Friday, November 28, 2014

Film Making Tips Day 9: Homemade Dollies

To get that smooth tracking shot that you see in movies they use a dolly. A dolly can add a lot to making your film look professional. Here are a few different options for making a dolly.

This first one is from SGNL:

This next one is from Parker”s Tutorials:

This last one doesn't use a track and is far easier to make:

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Film Making Tips Day 8: Fake Blood

Now that you know how to make squibs for your movie, you’ll need something to fill them with. The following video is what I used to make the blood in Harry Potter and The Muggle Wand and Undying Love. It’s very effective for either film or for Halloween props.

1. Pour 16 ounces of light corn syrup into a bowl.
2. Add one tablespoon of red food coloring.
3. Mix thoroughly.
4. To darken the blood, mix in one drop of blue and yellow food coloring.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Film Making Tips Day 7: Three Point Lighting

Now that you have your own lights, let's talk about the basics. The basic lighting setup in film or video is called three point lighting.

The first part in three point lighting is the key light. This is the main light to illuminate your subject and your scene. the keylight is set off to the side of the camera and pointing in at a 45 degree angle.

Next is the fill light. The fill light is going to be less intense than the key and will be put facing the subject on the opposite side of the camera. this is used to fill in any shadows created by the key light.

Finally is the backlight. This is used to make your subject pop out and separate them from the background. The backlight is placed behind the subject and off to the side so it’s not shining into the lens.

Here is a video that goes over three point lighting:

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Film Making Tips Day 6: Gunshot Wounds

I’ve always liked the way a gunshot wound looks on film. Many people have switched to digital blood splatters because it’s easier and cleaner, but I think nothing looks quite as good as it’s practical and messier counterpart. The following video is what I used for the effects in Harry Potter and The Muggle Wand. It’s a very simple technique and doesn’t require any sort of explosives to project the blood.

Learn to make fake blood!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Film Making Tips Day 5: Free Royalty Free Music

The addition of music to your film or video can add a lot! Unfortunately not all of us have the knowhow or the tools to make our own music. That where royalty free music comes in. Royalty free music can often be expensive, but there are a few sites that let you download this music for free!

My personal favorite is With this website you can browse through music by genre or even moods for your movie. All that is required is that you credit the composer and the website. A lot of the music may even sound familiar to you as this is a popular website for youtubers to use. I used music from this site for Once Daily and The Dragoon Films Trailer.

Another great site is This is a website packed with not only public domain music, but also videos and voiceovers! I used this site to get the Beethoven music for Battle for the Treat.

Here are a couple other free music sites that I discovered that only require that you credit the website to use:

There are a lot of options out there! Now go on and score your movie!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Film Making Tips Day 4: Lights

Studio lights are expensive! Fortunately, there are many alternatives that look great on digital video. The only place you need to go is your neighborhood hardware store. One of the cheapest and most efficient alternatives is a clamp light.

These run about ten dollars and you can use the clamp to attach it to a tripod or just about anything that you need to! Next you’ll need a good fill light, you’ll want to get a white chinese lantern.

Chinese lanterns are inexpensive and great at diffusing light. If you need something a little more powerful I recommend a work light.

Be careful with these because they get really hot. I’d also recommend bouncing them off a wall because pointing them directly at your subject may be a bit too harsh. FInally, if you are shooting outside you’ll want a reflector. For this you can simply use a white sheet of posterboard to reflect the sun back at your subject.

Learn about the Basics of Lighting.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Film Making Tips Day Three: Boom Poles

Sometimes the audio from your camera mic just won’t cut it. That why it’s always a good idea to use a boom pole to capture sound. These can be made inexpensively from painter’s poles, fishing poles, monopods, or even broomsticks! There are many many great tutorials, but here are a few that I like:

Indy Mogul
Film Riot
DIY Camera Guy

Most shotgun mics will be able to connect directly into your digital camera, but if you are recording on an external source or you are on a multi camera shoot you will need a slate to sync up your sound.

These can be bought online for cheap or you can download apps to turn your tablet into a slate. But if worst comes to worst you can always just have someone clap in front of the camera before a take!