Thursday, December 20, 2012

Tip: Christmas Spending!

If you are wondering where to spend your pending Christmas cash, I have a few ideas...

PVC Ratcheting Cutters

Blake Snyder's "Save the Cat!"

Gaffer's Tape (2" x 30 yard roll, black)

Gerber Compact Sport Multi-tool

The Rokkor Files

KEH camera

Minolta to Sony NEX 5n adapter with tripod mount

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Recap Q&A: Do You Like Your Zoom H1?

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Help The Frugal Filmmaker get on YouTube's "On the Rise"!

Watch the short film "Meredith"

Audio Technica ATR-3350 lav mic

Zoom H1 field recorder setup

J Goldin's Suction Cup Camera Mount

Cheap Filmmaker Gift Guide!
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Panasonic DMC-GH2 (body only) now $499!

The Cost of a Webseries

Demo & Review of PluralEyes3


How to send clips from FCPX to AE/Motion 5

Fujian 35mm CCTV/C Mount Lens for Video

Sweet $95 Shoulder Rig

DIY Follow Focus for DSLRs

10 Christmas Camera Gift Ideas under $100

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

J Goldin's Suction Cup Camera Mount

I wanted to send you a photo of the car rig in use. I used a heavy duty ball head and lots of towels/gaff tape to take away cabin noise. Freeway speeds, no problem. The cups did pop off while it was attached to the side window, straps totally saved my T3i.

Scott sez:  I like how J beefed up the mount, proving the rig can handle a larger camera. He was also wise to use the straps, which saved him from totaling his DSLR.  Nice work!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Meredith (short film)

A man confesses an indiscretion to his wife.  She retorts. 

This short was shot on a Canon 60D (except for the opening shot of the calendar which was the Sony NEX 5n) and edited on Sony Vegas Pro 10.  Three man crew, two cast members and one slightly furnished apartment.  Let me know what you think.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Recap Q&A: What Audio Recorder?

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Clip Lamp Camera Mount

Noob Shock Mount Adapter

Flash shoe adapter with thread

Nanguang LED video light (and cold shoe adapter)

Knoptop's "Homemade Micro-muff"

Lesson of the week: Make a dinosaur!

$1 Budget: Stop, Sleeve Pistol!

Magic Lantern HDR workflow

DIY 600 LED vs. 300 LED comparison

Shoulder rig update

Inexpensive lighting and diffusion

4 step YouTube workflow and going social

Realistic muzzle flash tutorial

Thursday, November 29, 2012

$1 Budget: Stop, Sleeve Pistol!

More cheap stuff to aid in your filmmaking this week. First up is tablet sleeves found at Dollar Tree that also come in very handy for storing thin objects like gray cards and film slates. Next, I found an inexpensive pistol prop that resembles a Glock and has a fake silencer and blowback action.  It even comes with it's own sound effects!  Finally a door stop which, as many people have told me, does more than just hold doors open.

Getting Perfect Exposure

Black Friday at Dollar Tree

Dry Erase Clapper Slate for $8

Knoptop's "Cheap Gun with Blowback Action"

Monday, November 26, 2012

Recap Q&A: What Uses for Your Old Camera?

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How to shoot better events

How to pick the best DSLR lens

Roger Corman visits Loft Cinema Tucson

Camera Stabilizer Rig, inspired by the FF

What you need to build a versatile DIY light kit

$277 Fig Rig vs $55 Spider Steady

Black Friday at Dollar Tree

Wieldy Iron Triangle vs Glidecam HD

Polaroid handgrip review

Chinese roller bearing slider review

Video lighting with LED puck lights

Friday, November 23, 2012

Black Friday at Dollar Tree

With all of the craziness that takes place every year the day after Thanksgiving (though some are having sales ON Thanksgiving now), I wondered what the effect would be at the local dollar store.  Would anyone camp out?  Would there be any lines?  What kind of smokin' deals would a store like Dollar Tree offer, if any?  All good questions and I was determined to find some answers.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Recap Q&A: Did You Miss It?

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Creating slow motion on the Sony NEX 5n and Vegas

Oops!  Panasonic GH2 with 14-42mm kit lens - $499

Free PluralEyes when you buy a Rode mic

DIY Silver Flyer Steadicam Test Footage

ePhoto shoulder rig follow focus review

DIY monopod dolly adapter

Stealth camera bag for $6

Creating a beauty light with a book light

2012 black friday camcorder deals

How much money can you make from a YouTube video?

