These are the 8 most essential video tips for DIY filmmakers

Aug 31, 2017

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

These are the 8 most essential video tips for DIY filmmakers

Aug 31, 2017

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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As a DIY Filmaker, one’s budget is often quite tight. You’ve spent a bunch of money on your cameras lenses and lights, but now the pot is close to empty. There are so many other little things that we need to buy, and they all add up.

To help ease the wallet a little, Dave Knop (aka Knoptop) comes to the rescue. Dave has put together his list of the 8 of what he believes to be the most useful video tutorials for DIY Filmmakers. And it’s all thanks to the magic of (a broken) television!

YouTube video

Dave features 8 fantastic videos, from some names you’ve heard of, as well as a couple you may not know.

The Crappie Boom

First up, is the Crappie Boom, a DIY microphone boom pole with shock mount from DIYCameraGuy. All you need is a 13ft or longer Crappie Fishing Pole, and a some 32″ GearTie reusable rubber twist ties. If you want to make a more comfortable handle, you’ll want to pick up some foam pipe insulation and a roll of cloth sports tape.

YouTube video

Lens/Body Cap Storage

YouTube favourite, Peter McKinnon brings us this tip, to keep small items safe on a shoot. I’ve used this method myself a couple of times to store small items while on location. I would suggest using a small piece of gaffer tape, though, to prevent the caps working loose in your bag.

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Battery Bands

I suppose if it’s something you really believe in, I suppose it’s ok to shortlist one of your own videos. In this one, Dave highlights his method for keeping batteries organised. Silicon bands wrapped around the fully charged batteries let him know that they’re ready to use. If there’s no band on the battery, it’s dead and needs charging. Simple, but effective.

YouTube video

Lens Bands

Silicon bands have other uses, too. This time, it’s the Frugal Filmmaker with silicon wrist bands. You know, the types they often give out at festivals, or sell to raise money for charity. They’re great for adding some extra grip to your lens barrels for smoother focus.

YouTube video

Blu-Tack Camera Mount

Blu-Tack is fantastic stuff. I’ve used it to hang all kinds of stuff over the years. I’ve also tried a lot of the similar 3rd party products, too, but I always end up going back to the original. It’s great stuff, and in this video from Hardik Patel, we see how we can use it to mount a GoPro to the interior of a car.

YouTube video

DIY Square Light

Getting good light on your videos is essential. There’s a million different commercial options out there these days, but many are quite expensive. If you want an interesting look on the cheap, you can do a lot worse than check out this video from Krista Koivuranta. She doesn’t go fully in-depth on its construction, but it is highlighted over the first 25 seconds or so of the video. It’s quite easy to figure out how to build your own from this.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BL-pmggfsmk

Cheap compact DIY slider

The humble lens cloth can make an excellent slider on a smooth surface, as this video from Chung Dha illustrates. This can also work with heavier camera rigs, even with a tripod using something like a beach towel.

YouTube video

Shoulder mount microphone rig

This shoulder rig has been widely regarded as the crappiest shoulder mount out there for shooting video. For recording audio, though, it’s an excellent option, according to HeyJustJ. Much easier than having to constantly look down at a bag, especially if you’re trying to follow a moving subject with a boom mic. The best thing is that they’re super cheap!

YouTube video

I was always tempted to pick up one of those shoulder mounts to see just how bad they really were. I think now I’ll have to get one. As a mount for an audio recorder, it looks like it’ll be great.

What are some of your favourite low budget DIY filmmaking tips?

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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One response to “These are the 8 most essential video tips for DIY filmmakers”

  1. Guppy Avatar
    Guppy

    Elastic bands, good for achieving a smooth pan on a cheap tripod and I once saw a neat trick with a band and a sharpie to get a good pull focus indicator, just put the band on the lens and mark where you need to pull focus to.
    Personally, I really rate a cheap 5-1 reflector board. Good for diffusion and even better for filling with natural light…