Naked Filmmaking—Revised & Expanded for DSLR – Now Available on Amazon!

Published On March 14, 2013 | By Mike Carroll | Books, Naked Filmmaking

It’s almost exactly three years to the day since the publication of my first book Naked Filmmaking: How To Make A Feature-Length Film – Without A Crew – For $10,000 Or Less. And last night I started the process to remove it from the I market.

And replaced it with this new book — Naked Filmmaking: How To Make A Feature-Length Film – Without A Crew – For $10,000-$6,000 Or Less Revised & Expanded For DSLR Filmmakers.

(For the sake of simplicity, I am just going to refer to as Naked Filmmaking—Revised & Expanded.)

First off, let me state for the record that this is much, much more than just a simple update with a few tips on shooting with DSLR cameras. Some of the original sections of Naked Filmmaking have been left as they were—sections dealing with writing, casting and working with actors. That said, there are also vast new sections that are also very vividly illustrated with new photographs. This is a thorough revision and reworking of the edition that first came out three years ago.

When I set out to update the book I thought, “Oh, I could do this in a month.” But it’s taken well over six months, probably eight or nine, working obsessively to getting the new text right and the visual layout.

To give you a better picture, the first edition of Naked Filmmaking consisted of 277 pages containing 65,044 words and 145 photos printed on 6”x9” paper. The new edition, Naked Filmmaking—Revised & Expanded contains 101,532, over 36,488 more written words, or over 50% more text than was printed in the first edition. There are also over 100 new photographs to help illustrate the filmmaking process better and make it easier for the novice to visualize and understand. The new book is 318 pages, 40 pages longer, and it is also a physically bigger book, printed on pages that are 6.69”x9.61”.

I’ve also added a much larger Table of Contents so that it will be easier to the readers/users to go to exactly the wight page with the information they are looking for.

As I was putting Naked Filmmaking out three years ago, DSLR cameras and the transition to tapeless media was coming into swing. I had purchased one of the first Canon 7D cameras to arrive in the U.S. from Japan via B&H Photo & Video, but I had yet to shoot anything with it. It could take over a year or more before I could feel comfortable enough with DSLR filmmaking to write about it, and I felt the basic content of the book—about how filmmakers could make a movie without having to assemble a crew—was more important.

In the three years since the first publication of Naked Filmmaking, I have been far from idle. Exactly this time last year I published my second book, Breaking Into TV News How To Get A Job & Excel As A TV Reporter-Photographer. I’ve also been steadily working on another feature-length film, both writing and filming elements for, which I hope to start shooting more on over the coming year. I have also been accumulating elements for Volume Two in the Naked Filmmaking series, which I hope to have published later in the year. Oh, and this has all been in addition to working my full-time day job.

In “Naked Filmmaking Revised” you now not only read about the gear I use, you can now also see exactly what it is.

The Search-Inside feature will be up on Amazon in the next week. (It’s an automated feature of Amazon that is beyond my control.) Until then these are some sample images of pages from the new book.

Nobody knows what a birdcage light is. This page should bake it clear why this is my favorite light.

If you visit the Amazon section for books you’ll see that I am starting page for Naked Filmmaking—Revised & Expanded from scratch. I could have kept the same barcode and simply replaced the book jacket and the interior copy of Naked Filmmaking with the new book and retained all the nice Amazon reviews that the first edition has enjoyed. But there were also some reviews that were critical of my take on some aspects of the filmmaking process, particularly with my take on recording audio of actors with wireless microphones as opposed to using a boom microphone, among other things. In Naked Filmmaking—Revised & Expanded I have addressed these and many other issues.

I also felt that the new book is just that—a new book—so I wanted to start it out with its own legs, to stand on its own and be reviewed for itself, and not for its predecessor. So Naked Filmmaking—Revised & Expanded is being published as a new book and all the reviews that follow will be only about the new work and totally separate and independent from the first edition.

