September 27, 2017

What Pieces of Gear Should Be in Your Noob Filmmaker Kit?

Okay, you've just bought a camera. Now what?

If you're a beginner filmmaker who has just bought your first camera, congrats! From your kitchen sink to the new Autumn foliage, you've probably spent hours shooting anything and everything that you possibly can, but if you're ready to add to your camera setup so you can get busy making films, you're going to need to know what gear to look for. Luckily the team over at The Film Look takes the guesswork out of this process for you by listing several must-have pieces of film equipment for new filmmakers.

The things on this list are probably no-brainers for most beginners, but The Film Look does the all-important work of explaining why each one is useful, as well as which kinds you should go with.

  • A 50mm lens: Considered the "default lens," a 50mm is a great first lens because it captures images that look similar to what you see with your eyes. They're also not too expensive. 
  • A tripod: For the most basic camera stabilization, tripods get it done. Don't worry too much about which head to get, because you can most likely switch it out for something better later on. Just make sure it's sturdy.
  • An external mic: Your in-camera mic is shit. You'll need an external mic. In fact, this is the most important item on the list in my opinion.
  • Lights: If you bought your camera because the test footage you saw online looked super cinematic, hate to break it to you, but most of that credit goes to the lighting. You don't need an expensive lighting kit. One or two inexpensive LED units will do.
  • Modifiers:  The great thing about light modifiers is that they tend to not be very expensive. Diffusion material and beadboard, especially if it has a black side, can be purchased at any craft or hardware store for cheap.

It's important to point out that in a cinematic climate in which people are making outstanding films on their smartphones, I don't think filmmakers "need" much more than a camera and a lens to create quality work. Is it difficult to shoot nice footage without any camera stabilizers, lights, and modifiers? Yeah, but are they absolutely required in order to make a good film? Nah.

Furthermore, a lot of the things on this list can either be made with inexpensive items or with stuff you have lying around the house and still get you decent results. Almost anything with wheels can be turned into a dolly. White sheets, white shower curtains, or white T-shirts make for great diffusers. Black T-shirts turn into flags pretty easily. A length of string makes a pretty good tripod. (Confused? This will explain.) 

As a beginner, the important thing to remember is that gear doesn't make you a filmmaker, making films does. So don't let something like not having the "right" gear deter you. You can always make it work!      

Your Comment

4 Comments

Nice list! One quick note/correction: a 50mm lens gives you the default what-your-eyes-see look on full-frame, but not crop cameras (as seen with the Canon t3i camera in the video). For APSC sensor size cameras, you should get a 30mm lens to achieve that default look. That's all--carry on!

September 27, 2017 at 10:25PM

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Samuel Neff
DP / Editor
762

Go for a 35mm/28mm (or equivalent on your camera - i.e. an SLR Magic 12mm on a BMPCC). A nifty 50 is great - and you can get good quality for cheap - but wider lenses are used far more often in cinema AND if you're on a budget (and shooting in cramped interiors rather than a studio) you'll be glad of the extra field of view.

September 28, 2017 at 8:01AM, Edited September 28, 8:01AM

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Alex Richardson
Director
3566

That was really cool.
50mm is like a life saver. But, there are opinion about 35mm lens too. I guess they are more expensive than 50mm.

September 28, 2017 at 12:18PM

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Sameir Ali
Director of Photography
1216

Leatherman
Dog collar with gaff/electrical/painters/duct tape
Pony clamps
Fillable sandbags
Garbage bags
Black tarp
Neutral powder
C-47
Measuring tape
Pens

September 28, 2017 at 7:03PM, Edited September 28, 7:03PM

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Joshua Bowen
Editor
754