Probably one of my favorite online filmmaking resources is Indie Mogul.Established in 2007, this DIY minded YouTube channel was actually discontinued in 2013 but recently made a roaring comeback this year. One of my regular haunts was the Backyard FX series. Being a horror fan and aspiring filmmaker, it was only a matter of time before I was going to need to know how to do some practical gore effects for relatively little money. I needed to look no further than BFX. From throat slashes to blood squibs, these guys even walk you through building yourself some sci-fi armor. Thier new video on how to make a motorized camera controller for 15 bucks is a must viewing for budding filmmakers Not in the market for messy practical effects? No problem, Indie Mogul will also show you DIY alternatives to expensive fig rigs, props, as well as a mountain of lighting and audio tutorials.
While Indie Mogul may have ceased operations, similar outfit Film Riot is still going strong. The brainchild of Ryan Connolly of Triune Films, Film Riot gears itself towards the low budget filmmaker. The focus here is less on special fx and more on tips, tricks, and equipment hacks. Learn ways to de-noise your footage, master the dolly zoom, or understand the 180 degree rule in their Quick Tips section. And what’s a filmmaking site without some hot equipment porn complete with yay or nay review? These guys produce their own short films as well as behind the scenes videos walking us through the productions. While I miss Indie Mogul, Film Riot is a great Dr Pepper when they don’t have Coke.
Another invaluable resource is the wonderful aggregator and online community No Film School. Collected on this site are a multitude of film related articles and videos. Equipment porn, how to’s, video essays and more. Filmmakers from all over the world can create profiles where you can share your reel and connect with collaborators in your area. Join the conversation on the active beehive of a message board or take in a few episodes of their podcast series featuring “talks” from Sundance 2016 [and if podcasts are your thing, maybe check ours out too ;)]. If you’re a Facebook fiend, you’re in luck, as pretty much anything posted on the website is shared on their timeline. Subscribe and you’ll always find a helpful nugget of film-wisdom when mindlessly scrolling.
This online component to the Video Maker Magazine has a helpful beginners guide to get you started in video production. This guide will answer general questions you have about pre-production, production, and post-production, as well as address a few topics good to know on the business side of things. Along with the obligatory equipment reviews and product news, Video Maker also offers online video classes that teach a variety of filmmaking techniques, and while some of these are free, most require a paid membership. So if you’re pockets are a little light, then perhaps claim your scholarship at the aforementioned YouTube University.
Filmmaker Tom Antos has a plethora of free resources on his website. An avid equipment pornographer, Tom generally uses gear in the price range of people starting out and offers film gear advice as well as an Amazon link to suggested/preferred equipment. Great for those about to move from “just starting out” into “semi-professional”, Mr. Antos shares step-by-step guides on various aspects of filmmaking as a worldwide class. You might even bump into him on a thread in the Frugal Filmmaker Facebook group.
Someone else with great interaction on social media is experienced DP Philip Bloom, who responds to questions and comments regularly. His websitecarries a diary, or see though my eyes style in tandem with an Education tab containing articles and blogs that offer tutorials and product reviews on such topics as: editing, time-lapse, color grading, lighting, lenses and more. This photographer from across the pond writes insanely detailed product reviews that cover everything you would need to know, and also shoots breathtaking video & stills, all shared on his website and social media. Follow him online or learn from the man himself at one of his seminars.
Another great guy if you’re a beginner, Dave Dugdale is easy to relate to with a bit more of a lamens approach. Self proclaimed “advanced amateur”, he is not an established filmmaker like Antos or Bloom. His website is more of a place where we are learning together rather than a place where he lectures us. Like Tom Antos, Dave uses equipment most common for those just starting out. Dave’s site offers online courses to help get you up and running with your new Panasonic, Cannon, or Sony camera as well as other inexpensive tutorials.
Build the coolest props from some of the best movies using easy to acquire items from the hardware or crafts store or whatever is lying around. While probably most useful for avid cosplayers, methods and materials used here can be helpful in building your own original props.
Along with tutorials and how to’s, are the ever present equipment porn and reviews as well as a user generated “video log” featuring camera tests, short films, and the like.
These guys break down how things are done with a docu-style feel. Tons of free resources including filmmaking documents (releases, templates, etc).
This Facebook group has members from all over the world. Buried in and amongst the equipment porn you will find filmmaking gems like equipment hacks and DIY solutions. Did we mention Tom Antos is a member?