8 DIY Tips for Emerging Filmmakers

We have teamed up with Pivot TV to share their new show Human Resources, which follows TerraCycle, an innovative company whose mission is to "eliminate the idea of waste."  TerraCycle is one of the fastest growing green companies in the world, and they'll take anything and everything that is landfill-bound – from potato chip bags to cigarette butts – and recycle, up-cycle, re-use, or otherwise transform these objects into something else.  Inspired by the creativity and resourcefulness of TerraCycle, we are featuring eight DIY filmmaking tips from emerging filmmakers across the country. Human Resources debuts Friday, August 8th at 10pm on Pivot. 1. Anti-Vibration Camera Drone Mount

By Jenna Cavelle and Chris Morrow // @jennacavelle and @cmorrow8

University of Southern California

“While the do-it-yourself and upcycling movement are incredibly valuable as filmmakers, there’s no such thing as doing it yourself or doing it on your own in filmmaking. It’s all about teamwork and collaboration.”

Challenge: The “jello effect” of aerial filmmaking and expensive equipment

Creative Solution: $10 DIY camera mount

Materials: 2 sponges, 1 lotion cap, 1 hair tie, 1 square piece of plastic, blue heavy gauge wire


2. Camera Monopod and Rig

By Tobias Deml // @tobiasdeml

University of California, Berkeley

“Rigging is heavy-metal LEGO for adults. As soon as you realize that you can be playful and creative with it, you come up with fixes and solutions to just about everything.”


“While the directorial duo would have probably tolerated a shaky camera movement, I wanted something really smooth that we could achieve with our existing equipment. At the same time, I had a theory that the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera is more lightweight than anything I've ever used, and made it my mission to strap it to a 16 ft painter's pole. For the low angle camera that you can run with smoothly, I used a monopod and turned it upside down. One of my friends on set had a small HD monitor, so I quickly built a rig for it that would work both on the pole and the Monopod, and off we went! For the rig, I used camera plates and gaff tape; the monitor was screwed to a camera plate which was screwed to a perpendicular one, which was held to the pole/Monopod via a loop of gaff tape.”

Challenge: No budget, but in need of compelling camera shots

Creative Solution: DIY Camera Monopod and Rig

Materials: lightweight camera, 16 ft painter’s pole, monopod, 2 camera plates, gaff tape


3. Audio Monitoring

By Leesa Weighill // @busymindproductions

Recording Arts Institute Of Saskatoon

“I used this for wedding videography, and a documentary series I am currently working on.”


Challenge: Ability to monitor the audio from a mic

Creative Solution: DIY audio monitoring equipment

Materials: 1 cable from the Canon 5D Mark II, 1 stereo adapter, headphone adapters


4. Camera Sandbags

By Courtney Olender // @greysuitstudios

Northern Illinois University


Challenge: Weights for camera tripod

Creative Solution: An ankle weight “sandbag”

Materials: 1 ankle weight found at Goodwill


5. Work Light

By Michael Bowley // @m_bowley96


Challenge: The costly bill of store-bought, quality lighting

Creative Solution: DIY lighting system

Materials: 1 work light, 1 boom pole, 1 coat hanger, tin foil


6. Waterproof GoPro Stabilizer

By Chris Kidd // @chriskidd90

University of the West of England

“My advice for trying to build any DIY equipment is to watch videos online, find out how the designs work and then see what you can do with the materials you have lying around, plus cheap bits from eBay. A lot of trial and error is involved, but that’s all part of the fun!”


Challenge: Wobbly effect of using a GoPro handheld underwater

Creative Solution: $13 GoPro stabilizer

Materials: 1 PVC plumbing pipe available at hardware stores, 1 T-joint connector, 4 elbow connectors, 2 bicycle handheld grips


7. Handheld Steadicam

By Chris Kidd // @chriskidd90

University of the West of England


Challenge: The need for a smooth, stable tracking shot

Creative Solution: $20 DIY camera steadicam

Materials: 1 piece of metal (from a friend’s sofa bed), various counterbalance weights (old furniture brackets, bolts, washers), 1 tripod mount-sized bolt to attach the camera


8. Standing Steadicam

By Alex Cote // @alexcote01

“I want to reach people and relate stories to them in a very human way. You see a lot of stories and they always have those prepackaged Hollywood ideals just forced in. I find myself going, ‘Well that's not real life most of the time. That's a fallacy.’ And when I ask other people, it seems to be the consensus. So [I’m] challenging those preconceived notions of what a movie means. I like the out of the box thinkers.”


Challenge: Shaky footage from filming manually

Creative Solution: $20 affordable alternative steadicam

Materials:3 galvanized steel rods (each 1 foot long), 1 metal tee, 3 caps, 1 small piece of wood, 1 machine screw to attach the camera


Catch the first episode of Human Resources before it airs nationwide on Pivot TV on August 8th and learn a trick or two about the upcycling business:

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