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Essential Things You Need as a Filmmaker

Essential Things You Need as a Filmmaker

Christmas is approaching, and with that comes all the fun days like Black Friday, all those sales, and all that stuff. For me, that kind of just automatically puts my mind focusing on gear. The question that I ask myself all the time is which piece of gear do I actually need? Which piece of gear do I need next? So, kind of like, the priority of what gear to get.

Filmmaking, we all know, is crazy expensive. It's really expensive, so you don't wanna but those things that you don't end up using, really. You and I both know, we've done this before. You buy something, you think you really need it, and then it just sits on your shelf and you haven't used it for a month.

If I had to recommend, let's just say, hypothetically, what gear you should be buying, I don't really like telling you guys what to buy because it's your money and I really feel like you need to do the research instead of me just telling you what you should buy, but if I had to tell you, in kind of, order of priority, what kind of film making gear you need to be a filmmaker.

Top 10 Essential Things you Need as a Filmmaker

1. Camera

Essential Things You Need as a Filmmaker

So first up on the list is obviously a camera. You need a camera, and you could film with something like your smartphone, your iPhone, Android, whatever, but I always recommend getting at least a dedicated camera that you need to start a photography businesss/film making because it's built for that. More specifically, something with interchangeable lenses I think that's really key.

You know, you could go for a Sony, you could go for a Canon, there's Panasonic, there are so many different choices, and none of them are wrong. I would just say, get something with an interchangeable lens. I think the best bang-for-buck cameras right now are probably the Sony A73. Probably still the GH5. If you don't have to film yourself, if you don't need autofocus, GH5 is a great camera.

If you can't afford those, just get something with interchangeable lenses, like an M50 or something, I don't know. But right now I'm using the Eos R, and then I still really like the Canon 1DX2, and the Sony A73; great cameras.

2. Lens

Essential Things You Need as a Filmmaker

You definitely need a lens. There's a lot to choose from. I would say go for the Sigma 18-35 F/1.8. If you're not using a full-frame camera. If you are using a full-frame camera if you can afford this guy that I'm using right now, the 16-35. Or then just go for like, a kit lens, and like, a Nifty 50 or something like that.

You need to invest in lenses;
Lenses are a great investment. A lot of these lenses I've had for a really long time. They still work perfectly fine and I can still sell them for about as much as I bought them for. Where and How to Sell Camera Gear!

3. Memory card

Essential Things You Need as a Filmmaker

You're gonna need a memory card, and I would say go for a more legit brand like Lexar or Scandisk or one of these well-known companies. Try not to go for knockoffs because there is nothing worse than a corrupted memory card. Just because it's the legit company doesn't mean that it's never gonna corrupt, but I would say, you know, don't chin out on the memory cards; these are great for protecting 'em. They're waterproof Pelican little cases. Even if you drop your camera bag in the water, your memory cards are still good. You need a memory card.

4. ND filter

Essential Things You Need as a Filmmaker

The second thing before you get a gimbal is an ND filter, you need an ND filter. This is one of those things that doesn't seem like you really really need one, and it costs like, $200, I think some are $300. They're kind of expensive, but it's so crucial to have an ND filter because then you can film at wider apertures outside and not have to crank your shutter speed super high, which just ruins the look of your video. So, you need an ND filter, but don't worry, you don't need to get one for every single lens that you have. Polarizers vs ND Filter.

Step-up rings

Essential Things You Need as a Filmmaker

You just use these little step-up rings. So you just buy the biggest ND filter. This is an 82 then you use a whole bunch of these step rings to use it on different lenses. So if it's a smaller front, you just use one of these little adapters, and these only costs like, $20 or something like that. So instead of buying a whole bunch of $200/$300 filters, just buy these little adapters, which cost like, 20 bucks. Popular Cinema Lenses.

5. Gimbals

Essential Things You Need as a Filmmaker

Once you got all that stuff, then I think you're starting to get ready to look at gimbals, a moving stabilizer. So, a stabilizer that helps you get moving shots. There are two clear winners. One is the GlideCam XR2000, this is the one I would go for. I think they might have actually renamed it the XR Pro. This guy cost me $200, I bought it used because of just mechanical parts.