There are 20 pages from my screenplay for “Nightbeats” accompanied by frame blow-ups to illustrate my writing process and how the script is visualized on the screen.

Why Revise Naked Filmmaking?

This is what I wrote for the introduction to the new Naked Filmmaking—Revised & Expanded edition:

When I started writing the first edition of Naked Filmmaking in 2006 I honestly didn’t know if I could write a book. For most of my life I’d focused all my attention on writing screenplays, where words are used sparingly and the emphasis is to have pages with lots of “white space.” With a book, on the other hand, the words have to fill the pages. This was extremely daunting. Yet, I believed I had something new to say for filmmakers trying to break into film festivals and the independent scene.

The Digital Revolution had completely changed the game for aspiring filmmakers. You no longer needed to play the money game that was required to make a movie in 16mm or 35mm. Nor did you need the traditional crew of cinematographer/camera operator, assistant cameraman/focus puller, soundman/boom operator and so on. (You’ll notice that I’ve combined several of these jobs because that’s the norm on low-budget filmed features.) In fact, with the new digital camcorders that could record picture and sound together—and on automatic for the novice technicians—you could make a movie without any crew, as I have done on a documentary and two feature-length dramatic films.

The Revolution is continuing to march onward. In the first edition I stressed the importance of shooting scenes and not playing them back for fear of wrinkling the videotape and ruining a take. As Naked Filmmaking was just going out, the new tapeless cameras were just coming in. A year and a half later videotape production had ceased all over the world.

I also railed against dual-system audio recording in favor of recording directly into the camcorder. Then the DSLR cameras started crashing onto the filmmaking shores where the only way to get good, clean professional sound was to return to the old-fashioned methods of a camera and a separate audio recorder for sound. So again, changes in technology dictated taking a change in my stance on how to record audio.

Not wanting to be left behind, I pre-ordered one of the first Canon 7Ds to arrive in the U.S. in order to get a grasp on the new and rapidly evolving DSLR scene. Amazingly, as I write this in February 2013, there still aren’t any DSLR cameras with direct XLR audio inputs built into them. (In keeping with the first edition, however, perhaps once this Second Edition starts hitting publication that too will change.)

Now anybody with $800 can buy a DSLR camera capable of shooting 1080 HD and 24p. It’s only a matter of time before DSLRs capable of 2.5K will become available for purchase at your nearest Best Buy, Target or Costco.

For these reasons alone, after only three years since Naked Filmmaking first went into print, I felt it was time to bring the book up to date.

Lastly, on a simpler level, I wanted to make the book more user friendly for the beginning filmmaker. Throughout the first edition of the book I describe various types of equipment from lavalieres to C-stands to birdcage lights, but this was done entirely through words and descriptions. If anybody wanted to know more about these things, the information was there for them to look these items up on the Internet. But the more and more that I thought about it, I started to think that the whole process of making a movie is so complicated and so daunting, that if I could simplify the learning curve in any way, the least I could do is to include photos of what all this stuff is. (In fact, when I’ve spoken to professional film groups, even most professional cinematographers have never heard of, much less seen, a birdcage light.) So, as thoroughly as I can possibly be, I have made an effort to include pictures of everything that I am talking about.

Much of the original edition has remained in tact. My filmmaking methods of how to cast a film, working with actors, to light or not light, making a film with what you have access to—all of that remains the same. Although some things have been moved around in the revising process. And I’ve added many more photographs of the equipment that I am talking about.

If you enjoyed Naked Filmmaking the first time around, I think you’re going to like it even more now.


There’s also a multiple-page spread where I describe my love for using establishing shots to help convey story and mood. Also how to use over-the-lens filters to enhance the sky in a long shot.

There is still much more to follow in the coming weeks. The Kindle Edition will be my next job, which should be up on Amazon in the next few short weeks.

Be posting more soon.

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About The Author

Mike Carroll joined the digital revolution in 1999 with a Sony TRV900 camcorder and Final Cut Pro, when it was only Final Cut Pro and not version 2, 4 or a Suite.

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