DIY Filmmaking: Make Your Own Equipment & Tools

DIY (Do-It-Yourself – in case you’re not familiar with the popular acronym) filmmaking is a necessity for most indie filmmakers on a tight budget. There are several online resources available that give step-by-step instructions on how to build your own equipment and tools – for much less than you would pay from a commercial vendor. But first you should ask yourself if it’s worth spending the all the time building something that you can rent from a professional rental house. Time IS money. Another factor to consider is if the DIY rig you construct does an adequate job compared to professional equipment. Paul Harrill from Self-Reliant Filmmaking shares some insight: “An inexpensive homemade tool that doesn’t get the job done is less of a bargain than an overpriced mass-produced tool that does get the job done.” Regardless, having options to choose from is always an advantage.

Here’s a few links to DIY resources that give filmmakers alternatives to buying and renting equipment:


Perhaps the most popular online DIY film tool is the “Fig Rig.” The Fig Rig name comes from director Mike Figgis [IMDB info] who invented the camera stabilization device for small film and video cameras.

Here are some websites that have set-up instructions for Fig Rigs:

+ “Build a PVC Fig Rig” & “PVC FIG RIG”(
+ “PVC Fig Rig”( by shygantic)
+ “Video Gadgets You Can Make”(

Jib Arms/Camera Cranes can be useful tools for establishing stylistic shots. You can construct one with the help these instructional sites:

+ has a great video tutorial –

Other Jib links:

+ “$60 Jib -The Poor Man’s Jib”(
+ “Let’s Make A Camera Jib/Dolly Rig!”(
+ “Do It` Yourself Video: Jib Arm”(
+ “The No-Budget, Do It Yourself, Film Maker’s Jib/Crane Design”(
+ “Jib w/ remote head” (

Other Rigs:

+ “Car Roof Mount”(
+ “Video Gadgets you can make”(


Another popular DIY filmmaking project documented online is the camera stabilizer. Here are some examples:

+ “$14 Steadycam: The Poor Mans Steadicam”(
+ “FlyStand – How I built a camera stabilizing system”(
+ “Making A Camcorder Stabilizer” (
+ “Improved Steadicam for under 40 dollars! Also boom mic attachment!”(
+ “DIY: Bicycle – Steady Cam – mount”(


+ “Skate Wheel Dollies”(
+ “DIY Plywood Skater”(
+ “Manufacture Your Own Skateboard Dolly”(
+ “DIY (Do-It-Yourself) Dolly and Track System”(
+ “Homemade Dolly for Under $50.00!”(


+ “Assemble a Low-Budget Light Kit”(
+ “Do It Yourself Outdoor Diffuser”(
+ “Light Source: Build Your Own Lighting Kit”(
+ “Cool Lights Blog” (


+ “DIY – Studio Equipment: Greenscreens and Backdrop Stands”(
+ “Movie Set On a Dime”(
+ “Easy Boom Pole for Under $30.00!!!”(
+ “DIY Mic Zeppelin Windscreen on the Cheap”(
+ “The Low Budget Do-It-Yourself DVX…LCD Viewfinder Hood for under $10!”(
+ “Do It Yourself Outdoor Diffuser”(

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  • clo231

    Check out some sites like or Epoxy to get collaboration techniques locally. These sites are going to help young filmmakers out a lot in the near future.