Hot Film & Theater How-Tos

How To: Build your own ten foot long camera dolly track

Need some smooth pan shots for your indie film? How about a cool dolly zoom effect? Well, you don't need to be a professional filmmaker to use such a device, but you do need the money for the gear. But—if you can work your way around the workshop, you can probably build your own camera dolly and track just fine. And for under $100! This video shows you how to build your own DIY dolly and dolly track, and all you need are the parts listed below. Then you just need to learn the art of the dolly...

How To: Record live video direct from camcorder to computer

Bill Myers shows us how to record live video direct to your computer from your camcorder. You will need: long firewire cable, camcorder with firewire output, computer. Procedure: Connect one end of the firewire cable to your camcorder, then connect the other end to your computer. Start your video editing program. Turn the audio down on your speakers to avoid feedback. Turn your camcorder on then check the capture option in your screen. Record the video then hit the stop button when you're fin...

How To: Keep armature puppet standing without a tiedown

Armatures basically stand up on their own, but while animating, the balance might become uneven and precarious. An easy way to keep the puppet standing is to give the armature large feet. Watch this video animation tutorial and learn how to build an armature puppet that will stay down during the stop motion animation without using a tiedown.

How To: Make a breakable 2x4 wood board prop

Yes, a smashable board of wood. Just what the propmaster called for. A long 2x4 piece of wood prop is perfect for smashing overtop somebody's head during an action scene. The smashable board is easy to make, too. But not as easy as breaking it. Watch this video tutorial to learn how to make a breakable 2x4 wood plank prop.

How To: See through people's clothes with a video camera

This video tutorial teaches you how to see through clothes using a blank roll of film and any video camera that has night vision. You won't see people completely naked, but you can see undergarments and the "shape" beneath...If your imagination just isn't cutting it anymore, check out this how-to video and start getting a peak at people in a slightly less clothed state.

How To: Create a realistic looking cinema style head shot

In this video, we learn how to create a realistic looking cinema style head shot. First, you will need a cheap toy gun, colored wax, and fake blood to create this. Now, you will need to get some footage of the shooter shooting the gun and flinging fake blood in the persons fake as they shoot. Then, take shots of the other person being taken back by the bullet coming at them. After you get several of these shots, apply the makeup to create a fake gun shot and then mesh all of these together to...

How To: Make a time bomb prop and

Time bombs are a stimulating and ubiquitous part of action films. This video features a handy tutorial on how to make a realistic-looking time bomb at home out of basic, cheap materials that can be used to add tension and drama to any of your movies. Warning: do not let the authorities see your bomb without knowing what it is first! It is very realistic.

How To: Make Realistic Fluffy Cloud Props from Things Around the House

If you need a cloudy background for a photo or video, you can always turn an old aquarium into a DIY cloud tank. But, if you want something more fun and less creepy, these fluffy cloud props by Serena Thompson might be more what you're looking for. It'd even make a good Halloween costume if you tweak it a little. All you need is some balloons, tape, flour, newspaper, and a bunch of pillow stuffing. Serena made them by taping balloons together and applying a mixture of water and flour, then co...

How To: Make an easy, cheap green screen with no posterboard

In this video you learn how to make your own green screen for less than $15 in under an hour. The material for the screen is a green felt-like fabric that can be easily found at a local fabric store or Wal-Mart. The fabric itself is just over 1 yard in width and you will need to buy 2 sheets 3 yards in length for a total of 6 yards at a price of about $2.00 per yard. You will also need a way to join the sheets together. For this, the video recommends a tube of Heat'n'Bond fabric joiner which ...

How To: Make eyes for clay animation puppets

In this tutorial, we learn how to make eyes for clay animation puppets. First, drill a hole inside of a block of wood, then insert a bull so it fits snug inside of the hole. After you have done this, use a drill to make a hole that goes half way down through the pupil. Now, use paint to fill in the hole where the pupil would be at. Push the balls into clay to hold them in place while painting. Make sure the dots you have on both eyes are even. When finished, paint a black circle around them, ...

How To: Make a military-style night vision goggles prop

Night vision goggles are one of the iconic pieces of equipment of the modern military. Getting a real pair is prohibitively expensive, especially if you just want to use it as a prop in your film instead of actually seeing at night. This video features instructions for making your own set of prop night vision goggles for cheap, giving any action or spy movie that you are making a much more modern, authentic feel. Also, now your characters can see at night, opening up all sorts of potential sc...

How To: Create a realistic, severe burn using cinema makeup

In this tutorial, we learn how to create a realistic, severe burn using cinema makeup. You will need to start out with unflavored gelatin made to be placed on the skin to create texture and a glossy look for blood. Start by applying the gelatin to the face with a flat wood stick for makeup. Apply in strokes so you have a textured look, not just smooth. Give this time to cool and set, then apply different colors of makeup onto the gelatin with a brush. Use browns, purples, and reds to create a...

