Low Budget = High Production Value?

With our second short film One Eight Seven, we knew we had to step up the production value. The only way to do this on a low budget was to learn how to make my DSLR look like it was shot on a film camera. Although DSLR will never be film, you can come close with these tricks.

-Film at 24 Frames Per Second (or 23.976)

This will give you the motion blur you have come to know and love from film. Try it out, film something at 24fps and then 30fps and see the difference. 30fps will be a smoother, more “video” feel.

Here is the same setup with the same action, filmed at different frame rates. You can see there is slightly more motion blur on the 24 fps shot. The difference will be more noticeable with faster moving objects.


-Shoot Flat

Shooting your shots “flat” (with low contrast) will help your camera retain as much color information as possible, which will give you more detail in the dark and bright areas. What this means is you can push the colors much further and achieve a better result during color grading. An extra step, but it is worth it.


On the left we have the RGB Parade of an image that was shot flat. The right shows the same shot’s RGB Parade after it has been graded. You can see how much more room we have to work with when you shoot with a flat picture profile.


-Use an ND Filter

Don’t compensate for bright light by cranking up the aperture unless a deep depth of field is what you want. Put on an ND filter and you can achieve that shallow depth of field look that is closely associated with film. I like to use a variable ND filter so I don’t have to fiddle with 5 different strengths.


We pointed out in our last post how crucial location scouting is in the process. Having a good location goes hand in hand with the next point.

-Shot Design Is Key

Shot design encompasses a lot of things. Depth, color, contrast, symmetry, placement of objects, and lighting are all things that can make a big impact on how your shot not only looks, but “feels”.

-Camera Movement

Camera movement is usually subconscious to the viewer (if done right), but it can make a great impact on how your audience feels. Things like camera height, direction, type of movement, and speed all play into the feeling of the movie. We will go deeper into this in a future post.


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Lighting is arguably the most important aspect of cinematography. A movie with bad lighting almost always seems low budget, so you want to avoid that. We will go deeper into lighting in our next post, since that deserves to stand on it’s own.

Read more about production in our next post, which will be about lighting! Learn how you can use light to set a mood and invoke emotion in the viewer.

Comment below with some of your tips on stretching the value of your budget!


Sharing Is Caring

Recently I have been debating making tutorials of how I achieved certain effects in my past videos. On one side there’s the chance of increasing your community of followers, since people love to learn, and will come back for more. On the other hand, however, there is the fact that people will know exactly how I did it, be able to replicate my work, thus essentially creating more competition.


I recently read an article on Fstoppers that brought up this exact topic, which I recommend everyone who has the same debate should read. It really solidified my decision of just going for it. In this article, he made a great point by saying  “knowing that someone could reproduce meant that if I wanted to keep my work fresh, I need to learn something new“. This is a great way of looking at the situation and I find it to be completely true. If you hold on to your secrets and rely solely on that, your work will get stagnant.

Why spend your time trying to keep something you did a secret, when you can throw it out into the open, and in the process learn something new. Maybe when you’re giving away your “secret” (let’s be honest, with the internet nothing is a secret anymore) you will learn a new way of doing it! You can increase your speed, efficiency and maybe gain completely new knowledge while teaching it to others. While you’re spending your time guarding your secret, that could be time spent learning something new.


The moral of the story is people will always have a way of figuring out your secret anyway, so don’t hold on too tightly. Instead of thinking about what you did in the past that was different, think about what you can do in the future that will continue to blow peoples minds. Remember that filmmaking, is meant to be a collaborative art! Help people out and they might be able to teach you something in the future. This being said, look out for my future tutorial videos, as I will be sharing everything that I know!

Let’s hear what you have to say! Is sharing caring, or do you feel that you should always try to keep a leg up on the “competition”?

J Fancy video this weekend / Filmmaking blog next week!

This weekend we have a new video coming out featuring local artist J Fancy. He is a talented hip hop artist from RI who is starting to make a name for himself, and you can expect more collaborations between us in the future! Follow him on twitter @JFancyGama.

Next week we will also start our filmmaking blog for all you aspiring directors/filmmakers out there! We will have new info for you constantly, and videos releasing weekly featuring tutorials, reviews, DIY ideas and more! We are learning every day, and we want to pass our knowledge on to you! Subscribe to us to keep up!1526825_512769035495923_598004033_n

New Additions To The Site

Hi everyone, we have been working on our new additions to the website, and they will be ready soon! We will have a photography page full of great images, and we will be consistently posting tips for all of you film makers out there! These will include video tutorials, articles, interviews, behind the scenes footage, DIY ideas, and much more! We hope to be a resource for low budget filmmakers, and anyone who wants to know what goes on behind the curtain at Lift Entertainment! Keep an eye out because we’ll be posting soon and there will be great info coming your way! If you have any ideas for things you want us to cover in our blog/tutorials make sure to contact us at liftentertainment401@gmail.com!

Of course, don’t forget about our weekly content that is meant to make you laugh, inspire you and bring local New England talent to the light! Check out our current video gallery and tune in this weekend for a new one!