People can make films with whatever resources they have at hand, but having a full set of equipment to work with certainly makes things easier. Most amateur filmmakers tend to underestimate the importance of proper gear, not necessarily out of bad faith, but mainly because of how expensive it can be to rent or buy equipment when starting out in film. Sooner or later, all filmmakers who want and need to refine their craft will find themselves needing these 8 pieces of gear listed below.
9 Pieces of Gear Every Filmmaker Needs
A tripod is first on the list because it is one of the things you don’t truly appreciate until you have it and can use it regularly. Stability on your shots and movements is something that is simply paramount in filmmaking, and a tripod is perhaps the most important tool you can own in that department.
Regardless of how evident it sounds, owning a camera and having it as part of your personal equipment arsenal truly makes a difference when it comes to operating cameras on set. Being more familiarized with such instruments in a non-work setting can help you look at things in a different light and discover new ways to make creative decisions on set for your own projects.
A camera can only go as far as your lens kit goes, reason for which you should consider building up a set of lenses over time. The benefit of having these is that you will be able to shoot much more freely if you have different objectives to choose on any situation. Not all lenses are suited for all circumstances, so seriously consider this an investment rather than just an expense.
Your camera probably comes with different presets and standard modes that require little tweaking and get your image looking a certain way. What happens when you want true color fidelity, though? That’s when you bring out the color chart and adjust the balance of your camera accordingly. Never underestimate the importance of this piece of equipment in helping you achieve precise looks and feels on set.
Amateur productions often rely on a single source of light that is often natural or not exactly a professional light designed for film. A basic lighting kit and different types of lights can get you out of trouble during most shootings where you believe you are in trouble. Think of different lights to play with as your key and accent lights: versatility is what you always want in film.
Having just one c-stand as part of your equipment already makes it one of the most useful pieces of gear you will ever own. C-stands are lifesavers when it comes to putting up any kind of light, as well as other cinematography gear like flags, diffusion, and more. With more than one c-stand, you can even devise practical solutions to all sorts of problems you often find on set.
A shotgun microphone will probably be the weapon of choice most of the time in productions you participate. It is the most manageable yet versatile type of microphone you can use in filmmaking, and there are all sorts of complementary gear that make it an even more adaptable tool.
Last but not least, the microphone is only good as long as there is a sound recorder to connect it to. Make sure to invest in a device that records high quality audio and offer plenty of features for better sound capture while on set. Compatibility with different audio equipment is key, as are enough channels and an accessible storage and power mechanism that allows for continuous recording without much hassle.