As we approach the end of the holiday season (and the end of the year), there are still plenty of last-minute gifts or great deals specifically for filmmakers. You might have already purchased a Wii U or Xbox 360 for someone in your family (or Playstation 3 if you're still rocking those), but there are plenty of extremely useful gifts for filmmakers that won't cost you an arm or a leg, and they'll probably be put to more use than a video game (though I guess that depends on the specific filmmaker). Read through to check them out.
This list is by no means exhaustive, but they are all really useful accessories or gadgets that just might make a filmmakers life a little easier. We welcome any other suggestions at this price point, so feel free to share them in the comments below.
- Apple Thunderbolt to FireWire Adapter: $30
- Thunderbolt to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter: $30
- Lightning to Micro USB Adapter (iPad): $20
- Lightning to 30-pin Adapter (0.2 m) (iPad) : $40
- Lightning Digital AV Adapter (iPad): $50
Apple loves their proprietary connectors, and there is nothing worse than when a new device comes out and you don't have the right adapters to make everything work. The new Lightning connector for the iPad makes a lot of previous accessories useless, so you can make them useful again with some simply cables. If you've been lamenting the death of FireWire on new Macs, a Thunderbolt to FireWire adapter should certainly do the trick.
Camera and Rig Accessories
It's never a bad thing to have more batteries, and with so many devices taking these basic Canon batteries, they are a great buy not just for your current Canon 5D Mark III, Mark II, 7D, etc., but also for your external monitor and other devices. Your mileage might vary with third party batteries, but I've always had good luck with the Canon brand, even buying them used.
You can never have enough lens caps, as these are always the first thing to get lost on a really hectic set with too many pages to shoot and not enough crew to shoot them.
- Wide Open Camera Adjustable Lens Gear: $21 or $55 for Three
These are some of the best lens gears around, and if you're careful, you can get a perfect fit on almost every lens, and also leave them on there permanently. I just recently used these on a shoot, and I really liked that I could also still manually focus the lens without the follow focus attached. I know there are plenty of solutions that make this impossible, so if you're planning on leaving them on the lens at all times, these are a good solution. I have not used the Half Inch Rails filters that are also on the product page, so I can't quite vouch for those.
Perfect for attaching any monitor on your DSLR or any other camera with a hot shoe.
Similar to the SmallHD, but this one attaches to rod support.
- JAG35 HDMI Splitter: $25
You can never have enough HDMI outputs, or can you?
Lens Cleaning and Accessories
1 Box of Kimwipes (280 sheets) sku# 608
1 Spray Bottle of Pancro Lens Cleaning Fluid (4 oz.) sku# 628
1 Large Giotto's Rocket Blower (Black) sku# 224444
- Nikon Lens Pen: $11
I've always been partial to blowing on the lens with the bulb blower and then using a lens pen like the Nikon above, but for delicate operations, you can't go wrong with Kimtech wipes and Pancro lens cleaning fluid.
- SD Card: 16GB Sandisk Extreme Pro Class 10 95MB/s: $39
- SD Card: 16GB Sandisk SDHC Extreme Class 10 UHS-I - 2-Pack: $34
- CF Card: 16GB SanDisk Extreme 400x UDMA: $50
- CF Card: 16GB Lexar 800x UDMA: $53
I've had good luck with all of the cards above, which is why I am recommending them. I've been using Sandisk for a few years now and have never had a single problem or corrupt file. Lexar also makes quality cards, and even though it's not technically under $50, it's pretty close.
The Sandisk is perfect for speeding up a desktop computer because frequently used data is cached on that drive while the traditional hard drive keeps things as they were.
You really can't go wrong with a subscription to Filmmaker, and at the moment, the Holiday sale is absolutely a steal.
What would you guys add to the list above? Anything else around the price point that you would consider a must-have?