Friday, May 22, 2015

The Importance of Hair and Makeup

I'm a big believer in details. The more details you can add to your film will greatly enhance the experience on screen. This can include the right prop, a subtle performance choice, or a motivated lighting decision. The more details you add together will add flesh to the bones of your story and make for a more gratifying experience.

For me, this also includes hair and makeup. If you are a more experienced filmmaker or one who has a good producer lining things up, this may seem like an obvious statement. If you are making a no-budget project and have to wear many hats yourself, hair and makeup may seem like an unnecessary luxury. I'm here to tell you it's not.

Your actor's face is the the most important tool they have to convey what their character is feeling (their body is a close second). How this face and the hair attached to it looks only aids in communicating these feelings. Done right, the performance is enhanced or at least not interfered with. Done wrong or not done at all, will cause the viewer to disconnect themselves from your story.

My next short film is a neo-noir entitled A Bullet for Roger. Though not a period piece, I wanted it feel like one and I knew I wanted the two main actresses to resemble those from the 1940s. In this case, a hair and makeup team was mandatory. How could I even allude to this era if the actors didn't remind the viewer with their looks?

This was also a good opportunity to take some PR shots. Filmmaker and photographer Blake Eiermann was their to help our actors into some classic poses that I could use to create interest for the project, due to be shot next week. I have included a couple of those shots here. The rest can be found on the film's Facebook group.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Q&A: Why is your greenscreen green?


The Itsy Bitsy Camera Slider (for FREE!)
Work Light Hacking
Be Safe! Work Light Screen
3 Point Lighting
Examples of low cost lighting
Sony NP-F970 Battery Clone
Battery Power Two (external battery power)
Sneak Peek: Frugal Studio (chromakey setup)
Simply Scripts

Saturday, May 16, 2015

How to set up FREE screen record in OBS

A few months back  I made a video about CamStudio, the free screen capture program that I was using for all my on-screen tutorial videos. Unfortunately, there was a virus attached to that program, as well as lots of complaints that it just didn't work very well.

Several people recommended I try Open Broadcaster Software as an alternative. I'm glad they did. OBS is also free, multi-platform, virus-free, and produces a smoother video result than I ever got with CamStudio. Ironically, I had to use CamStudio to show how to set up OBS from the ground up, but you can see the results of OBS by watching my previous Sony Vegas video, Track Motion Tricks.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Itsy Bitsy Camera Slider (for Free!)

Late last year I was kicking around the idea of a camera slider with a very short rail. While sliders can have many uses, I was interested in a short one solely used for subtle movement on wide shots. It doesn't take much length and the results can add class and production value to your project.

My last attempt was with a macro slider rail and it was an epic fail. I attached a crank for consistent movement, but the gears were so coarse that all my shots looked choppy. After permanently retireing it to the parts bin, I moved on to other projects, figuring the time just wasn't right for a cheap, easy to make, minature slider solution.

When I reviewed the Glide Gear DEV 1000 camera slider, several people pointed out that it was a polished version of the Igus DryLin slider system. That may be true (okay it is), but there is nothing wrong with buying parts, making them look good and slapping your label on it for a profit.

What I found more intriguing was the option to order a free sample of the DryLin slider, which came with a full carriage and 10" inches of rail. With no mounting holes and such a short rail length, there wasn't anything practical we could do with a sample, right? Wrong!

With only drilling and tapping three holes (see full instructions in the video), I added parts that turned this sample into a working Itsy Bitsy Slider that I had wanted all along. Not only that, but there was no cost involved (not even shipping) for these high quality parts. It seemed like a no-brainer.

Sliding the IBS was pretty easy though not quite as smooth as if all four bearings had been used. I guess it all depends what you are going for. If you want the full four-bearing carriage, you can only slide for 6" on the provided rail. If you give up two bearings, you get at least two more inches of travel. It guess it depends how hard you want to squeeze the stone.

Another perk of the IBS (that I failed to mention in the video) is portability. This gizmo is small enough to fit into a large pocket or small bag. You will have no trouble hauling this anywhere on your back, though it does require a tripod to mount. Tripod not included.

Igus slider sample
2x 1/4-20" wing nuts
3x 1/4-20" screws (1" in length)
1/4" neoprene fender washer
Manfrotto Clone quick release system

Drill press
13/64" drill bit
1/4-20 metal tap
Combination alan wrench 

UPDATE: Igus contacted me and explained that they have been swamped with over 1,000 requests for their free sample toolkit, which they were unprepared for. At their request, I have removed the link so they can address the demand. I plan to work with them to see if there is still some way to get these parts, hopefully at a free or minimal cost to Frugal Filmmakers.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Sony Vegas: Track Motion Tricks

Sony Vegas Pro 12 is my editor of choice and even though it's kind of a dark horse, I've always really liked it. It's been awhile since I've done an episode about Vegas and I thought it was high time. Since I use the Track Motion tool (available in all versions of Vegas)  to place lower-third graphics, I thought I'd share some easy tips that help speed the process.


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