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Three Tricks For Your Impossibly Small Film Crew

Derek Beck
March 21, 2013 by Derek Beck Staff

Attention Filmmakers! If you are sitting around, twiddling your thumbs, waiting for that perfect budget to fund your movie, look no further! Seriously, stop looking. It's time to quit procrastinating and use that crafty mind of yours to make your movie. As long as you have a camera, a friend, and an idea, you're ready to get started.

Joining us for a second time are Vimeo Video School guest professors, Neko Neko Films, a small indie film group from Texas.

Swipe Cut

This trick has been used throughout cinema for years, and for good reason. The swipe cut is an easy trick to connect two separate shots into one seamless sequence. In order to achieve the effect, you must quickly pan out of your first shot and then pan back in to your second shot.

When it's time to edit, find a similar blurred frame from each pan, then splice them together at those points. When you play back the footage, it creates a transition between the two shots.

Split Screen

With a few simple tips and tricks, you can duplicate your acting force ten-fold! In order to achieve the effect, start by setting up a stationary shot using a tripod. Next, lock down your camera's settings, keeping your aperture, shutter speed, and white balance the same throughout the shots. Now that you are set up, it's time to duplicate your actor! Before you record, make sure to mark clear dividing lines to separate where the actor will stand in frame. As long as they are not overlapping one another, the trick should work.

Once you are rolling, don't stop. Let the actor move around the frame, pausing for a few seconds at each spot, and then cut once finished. By recording this as one long take (instead of shooting a series of separate shots) you are avoiding the possibility of shifting the camera's frame in between takes. In order for the effect to work, your camera has to remain completely still. Once you've imported the footage, you'll want to cut up the take and place the separate clips on top of one another in your editing timeline. Take the top clip and use the crop tool to remove a part of the frame. Once you've done that, you should see the duplicated actor!

Smart Phone Audio

No matter how great your video looks, it can be ruined by bad audio. Professional audio-equipment can be expensive, but don't let those dollar signs get you down. Your smart phone has a professional grade microphone built-in! Each phone is different, so we recommend downloading a recording app to get the best possible audio. Once it's time to edit, all you have to do is sync up the footage with the audio. Not sure how? Don't worry, as long as you follow these simple steps before recording, you should be just fine!

Step 1: Roll Camera
Step 2: Roll Audio on your phone
Step 3: Have actor stand in front of camera and clap.
Step 4: In editing, find the two different audio tracks, one being your in-camera audio and the other being the external smart phone audio, and sync together the two claps.

So there you have it! There's no need to spend oodles of cash on extra equipment or personnel. Quit waiting for that Hollywood budget to fall into your lap! You've got everything you need to make a masterpiece, and we can't wait to see it.

88 Comments

Luke Harvey Plus

Thanks guys! This is a big help, and as usual, very entertaining!

Shiply PRO

Seconded this, great guide from Vimeo team.

dennis hingsberg

lol look at that sensor skew @ 0:22

but for real great video tips! love the idea of passing the camera... that is awesome!

Morinaga Kuni

This particular one is easily fixed in post!

Thrillpill Films PRO

This was the coolest tutorial yet!

We made a two person film several years ago. Not nearly as trick-heavy as your video but here it is. For people looking for an example of real-world two-person filmmaking.

AND it's in a foreign language.

vimeo.com/42632520

Neko Neko Films Plus

Thanks for the kind words! Also, awesome short, seems like you were ahead of the times.

Dirk Mallwitz

excellent post - entertaining and very useful information! thanx guys!!

Ricky Rayon

jaja great! gracioso y educativo..

Alain Villardo

wow I'm glad I watched this... I ust learned how to do a swipe cut!!! ^_^

Lennox Schmidt

faaaakkk ! this is amazing you guys made a young man his day! thank u very much!

pauloprieto

many thanks! very informative. please keep them coming

Joel Fisher

I get to work with the guy who made this! FUN!

Barnabil Produzioni

funny and helpful tutorial, thanks. :D

Pay attention to shadows in split screen

Omar Sattaur

you've inspired me. i'm off to do some split screen recording.

Omar Sattaur

Will def post something soon :) Just getting myself a fake Goatee and I'll be off to shoot something.

Johnno Johnston

Man, that was awesome. Simple, but effective, I love it !!

Jonathan Mills

At the risk of thread-jacking (is that a phrase???), I just uploaded a short made with one actor and one assistant - it's perfectly possible! In a lot of ways I think it can help with the learning experience, rather than relying on others.

If you have three minutes spare... vimeo.com/62477862

Norbi Whitney Plus

Fantastic short and informative tutorial. I'll be sharing it with friends for sure.

Jessica Drolet

Great video. Do you have any recommendations in terms of good recording apps for iPhone?

Edgar S Martínez

Jejeje demasiado gracioso y útil al mismo tiempo: Great work! :-)

Mariano Lorde Plus

All of your videos are absolutely hilarious, creative, and incredibly informative! Thank you for the awesome post!

Alireza Badiee

Sooooooo use full . I will use it on my next Project :) tnx

Steve Plus

You guys always make these so fun and entertaining! Love every minute of these tutorials.

Words in Pictures

Totally compelling tutorial! I had no intention at all of watching the whole thing and i ended up watching it twice... This is so well done, guys. I'm torn between sharing this with everyone I know and not telling a single person until I've used at least one of your tricks first!

Neko Neko Films Plus

Haha, great comment! You should somehow find a way to secretly share it with everyone you know? It's all about finding that middle ground.

2GRAYS

You guys rock! It's one of the best tutes I've ever watched, and I've watched like 100,000 of them. Thank you so much for sharing!
I especially loved the part with the "pretty girl", that was wicked cool! :) Two thumbs up!

Matt Kowalski

Awesome sauce! Thanks for the informative tutorial!

April Wenman

I was wondering what kind of video editor to use to crop the scene?

Ian S

I am so going to use the first trick...hehe...

Alice Gubina

Why doesn't it play the video? Says 'There was an issue with playback'.

Christian ALT

You are great and made me laugh. Innovative, creative and quiet inspired. Well done.

Sunder Thadani

gooooooooooooooooooooooooooood! tnx a lot.

war games

Tom Griffiths

As a sound guy I can only say "no no no no no no no no". Don't record things on your phone. Most cameras have a microphone input, and it's worth at least spending a few quid on a mic. Otherwise it's just going to sound terrible and all the editing tricks in the world won't end in a professional result.

Rory S-B

Hi. Can you plz help me others with a unique topic, not explored very often:
making a film w/out audio crew?

Here's my thoughts so far:
For dialogue,
1. Give each actor a hidden ZoomH1 and their own wired lav. OR
2. Place Zoom H1's or lavs hidden on set, or just off camera. But option 1 is better i assume, no?

Other ideas/reactions?

Next, For the sound effects

1. You could "plant" lav mics in strategic places,

2. You could "plant" field recorders by themselves in strategic places,

3. Or tell me what you think of this idea:

what about doing a take twice, and the second time not doing any video, but repeating scene
as exactly as possible and having lavs attached to actor's legs (for footsteps) or arms (for doors etc.) unconventional i know, but could it work?

any other ideas? thanks for any help. i think a lot of this could benefit from creative ideas regarding running sound w/out any crew.
thanks again!
ror

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