Friday, October 24, 2014

Tip: Spider Gripper (audio recorder holder)

It seems like there is always something interesting not made for making movies that you can twist around for a filmmaking purpose. While looking for a way to make my cell phone more "poseable" so it could sit or hang while I watched a video, I found this $2 spider thing. It has eight spindly legs and a rubberized surface and you can slap your phone into it and put it into all kinds of positions.

Like the spring-loaded cell phone tripod mount before it, this gizmo is easily repurposed to hold other things, most obviously smaller audio recorders like the Zoom H1 Handy Recorder. It can hold other items as well (like power supplies attached to tripod legs--see the video), but it seems really disposed to wrapping around a recorder for more mounting options than afforded by the 1/4-20 plastic mounting threads found on the back. In fact, if your threads are shot, who cares? Use the spider.

If anyone has other productions uses for this "Spider Gripper", I'd love to hear them. Please comment below! Everyone can benefit from your contribution.


1/4-20 Flash Hot Shoe Mount Adapter
Metal Camera Quick Release Assembly
Gorillapods (and clones) on eBay

Music: "Kick Shock" by Kevin MacLeod

Monday, October 20, 2014

Q&A: Why Do I Make These Videos?

The Q&A continues (two weeks in a row--what?) and hopefully I answer questions without looking stupid. Jump cuts help, but I'm often flabbergasted about what to say. Something comes out anyway, and I hope it's helpful. If not, I apologize now.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Review: Versa-Brella (tripod umbrella)

When I posted my DIY Monitor Hood video, there was a great comment which asked me why I didn't just use an umbrella as a shade, which would also shade the operator and protect the camera from rain. The short answer was that I just wasn't that smart. It was a great idea and I began poking around the web for ways to attach an umbrella to my tripod.

The first thing I found was a device that allowed you to attach an umbrella to bicycle handlebars. It was cheap, so I ordered one thinking I could easily adapt it to a tripod arm. It didn't work so well. Next I found an umbrella with a clamp on it, but it had a straight shaft, so I couldn't adjust it to block a moving sun. Finally, I came across the Versa-Brella and it looked just right.

The Versa-Brella has a universal clamp that will grip anything of any shape that is 1 1/2" or less in size (like a tripod arm or leg). It has three articulation points, so the thing can be positioned just about anywhere. It has fabric that is 50 UPF to prevent sunburn and it has safety tips so no one gets hit in the eye with the pokey parts.

When I found the Versa-Brella, I immediately emailed the company that makes them, Sport-Brella, and requested one for review. This is a fairly new product and none of their promotional materials catered to filmmakers or photographers. I knew I had to have one to let the frugal community in on this. They sent me one and the above video is my review.

Synopsis: If you shoot lone wolf in direct sunlight, you're gonna want one of these.

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Q&A Returns!

It's been awhile, but I feel like it's time to bring some kind of Q&A show back to The Frugal Filmmaker, so here it is! I as I explain in the above video, the reason the show came to a halt before was that my portable studio (my car) lost its timing belt and was put to rest. Not only that, but my schedule changed in such a way that it became impossible to produce the show the way I had been doing it. I needed some kind of reboot, and after kicking around a few options, feel like I can start doing it again.

While I will still produce a "normal" show every Thursday, the Q&A will come out every Monday morning. I think this is a very important time slot for a show that is really made for anyone who is an avid follower of what I have been doing and might care about my opinion on this or that. It is not a show filled with metadata that can be searched, but one for viewers who want to start their week with an injection of Frugalness! I hope this show is successful in doing that.

I used to shoot and post the show very fast on the same morning that I would upload it, but now my workflow is a bit different. These shows will now be shot on Saturday, which will give me time to edit them and add some extras, which I never had the luxury of doing previously. I hope this will lead to a more interesting video experience and allow me the time to juice the show withmore creative flair than before.

What do you think?

Friday, October 10, 2014

Tip: Alien Blood Makeup for $1

Now here's something I really want to find an excuse to use. It's the same chemicals used in glow sticks, only in a more controllable package--the Glow Glove! I found this oddity in Dollar Tree (while shopping for fake human blood) and quickly took it home to be dissected. It's a clear, dopey looking plastic glove-within-a-glove with the aforementioned glow stick juices. Pop the inner packets and they mix together to give you a luminescent hand!

A better use for this is alien blood, of course. When Arnold Schwarzenegger injures the extraterrestrial Predator (1987), it bleeds glow stick. When I cut it apart, the glow glove had the chemicals needed in nice separate packets that you can combine later. The result is the same as cutting open a glow stick, only here you have way more control over the mess.

Of course, you don't have to use this as alien blood. It could be contents of a test tube in a mad scientist's lab or the big reveal of a victim's blood under a black light. You can do all kinds of stuff and let's face it, glowing practical effects are freakin' cool!


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