August 22, 2018

DIY Filmmaking Gear You Didn't Know You Already Had

Before you spend a fortune on filmmaking gear, find out if you have any household items that will work just as well.

If I've said it once I've said it a thousand times, filmmaking is friggin' expensive. Well, it can be. Let's get real, a lot of the gear we spend our hard-earned money on can be replaced by stuff we have just lying around in a garage or closet somewhere. If you're curious about what kinds of everyday items you can use on your next film project, here are a couple of filmmaking YouTubers to give you some ideas.

In this video, the team over at Field of View, which a new YouTube channel you should definitely check out, goes over a handful of household items you can use on a film set.

  • Dryer sheets and paper towels: These things are great for diffusion. Be careful, though, if you're using some hot lights. You don't want to catch your set on fire.
  • Tennis balls: Cut a hole in a tennis ball and stick them on the ends of C-stands, grip arms, and anything else that can poke an eye out.
  • Sun protection: If you're shooting outdoors in the hot sun, bring along some hats, sunglasses, and sunscreen.
  • Clothespins: Filmmakers call these things C-47s, but really...they're just clothes pins. Use them to hang gels, silks, and pretty much anything anywhere.
  • Blankets: A nice, big, heavy blanket has a ton of uses on set. You can use it to block out light, sound treat a room, or cozy up during a break.

Michael Lohrum, also known as the DIY Camera Guy, literally raided his garage to offer up a ton of interesting DIY filmmaking gear ideas.

  • Wood scraps: Drill a couple of holes in a scrap piece of wood, throw a bolt, tripod head, or spigot in there, and boom, you've got something on the ground you can mount your camera or lights onto.
  • Furniture sliders: Throw those babies on the bottom of your tripod legs so you can move it around easier.
  • Screwdrivers: Tools like screwdrivers are handy for their intended use on set anyway, but Lohrum suggests using them as markers when shooting out on terrain that won't take kindly to gaff tape. (This sounds kind of dangerous to me, but some spray paint would work like a charm, too.)
  •  Cleaning supplies: Messes are constantly made on set, so don't forget to bring some wet wipes, cleaning spray, or paper towels.
  • Crazy amounts of electrical gear: Extension cords, power strips, splitters, and 2-prong to 3-prong adapters are a necessity. (I've got a power strip/extension cord combo that I cannot live without.)
  • Clamps: You need 'em. For clamping stuff.

  • Putty knife: Super cool hack here. Put a bolt or tripod head through the hole in a putty knife handle and slide that thing into door jams and other tight spaces.
  • 1/4" -20 bolts: You can thread a tripod head onto a 1/4" -20 bolt and mount it onto a C-stand. Boom! Easy overhead rig.
  • Wooden dowels: Throw these things into a C-stand and hang diffusion and backgrounds.
  • Blackout curtains: Great for, you guessed out, blacking out a space. Block that light!
  • Foam pads: Give your knees/butt/camera a break from rough terrain/hard surfaces/rain/dirt.
  • Broom handle: Need a DIY boom pole? Broom handles make great ones.

Got any other DIY camera equipment ideas? Let us know down in the comments.     

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1 Comment

this is dumb right?

August 22, 2018 at 11:36PM, Edited August 22, 11:35PM

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