male and female threads

Watch Chung Dha's video "DIY Cage from camera accessories"

Frugal cage top handle
Foam camera grip, mini ball head, knurled nut

Metal camera quick release plate system
eBay : Amazon

Hot/cold shoe mount with tripod thread
eBay : Amazon

Thursday, June 5, 2014

"Collection Day" is here...



And here it is, the finished film. If you haven't seen them, here are all ten episodes of the "making of" series that covered our ten shooting days. You can also check out the Facebook page for even more information (especially covering pre-production). Enjoy!

http://collectiondaymovie.com

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

"Collection Day" Tomorrow

http://collectiondaymovie.com

Tomorrow is the day when I go public with my thesis film, Collection Day. I'm really glad to be taking this step, to allow everyone else in the world not connected to the film to finally get to see it. It will also (as mentioned before) allow me to make videos about this movie, without worrying about spoiling the story. I'm sure whenever I post a video about or related to Collection Day, I will always precede it with a disclaimer urging the viewer to "go watch the movie now!"

Movies don't get made in a vacuum. A lot of people really put their backs into this film and I am very grateful for all of their hard work. I also owe a great debt to all 300+ of my Kickstarter backers, who had enough faith in me to allow me to make this project. Sure, I could have made it on any budget, but it was really nice to be able to craft it the way I wanted, especially considering the tight deadlines I was on.

As with every project you work on, you learn a lot of things. I hope to share many of those things in the near future, so that maybe you can benefit from my successes and learn from my mistakes. While I am not planning on posting the film for the night and taking it down, I do hope that many of you will tune in some time tomorrow after 7:00pm CST. It would be cool to get a big surge in views on the night of its world premiere, much like a feature release.

See you tomorrow!

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