Filmmaking is all about being inventive and creative. Solving problems at the last minute with any resources available to you is crucial when you are part of a crew. However, more often than not, you won’t count with all the resources you may like to have to deal with these issues. In that sense, being skillful with whatever materials are laying around on set becomes even more important. Below, we’ll take a look at a couple of useful things you can do with cardboard that can save you lots of money and trouble during shooting.
First up is a camera slider. You’ll need a flat surface, and four pieces of cardboard. Cut a large rectangular piece, which will be the base for your rails. Next, cut two long strips and tape them to the base using duct tape all along. You should be left with a set of rails, which means your fourth piece should be the slider itself. To create the slider, cut a piece that fits tightly, yet not too tight between the rails so it can slide in both directions. Place all the pieces on a flat surface and your camera on top of the slider to test it out.
For this you’ll only need your camera, some tape, and a piece of cardboard. Trace the shape of your lens on a piece of a cardboard and cut the shape out of the cardboard. Next, draw a ring around the circle shape and cut the ring off the cardboard. This ring should fit nicely around your lens, giving you the chance to set your focus marks with a pen on the inner side.
With two or three pieces of cardboard, depending on the length and angle of your microphone, cut a hole in each of the pieces roughly the size of your microphone. Pass your microphone through the wholes and rest the pieces vertically on their edges on top of a flat surface. The holes in each piece will depend on the angle you want to keep your microphone.
You can create your own softbox to use as fill light when needed with only a shoebox and a flashlight or LED portable light. Cut a hole in the back of the shoebox roughly the size of your light. Next, cover the inner walls of the box with aluminum foil so it reflects light evenly. Finally, use a piece of paper or parchment paper, depending on how hard or soft you want the light to be, to cover the front of the box.
Lastly, you can create a color gel filter holder with ease for all of your lights using just a couple of pieces of cardboard and some tape. Draw a rectangle frame the size of your filter. Cut out the frame and place the color gel in between the two pieces, and apply some tape to keep everything together. All you need to do next is clip or clamp your framed filter to whatever light you need it for.