How to build a studio for shooting videos with minimal cost and in three days

    Vasily K., producer of NSMedia Studios, lectured for our project. And in between, he told us the story that shooting a video is not at all difficult. For this, almost nothing is needed except desire and resourcefulness. A studio for shooting video lectures can be assembled on his knee, a documentary can be shot on an iPhone.

    The story happened six years ago when I wanted to get a contract for a series of training videos for employees of a production company. The customer set the condition: to build a studio and shoot the first video, and if he likes the work - my contract. I caught fire.

    There was absolutely no money at that time, and all the equipment of our studio was on other shootings. But the customer did not need to know about it, but I had to get out, and I began to call friends and acquaintances, trying to borrow money. He called everyone in a row. From those who at the moment could lend only a thousand rubles, I took a thousand.

    What happened with the sound.

    The customer allocated us his “press room” - a room in the office with an area of ​​about 40 meters. Conferences were held there, but most of the time the room served as a warehouse for promotional materials. The main complaints about the premises are due to the fact that the sound resonates and an echo effect occurs, but there was no echo in this room. It was amazing luck.

    How we set the light

    For the light, I went to the construction market. To fill the room with fill light, I bought four so-called “troughs” - street lights for building facades half a kilowatt each, and four racks for these devices. As a result, I didn’t even need one of them - two “troughs” were placed behind the operators and one - for the leader, as in the diagram:

    Here you can see how we arranged a set of four “Dedolights” (Dedolight lighting fixtures), which for the first I managed to rent time with friends. One “Dedik” flashed a “chromakey” (the “back”, which is placed behind the leader in the frame, so that when mounting instead of the background any other could be placed), two were placed on the sides, and one was directed directly at the leader.

    A funny story came out with the chromakey. We bought a mobile folding chromakey. It is convenient to mount it on the so-called “gate” - these are two special racks with a crossbar between them. But by the time I started shooting, I bought a lame one, but I didn’t find a gate. Let me remind you, it was six years ago, and they simply were not in stores. Therefore, the problem had to be solved non-trivially. Literally on the street, we found two students who agreed to keep the chromakey for three hours. They kept him intermittently, of course.

    What were the cameras

    Strictly speaking, cameras are optional. It is enough to have cameras that can shoot in HD quality. We bought the two simplest tripods and installed “soap dishes” on them - I had a Canon, and I also asked Nikon from a friend. The output turned out to be the same as if we were shooting on camera. Only it was necessary to take into account the difference in color reproduction by different cameras, so that at the installation it was possible to glue the picture.

    Let me remind you that our goal was not only to organize the shooting, but to build the “Potemkin villages”. It was important for the customer to get a semblance of a real studio, and there was a risk that he would not like cameras. And so it happened, but I convinced him that this was a fashionable trend (I recall that even the last season of “House Doctor” was shot on a camera). My arguments worked, the customer agreed.

    Project estimate

    The only thing that we had from expensive professional equipment, in addition to the Dedolight kit mentioned above, was a “radio loop”, that is, a wireless microphone that I rented, as well as a set of lighting devices. They stuck the microphone directly into the laptop and wrote sound on it, although, in a good way, you need a portable recorder or write sound directly to the camera. As a result, the project estimate was as follows:

    1. Lighting devices and racks for them - 50 thousand rubles.
    2. Chromakey - 5.5 thousand rubles
    3. Dedolight package rental - 3.5 thousand rubles.
    4. Rent "radio loops" - 1.5 thousand rubles.
    5. The fee for two students who held a chromakey - 1 thousand rubles.
    6. The operator’s salary is 5 thousand rubles per shooting day.
    7. Two cameras with the ability to shoot HD-video - for free.
    8. The room is free.

    If it were not for the requirements of the customer, then we would definitely not have bought a “trough”, and we would have rented the main light too. Then the costs would not exceed 15 thousand rubles. Moreover, now it is easier to find and rent any equipment than during the work on the described project. But it was important for the customer to have a studio, and in order to create such an effect, lighting equipment had to be installed in the office.

    As a result, according to the results of the first survey, I received a contract, repaid debts and earned money, having organized several more filming for this customer.

    Six years later

    What would the estimate look like now? Yes, whatever. It all depends on the goals. For example, if you need a home studio, you can open Yandex.Market and configure it, easily keeping within 100 thousand rubles, and you won’t be ashamed of the equipment.

    Let's take the two cheapest cameras (for taking pictures from two points for subsequent installation) that will work for shooting - the Nikon d3200 with an 18-55 mm lens. They will cost 13 thousand rubles each. Manfrotto tripods - two pieces of 2.5 thousand rubles each. Chromakey - 5.5 thousand rubles. Recorder Zoom H4n - 12 thousand rubles. Radio loop Sennheiser ew100 - 28 thousand rubles. There is light: you can go to the construction market, as we did at one time, or you can buy Chinese devices for shooting - there are a lot of them now.

    Construction markets are an ideal place to find equipment when there are no professional devices at hand. Once, when I did not have a “fishing rod” to bring the microphone to the people in the frame, a two-meter aluminum pipe fit for this, to which the microphone was tied with adhesive tape. It looked not very beautiful, but there were no functional differences.

    Another time, we struggled with an echo in the room with the help of four large pieces of hardboard, which we again bought at the construction market in Pomoskovye, next to the pavilion where the shooting took place. Three sheets were placed on three sides of the lead, and a canopy was made from the fourth sheet. There, in the market, you can buy "soundproofing" (building material for soundproofing) and paste them with walls and acoustic foam for the ceiling.

    If there is no money at all

    An analogue of any professional equipment can be assembled on the knee from what is at hand. When we shot a video review of routers for the site, we did not have a special table for subject shooting, on which gadgets are shot. Then we put the router on A4 white sheets and directed the light of two table lamps on it. In a nearby supermarket, we bought light bulbs for them that give a cold light. And so that this light was not bright, we covered the lamps with sheets of A4, simulating diffusers.

    Another experiment with the “hand made” I did on vacation in Kerch. There, my colleagues and I decided to shoot a short film on the “soap box” and “iPhone”, and one of the heroes had terrible bags under their eyes (professionals call this the “panda effect”). In studio conditions, the bags are removed using the right light and make-up. And on the road use "phlox" - a special reflector. We made it ourselves from a sheet of whatman paper, glued with tape on a frame of sticks, and it worked no worse than the real one.

    Why am I talking about this? In addition, the main thing is not equipment, and you can do without it at all - make a video on the iPhone, and mount it on the iPad. The main thing in this process is the confidence with which the characters stand in front of the camera, the knowledge of the basics of staged shooting (a brief video course of Hollywood Camera Work will help here) and the brains of the person who is shooting. Unlike equipment that is pretty straightforward to deal with, brains won't work.

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