Home Page ASTRONUTS Main Page Home Page ASTRONUTS Main Page Home Page ASTRONUTS Main Page Home Page ASTRONUTS Main Page
Skip to main content


March 1st, 2011 by Greg Tyler

ASTRONUTS is now on IMDb, the Internet Movie Database.

The credits aren’t 100% complete, and they aren’t 100% accurate. I’ll be fixing them over the next few weeks.

Potential New Audio Equipment

February 23rd, 2011 by Greg Tyler

In preparing to make post-ASTRONUTS movies, I’ve been scouting for possible new audio equipment. ASTRONUTS‘ microphone was the built-in microphone of a consumer-grade, Digital8 camcorder. Because of the noise of the camcorder’s inner mechanism and the distance between the camcorder and the talent — often ten to fifteen feet — the quality of the recorded audio was… less than ideal.

I’m still investigating options, but at the moment this equipment looks promising:

Additional audio equipment will include a boom — probably a homemade boom — XLR cable, a windsock/deadcat, gaffer’s tape and headphones. A lot of websites recommend also using lavalier mics and an audio mixer, but the other stuff alone, coupled with some practice, would be a giant leap beyond what we used before.

I also plan to have a boom operator, although I suppose that’s a person and not equipment.

Here are some useful links about audio and independent moviemaking:

I’ll probably purchase and experiment with new audio equipment before I purchase new video equipment.

Faux Buttons

February 23rd, 2011 by Greg Tyler

What is a spaceship without control panels, and what are control panels without buttons?

In a thread on TrekBBS, Dennis Bailey, writer and creator of POLARIS, recently shared information about stuff that can be used to represent spaceship control panel buttons: adhesive feet for furniture and appliances! One maker of these “bumpons” is 3M.

Here are some links that Dennis kindly shared:

Freeware for Filmmakers

February 23rd, 2011 by Greg Tyler

At the January 2011 DATV free-for-all, a variety of freeware applications were discussed which can help make the filmmaker’s life a bit easier:

For 3D graphics connoisseurs, I recommend Blender.

Camera Quest

February 12th, 2011 by Greg Tyler

As ideas continue to congeal for future shoestringscifi.com projects, the search for a new camera has begun.

With the exception of one shot, ASTRONUTS was made with a consumer-grade, Sony Digital8 DCR-TRV320 Digital Video Camera Recorder. When purchased in 2000, the camcorder cost about $800. The camera worked well for what we were doing, but I would like for the next shoestingscifi.com movie to “kick it up a few notches” in both video and audio quality. The TRV320 lacked features such as manual white balance, it had a consumer-grade CCD, and it recorded 480i digital video.

Today many affordable and high-quality options are available. Digital camcorders capable of recording nice-looking, 1080p digital video can be found for around $1000, and digital SLR cameras in a similar price bracket often have video capabilities with images that strongly resemble professional film cameras.

One of my biggest barriers in finding the right camera is that I know next to nothing about cameras. Even when a term like “ISO” or “f-stop” or “equivalent lens” or “bokeh” is explained to me, or I read enough to understand a term, I forgot it shortly afterward, because I don’t live, eat or breathe cameras.

As I explore cameras, I’ll be updating this article with new information that I discover about cameras — the lingo, seemingly good makes and models, etc. This article will serve as a “cheat sheet” for me, and hopefully it will also be useful to others.

Right now all I know is that I want a camera — whether a digital camcorder or a digital SLR-like camera — which can shoot nice-looking (read: doesn’t look like a family birthday party recording) 1080p 24fps video, and with two or three extra lenses, costs hopefully much less than $2000 — ideally no more than $1000.

I’d like decent audio recording equipment, too, whether it’s just an okay boom mic that plugs in to the camera, or a boom mic with a separate digital audio recording device. I want decent quality, but I want it to be inexpensive, too.

I don’t plan to impress the likes of Ben Burtt or Jordan Cronenworth with my purchases, but I would like something that can produce an acceptable sight and sound when shown on a big screen.

If anyone has suggestions, then feel free to contact me at the address on this site’s Contact page. Thanks in advance!

Retun to top of page