If filmmaking is how you express your creativity, there are some components you need to include in your videos to make them amazing. But they may require expensive gear, and not all of us have the budget for it. Luckily, there are plenty of budget-friendly ways to improve your filmmaking. The guys from Mahalo my Dude share eight essential elements every great video needs to have. They make it short and sweet, yet they give you a ton of useful tips to follow if your budget is tight.
1. Your camera doesn’t matter
Some argue that gear does matter, while on the other hand, you’ll often hear that it doesn’t. But the point is to use what you have. If you have a good story in mind, it’s better to turn it into a video with your phone than not to shoot i at all. So, if you’re just starting out, use whichever camera you have. Learn its possibilities, but also its limitations. After this and when your budget allows you to, upgrade to something else.
2. Camera support
Camera support is basically “everything else but the camera,” as the guys put it. This includes gimbals, jibs, stabilizers, and so on. But damn, it’s all so expensive! Once again, use what you’ve got. If you’re on a budget, there are so many things you can make yourself. After all, that’s what DIYP is here for. : )
As you’ve probably heard a million times before, “light is everything.” Again, if you’re on a budget, use available light, and learn to use it to your advantage. Plan your shoot around the sunlight available to you and follow the weather forecast if you want to shoot in a cloudy day. Add light when you need to, and there are plenty of budget-friendly and DIY options to choose from.
The composition is another important element of your shots, whether you shoot video or stills. And it doesn’t cost money. You need to give over some time to learn about it, so you can plan your shots. Think about framing, leading lines, headroom, and negative space. Compose your shots so they tell a story and add to the overall mood.
When shooting video, sometimes you need steady shots. But otherwise, movement adds to your production value and to the story. So, use movement to tell your story, to add speed, action, and tension. Get creative, and once again, consider DIY options for dollies, gimbals and other gear you may need.
Music is important in filmmaking as it can add a lot to the story and mood of your videos. I’d add that the same goes for sound effects. So, consider the mood and energy you want to convey and search for music and sound effects that will contribute to them. There are plenty of affordable options to choose from. Some of them are even free, such as Filmstro and BBC Sound Effects.
We’ve mentioned that lighting is everything, but in filmmaking, we can say that timing is also everything. In other words, you don’t want to leave your viewers bored. If a scene is dragging, cut to the chase. Or if you think it needs more time, give it more time. In short – be thoughtful and intentional with your edits.
I’d say that the last point wraps it up and kinda brings us back to the first point. If you have a good story, it doesn’t matter what you’ll use to shoot it and how big your budget is. Think about the mood, the message, and the point of your video. You want to make it impactful and memorable, and no fancy gear will help you do it if your story is not good enough.
Although the video focuses on filmmaking, I believe that many of these elements are applicable to photography as well. Make sure to watch the video because it’s really well done, but also because you’ll hear plenty of useful tips.
Lastly, keep in mind that “the only way to become a better filmmaker and storyteller is to do it,” as the guys note in the video. And I couldn’t agree more! So, pick up your camera and shoot, and never stop learning and exercising your creative muscle.
[8 Ways To Become A Better Filmmaker | Mahalo my Dude]