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Welcome to The Cheap Filmmaker Diaries

Must have Indie
Video Books

About the Cheap Film Makers Diaries

These pages are dedicated to the Indie filmmakers around the world who, against all odds, endeavour to create their own movies with low budgets and inexpensive equipment. My aim is to share what I have learnt and what I am still learning in this amazing craft. I wish all my visitors a warm welcome, and to bookmark these pages and return regularly. Sometimes there may be no updates. If there isn't, then give me a hurry up by sending me a message via Facebook.



"Colour Blind" - in Film Projects


"Colour Blind" began as a single test video (below) and moved to a short film idea. As the short film developed it was soon taking on a life of its own. The screenplay under went a radical change as more and more story elements were included.

Because of its 3D nature, and the time to take to create the movie elements, I decided to break the story down into 6 workable 15 minute episodes... [Follow the project "Colour Blind" diary]



Diary Entry: 7 June 2013



"Hut in the Bush" Sketchup Animation - in 3D for Video Projects


An experiment to see if a detailed model could be made in Sketchup then have the camera animated in such a way that short clips could be used in a movie to represent several outdoor shots without having to resort to finding a location. More

Diary Entry: 3 November 2012



The Chronos Project Screenplay - in Script Projects


"The Chronos Project" (pic below) is a screenplay I wrote where The Dirty Dozen meets Groundhog Day. It is about six condemned soldiers who are trained to do a mission, little realizing that their mission is part of a scientific experiment in time manipulation. Full details for this project are on Amazon Studios where it is available for public scrutiny and comments Click Here

Diary Entry: 3 November 2012


Editing Video for a Film Editing Course in 2009 - in Film Projects


This was a fun editing exercise I undertook at SIT (Southland Insititute of Technology as part of a Diploma of Digital Film. All the clips, music and voice footage was supplied, while I added sound effects and a few other visual enhancements.


Diary Entry: 31 October 2012


Ka 942 ex-NZR Locomotive Video - in Film Projects


Here's not the way to video a moving train from a moving vehicle :)

On Sunday 21 October I became one of the elite group of people known as Train Chasing Nutters. I've got admit the leap frogging with other TCNs to get a good vantage point to watch a golden oldie locomotive KA 942, was actually quite fun. Being the passenger was even a lot better as I was able to get some great shots.
There is something about steam locomotives that diesel doesn't have; the romanticism of a past age, steam, smoke, and lots of moving parts. :)
Taking video from a moving vehicle is a learned art and I'm going to build a rig that keeps the camera steady. In all it was a great day. Chasing the train was, in my mind, a lot more fun than going for a ride in it... Been there, done that, when I was a kid :)
Raw footage with sound removed as I didn't have a external microphone and a windsock. See who was parked up for a looksee... at the end of the video.


Diary Entry: 23 October 2012



'The Chase'Video - in Film Projects


Updated the film projects page here to reflect the site's new image. Added a new current project as the one I intended to work on has been put on hold. The new project "Ripley" is a comedy/action.

Below is a short video, "The Chase" I did for a course in 2010. It was shot on miniDV tape with a JVC handycam. The brief was to film a chase scene. Dialogue was an option. The movie was edited in Adobe Premiere, with a tweak or two. Music was put together in Music 2000 from various sound bites.


Diary Entry: 20 October 2012


Book "Movie Props You Can Build" Update - Prop Projects


I did a writing course this year and that, and other commitments meant I had less time for video projects. Now the course is over I'm back into my projects and will hopefully have a clear run from now on.

* My book "Movie Props You Can Build" was one of the projects
on hold. I'm just adding a couple of Photoshop Tutorials and it will be ready for sale. There will be 3 versions: softcover print, Kindle ebook, and downloadable PDF. The Kindle and PDF versions will cost the same, but a purchase of the Kindle edition will entitle the purchaser to a PDF copy to download as the PDF will have the printable plans. PDF purchasers will also get a Kindle version. All purchasers will get free access to the Photoshop files to download.

* "Movie Props You Can Build" is the first in a series of prop making
books that I have planned. I will update this page as the project develops.


Diary Entry: 20 October 2012



Sketchup UV Mapping - in 3D for Video Projects


While SketchUp is a great tool for 3D modeling itís built in texture mapping feature is not really up to the gaming standards of 3D Studio Max or Ultimate Unwrap3D where the UV map needs to be laid out over one or several texture maps. 

The following technique is the culmination of several attempts, all which have to some degree been successful.

 This tutorial presumes the user has intermediate to skilled use of SketchUp and understands the concept of UV mapping more

A Sketchup UV Mapping Solution


Diary Entry: 30 October 2011



Driveby Animation in Sketchup - in 3D for Video Projects

Wood Street Drive-by

The following pictures shows a simple 3D scene, the camera views of 3 scenes, and the resulting animation of the camera transitions between the scenes. In all to create 10 seconds of video animation. The photos for the textures were taken on a lightly overcast day when the shadows were at a minimum. Several photos were taken of each building as straight on as I could get them. The Models were built from the photos and textures applied within Sketchup. The vehicle is a 3D model I made for VBS2, a military simulator. more

Wood Street Drive-by


Diary Entry: 25 October 2011


  'Movie Props You Can Build' - Prop Projects  

In Prop Projects

Movie Props You Can Build - Book

Props are the mainstay of any movie. In fact without props most movies would be flat and lifeless. In my upcoming short “The Alien that Probed Me” I need several props. Although I could purchase most of them, my budget is next to zero, so the next best thing is to create them myself. The advantage of this is that these props can be used over and over again. So the investment in creating your own props is well worth the time and effort. Another thing is that you can always hire your props out to other indie film makers. Now, that is a cool way to help finance your next budget movie.more



Diary Entry: 20 October 2011

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