(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.
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.
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).
- Alfred Hitchcock's Moviemaking Master Class -- Tony Lee Moral
- Criterion Designs -- The Criterion Collection
- Hope for Film -- Ted Hope
- Hollywood Screenwriting Directory -- Jesse Douma (These get updated periodically, so look for the latest edition.)
- Master Shots Vol. 1, Vol. 2, Vol. 3 -- Christopher Kenworthy
- Slow Movies: Countering the Cinema of Action -- Ira Jaffe (Truly an incredible read.)
- Between the Scenes: What Every Film Director, Writer, and Editor Should Know About Scene Transitions -- Jeffrey Michael Bays
- Sight & Sound subscription: 12 issues, available in print (£45 for UK customers, £68 International) or digital (£30)
- Film Comment subscription: 6 issues, $30 (US), $40 (Canada and Mexico), $60 (International)
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]
$100 - $500
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]
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]
$500 and Up
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]
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!