» Posts Tagged ‘diy’

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Homemade Star WarsSometimes creating something memorable or interesting isn’t about having powerful cameras, fancy sets, or A-list actors. Sometimes you just need a little creativity, some spray paint, and a bit of cardboard. Homemade Movies, a weekly show on the Cinefix YouTube channel, recreates famous scenes from some of the biggest films, but with a decidedly lower budget. This week they tackled the trench run scene from the original Star Wars film, and it is simply delightful. Check out the video and their process below, as well as a side-by-side comparison with both the original and the remake playing together. More »

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Jeremiah Warren bullet time rigThere aren’t many things cooler than a really well-done bullet time sequence, which is probably why we like to cover it so often. If you’ve seen our other bullet time posts, both on the technological advances of multi-viewpoint camera setups and DIY rigs, then you might’ve been bummed out that the technology is either unavailable, too expensive, or too time-consuming. But, here’s some good news. Though currently you can’t make a legit bullet time rig without using lots of cameras, setup, and time, you can get something close to it by using a 2×4, screws, a GoPro, and a ceiling fan — and the result will look great for your low-budget projects. Hit the jump to see how. More »

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Rig Wheels 2.0-wide-2If you’ve been considering building your own DIY dolly rig, look no further. RigWheels, who has been producing dolly wheels and other accessories for the DIY-minded filmmaker, is introducing version 2.0 of their dolly wheels. The wheels make up the foundation for any good dolly/slider solution, and version 2.0 aims to give users better performance and handle heavier loads at no additional cost. Click through to check out more. More »

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In between their 9-5 jobs, filmmakers Ryan C. Glover and Krista Dzialoszynski have been working diligently on their feature film debut Hills Green, and after several years are proud to say it’s finally complete. It’s a story about two friends’ escape to the country to discover what their relationship is made of, and is brought to life with the power of real-life nostalgia. The duo is now set for the film’s Canadian premiere at the ReelHeART International Film Festival on June 24th in Toronto. Hit the jump for the trailer and our interview with the first-time feature filmmakers: More »

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It’s certainly not the sexiest piece of gear you’re going to deal with, but dimmer switches can be unbelievably handy, especially if you have limited time and a limited budget, and you’re already working with DIY lights. A dimmer switch, if you’re not sure, is exactly what it sounds like: it’s a way to selectively dim or brighten the quantity of a light source using electricity, rather than manual means like placing a net over the light. This is an important distinction as you’re not trying to change the shape or quality of the light — just simply lower the output. Most of these can be built for very little cost, so click through to check out some tutorials on building your very own dimmer switches. More »

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Are you DIY-minded and looking for some useful and simple tutorials? I recently stumbled across Ted Ramasola’s modest website which has a lot of simple step-by-step DIY projects that come in the form of a single JPG image. One of the things that separates Cinema Lenses from still lenses are the de-clicked aperture rings that allow for micro exposure adjustments, as well as the ability to do smooth iris pulls during a take. The older manual Nikon still lenses are a popular choice amongst DSLR shooters, and here is a method for performing a little surgery to de-click the lens. Check out the tutorial below: More »

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Being an artist of any kind is difficult, and it’s even more difficult if you dedicate yourself fully to that art. Most people don’t choose to be musicians, or painters, or filmmakers because they want to make a lot of money. There are plenty of professions that will yield a better salary than being a filmmaker, and most of us will never reach that 1% in the entertainment industry who never have to worry where their next job is going to come from. I think as any kind of artist, it’s important to keep asking yourself if you’re doing what you want to be doing in life. Take a few minutes to watch the video below that forces you to ask yourself, “What do I desire?” More »

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Since the explosion of DSLRs, shoulder rigs have become almost a necessity for smooth handheld work. Some you can buy on the cheap, others you can build yourself for even cheaper, and one can even double as a portable jib solution. Name brand rigs will save you the trouble of a DIY assembly job, and should hold up well enough to use on just about any shoot, but they’ll cost you quite a bit more. Now we’ve got another how-to video, this time geared toward shooters who’d like to build their own somewhat heavy-duty shoulder rig for as little as $100. Check out the video and the full eBay items list below. More »

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We recently featured several practical but effective techniques for creating the (by now) famous Matrix-esque ‘bullet-time’ effect — accomplished, in more than one case, by using an evenly spaced array of GoPros and some post-processing elbow grease. Clearly, the availability and portability of such cameras is catching on beyond conventional ‘action cam’ uses, and inspiring creatives of nearly any budget to create shots only A-budget Hollywood productions used to be able to pull off. GoPros make sense for such arrays, because they are forgivingly frameable (and decently affordable as far as rentals go). Now, another project has demonstrated what’s possible with these simple but adaptable cameras — in this case, built into a rig that can also be handheld. More »

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There’s a variety of rigs out there for pretty much all your mounting needs — Cinevate and of course Kessler are go-to solutions for jibs running the gamut from heavy-duty to collapsible, respectively. The same goes for shoulder rigs, with options ranging from professional solutions to lightweight prefabs all the way down to homebrew kits. Of course, something that can pull double duty as a portable jib and custom shoulder rig — which you can put together yourself for $50, to boot — may be the best of, like, three worlds. Read on to check out some details — plus info on how to build your own 360 degree panoramic head mount, plus some hardcore DIY stabilizers — all geared toward the low-to-no budget but crafty shooter. More »

