Last Updated on February 13, 2024 by Nasir Hanif
When Alfred Hitchcock filmed his infamous shower scene in the thriller Psycho, his choice of camera was a Mitchell BNC. This piece of equipment was not state-of-the-art, but had been around since the glory days of Hollywood in the thirties. So when it comes to getting filmmaking gear, how do you decide which parts are essential to the success of the movie?
Some items can not be done without. Read on as we give the must-have filmmaking gear for your next production.
Table of Contents
There will be no movie or production without your camera. A high-quality camera is the most important piece of filmmaking equipment. Choosing the right one is essential.
Start by deciding how many cameras you actually need. This will depend on the size of the production and the type of shots you want to take.
Follow this up by selecting the right type for the genre. An action movie, for example, will require a very different camera from a documentary. If you are unsure of which to hire, then speak to experts at rental companies who will have experience.
Luckily, the digital camera market is very competitive. This means that quality is high and prices are low. You should be able to find a great camera to suit your needs on any budget.
Once you have a great camera, the lens is the eye that will visualize your whole movie. It provides the depth and color that will characterize your shoot. Different lenses can be used for different jobs on set.
A wide lens is great for setting the scene and capturing sweeping vistas. However, most people will just need a zoom and prime lens.
Aperture is a measure of how much light a lens lets in. The smaller the aperture the faster the lens will be. Smaller apertures are essential if you are working in low lighting.
If you want to make your shots clearer and full, then filters can help. They sit over the lens and filter out certain types of light, such as UV and polarizing light. They will make your shots look more professional and are great for filming outdoors.
When you are struggling with your budget, then many of the jobs filters can do can take place in post-production. This does however take some depth from your shots and will reduce the cinematic feel.
4. Grip Truck
Primarily, a grip truck is for the transportation of film-making gear and equipment. Where normal trucks would allow expensive equipment to slide and move, grip trucks have special storage to keep production gear like lights and cameras protected. These are essential if you are moving across different locations.
As well as transporting equipment, a grip truck acts as a large-scale toolbox for your production. Housing all the equipment you need is invaluable on set. You can find excellent and affordable grip truck rental here.
A tripod supports the camera, allowing smooth movement, panning, and tilting. Without it, you can expect a bumpy, homemade look to your shots. While some films opt for this, most will want the cinematic professionalism only tripods can bring.
Unfortunately, low-budget models are not an option. They will tend to have less fluid heads and wear quicker. It is much better to buy a tripod that will last and see you through many productions.
Gimbals are expensive and may be out of the budget for newbies and smaller productions. In larger ones, they are quickly becoming a must-have tool for image stabilization.
Using a range of motions, sensors, and software they balance out the cameraman’s movements, canceling any shaking or quick turns. They do take some setting up, but once you have got used to it, it can be done in a few minutes. You will also need to practice, getting used to the individual style of each model.
Sliders are great for subtle, slow moves, They allow the camera to glide in a given direction with the jerky movements of a cameraman. Luckily, they are affordable and relatively simple to use.
8. Gorilla Pod
The gorilla pod can grip almost anything. Its three arms can wrap around anything to mount cameras in the most tricky of places. These can result in some extremely unique and interesting shots.
Microphones and lighting can also be held in place using them, so they are not just ideal for cameras. Make sure you buy good quality ones, as you don’t want to risk expensive equipment falling from their grip.
9. Shoulder Rig
Shoulder rigs are essential for DSLR shooting. It allows you to prop the camera on your shoulder, giving added stability and ease of movement. Before buying, make sure you check how comfortable it is on your shoulders.
10. Overhead Camera Rig
An overhead camera rig allows you to get up and above the action. Without them, you won’t be able to film overhead shots unless you have a physical location for your camera workers to stand.
Arguably as important as your camera, is the lighting setup. At the most basic of levels, you will need a light that attaches to your camera. This will illuminate anything in the immediate vicinity of the shot.
Going one step further, you can get a range of reflectors. These allow you to hit scenes with light from different angles. Where you situate them can give a number of different effects.
Finally, if your budget allows it then pay for a full lighting kit. Any indoor shots will benefit from three-point lighting to give a natural look. These kits can be expensive so you may wish to consider renting them out from Brooklyn Grip and Electric.
Sourcing Filmmaking Gear
Now you know the filmmaking gear you need, set out a budget. Plan your movie and see which shots are essential. From here you can decide what gear is required for your movie.
If you found this article helpful, then visit the rest of our blog. From everything from cinema to television, we can help keep you on the pulse of creativity.
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