DIY shoulder stabilizer rig: tutorial

Walmart 7" portable TV/monitor - $39

Video editing, strawberries and chocolate!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Tip: Stealth Camera Bag for $6

I recently bought a new camera, the Sony NEX 5n, which is a great deal for the money.  I then needed a camera bag to shove my new toy and all of its accessories in, but as usual, did not want to pay full price.  After poking around on the web, I found some very cool alternatives.

Ozark Trail 6 Can Cooler with Hardliner

Protect Traveling Lenses with a Beer Cozy

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Miss the Weekly Recap Show? Let Me Know!

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How to light for specific camera blocking

Neewer 160 LED video light review

Carry Speed CS-PRO Mark II Review

Steadicam Smoothee / GoPro Review

DIY Silver Flyer Steadicam

AiG Waistholder holster for cameras review

Interview with Steve Wang, creature designer

$1 Budget: USB Socket AC Case!

Pro follow focus vs. $5 follow focus!

Yongnuo YN 160 LED light review

CarrySpeed CS-Slim review

Cheap shotgun microphone 320E review

Writing, Shooting, Editing, Viewpoint

Rule of thirds to get better composition

Thursday, November 8, 2012

$1 Budget: USB Socket AC Case!

It's another roundup of $1 stuff!  This time we have a cheap USB drive, an AC to USB adapter, an AC to light socket adapter, and another use for a fancy toothpick case.

If you have any ideas for inexpensive filmmaking helps, let me know!  I'll try to send some link love in your direction.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Recap Q&A Still MIA: Weekly Links Below!

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Corridor Digital's Workflow

Frugal Floater test footage

No-budget filmmaking commandment #3

Physics students make zombie movie at CERN

Frugal Floater Steadicam Project

180 degree rule

$100 dolly cart

Five tools less than $30 each

Different editing techniques

LED light product review

Sony NEX 5n with 18-55mm kit lens - $478

Clip lamp camera mount

Framing basic shot types

How to light for specific camera blocking

Friday, November 2, 2012

Clip Lamp Camera Mount

When I needed a specialized rig to mount inside of a gazebo to shoot a wedding, I made one.

Clip from desk clip lamp:
1/4" machine screw or bolt, 2" in length
1/4" washer
1/4" lock washer
3x 1/4" nut
1/4" fender washer, 1 1/4" wide
1/4" rubber fender washer 1 1/4" wide
mini ball head:

7/16" wrench
#11 wrench

Monday, October 29, 2012

Recap Q&A Still on Vacation: Links Below!

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Shooting beauty with Home Depot florescent tubes

GoPro HERO3: Black Edition

Guide to turning your garage into a studio for under $500

DIY umbrella mount hack for worklights

Smartphone as DSLR monitor & mount

Tip: Airsoft bolt action rifle prop

What is dynamic range?

Digital Prism 7" LCD TV monitor ($47) review

41.99 iPad/tablet stand

24fps or 30fps - frame rate?

Chromo 160 LED video light - dirt cheap

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Tip: Airsoft Bolt Action Rifle Prop

In a second tip episode this month I look at the UHC Super 9 Bolt Action Airsoft Rifle. I'm currently working on the student film December 1982, as a production designer. The script specifies a bolt action rifle and I found one on Amazon for around $60. That price may seem steep (for a spring rifle), but this rifle does its job as a prop pretty well, due to some nice included extras and a little modding.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Recap Q&A Out to Lunch, See Links Below...

ASP Vlog: Sima Quickonnect alternative

Monopod Dolly Shots

Canon T3i drops to $499 (body only) on Amazon

Creating planets with dry ice bubbles

YouTube Networks: An Inside Look At Their Unsavory Business Practices

Make your own camera bag or insert

Olympus Zuiko 50mm 1.8 on Canon T3i

Zoom H1 Special Edition Handy Recorder - White!

Digital Prism 7" SD monitor - $47

Nanguang LED Video Light (and cold shoe mount)

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Nanguang LED Video Light (& cold shoe adapter)

Today, a simple review. I needed a video light for an upcoming wedding I'm shooting, so I went looking. The light had to be dimmable (so I wouldn't blind people), run on batteries, be somewhat small, and have a way to mount to my PVC Stabilizer Rig. The Nanguang fit the bill and I found a cheap hot shoe adapter with a 1/4" thread that allowed easy mounting on my rig.

Nanguang 5400K LED Video Light
Harbor Freight Tools Worklight/Flashlight
Hot Shoe Mount Adapter

Monday, October 15, 2012

Recap Q&A: Video Gear Storage Ideas?

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Quick Release Showdown

Azden EX503 lav mic

Audio-Technica ATR3350 lav mic

The film financier's dilemma

Samyan 35mm t1.5 VDSLR lens review

DIY track dolly

$30 DIY video monopod (with feet!)

