Friday, May 4, 2012

Smartphones love Filmmakers!

and I'll tell you why. There are many apps for both iPhone and Android that will help you on and off the set, for all pre, during, and post-production processes. So, let's see what apps for Android will help you. I'll try to keep these free as much as possible. There may be other apps available, but these are for THE frugal filmmaker who is short on cash, and time.

Canon Lenses/Nikon Lenses (Taggart Gorman) - FREE
Both apps provide you with all the information you need to know as far as choosing lenses for the perfect capture.  This is very useful when planning on renting a lens, or getting ready to choose your next lens to switch to. Each lens also comes with links to reviews, and sites to rent these lens from. It's an awesome app for any Canon or Nikon owner, and should be in your arsenal. 

Digital Slate (Loghound Software) - FREE
A cool slate, so you don't have to buy one! Now, mind you, the timecode on it is the current time, but everything else works as it should! You can edit producer, cinematographer, DP, your FPS, camera, and much more! It's an awesome tool when you need a good slate on a low budget. 

Timecode Calculator (Condor Digital) - FREE
When in post, or even during production, this handy app let's you calculate the framerates in a variety of different FPS's and video formats. It's a great time saver for me when in post-production.

It supports 24, 25, 29.97, 30, 50, 59.94, 60, 72, and 100FPS. Also supports NTSC (both drop and non-drop framerates) and PAL timecodes. 

Photo Tools (HCPL) - FREE
I find this to be THE most useful tool in my arsenal of apps. Here's what this app has to offer:
  • Focal Tools (DOF and FOV)
  • Exposure Tools (Ex Calc, Flash Calc, Multi Exp Comp, Bellows Ext Calc, Light Meter, and Image Histogram Viewer
  • Time Tools (Time Lapse Calc, Timer, Stopwatch)
  • Weather and Location Tools (Sunny EV Calc, Blue & Golden Hr Calc, Moon Phase Calc, Location Info, Weather Forcast, and Level Indicator)
  • Color Tools (Color wheels and Temperature Chart)
  • Other Tools (Image EXIF Reader, Photo Enlargement Calc, Sharpening Radius Estimator, Check Lists, and Note Pad, Grid Overlay Camera, and others. 
In a sense, this app is almost a one-stop end-all app that you can use, and...ITS FREE! (and free is good).

All of these apps can be very useful when out on a shoot, use them to your advantage, and get out there and FILM! 

If you're interested in me posting a blog on Apple iPhone apps, message me your favorite filmmaking apps!!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Take this sock and SHOVE IT....over your mic!

So, me and the crew are out filming, right? The wind starts to pick up and rustles the leaves in the semi-wooded area we are filming at. The standard windscreen on our Rode mic was picking up too much background noise. 

What do we do?

That's right, take that shoe off, mount that sock over your mic, and get back to business. Now, mind you, your sock may be smelly, and your mic might smell after, too. But HEY! who wants to drive off set to go get a dead cat (the screen, not an actual dead cat. Geez, don't you people understand film lingo?) and then come back to film, thats a waste of time!

Also, I'm still working on the build video for my Stabilizer/Fig Rig/Cage. I don't have a lot of money on hand, and a 5 year old laptop to edit with. :/ Sorry for the delay everyone.

SHAMELESSPLUG: Please subscribe/watch/view/comment/dowhatyoupeopledowhenyougoonYouTube (hey, that rhymed...I could do a rap song, you know, that would be awesome!)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Looking for Lenses

So, when I first started out, I had a decent arsenal of lenses. I started with a Rebel XSi (currently for sale), and my grandfather's 50D. He had the majority of the lenses, mainly because he had the money. I stuck with the 18-55mm for a while, and he bought me the 55-250mm for zoom. Now, I have both, the 50mm 1.8, and the 28-135mm f/3.5.

Now, I'm heavily into dSLR video (as you can see). The only one's I'm even bothering recording with now is the 18-55mm kit, and the 50mm 1.8. They're the only two ACTUALLY semi-worthy of getting footage. I use my 50mm more than anything.

