Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Easy, Zero cost, No budget Steady-Cam

Ever found yourself in a situation where you needed some sort of camera stabilisation? Wouldn't it be nice to have your very own steady-cam on hand for those occasions when your standard hand-held efforts just won't cut the mustard?

As we all know, Steady-cams are not cheap bits of Kit. Even those steady-cams such a the Merlin Steadicam which is specially produced for hobbyist movie makers, is an expensive item and most amateur movie makers find it hard to justify the outlay for the amount of times they see themselves using it.

Well, If you would like to be able to utilise some of the qualities of a steady-cam type stabiliser without incurring the costs, you are in luck.

In this video I show you how to utilise a bit of kit that you probably already have to produce a quick and simple camera stabiliser - and what's more, it doesn't cost a bean.

Ok, a Merlin steadicam it is not, but it costs nothing, takes seconds to implement, and with a little bit of practice can produce some very acceptable results. Bearing in mind what it costs, it's certainly worth a try so why not give it a go? Just check out this episode's video (below), and all will be revealed.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

How to get Custom Youtube Thumbnails (No partnership required)
No doubt you have noticed when scanning through the thumbnail images on Youtube that illustrate the various videos, that whilst most of them appear to be random frames taken from anywhere in the video, one or two are obviously custom images often complete with channel logo and video title.

They certainly grab the eye. Relevant custom images that perfectly illustrate what the video is about surrounded by a sea of ... well... less than relevant random pictures.

You may think that the videos promoted by such images have a better chance of attracting viewers than the random pics have - And you would be right. No doubt, if you are a regular uploader of videos to Youtube, you would probably like to be able to do this yourself, and may be thinking "How do they do that"?

Well, the people who put up custom images with their videos are all "Youtube Partners"-  that is they are in business with Youtube and take a share the advertising revenues that accrue from their videos. Because they are business partners, they have a number of perks that are not conferred on the common herd - one of which is the ability to upload custom thumbnails.

So if you would like to be able to upload custom thumbnails with your videos, you will have to first try to become a Youtube partner - a long and often unsuccessful undertaking - Or, you could cheat. If you are planning on the latter, then just check out the video below :)


Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Ghostly Orbs and Spooky stuff
Hello again. Following my last video,which showed an extremely simple way to fake UFO footage, I have been getting emails asking me if  I could show how to do some more Easy-Peasy special effects.

Your wish is my command, and so this time I thought I would show you an Extremely simple way to reproduce those videos which puport to show "ghostly orbs" floating around darkened empty rooms.

I have based the effect on a stage effect known as "Pepper's ghost".  This is an effect which produces the illusion of a semi-transparent ghost for live stage productions and although the effect can be breath-taking, the principal is very simple.

I think you would be hard pressed to find a simpler "in camera" special effect. If you can't pull this one off you may as well give up. It requires no special equipment, or fancy SFX editors like After effects. In fact, if you have a video camera, and a stable platform to rest it on, then you can do this effect. -Try it!

Monday, 23 April 2012

How to fake your own UFO clips - Easy!

We have all seen them - the slightly suspect UFO videos that abound on the internet. The ones where you think "Hmmm.... is that real"? No doubt there are real UFO clips available at any number of places all over the interweb, but there are also a helluva lot more fake ones.

Now in these days of sophisticated computer graphics and awesome computer power, it is not unusual to see perfect videos of alien craft wafting through the skies. The problem is their perfection - These special effects are too perfect. We immediately suspect them of being fake because of their perfection.

The clips we really believe are the ones that appear to have been snatched by chance, recorded on a flip camera or iphone when the opportunity presented itself - No fancy camera work, but simple visual documentation of something that actually happened. - Er... it did actually happen didn't it?

But surely such gritty and "of the moment" video documentary must be real mustn't it? Well, no. Not necessarily.

Fake footage like this is incredibly easy to create and it uses the simplest of equipment. If you own a video camera or iphone, then you too can fake your own UFO's. No special skills or fancy editing programs needed.

So if you have always yearned to create  a "UFO flap" in your home town, just grab your video camera and take a look at this video - and may the force be with you.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Synchronizing Audio and Video

If you've ever wondered why clapperboards need to be clapped at the beginning of each shot then Meejah's latest video is for you. The video is a how-to showing you how to synchronize your video with a seperately recorded audio.

Quite often, low-budget video productions are let down by their sound. This is because they use the sound recorded by their video camera, which can not only introduce noise produced by the handling and moving of the camera during recording, but will also produce varying qualities and volumes of sound depending on where the camera is used, how far the performers are away from the camera and etc.

By recording your audio seperately, you will gain much more control over your sound, and produce a slicker looking (and sounding) video.

Recording your sound seperately need not be expensive either. Yes audio equipment can be expensive, but a bit of creativity can work wonders. Meejah's previous video showed a Zero-budget way to achieve this using a mobile phone - with impressive results - Check out the video here:

Accurate synching of sound is surprisingly easy and takes litle in the way of equipment or skill. In fact, if your video is fairly uncomplicated, you can synch it simply by clapping your hands - Puzzled? just check out the video below and all will be revealed.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Zero budget Audio hack.

