3 Cheap Tools to Take Your Video Production to the Next Level

Red production

by Matt Munson

Let’s face it, we don’t all have the budget to rent a helicopter to get those awesome sweeping landscape shots our movies call for. Dolly, jib, and helicopter shots are camera moves that separate the pros from the amateurs. If you want your video or film production to look amazing, yet you want to still be able to pay your actors, here are some tools worth looking into.

Dana Dolly

Who doesn’t love a good dolly move? They can add all types of moods to an otherwise stagnant shot. Pair it with a good zoom lens, you can get one of the most iconic shots in cinema:

The Dana Dolly is a highly portable solution that because of its compact size and low weight, shots that would be otherwise impossible. We used a very similar product extensively for TCU Baseball 2012: The Grind.

Pocket Jib

There are a lot of affordable jibs made for DLSR productions. Jib moves are essential to establishing shots or portraying the scale of something. Cinema5D.com just posted a great review of 3 affordable portable jibs, all under $500.

HD Cam + RC Helicopter

Then there’s the helicopter shot, which inherently seems prohibitively expensive. However, HD cameras keep getting smaller and RC helicopters are getting so stable that it will soon be the norm to use a drone chopper instead of a full-fledged camera helicopter. More and more options are coming out every day from rigs fully designed to shoot video, to toys that are just begging to be used for videos. Probably the most affordable RC+HD option is mounting a GoPro HD Hero to an AR.Drone and getting shots that will blow the audience away. Here’s one of the fancier setups:

Of course, all of these tools are only as useful as the people operating them. Good video requires talent and experience, not just ridiculously fun tools. Talk to a Red Productions producer today to discuss how we can help take your video to the next level.

Photo credit.