July 13, 2013

How to Utilize Limited Filmmaking Resources

Sometimes finding fellow filmmakers to work with is quite a task. Many a time I've had to light my own scenes, operate my own camera, direct, and basically wear every hat imaginable. I'm sure a lot of you can relate, and maybe currently you have a film that you're just itching to make, but simply don't have the manpower (or so you think) to pull it off. Well, here are a few basic tricks that you can try to make what you have go further until you have the time, money, and connections to get a solid crew together. Hit the jump to see what they are.

Film crews don't necessarily have to be big to be successful. (Those in the independent film community know that for sure.) If all you have is you and one other person -- great! This video tutorial has you covered with how to do swipe cuts, split screen, and smartphone audio. Quite honestly, I'm not convinced of getting sound this way. If you're going to splurge on anything while making films, let it be the audio. On the other hand, if you've got a small crew, maybe you haven't someone to hold a boom for you.

So, thanks to Vimeo Video School for bringing us this video:

Now, all of this stuff is pretty rudimentary, and isn't necessarily geared toward pros. However, we've got a huge community of experienced filmmakers. What are some things you've done to combat the limitations of having a small crew? If a filmmaker can't get his/her hands on a crew, what can he/she do?

Link: Three Tricks For Your Impossibly Small Film Crew -- Vimeo Video School

Your Comment

16 Comments

A C-stand never gets tired of holding a boom.

July 13, 2013 at 1:26PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Ed Z.

haha, that's great

July 15, 2013 at 7:27AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Chris

You're probably one of those guys on set who doesn't even ask the c-stand how it's doing.

July 20, 2013 at 4:55PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Jules

"If you’re going to splurge on anything while making films, let it be the audio."
- YES YES YES

July 13, 2013 at 1:51PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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marklondon

Truer than true

July 13, 2013 at 4:24PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Anthony Marino

Daaammn wat kamera they be using? Stevn Spielberg hav dat same 1? SHiiiit

July 13, 2013 at 3:23PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Mr. Swole

Mic on your phone, bahahahahahaha

July 13, 2013 at 5:50PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Darren Orange

We shot our road trip feature-film Penny Black (currently in post) with a micro-crew of 5 on the road, and sometimes just 2 of us for pickups. Though an extra set of hands can be great, the most important thing for us was having people who could fill every role.

Our director can DP, set up lights, operate his own RED camera and was seen playing the role of a C-stand, an extra, and shooting behind the scenes shots with his RED (which you can pull great stills from). As producer I did sound, locations, wardrobe, props, etc., and on one occasion make-up for our superhero (though I generally leave that to our pro make-up person).

I think having a crew with a diverse set of skills was better than having twice as many people.

July 13, 2013 at 5:53PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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I agree with you. You just need people who aren't too hung up on roles, and are confident at giving things a go.
Your shoot tends to go faster too.
Having said that, I hope one of the 5 was a qualified sound person. :-)

July 13, 2013 at 7:40PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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marklondon

Regarding audio, I've been using the Rode SmartLav and it's a gem of a lavalier mic for both the iPhone and Android.

July 13, 2013 at 8:42PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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mistermonkstrap

Yeah you can also use other lav mics with an iPhone (and maybe other devices?) as long as you're using a TRRS to TRS adapter. It's kind of a pain that you'll need to get the audio off the phone, instead of having it all recorded to one source, but it's actually a really good solution for low budget filmmakers.

July 15, 2013 at 12:26AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Nathania

Great tips THX!

July 15, 2013 at 4:05AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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We've done the iPhone audio thing twice in a pinch, saved our butts and the client didn't even notice. Not optimal, for sure, but certainly doable in certain circumstances. Kind of like how the wedding scene in "Up In The Air" used "wedding guests" with DSLRs to grab a few shots of video supposedly actually used in the movie.

July 15, 2013 at 9:56AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Bigger isn't always better!

July 15, 2013 at 11:17AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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There are a couple nice tips in here, but getting a crew is pretty fundamental. Having a video showing how to get things done with 4-7 people on your crew would be much more beneficial. Doing everything yourself severely limits your possibilities creatively. PLUS, if you can't get people to crew on your project, that probably says something about who you are as a filmmaker and the projects you are taking on.

July 15, 2013 at 9:48PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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I agree and disagree.... I agree that a bigger crew helps to free you up and is the ultimate goal, but if you don't have that, then you do what you can... I had mainly just myself and 1 other person as crew for the 1st season of my award-winning web TV series Day Zero (10 awards in less than 17 months, and we may be on TV very soon!). Check it out: http://blip.tv/dayzerotv

July 18, 2013 at 6:27PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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