How To: Make a dramatic spotlight from a household lamp

In this video tutorial, viewers learn how to make a guerilla spotlight using household items. Users will simply need a cardboard cylinder and a light source. Te materials used in this video were a toilet paper roll, piece of aluminum, gaff tape and a lamp. Begin by cutting a couple of 90 degrees slots in the middle of the foil, slide in the tube ad secure it with tape. It should be a bit longer than the tube. Now wrap it around the light source. This video will benefit those viewers who produ...

How To: Turn an Old Aquarium into a Cloud Tank & Create Creepy Alien Atmosphere Effects

Need some creepy visual effects for your alien flick, but don't want to spend a bunch of money? With some pretty basic materials, you can turn an empty aquarium into a "cloud tank," which can be used to create several different atmospheric effects. Before Hollywood started using CGI, cloud tanks were used for scenes in a lot of famous movies. Remember this one? Besides Raiders of the Lost Ark, cloud tanks also helped make some wonderful non-CGI effects in Independence Day, Close Encounters of...

How To: Make Lego figures fly using stop-motion animation

Stop-motion animation is somewhat out of favor in the digital age, but there will always be a demand for its timeless look. This video will teach you one important technique for making stop-motion animation out of Legos: how to make them fly. Or at least appear to by flying in your movie. It features detailed instructions on what to do in your digital photo editing software on each frame to erase the support structures you've used to elevate your Lego minifigures, leaving you with seamless im...

How To: Build a smashable guitar prop

You're not really going to smash that guitar are you? It's a piece of art. Parker put together this tutorial to show how to build a prop guitar you can smash and let out all that rock and roll angst. You will need a glue gun, chess pawns, cardboard, duct tape, a gift box, glue, a garbage can, paper, paint, string, and a ruler. Watch this video prop-making tutorial and learn how to build a prop guitar for smashing.

How To: Make an Iron Man Inspired Gauntlet (in Metal)

Here's my latest gauntlet, made in 22 gauge stainless steel using ordinary hand tools you probably already have in your garage. I used Iron Man for inspiration, but it's far from an exact replica. Unlike my previous gauntlets, there is minimal riveting, as most of the parts are held to the glove using epoxy, along with some small nuts and bolts. Aside from cutting out all the parts, which is a little tedious, it's actually fairly easy to do. A fun project for anyone into metalworking, prop ma...

How To: Set up a 4x6 Profoto softbox

Mike Wallace is going to show you how to set up a softbox in order for a photo shoot. First, you are going to need an 1200 watt generation and with the Profoto one it comes with a pocket wizard built into it so it allows the photographer to meter and trigger with a pocket wizard TT1 on the mini camera. Also, you want to use a Manfrotto Megaboom softbox, and this is much easier then using a ladder because on the ladder you'd need to climb it whenever you wanted to reposition it. With the Megab...

How To: Create your own episode of South Park using Flash CS4

In this super cool tutorial, learn how to create your very own episode of South Park using Flash CS4 and a couple of images you can download on the web. This tutorial is for any super fans who wish to spend some extra quality time with their characters, or for anyone interested in animation. These famous, foul mouthed, 2D characters are fun to move around and will do anything you need them to do once you get started! Get your fan fiction minds turning with this video!

How To: Make a blood burst machine for film

Alright, so you have some fake blood, and you want to use it in your movie. Unless you are showing a wound after it has happened, and if you want to do anything depicting people getting shot, you are going to have to find a way to make the blood "shoot" out of the wound when it happens. This video features instructions for making a homemade blood burst machine that you can use to make your actors spurt blood when they get shot, sliced, or whatever else you plan on making happen to them.

How To: Make folding wings for a cosplay costume

DISCLAIMER: You could get hurt doing this. There's scars to prove it. This five-part video tutorial is on how to make folding, feathered wings for a Van Fanel cosplay costume. So if you're a fan of anime or manga, and you love cosplay, why not try and make this cool wings? Just be careful of those feathers. This is an art, not a science, need I remind you?

How To: Create a realistic looking cut using cinema makeup

In this video, we learn how to create a realistic looking cut using cinema makeup. Start out by using silicone putty on the face to help make the cut on the face look more real than ever. Use brushes and a spatula to help mix colors together and apply to your face flawlessly. Also make sure you have fake blood with you so you can apply to the face to make look more realistic. After you have let the silicone dry, start to apply the red, dark red, and black colors onto it and blend to create a ...

How To: Make pneumatic dust system for blood and dust hits in film

Have you ever wondered how all of the blood and dust that flies from wounds and bullet holes in Hollywood films gets shot through the air so convincingly? The answer is a pneumatic dust system. This video will show you how to make one yourself for almost no money, allowing you to achieve all sorts of cool special effects without any expensive digital technology.

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