Most of our blogs over the past month have been dedicated to helping you become a video DIY expert, or at least to get your feet wet. The beauty of online video is that you don’t need an expensive studio and production team to make it happen — you just need some know-how and determination, and you can make amazing videos in-house.

To continue on that theme, we’ve put together a quick list of our favorite video creation hacks: in other words, ways to avoid buying expensive kit by building your own solutions. These hacks focus on common problems of lighting, sound, and movement in creating your own online video. Let us know what works for you!

Problem: You can’t afford to shell out for expensive lighting.

Hack #1: Use nature.

In a jam, you can take advantage of natural light indoors by placing the subject facing a window, and covering the window with white paper or thin white cloth to diffuse the light. This keeps the subject lit, while keeping the light from being too harsh.

Hack #2: Reflect what you’ve got.

To make the most of a single light source—and that could even be a window—use a reflective surface such as a foam board ($3 at most photo supply stores) or a white wall to fill in the shadows. To find out more about where you need the light, check out our post on lighting for video.

Problem: You’re filming on your webcam or camera phone, and don’t have a suitable microphone to get rid of background noise.

Hack #1: Build your own Mic.

We loved this tutorial on Lifehacker, which shows you how to build your own bootleg microphone for around $9. This one is fairly easy to make if you have a spare hour, and it’s perfect for enhancing sound quality on smartphone or laptop video recordings.

Problem: You want to get movement in your film, but it comes across as bumpy and unprofessional.

Hack #1: Build your own Dolly.

Another gem from Lifehacker, this tutorial shows you how to build your own dolly from PVC pipes and rollerblade wheels (other wheels will work, too), which will allow you to add some movement into your storytelling without breaking the bank.

Hack #2: Instructables

Instructables has a host of DIY camera rigs for stabilization, for example this video we found for building a shoulder rig or this $15 DIY DSLR Steadyicam.

These are just a few of the many, many hacks out there on the grand old internet. If you’re facing a video production problem and you don’t want to throw a lot of cash at it, give us a shout via comments or on Twitter (@SproutVideo) and we’ll help you find a hack.

Written by Laci Texter

SproutVideo blog contributor. You can follow her on Twitter and Google+.

Posted April 15, 2013

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