Azden EX503 review (cheap lapel mic)

The videographers guide to music videos

$1 Budget: Cord, Mirror, Dip!

How to place a lapel or lavalier microphone

Educational resource books for cinematography

Canon PowerShot SX 40HS

Canon a1200 Powershot - $80 (great entry-level cam)

Review - Canon 200EG camera bag

Review - Nikon G adapter for Canon EF and many more

Petition against potential LED light monopoly

New DIY motorized cam slider

Thursday, October 11, 2012

$1 Budget: Cord, Mirror, Dip!

No, it's not a new dance move. It's stuff I've cobbled together this past month that you might find useful.  Today's show is simplicity itself: a cheap extension cord (green!), an mirror for talent use, and a can of rubbery goo that you might need to goo-ify something metal like a spring clamp.

Tip: Extension Cords (and how to coil them)
Dimmer Switch for $7.25
Plasti-Dip at Home Depot

Monday, October 8, 2012

Recap Q&A: Battery Powered Lighting?

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Canon EF 50mm f1.8 review

DIY Farnsworth (steampunk communicator) from Warehouse 13

CatClaw Junior follow focus review

I worked for free, now where's my DVD?

$35 DIY slider

Tip: extension cords (and how to coil them)

Realistic homemade blood that sets!

Free scary music during October

$2 DIY camera stabilizer from Harbor Freight Tools

How to build a rain machine

Zoom H1 Handy Recorder for $70

Learn how to create practical effects on a budget

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Tip: Extension Cords (and how to coil them)

Everyone needs an extension cord (or "stinger") or two when snaking power from a nearby wall outlet. These come in several shapes and sizes and today I share a few of my own and my DIY method of storing them. Something else everyone should know is how to properly coil a cable. If done wrong, you end up with a snarled mess when you try to use it. If done right, the cord will always fall away from itself properly, allowing instant use. The technique for doing this is easy to master, but might be something you've never heard of.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Recap Q&A: Screenwriting Tips?

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Celtx, free screenwriting software

"Save the Cat" by Blake Snyder

Canon T4i review

Operation Frugal Crane

Vacuum forming on zero dollars

Vintage Lenses for Video

ThinkTank Airport Essentials Backpack review

How to build a doorway dolly

Shot List: The Kitchen

Directing actors on set (not really)

$38 light kit

Room tone

How to get audio in on the Sony NEX-5

How to test a DSLR camera lens

Awesome mini ballhead tripod mount

Free white balance card

Panasonic GH2 drops $20 in price

Best large sensor cameras for video

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Shot List: The Kitchen

Here's a lighting exercise for everyone. How do you make a basic kitchen look more interesting? What if you only had some cheap lights to make it look better? The above video is my answer to these pressing questions. This is just an experiment, as I'm no expert gaffer, but some interesting results can be had with simple light placement.

So, point your camera at your kitchen, jazz it up with some lights and attach your video to mine via YouTube. I'd love to see what everyone comes up with.

"Starburst Dreams" courtesy
 Budget Light Kit
 $1 Budget: Dollar Tree Lights!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Recap Q&A: Best Glass for under $50?

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"The Web Has No Standards"

DIY shockmount for your boom pole

How to make a chill box for controlling smoke

Adding a flange to PVC pipe

Magic Lantern finally cracks the Canon 7D

Chris Bleasdale's Frugal Crane

Aputure V-Remote to start/stop video

Better manual focus Tenpa 1.36x magnifier

Frugal Feeding (Craft Service)

Canon kit lens EF-S 18-55mm review

Introducing Vimeo tip jar

Glidecam: how to be awesome

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Frugal Feeding (Craft Service)

Everyone has to eat, so even if you have no budget, don't skimp on feeding your cast and crew. Nothing will torpedo your reputation faster than a shoot with no food. While this is very important, it doesn't have to be very expensive. Today I team up with Hilah from Hilah Cooking as she shares some great tips on how to give everyone nourishment without busting your budget.

Hilah's hummus recipe

Coleman 5 gallon beverage cooler

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Chris Bleasdale's Frugal Crane

I can' t remember how I found your YouTube channel but I wished I had found it sooner, I would have saved myself a bundle of cash!

Initially I started to collect the parts for the first version of the Frugal Crane and while searching I was not really satisfied with the selection of wheels or fishing line that I looked at. Luckily for me, I found your updated version 2.0. I had just updated my garage door and had the parts sitting in the garage.

As for additional parts, the only changes from your initial parts list was the use of a bracket that held the garage door rail to the wall of the garage, 3/8" nylon lock nut for use on the top pulley, 1/2" end caps instead of plugs, a rubber 1/2" washer for a garden hose, used between the top pulley, and a flat washer which when tightened creates enough tension to alleviate the touchiness.