Since then, I've been looking into new lenses for my T3i. Here's the problem, I have no money. But, in time, I will be investing in these lenses to help with my videos.

Here's what I'm looking at getting for my future arsenal:

  1. anything with an f/2.8 or less (28-70mm)
  2. anything with a constant aperture
  3. I could use another prime or two (35mm, 85mm)
  4. definitely need a zoom of sorts (70-200mm)
  5. a wide-angle, just for kicks (8-15mm)
Just with that, we're looking at about $3k in lenses. With that, I might as well go ahead and add the other things I need, too:
  1. a decent fluid-head tripod
  2. a monopod
  3. dolly
  4. camera slider
  5. a shotgun mic with boom pole
  6. camera crane
Now, since this is a DIY blog, I plan on making some of these things later, such as the dolly. I have a camera slider, but using FilmRiot's technique:

So, that comes in another blog. I have a couple scripts I'm working on, and hope to get a kickstarter video to make at least one of them.

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Fig Rig/Cage Stabilizer is Complete!

WARNING: This is NOT a $25 DIY Rig. It might be for FilmRiot and CheesyCam, but in order to actually do it right, you'll need more than that.

It's done! It's actually been done for a while, I'm just now getting around to posting this blog about it. It works extremely well and took it out to make a short film for the UNC-Charlotte film festival. I'm happy with the build, as I had some help making it as well.

The only thing you all might have an issue with is the plate. I used a 1/4" metal plate (2x4) for mounting the camera. Drilled a hole through the point where I wanted it mounted, and went from there. So, in order to do this properly, you're going to need something to:

  • Cut metal
  • Drill through metal
Now, I understand if you don't have this kind of power to do what I did, HOWEVER, go out and make some friends. I'm sure you can find someone with that kind of power. Go on now, be social!

So, without further adieu, here's the official build list (HINT: All of this can be bought at Lowes/Home Depot):
  • 1 Strut Channel 12gauge (Item#: 43878 @ Lowes)
  • 1 1/2" x 10ft. Electrical Metallic Tube Conduit (Item#: 72711 @ Lowes)
  • 2 16" x 1/4" x 20 bolts (Yes, they have them, just look for them)
  • 4 nuts for the 2 bolts. HINT: They go inside the EMT tube.
  • 1 Heavy Duty Ground Clamp (Item#: 256460 @ Lowes)
  • 5 3/8"x3"x20 bolts
  • 4 nuts to match (that IS correct)
  • 1 1-1/2" plastic ball (be sure you can drill through it)
  • 2 bike handles (make sure they'll fit the EMT tube)
  • 8 1/2" x 1-1/2" washers
  • 2 lock washers (1/4")
  • some felt to cover the plate
That's pretty much it. You're looking at $30 worth of stuff if you do it right. I'll be posting a video on how it is installed (as much as possible, I'll break down each step)

Be looking for the video soon!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

DIY DSLR Cage / Stabilizer / Fig Rig (Day 2)

So, here's an update. I went out and bought a clamp to hold the 10" EMT pipe that will sit atop the rig to get the really low shots. It cost me about $1.50. I also got a rubber handle to fit over it, because using another bicycle grip to me was a little more ridiculous.

Here's the trouble I'm having with that currently: I can't mount it exactly so that it will not move. I'm working on adding some more washers/spacers to compensate for that. I'll post the actual clamp I'm using shortly.
You'll be looking at:

  • 10" EMT pipe
  • 1 pipe clamp thingy
  • 1/4"x20 thread count nuts for the bolts that come with it
  • some washers (undetermined on size)
  • 9 1/2" rubber tubing
My next task is mounting a NEW plate on the bottom of the rig, drilling the holes, countersinking to make them flush, and then making the holes so that the bolts screw INTO the metal plate. Also, looking for something to put on the plate that will keep it from scratching the bottom of my camera. That's coming up soon too.

Also, one last thing. I'm posting a new video tonight, with less shyness, promise! :)