DVFreelancer’s Last Minute Gift Guide For Filmmakers
December 7th, 2012
Every year we field questions from people who have a video geek in their life, but have no idea what to get them for Christmas. Unless you know what gear they already have, it can be a little intimidating.
This year we kept notes for a wish list through the year and roll them out here with a few items for every budget.
You have to know what kind of camera they have to get one that fits, but these are a great present because so few people remember to buy one for themselves. Usually when you remember you need one is when you look up from the shot and frown at the clouds moving in.
These range in price from under $100 to over $200 and are always welcome as gifts. Even if who you’re buying for already has some hard shell cases, I’ve never seen one go unused. You always have a new piece of gear that needs a box.
Most of the time when you need to move a tripod it involves picking it up, moving it and then repositioning the legs. But with a tripod dolly moving the camera and tripod is a breeze. Just unlock the wheels, move to the new location and lock the wheels. Done.
Nothing makes a new filmmaker feel more like Stephen Spielberg than a slate, also called a clicker or clapper is actually a device to help sync the camera video with second sound recorded on an external recorder. The CLAP! makes a spike on the camera’s audio track that makes it easy to match up the camera video with the audio track.
Lately slates have gone high tech with some of the wildly expensive ones able to sync the timecode in the camera with the timecode on the audio recorder. Those can cost thousands of dollars but their low-tech cousins can be had for between $10 and $20 dollars.
These are hugely useful when lighting scenes for video. They can block or soften natural light, create dramatic shadows, or reduce ambient light. A flag and light stands are almost always welcome gifts.
If you have a budding filmmaker in your midst and don’t know what kind of camera to get them, my suggestion is this Canon T4i basic kit that comes with everything they need to get started shooting DSLR video. If they use it a lot, they can upgrade to a nicer camera in the future and still have the T4i for shooting still pictures. It’s versatile and the quality is high enough to get a budding filmmaker started without breaking the bank.