The construction doesn't differ much with the exceptions of using 1" PVC spacers between the boom pole and pulleys (slightly flattening the top of the pole), exchanging the plugs for end caps (not available in store when I bought the rest of the piping products ) and lengthening the PVC lever allowing for smoother tilts. 

Having a HD 7" field monitor I have the ability to use an HDMI cable ($14) and an HDMI to mini plug ($5). The cable was then permanently taped onto the top section of pipe to stop it from rolling and then tie strapped on the bottom section allowing for movement for folding of boom pipe upon takedown.

The dumbell handle I bought at the Canadian Walmart was chromed, so instead of cutting it, I ground down the stop collar on one side just enough to get it to be banged into the end of the pipe. I then used a hammer and large flat screwdriver to crimp the end of the pipe to stop it from backing out.

The camera is mounted to the plate with a bracket that came with a spring loaded shoulder stabilizer I purchased, unfortunately I paid too much again. Fortunately, it was the wrong bracket that they shipped so when the proper one came with a quick release this one was obsolete, until now!

Although the final product cost around $70 Canadian, it nowhere near compares to the price of the Cobra Crane I was salivating over.

Scott sez: Nice job, Christopher! This is exactly what The Frugal Filmmaker is all about. Taking an idea, tweaking it, and sharing the results. The Frugal Crane is probably the toughest of all my builds, but I'm glad Chris was able to make it work. Now let's see some footage!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Recap Q&A: What Lens Would You Recommend?

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Frugal Filmmaker T-shirts!

Sony NEX-5n (body only) - $400

aPad, attenuation pad for Rode Videomic

DIY Zoom/Telephoto lens

How to light your video on a budget

$1 Budget: Clip Lamp, Jumbo Clips, Wall Adapter!

How to fill an audio channel in Premiere Pro CS6

Cheap aluminum camera case

Magic Lantern 2.3 for T2i walkthrough (part 2)

Protect travelling lenses with a beer cozy

Camera bag insert made from camera box

$1 camera mount for head rest

Thursday, September 13, 2012

$1 Budget: Clip Lamp, Jumbo Clips, Wall Adapter!

I've got some more goodies to share and none of them cost very much.  This time out I look at a little AC adapter made to connect to an iPod USB cube (but also does other things), some very large clothespins (thanks TurtleDudeProd!), and a "clip lamp". The last one is the best news (thank you Athena!) and could be a replacement for the hardware store clamp light.

The clip lamp is cheaper, easier to position, and comes with built in diffusion. The clamp light breaks down into a smaller package and is easier to store. Both should use spring clamps to reinforce the clip/clamp that attaches to your light stand. Just to be safe.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Recap Q&A: What Promotion Tactics?

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Frugal Filmmaker T-shirts!

6.5' Tripod Speaker Stand

Awesome multi-tool for filmmakers and photographers

How to get noise free DSLR footage

Kubrick: one point perspective

Sima Quickonnect for $6.04

Tip: External SD monitor battery

lens pen mini-review

Cheap DSLR prime lens shootout

Bubble level

DIY slider

Building a shoulderpad for 15mm rods on the cheap

Glide steady stabilizer shoulder monopod

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Tip: External SD Monitor Battery

After getting a cheap 7" SD monitor to use as an external screen for my camcorder, I had a problem. The internal battery died quickly (is that why it was on clearance?) and I could only power the thing when I was near a wall outlet. As I mostly use this with The Frugal Crane, I needed a way to use the monitor even when wall power was unavailable. I remember Deejay over at DSLR Film Noob using these 10-12v eBay rechargeable batteries and a power cord adapter that was a perfect fit.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Recap Q&A: What Camera on a $1000 Budget?

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Frugal Filmmaker T-shirts!

Midnyte (the web series)

Sony NEX 5n camera (body only)

canon Rebel EOS T3i camera (body only)

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 camera (body only)

Canon EOS 60d camera (body only)

Booking mug booth is a good headshot studio

Zalman ZM-MIC1 as a lav mic

Easiest DIY slider I've ever seen

$1 Cell phone camera macro lens

Vimeo adds custom thumbnails and Dropbox integration

The Frugal Filmmaker FAQ

DIY A/B hard stops for follow focus

Cheap neoprene camera cases

New Sony Action Cam with HD and Wi-Fi

Thursday, August 30, 2012

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

People ask me a lot of questions in comments and emails, and many of them are repetitive.  For awhile now, I've wanted some kind of FAQ, like forums tend to have, to answer these same questions that keep popping up. That's what this video is.  It's going to live on the YouTube channel page so hopefully people who are new to this stuff will find the answers they are looking for.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Recap Q&A: How Do You Archive Your Video?

