Saturday, July 18, 2009

Do It Yourself

I just wanted to take a minute and talk about DIY projects, because I've spent so much time on them(I think a good portion of 2008 was spent in my basement hunched over a soldering iron).

Alright so, the first thing I attempted was a 35m adapter. Obviously depth of field is a great story telling tool, and I became somewhat obsessed over making my own. I used a combination of parts from jetsetmodles as well as the diy gg holder from Greg Tay. Went through two EE-A screens, and I used a vibrating motor from a cell phone (which works great) until I got a second motor from Greg. After wiring up a control box (with the help of a friend,RadioShack and the internet), I got a nice adapter that gives me clean footage even at high shutter speeds.

So, here's my advice. Buy one. There are a bunch of reputable sellers on the net, (I just linked you to two) and after all the work you put into it, you may have just as well bought one. Save yourself the time. Oh, I've delt with and he's been great too.

Second, I made a DIY track dolly basically just like this one.

Third I began working on a steady cam. Now, there are a ton of great steady cams for sale out there, but unlike the 35 adapter, these can be quite expensive. And I think can be made with a little elbow grease and patience. Mine actually works pretty well, I mean, it's no merlin, but it did only cost me $85.00....And it's pretty close. Here's a link to the guy whose design I copied as much as a I could. Oh and while I'm here, I have to plug Johnny Lee. He's got a really simple steady cam and he's an all around great guy who, as a side note, is someday going to be creating computers that are controlled by our minds. Seriously.

Fourth, I started working on a rail system. I knew I wanted to build a follow focus system and I wanted to shoot with a lens hood so it was an excuse to build something to support all of these add-ons. Anyway I basically used 1/2'' conduit and built the whole thing from stock electric parts from various hardware stores. Here's a thread I made about it.

So since then I've made a few other things and it's been a ton of fun-but I would suggest that you just start shooting. I can't count how many times I've read in the DIY forms people saying "I'm working on _____, and after I finish it, i'm going to start filming." Statistically, I wonder how many of them actually get to the filming part.

Thankfully for me, during all this time I was working on a documentary for my band as well as a few shorts, and I learned a lot about my camera and how to get good looking footage. I'm no master, but the point is this; if you bought a camera you probably want to make a movie. So go do that. You don't need all of this stuff before you start filming.