Cover Image by Cameraman Kiev.
In filmmaking, the creativity doesn’t stop with writing a killer script and finding beautiful shots—the reality of budget constraints requires every filmmaker to devise creative solutions to production challenges. Whether that means selling your excess b-roll as stock footage for additional funding or teaching yourself new video editing tricks on YouTube, the hacks that happen behind the scenes are an essential part of the process.
As the saying goes, “necessity is the mother of invention.” The need to make a professional-looking video without megabucks lead to the birth of these five simple production hacks. They will help you save money and time when producing your next video project.
Grab that toolkit Dad bought you for Christmas last year, and get ready to bring your big-screen dreams to life!
DIY Lighting Kit
Why blow your production budget on high-end lighting equipment when you can get the studio look with some basic gear from your local hardware store? This quick tutorial from Full Sail University shares an easy, wallet-friendly hack for a do-it-yourself lighting kit. A few Tungsten bulbs, some PVC pipe, a pair of pantyhose, and a couple old t-shirts can give you the Hollywood look for a penny-pinching price.
No one wants wrinkles—especially not in your backdrop. After many years of struggling with unruly tapestries and green screens, this producer has come up with three essential options for hanging a backdrop.
While it might tone your deltoids, trying to balance a camera without a tripod or a mount is one-way ticket to shakesville. You can avoid nausea-inducing bouncing and stabilize your footage for just $25 with this trick from Film Riot.
Shopping carts and rollerblades work too, but everything looks cooler on a skateboard. The YouTuber in this video tutorial spent only $37 to get the smooth shots he wanted. You can use a diy skateboard dolly for cinematic shots, smooth close ups, and much more.
Affordable HD Stock
Generally, only major studios can afford second and third units to capture the establishing shots that glue a film together. That’s why most—if not all—producers turn to stock video to complete their projects. This can still cost tens of thousands of dollars, but not if you use VideoBlocks, which has 115K+ HD clips and templates for a low annual subscription fee. If you need more options, you can buy direct from artists in the VideoBlocks Contributor Marketplace, where contributors take home 100% of sales on over 3.5 million videos.
Another easy win is, of course, pre-made filters with a cinematic look. You can get just the right color grade minus all the tinkering with these blockbuster looks. Mix it all together in Premiere Pro, and your budget hacks will look silver screen-worthy.
Hopefully these production hacks will help in your filmmaking projects. Read more video and filmmaking tutorials here.
Special thanks to Melissa Mapes for this article. Melissa is a Washington, D.C. based writer and Sr. Creative Manager at VideoBlocks. When she’s not enjoying artistic endeavors, she’s usually hunting down rare craft beers or traveling to new places. You can find her on Twitter.