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Frugal Filmmaker T-shirts!

Frugal Clamp

Frugal Crane 2.0

Making short films at Film Fights Con!

CN-126 LED light review

The best free screen recorder

Act like a writer

DSLR gets a computer for DIY expansion

Otter Box Defender tripod mount

Universal quick release system back in stock

Synchronize audio and video in Premiere Pro

Graveyard statues on a dollar budget

Sony Vegas: Zoom H1 Scripts / Shortcuts

Cheap counter weights for DSLR rigs

Zoom H4n quick start guide

Adding clickable video buttons to YouTube

The code of a filmmaker

Install LUT buddy for Premiere Pro and After Effects

Why your kit lens is better than you think

Storytelling through composition for filmmakers

100 free video effects for Sony Vegas

Cheap homemade monopod or camera pole

Friday, August 24, 2012

Sony Vegas: Zoom H1 Scripts / Shortcuts

When using an external mic with the Zoom H1 Handy Recorder, you'll probably end up with sound on only one channel.  When the file is dropped into Sony Vegas Pro, ti takes a series of right-clicking and menu navigating to isolate that channel and normalize. Here, I present some handy scripts (not written by me, but saved as a file by me) that will streamline the process of getting your audio events into a more useable format. Keyboard shortcuts make the process even faster.

Click to download the scripts below:
UseLeftChannelAudio (original forum source)
UseRightChannelAudio (original forum source)
NormalizeSelected (original forum source)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Otter Box Defender Tripod Mount

After getting an iPhone 4s so I could have a good backup camera with me at all times, I wanted to make sure I didn't immediately break the thing. The Otter Box Defender case is about the best protection you can get against droppage, but it makes your phone much bigger. With most iPhone tripod mounts relying on your phone being naked (which is ridiculous), I looked for something that was affordable and could hold the girth of the iPhone+Defender goliath.  After a bout of despair, I noticed the Defender came with a plastic holster that could be re-purposed as a tripod mount.  Problem solved!

Otter Box holster (comes with Otter Box Defender)
1x 1/4" machine screw, 1 3/4" long
2x 1/4" washers
1x 1/4" coupling nut, 3/4" long

vise (optional)
various drill bits
7/16" wrench

For camera rigs that may work well with your smartphone, check out the Table Dolly Junior, Trolley Dolly and Mini Camera Stabilizer.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Recap Q&A: Should I Sell Stuff?

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Frugal Filmmaker T-shirts (new logo)!

Filmic Pro iPhone app

Free Slate iPhone app

Celtx Script (iPhone/Android)

iPhone mic input / headphone breakout cable

Canon refurbished camcorders

Cinematography: Theory and Practice by Blain Brown

Magic Lantern release notes

DSLR rig mounting for your Nexus 7 tablet

Addition to "Adapting Cokin P-filters" tutorial

Free light leaks and film burns to download

Table Dolly Junior

DIY follow focus, friction and geared

Portable storage container w/bins for $4

How to build a 4' DIY ring light

Polarizing filters: powerful filmmaking tools

$50 follow focus review

$40 light kit

Where have all the 100 watt bulbs gone?

Zoom H1 Handy Recorder for $85

Product photography studio you already have!

Flash bracket you may already have!

32" 5-in-1 reflector for $7.39

7" SD monitor with A/V inputs for $48

Friday, August 17, 2012

Where Have All the 100 Watt Bulbs Gone?

Okay, I'm pretty sure I remember the government was going to be outlawing incandescent lights, but I still don't like it. One hundred watt bulbs are typically selling four-for-a-dollar at big box chains like Wal-Mart, but I haven't seen them for awhile (lesser wattages are still available). The shelf tags are still there, but there is a gaping hole where cheap sources of bright light used to be.

I use these bulbs all the time, and they have a permanent home in my clamp light fixtures as well as my most-used floor lamp lighting, that lights my apartment DIY show set. Losing these would be a major blow, since not only are they great for when I'm home to shoot, but in the past I never needed to pack bulbs when travelling, since I could just run down to any store in the U.S. and snap up some new ones. They are/were so cheap that it made more sense to just discard them when I was done, rather than try to take them with me.

