Archive for the ‘DIY’ Category

DIY: Teleprompter

Wednesday, June 27th, 2007

Walter Graff has just posted instructions for a low-cost do-it-yourself teleprompter. Looks like it works… and at a fraction of the cost of professional teleprompters. Good stuff if you need such a thing.

While you’re at Walter’s site, be sure to check out his “Instruction” page, particularly the “What’s in my Light Kit” article.

DIY Underwater Camcorder Housing

Sunday, June 24th, 2007

Last summer I linked to a DIY underwater camcorder housing that could be built for $70.

Since Summer is now officially upon us it’s only appropriate that I share another design for an underwater camcorder housing. If you have a Dremel, this one’s even cheaper to build than the one from last year. The downside? You’ll only be able to use smaller handheld camcorders. Still, I’m sure some enterprising souls will be able to come up with something that will fit larger prosumer video cameras.

Ten Commandments from HDforIndies

Saturday, April 7th, 2007

Mike Curtis posted an amusing and, more importantly, instructive rant over at HDforIndies. The post, entitled “OK Indies, listen up – 10 THINGS NOT TO DO“, is a litany of Bad Things that Mike probably encounters once a day in his work as a post-production guru.

Eight of the DON’Ts are technology related. Five, in fact, deal in some way with the Panasonic DVX-100. That camera has earned its spot in the Pantheon of Great Indy Film Tools, no doubt, but its framerate settings (60i, 30p, 24p, 24pAdvanced) can cause a lot of problems if you don’t fully understand them. The fact that most of these problems happen in post-production only adds to the misery — if you’ve shot in multiple formats without understanding their differences and potential incompatibilities, you may have really hurt your project.

If you don’t understand this stuff, check out the CallBox DVD or read carefully in the DVXUser forums.

The two non-technology issues have Mike addressing the fact that so many poor independent filmmakers want him to do their tech consulting for free. Though his blog (like many others, including this one) provides information freely, Mike’s really in business to sell his expertise and information. Since the “product” Mike sells has no physical properties (i.e., it’s not a car or a widget) people seem to think that it should be given freely since it can be asked for freely.

I can relate. Since I teach, it’s my obligation — and it’s my pleasure — to give my information freely to my students. I also try to serve the community (both the film community and my local community) in different ways. But you have to draw the line somewhere in order to do your own work and to pay the bills.

Mike’s answer to people needing answers to specific post-production questions is that you can “pray to Google” or hire him. I’m someone who’s done both. Here’s a post from the past of my own experience in hiring Mike as a consultant.

Head Trauma Re-Mix in Philly

Friday, March 30th, 2007

Yo, Philly readers:

Here’s a screening that would make William Castle’s head spin: Lance Weiler’s Head Trauma will screen with a live soundtrack, featuring performances by Bardo Pond, members of Espers, Fern Knight and DJ Chief Wreck’em. Some theatrics are being thrown in for good measure and there will also be some interactivity. Bring your cell phone.

Details can be found at I-House (the venue) and on the Head Trauma website. Or check out the flyer here.

I’m not a connoisseur of horror and suspense films, but I enjoyed the film when I caught it on DVD last fall. I certainly I wish I could be there for the extravaganza on Saturday. Hopefully Lance will discuss the process of setting the show up, as well as the results, on his great Workbook Project site.

Costuming Forms and Resources

Monday, March 19th, 2007

Wardrobing on my previous films has often amounted to browsing through each actor’s closet and, if they’re lucky, making a quick stop by the Goodwill.

For my new project, though, there are about 20 characters, not to mention 150 extras, all of whom we have to dress for a mid-19th century masquerade ball.

Just kidding.

In all seriousness, we’re going to have to do a little costuming for the new project I’m working on. It’s nothing elaborate — just a uniform for a baseball player — but a even single costume means taking measurements. I found the following forms online, and they’ve been useful for me. Maybe they’ll be useful for you.

How To Take Measurements

Measurement Form

The first form listed above comes from The Costumer, a costume rental house.

The second form comes from MIT’s OpenCourseWare website, specifically their Fall 2004 course entitled Costume Design for the Theater. I browsed the site for a few minutes. It looks like it could be a great, and free, resource for budding costumers.

Also, while I’m on the subject, MovieMaker Magazine had a pretty good article about low budget costuming last summer.

Finally, if you’re serious about looking at the art of the costume designer, it’s tough to go wrong with Screencraft: Costume Design. It is a good book and, as an added bonus, there’s a large photo of Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman on the cover. Meow!