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When you hear the term “bullet time,” you probably can’t help but think of The Matrix. And if you’ve taken a gander at the behind the scenes footage from that film or similar productions, then you know that’s it’s an effect usually done in large warehouse studios, with a multitude of cameras on a huge rig, and run by a sizable crew, which all adds up to being quite expensive. Even renting a bullet time rig will more than likely be cost prohibitive, but with some elbow grease you can put together your own portable rig at a more indie friendly price: More »

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Thanks to the extensible nature of third party interchangeable parts, you can assemble a shoulder rig that balances robustness, accessory accommodation, and price range almost perfectly to what you need, for a price you can afford. You may buy a complete package from a trusted vendor, one on the super-cheap from overseas, or upgrade your older kit with new pads, grips, and weights. You may even eschew the steel altogether and build one yourself, and there’s many a building guide for such a DIY assembly out there — one more recent post breaks down a PVC shouldermount rig for a paltry $10. For this and some other (picture left) dirt-cheap alternatives, check below. More »

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You may recall when director David M. Reynolds shared a guest post with NoFilmSchool readers, in the midst of what would become a significantly successful Kickstarter campaign — overfunded $40k beyond its $60k goal — for his project The Underwater Realm. Now, a year later, the film is less than two weeks from premiering for free on YouTube. Needless to say, the all-volunteer-multi-talented-hyphenates of Realm Pictures is working tirelessly to get the project finished. On top of this, they’ve shared a seemingly endless amount of insight into their process along the way, via weekly video blogs — including a recent look at their self-implemented render farm-style workflow, the sound design, and a bit earlier, a look at their amazing underwater shooting process. Watch these and a new trailer below. More »

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Sometimes it seems like the numbers of services allowing for film self-distribution are expanding so rapidly it’s a bit overwhelming, or at least a little difficult to keep up with. This type of flooding can really only benefit the filmmaker, though, seeing as each project’s release vector can be paired with the most appropriate service instead of being stuck choosing between a mere few. It may be time to add another notch to your list of options, because now — with the help of film-centric audience builder-organizer Crowdstarter — a service called PUMit is looking to get your film out into the world, get ticket revenue straight to your wallet, and provide you with all the tools to do so successfully along the way. More »

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We’ve recently covered how to convert your garage into a fully functioning movie studio, and now, thanks to a helpful making-of breakdown video from NextWaveDV, you can construct the next step in the evolution of your home studio setup. You may already be familiar with the effect created by cycloramas — as NextWaveDV points out, Apple’s “I’m a Mac” commercials may be the easiest example to recall — basically, they allow for a uniformly-colored (and lit) backdrop to isolate your subjects in a kind of disembodied, heavenly way. Read on to check out this effect, plus what you’ll need to achieve it yourself. More »

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Even on projects that can afford to rent a lighting and grip package, it can be useful for you to have your own lighting kit stashed away. Whether this kit is something you keep in the trunk of your car, good in a pinch — or what you use to make your living — the boy scout motto applies. Who knows, maybe you’re up the creek, just that one cube tap or ground lift short, but because you brought your kit, your gaffer owes you a brewski when the day is done. Thanks to a few open filmmakers with some ingenuity up their sleeves, we have some details on what extremely affordable and useful gear can comprise your own DIY lighting kit. More »

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It’s been said time and time again, and it’s worth saying again — Shane Hurlbut (and his blog at Hurlbut Visuals) is a strong resource and great friend to the DIY and independent filmmaking communities. This really can’t be overstated, because Shane provides everything from custom lighting-kit tutorials to explanations of various shot-types and composition styles — all important functional knowledge for those of us tasked with the creation of motion imagery. Now, once again, Shane provides us with a walkthrough of great magnitude, this time in implementing a book light to accentuate a “beauty shot.” Read on for the run-down. More »

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This is a guest post by Cinematographer Ryan E. Walters.


I’ll be the first to admit nothing replaces a professionally built sound stage or studio. I’ve had the opportunity to shoot on a wide variety of stages and I appreciate what they bring to a production. However, I have also needed a space where I could shoot some of my stock footage, as well as record my training videos. And I need that space to be affordable and accessible to me at any time. So I converted my garage into a mini “studio.” To learn how I got this done for under $500, continue reading … More »

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Pardon me as I step out of my quiet NFS screenwriter corner for a moment and don the NFS camera equipment hat (apparently, the virtual NFS offices are empty today with everyone else busy working on their own projects or traveling. Kinda eerily quiet). With that out of the way, here at NFS, we’ve recently posted a wide array of DIY dolly solutions, from the one already in your garage to sliders falling from outer space. The folks over at RigWheels have now expanded their product line to augment your DIY dolly systems. The new offerings from RigWheels not only make their slider wheels easier to use but also make cameras easier to mount on a variety of surfaces. More »

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You might already be thinking, yes, I use this already, or no, it’s far too dangerous and probably illegal where I live. Any of those things could very well be true, but a car can be very useful as a DIY dolly. I’ve utilized cars more times than I can remember just for this purpose, and they work great in a pinch or when a dolly would just be impractical. Even if you already know all of the benefits, there might be some ideas in this Vimeo Video School clip you haven’t thought of before: More »