How To Build The Easiest Motorized Slider

Here is one memorable quote, “It is a slider, not a roller after all“. This comes from Dan Colvin, a film maker and a unicyclist that was set to build a slider that would be easy to build, even if you are not a certified maker. To meet this end, Dan removed any complicated mechanisms from his slider, eliminating wheels, pipes, metal work and leaving only a felt covered 2 by 4 and a stretch of plywood as the basic elements of the slider.

How To Build The Easiest Motorized Slider

The slider is powered by a K’nex motor that pulls the felt covered 2 by 4. I must say that I was kind of skeptic about how smooth the action would be. I was surprised. It is very smooth. See for yourself in the footage below followed by a build guide. While the footage shows a small smart phone for cam, I think it would work for larger cameras too.

Following is some demo footage, followed by an instructional video

[Read more…]

Optical Low-Pass Filter Removed From 5D Mark III

Looks like today is hacking new cameras day. After the unobtrusive $30 WiFi hack for the D4 comes a much braver hack for the 5D MKIII. Film maker James Miller was brave enough to break open his brand new 5D MKIII and removes the anti aliasing filter (or Low Pass Optical Filter – LPOF) from his camera.

The anti aliasing filter serves an important function in the camera’s digital workflow. It removes some of the “real world” data so it matches the resolution of the camera sensor. This artificial “downgrade” contributes towards a smoother image.

But anything comes with a cost, and the cost of using an Anti Aliasing filter is decrease in resolution.

Optical Low-Pass Filter Removed From 5D Mark III

So, here comes James Miller and surgically removes the anti aliasing filters from his 5D mkIII. On the plus side the modified Canon now produces drastically sharper movies. On the down side, he must have had a heart attack. On the down side, it seems that a piece of glass needed to replace the filter to prevent back-focusing. [Read more…]

A $25 DIY Micro Jib

As we start getting into video production in DIYP (see our steel wool tutorial) I am constantly amazed with the production quality that can be brought to ghetto productions like ours.

I anticipate that as video gets bigger and bigger, small productions will have higher and higher production value, even if made at home with a limited budget.

One of the ways to increase production value is by using a jib (or a crane). A jib allows for a wide range moving shots, and after getting a slider, this will probably be your next piece of gear.

A $25 DIY Micro Jib [Read more…]

The Unruly Headcase Is Tough Enough To Match A GoPro

The Unruly Headcase Is Tough Enough To Match A GoPro

GoPro has made a great name for themselves when it comes to action cams. It turns out that the while the camera itself is an amazing piece of hardware its mount is the source of frustration for some pro shooters who have to make sure it won’t fall-into-the-ocean / shoot-it-self-off-a-race-car / drop-off-a-flying-balloon.

It is that frustration that drove Jim Clark to design and kickstart the Unruly case system for GoPro. [Read more…]

Use A Rubber Band For Smooth Panning Shots

Have you ever tried to take a panning shot with your DSLR and a crappy tripod? If you have, you know that the results are usually jumpy and un-smooth.

Seems like the solution for this abruptness is as simple as using a rubber band. Placing a band on the tripod’s head handle helps even out the tension on the start and the end of the shot, and also averages out any small movements that would have caused shakiness in the shot.

This video by brusspup has been floating about for a while, but it explains the trick very well.

Thanks for sending the tip over, Graham [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…]

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…]

Using A Motorized Yoyo As A Panning Slider

Using A Motorized Yoyo As A Panning Slider

I just love it when people use ordinary stuff to create new gear. Take a Yoyo for example. It’s built to roll and collect wire, reminds you of something? It reminded Marc Cocchio of a basic slider. And indeed a slider was build from a yoyo. Here are Marc’s rough guidelines on how to make a similar device.

(Of course, if Yoyo seems absurd to you, you can always go for a pen or a BBQ Rotisserie.

As a maker, Marc used all kinds of scrap that was lying around and a bit of trial and error, so the tutorial below is set so you can build a similar (yet not an exact copy) of the slider.

The non-cheap portion of this project is the camera, remote and tripod. It’s important to have a tripod with an “arm” that can rotate such as my Giottos MT8361. Manfrotto makes a few cool ones, too. [Read more…]

Build A Jib From 5 Pieces of Scrap

Build A Jib From 5 Pieces of Scrap

If you are doing any videography, a jib (or a crane) is probably the third piece of gear you will buy (after a camera and a slider).

Jibs can bring huge production value to your videos. See this tutorial by J. P. Morgan for example. Alas they don’t come cheap. A small starters jib will set you back about $270 and a production monster like this one will be about a left kidney.

I just wish someone will have plans for a small and affordable crane. Lucky me you. Videographer Dan Colvin from Unitips has a tutorial just like this. [Read more…]