Your Top 5 Picks Of 2011

2011 was a great year. It is always interesting to look back and see what were the favorite posts of the year. Both for learning what DIYP readers like, but also to catch some great posts if you’ve missed them during the year.

I bet there are a million ways to do this, from checking which post got the most likes or asking some social media tool. I kept it simple and just got the top 2011 most read posts from Analytics.

In reverse order, here are the top 5 tutorials of 2011: [Read more…]

Using A Seat Belt Pad As A Wind Blocking Deadcat

Chad Bredahl just sent in this smart tip about using a seat belt pad as a deadcat. (Deadcats protect microphones from wind, so if you are shooting video outdoors, it kills a lot of the wind noise).

Deadcats are not that expensive to begin with, but I guess auto part shops are easier to find if you are on a hurry and need a quick solution.

If you think this is crap, skip to 2:10 to see/hear the effect of the pad on wind noise, I was surprised on how nicely it works.

Thanks for the tip, Chad. [Read more…]

How To Build A Flash (With An Optical Slave)

How To Build An Optical Flash

Usually where danger is involved we simply say something like “please know what you’re doing” or “If you need to ask how this is done, this is not for you”, but for this particular piece, I thought a bigger warning should be in place. And I darn well mean it.

WARNING: This article involves dealing with High Voltage, up to 300v, which is stored in big capacitors. THIS VOLTAGE CAN KILL YOU. Never touch any of the components and always discharge the capacitor before working on it. Always keep in a well insulated project enclosure.


If you think this warning was not bold, big or strong enough, please read it again. (I do realize this may end up in a loop for folks who think this is as easy as a learn how to solder project. That’s the point)

This article will help you understand the basics of how a flash circuit is working, and the second part will show you how to build your own optical triggered portable flash rated at 50 watt/seconds! [Read more…]

Using Household Lights For Cinematic Lighting

A few days back we posted a video by The Underwater Realm that shows how to build and use an air cannon to create a false explosion.

It turns out that that though the folks at Realms are super busy making an Indie film, they manage to find the time to tip the indie film community (and photographers in general) with some awesome tips (see their undestructible LED strip for example).

This time around Eve Hazelton shares a great tutorial on how to use household lights to create some awesome lighting either for the big screen or for stills.

[Read more…]

Comparison Of DIY Macro Solutions

TeraPixel (Charly) is using a wide array of DIY solutions for his amazing macro photographs. Including reversed lenses (with electronics modified to allow metering and control), bellows and extension tubes, with new lenses like the Nikon 35mm/1.8, the Canon 50/1.8 and old ones like the Nikkor 35-70 and the Fujinon 50/1.4.

Charly recently compared four of the possible combinations of the lenses/setups, and reveled the big difference in quality they produce. (Click the photo for more info).

Macro Comparison [Read more…]

Using DIY Air Cannons To Create An Explosion

Compressed air cannons are lots of fun for launching paper rockets. Turns out they are also pretty useful for indie films. What? Why would an indie film director want to launch a paper rocket? Actually, the compressed air can be used to throw a small pile of debris, creating a small “explosion” for an action sequence.

The awesome guys over at Realm Pictures came up with a great film that shows the entire setup for creating such an explosion, including the mentioned cannon.

They are also trying to fund their ambitions underwater indie film via kick starters, and share the plans for this cannon and a bunch of other cool film DIYs with backers (including the waterproof LED strip light we featured a while back), so give them a call on their Kickstarters page.

Thanks for the tip Rich [Read more…]

Snow Globe L.A. Is A Shaped Bokeh Time Lapse In A Snow Globe

It is not often that we see tow of our favorite techniques used in a single film. photographers Colin Mika & Brandon Vedder of All Cut Up Films created this beautiful time lapse of Los Angeles with a twist (or actually two).

The first is that the entire film was shot through a snow globe, which I assume means that the camera was upside down for the entire duration of the shoot.

The second is the use of paper cut filters to achieve a shaped bokeh.

[Read more…]