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Tip #395: 4 Cameras Hacks That Save Time

Four cool tips to get great shots on a budget.

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This article first appeared in MotionArray. This is an excerpt. Here are four camera hacks that allow you to craft great effects without spending more than five bucks for each tip.

Use a Neck Strap

With your strap around your neck, push your camera away from you until the strap goes tight. Remember to keep that tension as you go through your motion. This will help to get rid of any jitters that your hands create when free-holding the camera. Your goal isn’t necessarily to get your shot perfect, but to get it to the point where it’s way smoother and free of jitter and rolling shutter.

Fishing Wire

Tape clear fishing line going exactly vertical over your lens when you shoot in front of an intense, concentrated light source. The result is an anamorphic-style, deliberate lens flare!

Rubber Band

If your tripod doesn’t have a nice fluid head, wrap one end of the rubber band around your tripod handle and hold the other end. You’ll control the movement of the tripod head by holding and pulling on the rubber band instead of grabbing and moving it with your hand. Much smoother.

Blanket Drag

Wheelchairs are great for dolly shots, but if you don’t have one handy, an old blanket is a great alternative to a wheelchair. Simply have your camera operator sit or lie down on the blanket, then get a second pair of hands to drag them across the floor. The result is surprisingly smooth footage. The blanket acts as a muffler to the movement, so you get super smooth, professional-looking footage.


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5 Comments
  1. Steve
    Steve says:

    A wheelbarrow is also a great dolly. Let the tyre pressure down. OK for me it was a godsend, but I was filming in an old barn on a farm! Maybe not so good in New York City

    Reply
  2. Philip
    Philip says:

    For dolly shots, a skateboard can also be a great way to get the shot. You can either put the camera right on the board or have the operator sit on the skateboard and have another person pushing it. You can get some great low angle shots with this. Put a soft pad under the camera if directly on the board to minimize the transfer of wheel noise to the camera when using the onboard mic. An external shotgun mic that is not attached to the camera can also help with this.

    Reply

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