December 20, 2014

(Extremely) Last Minute Holiday Gift Ideas for Filmmakers

Am I the only one who waits until the very last minute to buy gifts for people during the holidays? Yeah -- I didn't think so.

That's why we've put together this gift guide to help give you ideas on what to get that special filmmaker in your life -- who might actually just be you.

Below $100

DVDs/Blu-Rays

These are the perfect "if all else fails" gifts, because -- duh -- filmmakers love movies. A great place to start is The Criterion Collection, since every film they distribute is considered historically and/or cinematically important. With all of those extras and bonus features, one film costs around $20 to $40 depending on if you get a DVD or blu-ray. You can check out their new releases here, which includes classics like Fellini's La Dolce Vita and Polanski's Macbeth.

Box sets are also a great way to go if you're not sure which individual film to get your filmmaking buddies, and there are quite a few new releases that might interest you. Many major directors and actors have their own collections, and Turner Classic Movies just released one for iconic director John Ford, as well as Frankenstein star Boris Karloff. If genre is more up your alley, snag these box sets of film noir classics from Columbia Pictures or these classic horror films, some of which star the likes of Karloff and Bela Lugosi.

Books/Magazines

There are certainly those classic titles that you should absolutely procure for not only your fellow filmmakers, but for yourself as well. Here is a list of books and magazines that have either been newly released or haven't been mentioned on this site in a while (or at all).

Other Stuff

Pico Timelapse Controller
Moleskine Smart Notebook: For those who love to storyboard by hand, this Adobe CC-optimized notebook contains special page markings that help to process the image as a jpg file before converting it into an svg file. $33 [Moleskine]

Pico Timelapse Controller: All of the features (and then some) of a traditional intervalometer packed into a tiny device that interfaces directly with your smartphone. The Pico is currently on Kickstarter, so there's really no chance of getting this thing under the tree in time for the holidays, but -- it's the thought and advanced payment of an awesome gift that counts, right? $50 [Kickstarter]

Relio Light -- This high-powered, color-accurate, USB-powered LED light fits easily inside your pocket. $87 [Relio]

$100 - $500

GaffGun
GaffGun: Never get on your hands and knees to lay and secure cables again! This nifty tool straightens cables while laying gaff tape over them. Oh! And you can stand while you do it. $200 [GaffGun]

HTC RE Action Camera: This periscope-like handheld action cam was designed to capture every kind of moment in your life, not just the action-filled ones. It's minimalist design and simple two-button operation makes it fit for pretty much anybody who wants to record something. $200 [HTC]

RØDE iXY Mic
RØDE iXY Mic for iPhone 5: This mic attaches right onto your iPhone 5 to record 24-bit/96k audio. It's a nice little setup for filmmakers on the go who want to travel light. $200 [B&H]

Zoom H5 Handheld Recorder: The H5 is essentially the more compact, less fancy version of the H6. So, if you don't need all of the advanced features of the H6 and just want something with a couple of XLR ports and the ability to record 24-bit/96kHz audio, the H5 is a great solution. $270 [B&H]

ikan X3/Fly-X3 Handheld Gimbal: Designed specifically for smartphones, the X3 and Fly-X3 uses a 3-axis electronic gyro to offer steady movement to users, as well as a lightweight build. (The X3 has been discontinued, but it's still available on Amazon.) $200 for X-3 [Amazon$300 for Fly-X3 [Amazon]

GoPro Hero4: 4K at up to 30fps, manual ISO, exposure, and color controls for ISO, Wi-Fi. It's great. $400 for Silver [B&H | Amazon$500 for Black [B&H | Amazon]

$500 and Up

RØDE Stereo VideoMic X
RØDE Stereo VideoMic X: An on-camera microphone made for professional use that features a matched pair of ½” true-condenser capsules, configured in a stacked X-Y configuration, providing a highly-immersive soundscape. $800 [B&H]

Panasonic LX100 4K Camera: Dubbed the pocket-sized GH4, the LX100's 4/3 sensor, Leica DC Vario-Summilux f/1.7-2.8 Lens (35mm-equivalent focal length range of 24-75mm), and 4K video at 30 and 24 fps makes it a great camera option for a B-camera for the price. $900 [B&H]

Panasonic GH4: This has been one of the most highly anticipated cameras to have come out this year. The GH4 provides low cost 4K for low-budget filmmakers with the option to add a yagh interface unit (though at a cost). $1500 for camera only [B&H$3300 for camera/interface combo [B&H]

Atomos Shogun Will Record 4K RAW from the Sony FS700
Atomos Shogun: The long-awaited 7" 1080p Shogun is a monitor/recorder capable of recording up to 4K through HDMI 2.0 or 12G-SDI. The expected availability of the Shogun is Christmas Day. $2000 [B&H]

Convergent Design Odyssey 7Q+: This is another (or the other) really great monitor/recorder. The 7Q+ features the ability to record 4K and QHD to ProRes 422 (HQ) over HDMI. Like the Shogun, the 7Q+ won't be available early enough to offer it as a gift, but it will be available on Christmas Eve. $2300 [B&H]

Sony a7s Camera: This was one of the biggest announcements at NAB last year. The full-frame, 4K super sensitive a7s boasts and ISO sensitivity setting from 50 to 409600 -- an unprecedented dynamic range. Such incredible features for the price. $2500 [B&H]

DJI Ronin 3-Axis Gimbal: The Ronin is perhaps one of the more exciting gimbals to have come out since the Freefly MōVI. Not only does it support larger cameras weighing up to 16lbs, like the RED EPIC, but it boasts three different operational modes -- arguably its most impressive feature. $2700 [B&H]

If you have any gift ideas, feel free to share them down in the comments!     

Your Comment

2 Comments

Who gives $500+ gifts and why am I not friends with them?

December 21, 2014 at 10:26PM

12
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Zachary Will
Cinematographer
610

My thoughts exactly!

December 21, 2014 at 11:19PM

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Crystal McGhee
Director/Writer/Producer/Actor
128