DIY Steadicam Tutorial

Have you ever wondered how professional filmmakers get a perfect and smooth glide to their shots? Using a piece of equipment called a “steadicam”, filmmakers can achieve incredibly smooth clips that provide a visually appealing effect. For only $15 and a couple hours of your time, you too can create a steadicam for your home movies.

Check out this step by step video on how to make your own steadicam: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6NDsEFy5Iww

Steadicams use the dispersion of weights in order to counter the camera’s weight. This creates a smooth motion. Some professionally made steadicams run as high as $500.

steadicam

Personally, I built this rig and it works very well. I had some of the materials already too, so it didn’t cost that much to make. After assembling the steadicam, I mounted my camera on to it and got a feel for how it wields. I recommend testing it out and fine tuning it to your liking before using it on your personal videos. Making your own steadicam is efficient and effective for any low-budget filmmaker and aspiring cinematographers.

Rule of Thirds

In this post I would like to discuss the rule of thirds. This concept and method is very important for photographers and filmmakers alike. The purpose is to create a compositional balance between the subject and surrounding space.

When looking into your viewfinder, establish your point of interest of subject. Darren Rowse states, “The basic principle behind the rule of thirds is to imagine breaking an image down into thirds (both horizontally and vertically) so that you have 9 parts”. Then using your imaginary grid, divide the space and subject, keeping your subject on a third of the “grid”.

Implementing this method in your photography and films will provide a visually appealing composition that will naturally flow with the viewers eyes. Check out Darren’s article on the rule of thirds: http://digital-photography-school.com/rule-of-thirds

Star Trail Photography Tutorial

Capturing ‘star trails’ can be a very challenging yet rewarding task. My steps will provide correct methods that you can use to create a astounding image.

First you will need two key pieces of equipment. This includes: a camera that can take long exposure images and a tripod.

After collecting your equipment, find a spot away from street lights and light pollution. Next, mount your camera on your tripod and point it at the sky. For a star trail image that revolves around one star, direct your camera at the star “Polaris” since the earth rotates around that star. Next, set your camera to a 20-30 second shutter time, an f-stop of 5.6 or 8, ISO 800, and infinite focus mode. These settings are subject to change pending on your location, camera, and personal creativity. A similar method is described in this article: http://photoextremist.com/star-trails-tutorial

Now it is time to shoot. Since I have the Nikon D5100, I can set the interval timer so that the camera automatically takes a photo every X amount of time. If your camera does not have this mode, you will have to manually press the shutter release every X seconds.

When you have a sufficient amount of photos (200+) you can conclude your time taking photos. After importing the photos into photoshop, layer them on top of each other using the blending options (this video shows how to do this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tMERM7qQ_Ng)My photo of star trails