Every couple months there seems to be renewed interest in gathering ARC resources to make videos for youtube and internet. We've had mixed success since our last attempt, but that's understandable - most pitches fall flat even if they were good ideas.
I've already got full-time commitments and in my spare time I help out with a video group I've been working with for years. I'm willing to help out on an ARC video project, but I'm only able to match everyone else's commitment. My own resources are fairly limited, but I can borrow stuff and get favors if needed.
So we need two types of things: Gear and People
A medium microbudget studio capable of making decent youtube videos will conservatively cost around $2000-4000. That's got to include camera, lenses, lighting kit, mic, recorder, sound rig, a computer capable of editing HD, as well as editing, compositing and additional special effects software. That's not even including props, costumes and food for volunteers willing to work for food. This is actually good news considering that making a small independent movie in the 70's cost like five million dollars. The gooder news is there are ways to cut costs and distribute those costs among resources that people already have.
Computers - most gaming computers have pretty good stats that can handle HD quality footage.
Software - I'm not going to say that you should pirate stuff because that would be irresponsible. But if editing, comping, modelling, and animation software for special effects was somehow really convenient to get online instantly then that would be fabulous.
Camera - HD cameras are everywhere nowadays. There's a good chance you have one or know someone who has one. The cameras on people's free-with-a-plan phones are more powerful than the $500 consumer cameras I used to shoot on back in 2005. Good lenses will up your game significantly and will make an amateur video look pro.
Lighting - Summer time in vancouver is perfect for outdoor exterior. My brother works in lighting for TV and film and he loves days where they're shooting outdoor exterior because he doesn't have to do anything. Even in the shade the sun produces more light than the strongest lights used in hollywood. If we do everything outdoors on days with slight overcast then all we need is a bounce board for fill to get good lighting. The only problem is that we're going to be running out of sunny days soon, so if you're going to do something then you'll have to do it soon.
If you can't afford a lighting kit (lights on stands with cables that plug into the wall) then there are really sweet, portable and relatively cheap LED light arrays for video that work well with a diffuser.
Sound - This is the biggest way to mess up a video. Having shitty sound will make a good video seem like crap. This is tricky. If you're shooting in a quiet room and you're lucky then your camera's onboard mic will be okay, but often it's not. If you're going to buy one thing then get a lav mic or a shotgun mic on a boom pole with a recorder. Basically you want to get just the actor's voice without getting any of the background. A trick that works is to ADR all the voice in post-production (get the actors in the editing room and have them dub over themselves on a microphone in a quiet room). This works well if you're going for a more cheesy aesthetic. I can borrow some sound equipment if I get enough of a heads up.
I always liked a D&D party approach to cast and crew since it really is like an adventuring team sometimes. Just like how an RPG party needs a tank, support, and casters, a video group needs performers, technical crew, and post-production elements.
Performers - Usually there's no lack of people who want to be in front of the camera. Sometimes you need someone really hammy and attention-hungry to just make love to the camera, which is fortunate since there's a lot of hams and attention hungry people out there. People who are popular or have backgrounds in improv or acting are good for this, but sometimes the oddest people can be interesting and endearing when on camera. Actors have been called "athletes of the soul" and it is important that they can exert themselves emotionally.
Technical (Production) - Lights, camera and sound are crucial. The best videographers are those that have trained their eye to notice good composition. People with backgrounds in film school or photography make good videographers. The videographer or director of photography calls the shots on the lighting and the grips will move the lights around and set up shots. To save space on crew in guerrilla video the grips will double as sound recordists during the shoots so that they're not sitting around between lighting changes.
Writing - Writing is the cheapest and easiest part of a production to change and redo. It's worth it to spend a lot of time redrafting a script before shooting begins, even for an internet comedy short. A script will typically go through half a dozen edits before it's ready to go. Some performers are so good with improv that they can rewrite the dialog on the fly and it will be better, but a script is still a good way to keep a scene structured and disciplined. A writer has to be flexible and open to feedback, but most importantly (I feel) has to have a keen understanding of narrative structure whether it be for long form or for a single scene.
Post Production - Like wizards in DnD post-production people win the game by doing a lot research and planning. Also like wizards they have great power to pretty much do whatever they want to the footage. They can make stock effect fireballs, summon in CG monsters, or cut things together in subversive ways. The best editing and special effects people are those who like computers, learning how to use software, and have good taste when it comes to digital art and animation. At its simplest all that is required is basic non-linear editing with a program like Adobe FinalCut or Premiere (although iMovie and other free programs will often get the job done). But for extra awesomeness a little bit of special effects goes a long way. Greenscreens (there are portable ones for less than 100 dollars) coupled with compositing programs like Adobe AfterEffects will let you take your videos into the realm of fantasy or combine live action acting with cartoons or CG characters. 3D modelling and animation programs let you build and animate 3D characters or sets that you can combine with your live action footage, or make your own 3D animations. This part is really open-ended since all the resources you need to learn how to do animation and effects are available online and even many experts in the area, who work on million dollar films, are self-taught. The more you're willing to learn, the more you'll be able to do.
I put a lot of emphasis on post-production because I'm finding it to be the bottleneck. There are a lot of people who want to act, a good number of people willing to do camera or help out on set, but it's so hard to find people willing to edit, especially if it demands using anything other than a basic editing program. I'm willing to help out with compositing and maybe some editing, but only if everyone else puts in a similar effort.
Anyways if people want to make a video I'll be willing to help with the writing, production, and some of the post-production. I can try to borrow some equipment or help with planning. But I can't make the whole thing alone.