Pandora dSLR Optimizer Could Be the Answer for Guerrilla Filmmakers…Or, Perhaps Not

If there’s one thing that is a pain for dSLR filmmakers, it’s all of the little limitations that go along with the format. Having to dig for memory cards, swapping batters (seemingly) constantly, having to record audio on an external source to get decent quality, etc. That is where the creators of the Pandora DSLR Optimizer drew their inspiration for creating a one-stop-shop for on-the-go budget filmmakers.

Though still in the crowdfunding stage, this gadget has a lot of potential to either be the mother lode of dSLR video gear or a complete bomb.

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Zoom’s New H5: One of the Best Affordable DSLR Microphones Yet


One of the best thing about DSLR cameras is that they’ve made professional filmmaking become more and more affordable for the kids that wish to pursue it. But when your camera has the ability to shoot videos with quality that’s good enough for even filming House, M.D., you want to make sure your sound can match up with it. There’s nothing worse than having an outstanding looking film become completely pointless because of its sound quality, and the microphones that come built in DSLRs don’t really help that at all.

Luckily, there’s companies that offer both expensive and cheap solutions to that; one of them is Zoom, who delve into the latter. The microphones the company has offered give great sound quality for the prices they come at, and they’re expanding their catalogue with the newly announced Zoom H5.

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How To Build A Linear Motorized Slider For Less Than $60

The team at ask design just release a full tutorial on building a DIY motorized slider. The design is good both for time lapses and “normal” video shooting.

They are pretty straight forward about the goods and the bads of building DIY gear. On the good side you obviously got the price, but also the fact that you can build it in less than an hour. A nice bonus is that it supports USB charging of other devices which ask uses to power a fan to stop lens condensation.

On the con side, it will be heavier than a bought unit and will not facilitate stepping action which is mandatory for low light time lapses. If you have more money that time and want a high end unit, they recommend Syrp as a turnkey solution. [Read more…]

Maximizing Space: Building a Video Home Studio

When it comes to building a studio at home it is always a challenge to use space in an efficient way. Movie maker Extraordinaire Chad Bredahl of  krotoflik just release a new video covering many aspects of space (and budget) optimization when setting up a home studio room.

Using a clever combo if cheap lights (4 of them) and a bunch of Styrofoam from Home depot he was able to create a high end looking studio good for medium shots.

I really like the way this guy thinks in terms of using available materials and making the most out of them.

[DIY Studio | krotoflik]


Repurposing A Jump Rope As A Camera Pistol Grip

Our favorite maker, Chad Bredahl (previously featured here and here), just released a quickie on how to build a camera Pistol Grip.

A pistol grip is not an expensive item per-se (the great handle from P&C, for example, is about $19), but I love the idea behind it and I think a similar mechanism can definitely be used for other builds as well. And besides, who can resist the chance to dissect a lil girl jump rope.

If you ever tried to shoot video with a DSLR, you’ve probably noticed how quickly your wrist starts to heart. This happen because camera grips were not designed for video. A camera pistol grip changes your hand orientation while holding the camera to a more natural position do it does not get soar after a while. (Kinda similar to how you hold a pistol, hence the name). [Read more…]

How To Build And Balance A $30 DIY Steadicam

If you went ahead and build yourself a Krotocam (which is one of the best DIY Steadicams I have seen to date), you may have noticed that it was not perfectly balancing on the right/left axis. This was the only thing stopping this half shaft based rig from being perfect.

How To Build And Balance A $30 DIY Steadicam

But, tables have turned (or stars aligned or something). The good Chad Bredahl over at krotoflik has a great follow up video that shows how to fine-balance the Ktorocam and also how to use it with a GoPro. Tutorial and sample footage (AKA Chad eating his own dog crap) after the jump. [Read more…]

How To Build A $30 DIY Steadicam

The steadicams building tutorials are among the more popular builds on the blog. No wonder, as using a Steadicam produces significantly smoother video than just holding a camera by hand.

Chad Bredahl over at krotoflik has a new tutorial (and his tutorials are top notch – see his Jib and Travel Jib tutorials). This time it’s a $30 steadicam based around a half shaft and some double flash brackets. (A full fledged system is about $799 if you were wondering).

How To Build A $30 DIY Steadicam

For a build tutorial a demonstration short and some musing from me hit the jump. [Read more…]

How To Build a Portable DIY Travel Jib / Shoulder Rig

A few days ago we shared a quick sneak peak at the RotoRig – A light weight jib that resembles Light Craft’s trapezist, Zolinger’s ZP1800 and DSLR devices MK4. It’s the kind of jib (or crane) that lets you do amazing Hollywood style sweeping shots. But, in some aspects it is even better. If you are a solo shooter and have to carry your gear alone, the RotoRig saves you from having to carry multiple rigs. It doubles as a video shoulder rig and triples as a hand held jib. We also shared a shot flick shot entirely with the rig in its three positions, and the fact that it can so easily transforms really makes me sad that they did not have a movie autobot back in the days.

The response has been overwhelming and basically everyone said the same thing? How do you build one? In fact, Amazon’s stock of the monopods was nuked.

How To Build a Portable DIY Travel Jib / Shoulder Rig

Well, Chad Bredahl is not the guy to keep you waiting and he put up a video showing how the rig was built. He also shared a complete parts list (as noted below). So everyone who grabbed the monopods off Amazon before the price went up can go ahead and complete the build. For the rest of you, Walmart has them for $9.99. [Read more…]

A Portable DIY Travel Jib / Shoulder Rig

When I get asked what’s the first thing an HD shooter should get to boost production value, I usually say a slider. But things are changing and light weight jibs are starting to emerge and take the spot of the first thing you may wanna buy for added production value.

A Portable DIY Travel Jib / Shoulder Rig

DSLR devices makes the MK4 for about $350 and Zolinger makes the coveted ZP1800 for $750. Both would be a good start in the jib world. Chad Bredahl made a DIY jib – The RotoRig – that is not only travel friendly, but also doubles as a shoulder rig and a hand held jib. (which used with the IS-enabled 18-55 Canon kit lens is way more stable that what I would have thought possible).

To make his point Chad made a short movie made entirely with jib/shoulder rig shots using the RotoRig. [Read more…]

Yes! You Can Make Some Awesome Films With A $20 Jib

Awake in the Woods is a short film by Chad Bredahl. The first thing that I noticed is the extensive use of jib shots. I love jib shots (and jibs), as they are an interesting way to add movement when you tell a story.

Chad made his jib, dubbed the KrotoCrane, at minimal cost – about $20 including the fuel to get to Home Depot. And the results are pretty impressive.

Here is the best part: Chad, being the nice guy that he is, made a couple of videos showing both how to build the KrotoCrane and how to use it we share them right after the jump. [Read more…]