Imagine using your phone every day and not being able recharge it. Scary, right? Now imagine a filmmaker, who needs to use his cameras all the time, spending 14 days without power. An India-based filmmaker George Thengummoottil was in this exact situation while shooting in the Himalayas. But he didn’t go unprepared. He created a custom-made solar charger using only three components.
It’s December. So it’s safe to talk about Christmas now, right? While the technique isn’t specifically related to Christmas, these videos obviously are. The music kinda gives it away. In this pair of videos, YouTuber Eva Landry builds up two DIY ringlights from scratch. One in the shape of a heart, the other a star.
The construction is pretty straightforward using only cardboard, tinfoil, a string of Christmas lights and some gaffer tape. For a quick build, though, they seem to work very well. You’re also not limited to just hearts and stars, obviously. You can make them whatever shape you wish.
In the past, the thought of making your own lens would probably seem like a fairly impossible mission. For most of us, it still seems pretty out of reach. Not for determined photographer and weird lens master, Mathieu Stern, though, who created his own 3D printed lens.
Making your own 135mm f/1.8 has to come with a pretty huge sense of accomplishment already. Upon first using it and seeing the results, though, you can’t really fail to be impressed. Obviously, the lens is manual focus, and doesn’t feature any fancy features like image stabilisation, but I think we can let that slide.
For those of us that work solo and generally have no assistant, it’s always difficult to move around town with a lot of gear. I’ve tried pull carts, backpacks, roller bags… all work fine but still somewhat limited in my opinion and heavy.
I went on Craig’s List and found this Jogging Stroller for $40. It’s actually in great condition. I did have to replace one inner tube on one of the back tires (~$6), but other than that, it’s in fine shape.
When you’ve been shooting for any length of time, one thing many photographers tend to collect is tripods. Off the top of my head, I have seven (3 that I use regularly), and a monopod. Storing isn’t always easy. Most of mine are stacked up in the corner of a room (along with a dozen or so light stands of various sizes). Getting to a specific one you want can be a pain.
Our friends over at Lensvid have come up with a great DIY solution for tripod storage. It should be easily adaptable to take care of that monopod, too, and those light stands. In this video, they take us through the whole process, from cutting to loading up with tripods, as well as how to help ensure it works for your size and style of tripods.
Shane Hurlbut has worked as DP on some great Hollywood movies and Terminator Salvation. But, despite the huge budgets often afforded him, he doesn’t sniff at the idea of DIY solutions. Some of Shane’s more recent work has been on the AMC show Into the Badlands. During the filming of the show, actors had to be lit by fire, or something that closely resembled it.
Simulating firelight is fun, but often requires a lot of lights and equipment to get a realistic look. Shane loves shooting with firelight, but decided to take a DIY approach to achieving the effect. He converted a big metal trashcan into a firelight simulator. In this video, he’s going to show us how he did it.
We’ve shown you a few different DIY LED light panels before, but technology and techniques evolve. LEDs are always coming out that are better, cheaper, brighter and with higher CRI than the previous generation. Photographers and videographers are now able to more easily address their needs with DIY lighting options, and often at a much lower cost than the commercially available options.
In this video from Makify, Vinny walks us through the construction of this super bright LED Light Panel. It has high CRI LEDs and a “video-safe dimmer”. This dimmer is “video-safe” because it allows you to increase and decrease the brightness of the light while filming without flicker.
Tripod threads in the bottom of cameras and other devices are usually pretty solid. I’ve got cameras that are decades old that still have perfectly functional ones. But, I’ve also had a couple of adapters and gadgets where they haven’t survived so well. Quality control isn’t what it once was, and the number of devices containing 1/4-20″ sockets has soared compared to only a few years ago. So, failures are far more likely these days.
Repairs like this can be a pain. If you can’t connect your camera to your tripod, slider, gimbal or other support system, you’re screwed. Sending to a service centre for repair can be costly and take a few weeks to get your gear back. Fortunately, filmmaker Tom Antos has put up a video to show us how we can repair our own using a readily available DIY tripod screw repair kit.
Building a studio in your home is the dream for many photographers. Assuming you can convince the rest of your family it’s a good idea, it can even become a reality. For those just getting into studio photography, building a home studio may be an afterthought to a home you already own. You may be very limited on space, so how can you make the most of it?
In this video, photographer Joe Edelman walks us through his home studio. While many of us might not be able to dedicate the space that Joe has, there’s always ways to make things feel bigger than they are. Joe shows us some of his space saving tips, as well as props and tools which serve multiple functions. No matter how large or small your studio, there are always ways to optimise your space and workflow.
Mounting a camera overhead can be a difficult task if it’s not something you need to do regularly. Many of those that do need it regularly have permanent camera installations so they’re always ready at a moment’s notice. For those who prefer to take the DIY approach, we’ve covered quite a few options before. Sometimes, though, you don’t want a permanent fixed rig.
What do you do for those random occasions where you just decide you want an overhead shot, and need to setup in a hurry? Well, this video from the folks over at Wistia offers three different ways to help you get the overhead shot with minimal extra kit.