I'll be honest with you - My video camera is a cheap one - VERY cheap! and the audio produced by it is not the best in the world - In fact it's a bit rubbish.  Living on the edge of Penury as I do, the purchase of a better camera is not an option, so I was forced to find another solution to the problem.

The solution of this problem (which involved the use of my mobile phone), produced really excellent results, and had some wonderful side-benefits that using the mic. in the camera simply couldn't compete with. I now routinely record all my audio seperately using this technique.

One of the benefits is being able to pick up perfect audio at any distance from the camera without the need for radio-mics, field recorders or boom poles.

In this video, I show how to use the technique - It really is simple, requires only a mobile phone and some gaffer tape, and produces excellent results. Check it out in the video below.

BTW. I routinely post any music, or sound effects used in the videos to my website at They are all licence-free so help yourself if you need them.

Monday, 30 January 2012

Free Sound Effects

I was just putting the finishing touches to my latest video (How to make stop-motion explosions in WMM), when it suddenly dawned on me that many people watching tutorials such as these will probably try the techniques out for themselves by copying exactly what I have done..

By that, I mean many will emulate the actual video, because it would make it easier for them to check what they are doing step-by-step.

Now the video, of course they would need to produce for themselves, but any sound-effects used would have to be researched, found and downloaded from the internet (Unless they are going to create their own sounds Foley-style)

So, I thought to myself (as one does), why not just make the sound effects that I have used available on the Meejah website? That way, they could cut to the chase and save themselves a lot of unnecessary time surfing the interwebs.

Even folk who weren't slavishly following the format of the tutorials might be able to find a sound or two which would be useful to them - After all, you can't have too many sound effects!

So from now on, any new sound effects that I use in the production of the Meejah videos will be added to the site for the benefit of all. - To find them just go to and click on the "Free Sound FX" tab - Then, help yourself.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Easy animation FX

I was checking through my Youtube video messages the other day (as you do) and came across one that referred to a video I had made some time ago. The video was about how you can make videos with even minimal equipment and as an example of what can be done, I had included a clip of a very simple stop-motion animation that I had made with my grandchildren, and depicted a wooden toy train running down a wooden track and colliding with a wooden bridge creating a big explosion.

The message sender wanted to know how I had created the animated explosion - was it difficult? Well, in fact, creating simple special effects with stop-motion animations is actually very easy. Stop-motion animations are basically a sequence of still images (usually taken with a digital still camera), that are strung together to create the impression of movement.

Because they are still images, it is a simple matter to individually open them in a photo-editor, and literally paint the effects you require directly onto the photos, and this was exactly how I created the explosions in the video. Working through the images one-by-one I painted a blast, followed by a cloud of steam, then smoke, which eventually dispersed into nothing. When run together, they gave a pretty good impression of a cartoon-like explosion.

In the video, I also give a basic overview of how to make a stop-motion animated video. It is incredibly easy (if a little time-consuming), to do. If all you have is a digital still camera, and Windows Movie maker, then you have all you need to begin making your own Youtube videos - Why not give it a try?

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Inventive video makers

As you look around the Internet for information on amateur film making, you realise what an inventive lot amateur film makers are. Often they are working with the minimum of equipment, and a zero budget. These inconvenient facts however, don't seem to get in the way of their productions.

Often, the professional film moguls produce a certain effect, look or style in their movies that is coveted by the independent film maker. When they try to emulate the technique, they often find that it involves a piece of equipment with a price tag that runs into tens of thousands, but does that put them off? No sir!

These hardy souls are quite capable of finding out everything they can about the equipment they need, and back engineering it in a low-cost and low-tech way, that will nevertheless produce the required outcome.

You need only witness the plethora of plans and tutorials on line that can show you how to produce your own stedi-cam or dolly-and-track system for just a few pounds. But the best innovations of all are those that take a piece of equipment that you already own, and with a few tweaks, convert it for a completely different purpose.

Meejahs latest video offering is an example of this inventiveness. It shows how, by using your standard tripod in a slightly different way, you can achieve a similar effect to the smooth gliding shots produced by a camera dolly system.

Check it out:

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Happy new year! - How to make things Appear and Disappear in your movies

Happy new year one and all.
As you may know, The Meejah Youtube Channel is a pretty young channel, and the whole idea is to provide ideas and guidance for new video makers, showing them how to make the best best videos possible even if they have minimal equipment and cash.

This latest video
goes back to basics, and shows how to pull off one of the easiest, and yet one of the most used and versatile video effects - The disappearing (or appearing) effect. This effect is a staple of TV and the Movies - you will have seen it thousands of times over the years.  This effect is really incredibly easy to pull off. It requires no special equipment and yet there is no end to the fun you can have with it.

Once you have got your head around how it works, you can let your imagination run riot, but use it with care. Most people, when they discover how easy it is to do, go a bit mad at first, and use it in everything they make - whether it is appropriate or not. lol.

I know that many of you will already know how this works - It's so simple that many people discover the principal by accident whilst editing their videos - But we all have to start somewhere, and there are many newbies out there for whom all this editing stuff is a black art, and a simple, effective technique like this is just what they are looking for, so this is for them.