I recently stumbled upon several good ideas for the photographer (and cinematographer) with a limited budget. They seem quite simple and interesting to apply.
Ring Flash for a penny
For macro-photography and proxi-photography, a flash is often needed. But it is difficult to obtain a nice light not simply coming from the side (and casting ugly shadows). This is why exist those ring flashes that are usually so expensive.
Today, Strobist provides a neat little idea to make nearly free ring flash out of a common cobra flash. Just use a circle (more precisely, an ellipse) of cardboard or white metal to reflect the light of a more common flash light (see the image below). In seconds, you’ll get most of the advantages of a ring flash without changing your equipment.
The flash light comes from the side and is reflected toward the scene while the hole in the middle allow the lens to peer naturally into the scene.
Poor man’s steadycam
You may know that a steady-cam is a simple rig that allows to stabilize a video camera for use while walking or running. It is so essentially simple that Johnny Lee made one out of three metal pipes and a weight. It is much nicer than the expensive pro ones and you can easily copy the design if you do not want to pay for the 39$ he asks for it.
If you have been attentive, you can remember that there were similar other ideas popping up in these pages before.