filmmaking with a consumer camera.. el cheapo.

oleg

New member
hi guys. im 17 and doing my HSC. one project im doing over the year is a short film.
im using my ordinary video camera, panasonic ds-nv60, which is nothing great or professional at all. but its all i have with my EXTREMELY low budget (cmon, im 17 and still in highschool; i cant afford no $1500+ camera).
has anyone on these forums ever had the experience of shooting a film using a nothing-special consumer camera?
if so, would you pls share your tips and experiences on shooting with such limited equipment. i want to make this film look THE BEST it can for what i am using.
thanks!
 

JimT

New member
Style

Style

You might think about adopting a style to fit your equipment. Instead of trying to make your movies look like they were shot on 35MM or with a $90,000 HD camera, pick a style that fits what you can do. For instance, Steven Soderbergh goes for certain "looks" such as handle held, out of focus, over-exposed, high contrast, location sound---all things you can do with your camera and a little planning. If you don't like the sound of the on-camera mic and can't afford to rent one, then shoot your footage MOS (mit out sound) and add a music track later. If you give it a little thought, you will be able to do interesting videos with the camera you have. Good luck! JimT
 
Z

Zack Zrull

Guest
i haven't much experience, but the trick to making ANYTHING look good is good lighting...not necessarily a lot of lighting, but well planned lighting. You might be able to get by with a few halogen lamps you can find at home depot or similar. And read up on lighting techniques.


like the previous post said, too, maybe using the digital format to your advantage in terms of style will give you a better result. Everyone wants to make his digital look like film, but it's not possible..so why not embrace digital flaws (or advantages) and get creative with your work!? Your work will improve as you make more films and learn your camera and filmmaking techniques. Don't expect the first few to turn out too great, just push forward and get them done! good luck!
 

oleg

New member
Yes, lighting.
See,the thing is this: most of my scenes are shot OUTDOORS, and in locations void of any power outlets near enough to plug in a worklight or something.
So, my next question is: does anybody have any tips, ideas or suggestions about lighting OUTDOORS night scenes, where there are no power outlets or anything?
Of course, VERY low-budget.
 

Traceless Nik

New member
i have used car headlights and they aint great.

for outdor night lighting try HSS hire shops and use a generator and building site lights. its relatively cheap to and works great however the generator can be quite loud.

However never use the generator indoors as its very dangerous
 

degardphoto

New member
SHOOTING WITH EL CHEAPO CAMERA

SHOOTING WITH EL CHEAPO CAMERA

IF YOU ARE STUCK ON LIGHTING GO BACK TO YOUR THOUGHT ON STYLES.IF YOU LOOK AT OLD FILMS SHOT IN FILM NOIR STYLE THEY USE VERY LITTLE LIGHTING,AND IT IS JUST BOUNCED FROM ONE SIDE.I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT LOOK YOU ARE TRYING FOR BUT IF YOU RENT SOME OF THESE OLD FILMS OR EVEN ROBERT RORIGUEZ FILM "SIN CITY"
YOU MIGHT BE ABLE TO GET SOME IDEAS.AS FAR AS NO POWER, THREE OR FOUR BIG MAG LIGHTS AND A TIN FOIL REFLECTER OR UMBRELLA MIGHT GET YOU THERE. I SHOOT MOTO CROSS RACING IN MINI DV FORMAT,BUT BY ACCIDENT I HAD TO USE A HI 8 CAMERA ONE DAY. WHEN I STARTED TO EDIT I FOUND THAT THE CLOSE UPS ON THE HI8 LOOKED MORE FILM LIKE THAN THE MINI DV. IF YOU UNDERSTAND YOUR EQUIPMENT 100%,YOU CAN GET GOOD RESULTS. DONT GET BUMMED OUT ABOUT MEGA BUCKS GEAR,GET CREATIVE,HAVE SOME FUN,AND WORK YOU WAY OUT OF THE PROBLEM.
 

oleg

New member
Re: SHOOTING WITH EL CHEAPO CAMERA

Re: SHOOTING WITH EL CHEAPO CAMERA

Uh, Sin City has very precise lighting. Plus, most of it is greenscreened anyway. I don't see how that serves as an example. The lighting in that film isn't what you'd call "simple".
Also, most film noirs made very good use of lighting, am I right? They weren't "simple", cheap lighting..

Oh, & watch the caps.

Tnx.
 
There are some things that can't be done well or easily on a tiny budget. Lighting large areas at night is one of them. It's a problem for any movie, big or small. You can't get around the fact that you need light and power, unless you rewrite the scene so that they aren't night exteriors or you move them to a location with a lot of natural light & power, or you shoot day-for-night.
 

Bob Kessler

New member
I'm "just" a sound guy, both production and post production, but I have worked outdoor night shoots where large numbers of reflectors were used to focus the ambient light available. A couple of times the "ambient" light was headlights or powerful flashlights.

As for shooting "Mit Out Sound" ALWAYS record sound even if you know in advance that you are not going to use the location sound. It provides a reference for audio post, especially Foley.

Uncle Bob's hot "soap box" issue - pay close attention to your location sound. If you are going to have lo-tech visuals the quality of your location sound becomes even more important. An audience will put up with a lot visually if the sound is great. Unfortunately, the reverse is NOT true, as poor sound can be physically painful.
 

dh90210

New member
unclebob6958 said:
A couple of times the "ambient" light was headlights or powerful flashlights.
LOL... the thrills of being in the film industry ^o^ personally, i started shooting mundane short film using a canon GL1... it's not too high-end, but it does the trick... at least for me. you might want to check on that. if you could afford a 3CCD camcorder, go for it. if you can do better, don't let me stop you. just make sure that you never stop learning... that's probably the biggest secret i can let anybody in on ^_^
 
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