2017 was a great year for gadgets.
While plenty of great cameras, lenses, gimbals, and drones came out in 2017, there was also a ton random gizmos, devices, and accessories that you should know about. These little guys not only made our jobs easier and more fun, but also proved to be absolutely essential in allowing us to do our thang on set.
We've put together a list of some of our favorite filmmaking gadgets that have come out this year, most of which are under $100.
1. Storyclock Notebook
Maybe you expected us to kick off with a super rad electronic thing, but nah, we're going with the Storyclock Notebook from Plot Devices because, well, story is king. This is a fantastic tool for screenwriters who like to flesh out their narrative ideas (and story structure) on good ol' fashioned paper, and the Storyclock Notebook has built-in resources to help you do just that.
You can buy the Storyclock Notebook on Plot Devices online store for $15. (They also have some other sweet tools and resources for screenwriters, too.)
2. Wolf Cubs
Aren't these things just the cutest!? They look like fanny packs for squirrels for Pete's sake! Rather than storing nuts, however, they're for storing your incredibly important SD cards. These are the Wolf Cubs (aw, again!) from Fangs Film Gear and they make the perfect keychain accessory for filmmakers because not only are they tough and weather-resistant, but the red/green two-sided design lets you know where to put your full (red) and empty (green) memory cards. These are a little pricey at $23, but if you like tiny handmade memory card pouches that double as backpacks for chipmunks, then these things are perfect.
3. KUVRD Universal Lens Cap
We all lose lens caps. It's annoying and frustrating and everyone hates it. Luckily, KUVRD has come up with an idea that can not only drastically reduce your chances of misplacing those stupid things, but can also protect your lens from water, dust, and shock. This is the KUVRD Universal Lens Cap (ULC). It's silicone design allows it to stretch and fit pretty much any lens you've got (between 60mm-150mm) and can be stacked to provide even more protection in case your expensive lens takes a spill. You can get the ULC for $30.
Where do you keep your memory cards while you're shooting? If you're like a lot of indie filmmakers, you just throw them in your pocket hoping that they all make it out alive, because seriously, who has the time to take that tiny plastic SD card case? This is why the Memistore is so awesome. It mounts directly to your camera and you can access your memory cards (up to two) without fumbling through your pockets or gear bag. Brilliant! They go for just $30.
While this is probably the weirdest thing you've ever seen, it's actually really useful. Tenikle is...a filmmaking tool that...does...lots of stuff. It's a camera mount, a mini-tripod, and a stabilizer all in one. (Think GorillaPod.) I'm sure those suction cups and tentacles have other uses that have yet to be discovered, and for $30, I wouldn't mind finding out what they are.
Platypod is a mighty little accessory that comes in two versions: Ultra and Max. Ultra not only allows you to stabilize mirrorless and smaller DSLR cameras on even and uneven terrain, but it also allows you to mount your camera virtually thanks to the different screw threads and tightening strap. The Max does the same thing, only with large DSLRs and video cameras. The Platypod Ultra costs $59 and the Max costs $99. Seriously, a bargain for what you get.
Let's pretend I told all of my really bad cowboy jokes already and now we're talking about this awesome lens accessory, okay? Great! This is literally a gun holster but for lenses...three lenses to be exact. TriLens attaches to your belt so you can carry all of your lenses on your hip. It also has a rotating auto-friction mechanism that not only lets you cycle through your lenses easily but keeps the entire unit balanced. You can get your own TriLens for $117.
8. RØDE VideoMic Pro+
Earlier this year, RØDE took their popular VideoMic Pro and made it just a little bit better, with an improved windshield, a new detachable 3.5 mm output cable, improved battery and power, separate control for output levels, and much more. You're not breaking the bank with this either. It retails at $299, making it a low-budget, filmmaker-friendly option.
GNARBOX is a pocket-sized storage device that allows you to back up, edit, and share your videos in full-resolution without the need of a computer. This thing is a ruggedly durable beast. It's waterproof, dustproof, and shockproof, and it has a battery life of up to 6 hours. Hell, it doesn't even need internet because it's its own mobile hotspot. It's the Bear Grylls of data storage devices. You can get a 128GB for $299 and a 256GB for $399.
10. GoPro HERO6
And of course, no must-have gadget list would be complete without the obligatory GoPro. The GoPro HERO6 features 4K at 60fps, 2.7K 120fps, 1080p at 260fps, waterproofing at up to 33 feet, in-camera image stabilization, better dynamic range, and an all-new GP1 chip that can handle the added performance. This bad boy goes for $499.