11 DIY Tricks You Can Use to Hack Your Next Film Production

Every production needs a good MacGyver. Learn how to be the DIY film master on your next set with these helpful tricks.

Filmmaking requires many, many tools, from gimbals to modifiers to apple boxes to dollies, and a lot of those tools can cost a pretty penny. However, with a little creativity you can turn everyday household items into essential pieces of gear that not only work but also will keep your budget from getting out of control. In this video, Jamie and Kyle of Field of View and the DIY Camera Guy, Michael Lohrum, share eleven super cheap and easy DIY cinematography tricks and hacks that you can bust out on your next production. Check it out below:

A good filmmaking hack isn't just fun to try for the hell of it—many of them are going to save you a lot of time and money when it comes time to shoot, so let's quickly go over each one that was mentioned in the video:

  • Book light: Can't see your focus marks when you're trying to shoot? Clip a book light to your rails (if your camera is mounted to some) and you'll be able to see them.
  • Lighters: Create some sweet lens flares, blooms, and other lens effects by holding an everyday lighter close to (but not too close) your lens.
  • Aluminum foil: This reflective material can be used to bounce light or to create a quick DIY cookie when you're in a pinch. 
  • Your phone: Use the camera on your phone to 1.) take pictures for continuity, and 2.) take pictures of locations you shoot in so you can make sure you're leaving it as you found it.
  • Chapstick: Smear some lip balm over your lens to create some cool looks. I suggest a screwing on a UV filter first, though, so you don't get that gunk all over your glass.
  • Construction trash bags: Those heavy duty trash bags are ginormous and can be used for tons of things: tarps, wet bag, poncho, etc.
  • Shower curtains/liners: Not only do cheap $1 shower curtain liners serve as tarps and ponchos, but they're really great diffusers.
  • Bag o' rice: Need to get a shot close to the ground? Filling a gallon plastic Ziploc bag with rice will give you a nice, steady surface.
  • Screwdriver: With a Gear Tie or two, you can turn a screwdriver into a mini tripod. Just attach your camera to the screwdriver handle with the Gear Ties, and stick that mother in the ground.
  • 1/4" -20 bolt: If you've got a mount or holder for your smartphone, throw a mini ball head on there and screw in a 1/4" -20 bolt. Now you can mount and manipulate your smartphone camera pretty much anywhere with a clamp or grip head (including a C-stand). 
  • Plywood: Another hack for shooting close to the ground is cutting a piece of plywood, drilling a 1/4" -20 hole through it, and mounting your tripod head to the whole deal. This DIY trick will probably work a lot better for larger, heavy cameras.

Do you have any good DIY tricks and hacks? Let us know down in the comments.     

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