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DIY Hacks for Making No Budget Movies

John Turnbull

Posted on March 5, 2019 09:46

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No budget? No problem!

The accessibility of the Internet evens the playing field for unknown and fledgling movie makers, giving them a medium to post their wares. However, the one thing that makes a movie stick out as amateur (besides terrible story and acting) is quality.

Professional equipment like cameras, boom mics, lighting, etc. is expensive, absolutely out of most no or low-budget movie makers’ budgets. So how can you make a movie that looks pro (or pro enough to be noticed) when you have no money? It’s actually easier than you think, especially if you pay attention to the details many skip over. Here are some DIY hacks to help your journey:

1)      Avoid shaky camera work – Believe it or not, most smartphones give good enough quality video to make a decent movie with. What makes the picture look more amateur than anything is shaky camera work. While it worked to great effect in The Blair Witch Project and Cloverfield, shaky camera work should be avoided for anything other than POV shots, for the most part.

The pros use dollys and steady cam mounts, etc.; you – with no budget – mount your smartphone to a shopping cart,  a baby stroller, a remote-control car, a drone, a cell phone holder mounted to your car dash – anything that gives a reasonable steady roll. I suggest the shopping cart because you can adjust the height of the shot from mounting in many places (handle, bottom rack, lift up and tape the floppy back piece) and whomever pushes the cart can monitor the take. Plus, it’s absolutely free!

2)      Separate audio from video – Ever film a concert with your phone only to have a great picture but it sounds like absolute shit? Bet you have. While, as mentioned above, using your smartphone for the picture will suffice, NEVER use it for audio. Portable recording mics like the Zoom H2 not only record in surround quite nicely, they’re also inexpensive. You’ll need a video editor to sync, but we’ll get into that next. And need a boom? Tape the H2 to a hockey stick.

3)      Get a video editing DAW (Digital Audio Workspace) – As anyone who has attempted to make a movie or short knows, most of the magic comes in the editing bay. As long as the DAW you have allows you to get tight into the timecode, has separate audio (stereo) and video tracks, provides standard transitions, fades and text graphics, some post lighting effects and renders in useable formats, you’re good to go.

There are many decent free video editing software programs out there like Blender, Lightworks (the pro version was used for Pulp Fiction) and Avidemux, to name a few. All work on multiple platforms. Of course Windows Movie Maker and iMovie work just fine and they come pre-loaded on your computer. If you don’t mind pirating a cracked copy, definitely go with AVID or Sony Vegas Pro.

By the way, you actually want the audio 15ms AHEAD of the video.

John Turnbull

Posted on March 5, 2019 09:46

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Source: The Wrap

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