As long as there's nothing visibly broken on it, it's great. So, super cheap, or you go with a gimbal, and these guys are gonna be a little bit more expensive. But I would recommend the DJI Rode S now. This is my favorite little gimbal. If you're ready for a gimbal, you have all that other stuff, check out this one or just get a GlideCam. How to Buy Used Cameras and Lenses.

6. Stabilizer for your camera

Essential Things You Need as a Filmmaker

I would recommend getting some sort of stabilizer for your camera, whether it's a Gorilla Pod, probably not this one because this one's really cheap and crappy, or a monopod, a tripod, something to stabilize your camera. It doesn't need to be anything fancy. Make it simple. Don't go too cheap on it. Something to cut out all that gross shake, a stabilizer. But not a gimbal or a Glide Cam yet, that will come later. You don't need that yet, not yet.

7. Camera bag

Essential Things You Need as a Filmmaker

If you're like me, you've probably survived up till this point with just, you know, putting your camera gear in whatever bag you have. But you should probably be looking into a camera bag. My favorite right now is Lowpro Protactic 450 AW. This one's the mark II, version two. I had the mark for a while, but I just got this one. I'm really liking this one; it's a really nice bag.

Fits a lot of stuff, it's mostly empty right now. I also like that you can buy these little bags and then I can kind of, you know, depending on what type of shoot it is, I can take a different version of that bag. I have one for my drone, I have one for filters and adapters and all that stuff. So, look into a bag then we're getting into the really fun stuff. 

8. Drones

Essential Things You Need as a Filmmaker

Everybody needs a drone. If you don't have a drone yet, and you're up to this point, and you're kind of camera gear gathering/buying process, I highly recommend getting the Mavic Air. DJI makes a lot of great drones, but I've really enjoyed the Mavic Air. It's so small, easy to carry around. The image is actually decent. It's not quite as good at flying as some of the other DJI drones, but it's a great drone for a great price. I would recommend getting this one if you don't have a drone yet.

9. Lights

Essential Things You Need as a Filmmaker

You need some lights. Now, the reason why I didn't mention lights before, even though lights are crazy important, is that lights are fairly easy to rent. So you don't really need lights; they're pretty cheap to rent. But once you're at this point, I do recommend that you get at least one light. At least one light, and if you only had enough budget to buy one light, I'd definitely buy Aputure 120d Mark II.

Then I would get this softbox, the light dome. With this combination, you can do a lot. I light with this source of light for so many different types of videos. This is the light that I would get if I were you, and you didn't have any lights yet.

10. Microphone

Essential Things You Need as a Filmmaker

Before you get a gimbal, I think you need two things: First off you need a microphone. At least some sort of microphone. I usually recommend getting something like this, the Deity or the Rode VideoMic Pro that I'm using right now. But you could also get a Lav mic if you're always just filming other people sitting down, corporate videos, that kind of stuff, interviews, a Lav Mic is great.

Last words

Now we're getting to a point where you kind of have everything. You could buy more lenses our microphones or filters, or whatever, there's a bunch of different stuff that you could buy. But then there's this whole category of little things that you kind of have to buy once you need them. There is no like, really like, order, or priority for these things; there will come a time when you just need it and that's kind of when you're gonna have to buy it.

For example, gaff tape, car mount, articulating arm, monitor, GoPro, cage for your camera, C-stand, or a 360 camera. A 360 camera's really great, but it's not one of those things that you're gonna need right away, it's kind of a specialty item. Unless you're specifically focusing on 360 videos, you're not gonna need it most of the time. I've never, ever, ever had a client ask me for 360 videos. Now, that will change, but as of right now, this is kind of like a bonus item.

It's really fun to use, it's really cool, it's a great way to get these really cool hyper laps, bullet-time thingies, but it's not a necessity.
Make sure you're kind of prioritizing what you actually need and what you should buy next.

It's not always the most fun thing that you need to buy next, and that's why you shouldn't look at the kind of, what's flashy because then you're just gonna go for the gimbals and the drones, even though you actually need things like microphones and filters before you get those things.

So, hypothetically, if I had to help you buy your next piece of gear, this would kind of be the list that I would go by. Hypothetically, do your own research.

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