One of the most exciting aspects of filmmaking is putting together your video production equipment package. Keep in mind, there is no “one size fits all” equipment package for everyone since there are so many variables (budget, type of project, locations, pro vs amateur, etc), so what we have tried to do here is cover some basic gear you may want to consider. This is simply a starter guide in your search for some basic filmmaking gear. A great place to start is with a video camera and build from there.

  •  VIDEO CAMERA. A video camera is the centerpiece of your filmmaking gear package. What camera you choose depends on your budget, the type of shooting you’re doing (static, stealth, run-and-gun, etc.) and where you plan to showcase your film (web-only, theater, broadcast, etc).
  • TRIPOD. Get a tripod with a fluid head for smoother looking pans.
  • THREE-POINT LIGHTING KIT. You only really need a lighting kit if you’re planning to do a lot of shooting inside. Creating a well lit scene usually involves a 3-way lighting set-up.
  • SHOTGUN MICROPHONE. Great audio often separates the pros from the amateurs. Having a shotgun mic prepares you for almost every situation. It’s perfect for setting on top of your camera or a boom pole.
  • BOOM POLE. A boom mic set-up comes in handy to capture audio from a group interview, crowd scenes or any situation where you need to gather professional audio quickly.
  • SHOCK MOUNT. A shock mount keeps the mic steady on top of the pole and prevents the mic from picking up “bumping” sounds when the pole is moving around.
  • AUDIO CABLES. If you plan to use a professional audio set-up with your camcorder, you’ll need XLR cables to go from your camera to the mic.
  • WIRELESS MICROPHONE. Unless you have an audio person who can hold a boom mic, this is the next best thing providing tons of flexibility for walk-and-talk interviews with your subjects.
  • PORTABLE DIGITAL AUDIO RECORDER. The DSLR cameras only come equipped with a mini-jack audio input which doesn’t capture professional/broadcast quality sound. Because of that, you’ll need some way to capture professional audio.
  • HEADPHONES.  Find a good quality, comfortable set of headphones to make sure you avoid any nasty audio surprises when you get back from the shoot.
  • LIGHT REFLECTOR. A light reflector can turn an ugly amateur-looking shot into a golden and gorgeously lit scene.
  • LENSES. Have you ever seen those cool fish-eye scenes? That’s from using a special wide angle lens. If you’re shooting in super sunny situations, an ND filter or circular polarizer can dramatically improve the image. Or what about super close-ups of a bug or flower, that’s when you need a macro lens.
  • 3-4 EXTRA BATTERIES. You never want to get caught without enough batteries out on a shoot.
  • MEMORY CARDS. You’ll need somewhere to record all that footage you’ll be shooting.
  • EXTERNAL HARD DRIVE. A portable hard drive comes in handy if you plan to do a lot of shooting in the field and need to offload your footage from your camera’s memory cards.
  • VIDEO CAMERA BAG. Of course, now that you have all your gear, you need something sturdy and weatherproof to put it in.
  • DSLR SHOULDER MOUNT RIG. If you’re shooting with a DSLR, putting your camera on a shoulder mount can add a nice professional touch. So include it in your equipment!
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