I know incandescent bulbs are inefficient power leeches. I know they run hot and you can burn your hand if you touch one (wear gloves!). I know we don't need landfills piled high with old, quickly-expired light bulbs. I know CFLs are everywhere (even Dollar Tree!) and the prices are dropping. I guess I'm just nostalgic. And poor.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Portable Storage Container w/Bins for $4

Knoptop has come up with another great find, a compact, portable storage bin (I know it's portable because of the handle) for only $4 at Harbor Freight Tools. What is really cool about this are the small, re-arrangeable bins inside the thing. Move them around or remove them entirely to accommodate whatever gear you need to lug around. Dave's got two for his Zoom H1 and H4n audio recorders, and they seem to work quite well. The price makes the deal even sweeter.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Table Dolly Junior

Here is an updated version of the Table Dolly that I created over two years ago.  This version performs the same function (lateral or curved dolly moves on a flat surface), but with a smaller profile, fewer parts, less cost and is easier to construct. Many of you have made a lot of these changes already, but this official version will be better for those new viewers thinking of building the older model.

4x new or used inline skate wheels with bearings

5x ¾” PVC slip plugs
3x ¾” PVC tee joints
2x ¾” PVC 90 degree elbow joints
4x ¾” PVC pipes, 1 ½” long

4x ¼” bolts, 2” long
1x ¼” bolt, ½” long
8x ¼” nuts
5x ¼” lock washers
1x ¼” rubber fender washer

Drill with ¼” drill bit
Socket wrench with long 7/16” socket
7/16” wrench

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

DSLR Rig Mounting for your Nexus 7 Tablet

Last week, DSLR Film Noob demonstrated how use the Nexus 7 Android tablet as an external monitor / controller for his camera setup. It's pretty cool, and today he shows how it all attaches to his rig. I love stuff like this, and even though I don't use one of these cameras, I like the modular nature of it all. There's always something to be learned by watching how other filmmakers employ problem solving skills.

Also be sure to check out Deejay's detailed blog entry for extra pictures and links for further information on this subject.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Recap Q&A: Favorite Filmmaker Apps?

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Frugal Filmmaker T-shirts (new logo)!

Pegasus 7" SD monitor with AV inputs - $60

Free online movie scheduling software

DSLR Debate

DVXUser forum

HV20 forum

Painter's Pole Mic Adapter

Balanced audio (XLR) explanation

5 screenwriting software applications un $50

Revenge of the great Zacuto shootout with Steve Weiss

Imitating anamorphic lenses on the cheap - part 2

How to 48-hour film / Indy Mogul Games winners

All cheap mini ball heads are not created equal

Solve low memory error problems in Sony Vegas Movie Studio

Keep creating even in the face of criticism

$1 Budget: suction, squirt, clamp that bin!

How to make a PVC microphone stand

Deadcat review

onOne DSLR camera remote pro introduction

Sony Vegas: Ken Burns Effect

So you want my job: screenwriter

Adapting Cokin P-filters to 4x4" matte boxes

Friday, August 10, 2012

Sony Vegas: Ken Burns Effect

Ken Burns has become famous for his documentaries on public television and "The Ken Burns Effect" is synonymous with camera moves placed on still photos. This effect is pretty easy in Sony Vegas, and in this video I cover how it's done.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

$1 Budget: Suction, Squirt, Clamp that Bin!

It's another round of cheap stuff I've gathered that you might find useful in your filmmaking pursuits. I've taken the advice of you the viewer and expanded the reach of the show a bit, which allows me to go above spending a Washington (but not without consequence). I also spread the love a bit more in this episode by acquiring items from four different sources! Here's hoping you find some of this stuff useful.

4" Ratchet Bar Clamp / Spreader
Nerf Super Soaker Lightning Storm Microburst (Amazon)
Car Window Suction Cup Tripod Mount

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

All Cheap Mini Ball Heads Aren't Created Equal

If you've followed any of my DIY camera mounts, you may have noticed an element that I use again and again: the mini ball head. These are great for adding inexpensive articulation to any camera mount, something indispensable for getting your shot just right. Found on eBay, they are easily obtained (as long as you don't mind waiting for the two weeks shipping from China) and are quickly added to your contraptions through the 1/4" or 3/8" mount found at the bottom. They are fairly well-made for the price ($5) and have mostly metal parts. Not too bad a deal.

One thing I have noticed, is that there are two versions of these cheap ball heads on eBay, and you really can't tell which one you are going to get, since the pictures appear to be interchangeable. So what's the big difference? One of the mini ball heads has a metal platform surrounding the 1/4" camera mount, and the other is plastic. In the photo above, the metal version is on the left, with its plastic counterpart on the right.

What does this mean? The metal version has no spongy pad on the platform, which really helps secure your camera or quick release in place. The plastic version comes with the spongy pad built into the platform (see above photo). This is easily remedied for Metal Man, but getting a rubber 1/4" fender washer (also seen above) and placing it over the thread and onto the platform. It performs just as well or better than the built-in version and will only add 50 cents onto the total cost of your build.

