Everyone who has worked in film knows that production costs are one of the most limiting things to face when deciding to embark on a new project. Apart from the cast and crew payments and the catering, one of the highest expenses in professional shootings is the cost of renting the gear you will need during your production. Most filmmakers have some equipment they own already, but for a big project, chances are they will need to get the equipment they are missing from a film rental that most likely won’t come cheap.
Since we are always looking for ways to cut down expenses if possible without compromising the integrity of the project, here we will look at 7 DIY tips you can apply on set to do exactly that and learn a thing or two about improvisation during film production.
Use furniture pads to create a makeshift dolly
If you have no place to put rails on at your location, you can use furniture pads under your tripod, a table, or even a flat enough chair. This will make it slide smoothly across the floor and simulate the movement of a dolly without much hassle.
Use a broom pole as a boom pole for microphones
Boom poles are not that expensive, but if they are not available, you can always make do with a broom pole. Yes, the pole of a broom unscrewed from the brush serves the main purpose of the boom pole: becoming the extension for your microphone.
Use a white paper sheet to adjust your white balance
As you probably know already, you can adjust your white balance on almost any surface. You don’t need a color chart or a white chart to get the proper balance you need. If you are looking for standard white balance, all you need is a sheet of paper, of which there should be plenty on any given film set.
Use grease paper or parchment paper as diffusion
A household item that most people have at least a couple of around the house is some parchment paper or grease paper. If you or a relative bakes or cooks often enough, chances are you have a couple of sheets. Take or borrow some to use as diffusion for your lights if you can spare them.
Use a foam board or tinfoil to bounce light
If you don’t have enough reflectors to bounce light, you can always create your own bouncing surface with just a foam board or some tin foil wrapped around any sort of large board. Be careful with tin foil, though, because it bounces light very hard and it will also send some heat towards the subject you point it to.
Use a solid color poster as a greenscreen for VFX
You don’t need greenscreens to be literally green. Any solid color works to edit out the background of your shots, so if it is that what you are going after, all you need to do is pick up a large enough board to cover the background of your subject and then just go forward with your editing.
Use your phone as a microphone in case of emergency
When you don’t have a microphone, you might be tempted to use the built-in one from your camera. Don’t do this if your subjects are far away. It is best to use the recorder app on your phone and tie it to a boom or broom pole and use that as a microphone instead.