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


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