These camera “hacks” will actually make you a better filmmaker
We’ve seen plenty of cheap, DIY tricks that help you create all kinds of effects for photography and filmmaking. While some of them certainly are useful, others are plain silly. In this highly entertaining and useful video, Matt and Jason of IFHT show you some camera hacks “that won’t have you searching grandma’s drawer for Vaseline.” These tips might not help you create lens flare with household items, but they will help you become better organized and raise your filmmaking to a higher level.
1. GET A RELIABLE HARD DRIVE
Store and backup all your footage on a reliable hard drive. Give yourself peace of mind knowing that your work is safe.
2. GET A LENS CLEANING KIT
This one may seem obvious, but perhaps it’s good to emphasize it – take care of your gear. A clean lens can make a huge difference, so get a basic cleaning kit. Also, by taking good care of your gear you raise its resale price should you decide to sell it on and upgrade.
3. INVEST IN LED LIGHTS
Invest in a basic kit of LED lights. You can power them with batteries and use them basically everywhere. They will help you learn about light and how to control it and shape it.
4. PLAY WITH COLOR GELS
While we’re at LED lights, don’t be afraid to experiment with color gels. They can really change the mood and the message of your scenes. In the video, you can see what we’d call a “hack” for attaching gels onto the LED panels:
5. USE ND FILTERS
ND filters cut out light, so you can open up your aperture even on a bright sunny day if you want to achieve soft, creamy bokeh.
6. USE POLARIZING FILTERS
Polarizing filters help you remove reflections and make greens and blues appear richer.
7. INVEST IN A CAMERA BAG
Spend some time finding a camera bag that perfectly suits your needs, and invest in it. Pack it the same way every time you use it so you know where everything is, and put the heavy stuff at the bottom.
8. HAVE MORE THAN ENOUGH POWER
Buying batteries is surely not the most fun way to spend your money, but it’s much better than running out of power in the middle of shooting. So make sure that you always have enough batteries and even a portable charger for things like a follow focus, GoPro or your phone.
9. CARRY SPARE MEMORY
We’ve all been there: we arrive at the shooting location only to realize that our memory card has been left in the computer. It even happens to NASA astronauts. : ) So, make sure you always carry a few spare memory cards in your gear bag.
10. CARRY TOOLS
No matter which camera system you use, always carry a small toolkit with you. You never know when it will come in handy.
11. CARRY BACKUP CORDS
Malfunctions can always happen, so make sure to always have a few extra cords.
12. THE ALMIGHTY GAFF TAPE
Gaff tape is strong, easily torn and leaves no residue. There are at least fifty different ways to use it on a film set or a photo shoot, so make sure to always have some in your gear bag.
13. BALANCE YOUR TRIPOD
For smooth pans and tilts, other than practicing – make sure to balance your tripod. Find the balance point of your camera and always have a hand on top of it while making any adjustments.
14. STAY ORGANIZED
For better organization and saving time, label your gear. Stick labels onto your lens caps so you can immediately find the lens you need when you open your gear bag. Label charged and empty batteries, and also add numbers to them so you can track if some of them get lost. You can also add contact information to these labels and use different colors, so you won’t mix up your gear with anyone else’s.
Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.