Robert Rodriguez: Master Cheapskate

UPDATE: For those of you with Netflix, the cult classic, full-length movie is now available to stream on demand.

Everybody on the bus -- and make sure you have your signed permission slips ready: It's field trip time.

Filmmaker Robert Rodriguez directed "Once Upon a Time in Mexico" and "Sin City," among other things. But before that he directed a little film called "El Mariachi," a feature-length flick made for just $7,000 in Mexico. Picked up for release in the US, it grossed over $2,000,000.00.

Why do you care? You are a still photographer, after all.

Because it is a fantastic example of what can be done with a little bit of gear, almost no money and a lot of imagination. Locals for actors, water guns as props, almost no wasted footage -- this thing squeezes blood out of a turnip. He even edits as he shoots, in-camera, to make his one movie camera look like several in the final product.

Hit the jump for part two of the 10-minute film school videos, where he shows us how he did the lighting -- with just two Home Depot utility lights. And not the expensive, $20.00 quartz ones, either.

So, how do you light a movie with two HD utility lights? Very closely, obviously. Especially when you have to make them soft lights, which kills most of the (non-existent) power.

I absolutely loved both of these videos. If you are a still shooter, there is much to be learned here. But if you are even dabbling in video, this stuff is gold.

Related links:

Pixelcadabra: D-Day On a Budget
and Basic Video Lighting Gear
Rodriguez' Book: Rebel Without a Clue


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