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DIY Video Gear Tutorials

Video Gear the DIY Filmmaker Can Build on a Budget

in Category: Blog | by Videvo

DIY video gear is the most practical way for filmmakers to expand their tool-kits. Here are seven video tutorials on how to build the equipment you need.

It doesn’t matter if you’re new to filmmaking or a seasoned veteran — everyone loves a good DIY solution when you’re on set. It’s one of the reasons accounts like sh*ttyrigs are so popular on Instagram.

Most DIY solutions are products of necessity. Sometimes we need solve problems on set creatively when things get forgotten or go missing — or when you just don’t have the right tools. However, we can also use DIY solutions to solve problems in advance with a limited budget.

Here are seven tutorials on do-it-yourself builds that can help with camera movement, lighting, and more. I know all of these solutions work because, at one time of another, we’ve used variations of each one.

So happy filmmaking and happy gearmaking. Let’s make some DIY video gear.

1. PVC Dolly

This build comes from Shazam! and Lights Out director David F. Sandberg. When you’re starting out, you’re always trying to figure out how to get smooth movement with little to no equipment. With just a few simple supplies, you can put together your own dolly and tracks. You can even add more PVC tracks for longer camera movements if you need to.

Supplies Needed:

  • PVC pipe (x2)
  • Plywood
  • Skateboard wheels (x8)
  • Corner brackets (x4)
  • Screws, nuts, and bolts

Cost to Build: $50-100

This is one of the easiest and best tools aspiring filmmakers can put together. In fact, there are two PVC pipes right next to this very desk that are used for a DIY camera dolly. Speaking of the desk . . .

2. Portable and Collapsible Camera Cart / Editing Station

If you’re looking for a camera cart or portable desk to take on location, it’s easy to experience sticker shock when most standard films carts costs thousands of dollars. You may not even have room to fit one of those big carts in your vehicle.

Enter this collapsible and versatile DIY mobile workstation from Film Bodega. It works at a camera cart to carry equipment, as well as a mobile computer station for editing, photography, DIT, or VFX work. Best of all, it’s just scaffolding, so you can use it as a ladder or standing platform.

Supplies Needed:

  • Collapsible scaffolding
  • Plywood
  • Carpet
  • Spray paint
  • Glue

Cost to Build: $100-$350

To upgrade your mobile cart, you can also add better wheels, some clamps, and other accessories for your monitors, as well as places for charging batteries and devices.

3. Rain Machine

This is a classic build just about everyone takes on at one point or another. For some filmmaking rain, sure, you can use a hose with a sprayer attachment, but what if you need a wider frame? Enter this build from filmmaker Tom Antos.

There are two different versions in the tutorial: a super-simple $15 build and a more robust and sturdy build using sprinkler heads that cost around $80.

Supplies Needed:

  • Soaker garden hose
  • Plumbing clamps
  • Wood

or

  • PVC pipe and connectors
  • Sprinkler heads and adapters
  • PVC glue
  • Plumbers tape
  • PVC to garden hose adapter

Cost to Build: $15-80

4. DIY Video Light

This is another DIY build that’s also in studios everywhere: an inexpensive hardware clamp light with built-in diffusion using some scraps. You can skip the cardboard and just hang the shower curtain diffusion in front of the light to get similar and better results. Check out this build from YCImaging for his build using scraps.

Supplies Needed:

  • Aluminum clamp light
  • Light bulb
  • Shower liner
  • Foil
  • Cardboard
  • Tape

Cost to Build: $50

5. Cake Pan Light

Inspired by the very light above, YouTuber Daniel Schiffer also took a stab at making his own DIY light with diffusion, this one using LED strips and a cake pan. What’s nice about this build is how compact it is, which makes it great for small spaces.

Supplies Needed:

  • 14-inch cake pan
  • Daylight LED strip
  • Diffusion sheet
  • 12V AC to DC adapter
  • Smallrig clamp mount

Cost to Build: $40

6. DIY Light Stand

This is a classic DIY build that the older indie filmmaker crowd is sure to remember. It’s an early Film Riot tutorial on how they built a super cheap light stand. With some PVC pipe and connectors, you can build a simple light sand with just minimal tools and only a few minutes of your time.

Supplies Needed:

  • PVC pipe
  • 3/4″ PVC elbows (x6)
  • 3/4″ PVC tee (x5)
  • 3/4″ PVC coupling
  • 1/2″ PVC couplings
  • 3/4″ PVC cross
  • All-purpose cement
  • Nuts and bolts

Cost to Build: $10

7. DIY Light Diffusion

Now if you have some of those cheap lighting fixtures you purchased at a home improvement store, here are two easy ways to use a DIY bounce board or diffusion.

Supplies Needed:

  • Shower Curtain
  • Insulation Board

Cost to Build: $10-$20


If you need any assets to complement your new DIY builds, we’ve got you covered!