That's the only advantage the plastic has over the metal. The major difference (and the most important one) between these ball heads is that when the metal version hits the floor, it will survive. The small nick you see on metal platform was the result of such a fall. It received a small scar and still performs it's function. I had a plastic version take a similar fall and the platform cracked--and had to be discarded. The ball head can still be used (that one now lives on the Frugal Clamp supporting a Sima Quickonnect), but only if the platform isn't critical to your build.

All this means is that while you may want the metal version (which I do), it's a crap shoot as to which one the Chinese distributor will send you, even if you study the photos and choose accordingly. I firgured that the plastic version was the one with the built-in pad and chose the other, non-pad version. However, when the three I bought showed up in the mail, they all had plastic platforms with spongy pads.

Just be aware of this when ordering and hope you get the metal version. Of course, the metal version may no longer exist, replaced by its cheaper cousin.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Recap Q&A: What Pro Gear Would You Use?

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Frugal Filmmaker T-shirts (new logo)!

My feature film reviews


Lagarith Lossless Video Codec

DIY wireless HD video streaming monitor

Giant Ziploc Bags for DIY purposes?

SteadiCrane 1.0

Sony Movie Studio 11 settings for best results

DSLR video camera bag review

Tip: film review sites I recommend

Gun shell ejectction kit + tutorial

The power of lighting with just two lights

Frugal Filmmaker's Dolly Test

Super-cheap SSDs should convince you to switch storage

Awesome action, a filmmaking checklist, and more!

Sony Vegas: favorite scripts

DIY camera stabilizer, table dolly, & snorricam

Imitating anamorphic lenses on the cheap

Nexus 7 used as monitor and DSLR controller

The Race to the Bottom (MUST READ!)

Five screenwriting software applications under $50

Does receiving a death threat on YouTube mean you're making an impact?

Dollar store microphone stand

Friday, August 3, 2012

Sony Vegas: Favorite Scripts

The scripting feature in Sony Vegas is awesome. It allows you to add scripts that perform all sorts of tasks that streamline and help the editing process. If you can't write your own (like me) there are lots of free ones on the web that you can easily add and access from within the editor. Here I share the basics of adding and using scripts and share a few of my favorites as well as a free archive that help with all sorts of editing functions.

"Everything folder" of free Sony Vegas Scripts

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Tip: Film Review Sites I Recommend

As a filmmaker, I try to watch as many films as I can. When I'm not doing that, I typically read a lot of film reviews. There are five sites that I gravitate toward that I've learned a great deal from. I present them here in the hope you might find them beneficial as well.

Dustin Putman's Film Reviews
Roger Ebert
Daily Film Dose
DVD Savant

Monday, July 30, 2012

Recap Q&A: Which Editor and Why?

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Frugal Filmmaker T-shirts (new logo)!

Maybe someone doesn't like GoAnimate?

Dimmer switch for $7.25

Why short-form video is the future of marketing

Eyes vs Cameras

Poles aplenty for frugal mic adapter

$0 DIY rotating platform for product videos

Dollar store lighting accessory kit

5D helmet rig

DSLR debate: The Cartoon!

No Budget Film School course - use FRUGAL code for 20% off!

Carry Speed LCD viewfinder review

Sony Vegas: Exporting videos to YouTube

Kipon Canon EF to MFT+E-mount adapter review

P&C Pistol grip review - easy rig with Pico friction arm

DIY 600 LED light for under $30

DIY LED light panel - $6

Friday, July 27, 2012

Sony Vegas: Exporting to YouTube

People keep asking me about what export settings I use when I send content to YouTube. While I covered a more methodical approach in "Episode Workflow", I recently stumbled across a free plugin that removes all the heavy lifting, analyzes your project, and sends it away based on your quality selection. The good news is (besides being free), Video4YouTube renders faster and creates a smaller file than the old method.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

DSLR Debate: The Cartoon!

And now for something completely different, I decided to take a stab at Animation for Dummies, by using YouTube's GoAnimate.  This program lets you do simple 2D animated stories and has just enough features to make it worthwhile. I won't go into everything, but after using it all day to create the above short, I can see its potential for non-animators. My favorite feature is the ability to import audio files, which are a lot better for your production than the cheesy "text-to-speech" gizmo that gives you robotic dialogue.

I don't know if these "cartoons" will become regular productions with me (we'll see what the reaction is like), but it is cool to branch out into forms of storytelling I've never tried before. It's all part of the perpetual learning experience.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Poles Aplenty for Frugal Mic Adapter

When doing research for my last Frugal Filmmaker episode (Painter's Pole Mic Adapter), I came across several poles that were very good candidates to use with said adapter. The adapter lets you easily attach a mic to your basic painter pole thread (you know, the really coarse one), giving you a quick boom pole whenever you need one. These pole types didn't really get time in the episode, so I thought I'd run them down here, giving all the basic stats and cost.

