Filmmaking Like MacGyver: A Handful of Strategies under $100

By: Jordan Stewart, Michele Olson, & Brian D’Almeida

The filmmaker’s plight lies not in the lack of ideas, but rather the means to execute them, or so the great truth reveals itself to you. Filmmaking is often characterized by a seemingly-insurmountable wall of financial woe, a daunting prospect especially to the fledgling filmmaker.


Shine on, you crazy diamond. Dry your tears, grit your teeth, and read on for the information that will save your wallet without compromising your art. Here are some tips for becoming a filmmaking MacGyver! A CineGyver, if you will.


Why buy something when you can make it yourself? It stands to reason that if something exists, it can be refabricated. Simple, but effective, lighting rigs, camera stands, and audio tech can be utilized by the intrepid but frugal filmmaker (from any nearby hardware store) to help them make the first steps along the path of Cinema.


Lighting, Camera, and Audio are fundamental pillars of film, but need not be so grandiose. You can construct a three-point lighting set with little more than PVC pipes and 150-watt clip-on work lights some duct tape, and even black or white t-shirts as modifiers. You can record good audio with the use of Clip-On Neewer mics directly to your mobile phone with a free app. Aspects of camera can be a bit more difficult. One tactic that’s currently on the rise is filming with one’s iphone (see link below). This way, you can save up for a true film camera without putting a pause on your creativity.


Painfully simple, eh? In truth, you can conceive all manner of work-arounds if you’ve the drive for it. One thing to emphasize, however, is to DO SO SAFELY. Just as these strategies are easy to employ, they can go wrong if done so carelessly. You don’t want to find yourself on, do you? Ultimately, keep calm and film on. Film safely, film wisely, and let nothing stand in your way!

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