Broom / Mop Handle (free-$5).
If you have a broom or mop in your possession, then all you have to do is unscrew the head, attach your adapter, and your done. If you don't have one of these you can easily pick them up anywhere, including your local Dollar Tree. While these are very cheap to acquire, they also don't extend, giving you a shorter length in which to reach your actor's lips.

Fixed length Extension pole ($5-10)
These are basically a more robust broom handle, found in the paint section of whatever store you choose. They are sturdy wood or aluminum and don't collapse. Like the broom handle, they are only one length, but are affordable and strong. Make sure you have the space to transport it and you'll be fine.

Two-section Extension Pole ($12-20)
These stand at about 5', but can extend to another 4' to give you greater distance to stand out of frame and record dialogue. I've got the Wal-Mart pole and I really like it, especially the "twist and lock" control over the sections which is much faster and convenient than traditional screw collets that take more time and break easily.

Three-Section Extention Pole ($20-30)
These poles give you the greatest reach (12') and collapse to the smallest size (4'). The most familiar of these is the Bayco light bulb changer kit, found in most hardware stores. Just unscrew the pole from the bulb changing hardware, and you're ready to add the adapter. This yellow metal pole is very recognizable in DIY circles for the great length, small size and "twist and lock" functionality. There is a cheaper version ($16) at Wal-Mart, but it feels flimsy and has plastic collets instead of the twist locks (boo!)

One of these poles should fit your adapter needs. If you have no money and don't need much length, snake the broom handle from your kitchen pantry. If you want better reach, but don't have a lot of money, go for the two-section model at Wal-Mart. If you want the best pole that fits all needs, get the Bayco. It's a great one, and the $20 probably won't kill you.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Recap Q&A: How do YOU Storyboard?

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Frugal Filmmaker T-shirts (new logo)!

Casting your micro-budget film
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Storyboard templates

Cheap graphics tablet I'm interested in

Celtx - free screenwriting software w/storyboarding feature

Pegasus 7" SD monitor - $60

Fix your broken XLR cable

Cage Rig / Monopod Hybrid

Virtual motion tracking in Sony Vegas

Fotga variable ND fader filter sample

$1 Budget: Dollar Tree Lights!

YouTube face blurring tool

Build a DIY ring light

Sony Vegas: Screen Layout

PROAIM 6-CF carbon fiber shoulder rig kit review

DIY $35 all-in-one shoulder rig, steadicam, and FigRig

DIY Electroluminescent Armor ($30)

Dual Art Pre with wireless mic test

Friday, July 20, 2012

Sony Vegas: Screen Layout

I know this seems pretty basic, but how you layout your screen can impact how efficiently you edit projects. Sony Vegas is so configurable, you could have any number of setups. This is what works for me.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

$1 Budget: Dollar Tree Lights!

Lights can come from all kinds of stores, but I've been really impressed what I've found at the local Dollar Tree. Sure, it's all cheaply made, but I can afford it and there are some really interesting applications this time around. Some of these ideas aren't fully formed yet, but I like sharing anyway in case something strikes a chord. Look for slightly more money being spent (as you have been encouraging me to do so) in the near future.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Cage Rig / Monpod Hybrid

Deejay adds some more content to his DSLR Film Noob channel with this excellent tip. Here he combines his fancy cage rig (think square FigRig) with a basic monopod for a great combo for fast, stable shooting. The thing I like most about this setup is how quickly it tears down for running away. And the time will come when you need to run away.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Recap Q&A: Where do you Audition?

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The Frugal Filmmaker T-shirts!

Location release

Talent release

Muslin green screen (9'x 15')

Auto focus on yourself

Cheap Par-38 can lighting

Hand Held DSLR shooting tip

Modified Frugal Floater

Get a new royalty free music track every day for the month of July

How to update to Magic Lantern 2.3 on a Mac

John Alton's Test Light

The perfect DIY firelight

Cheap vs not-so-cheap shotgun mic test

How to crash a car

4TB RAID for $299

Sony Vegas: Timeline Tricks

Big "gorillapod" costs $25 and works as shoulder rig

Cheap light stand with reflector

Friday, July 13, 2012

Sony Vegas: Timeline Tricks

Managing all the material on your Sony Vegas timeline can be somewhat of a challenge. If you're not careful, your project can quickly become a tangled mess. Here a few tips that may you help take better advantage of whatever screen real estate you have been given.


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