While every video shooter knows they need a camera and lenses (maybe a tripod or a microphone as well), that’s where the buck stops. For most hobbyists, there isn’t any need for things like filtration, stabilization, or lighting. However – if you’re planning on moving your filmmaking game to the next level, you should invest in equipment that not only shoots video but helps you shoot video better. Here’s my list of equipment you probably don’t own (but should).
We all know you should have lighting equipment. Maybe you can’t spring for an Arri 1T. Or maybe you’re waiting on some nice LED panels. But one thing you SHOULD have is a reflector/diffuser all-in-one. With 4 different options for reflection (white, silver, gold, and black) and a collapsible diffuser inside, it’s the handiest tool you can buy. It was the first ever piece of film/photography equipment I’ve ever purchased and I still use it on almost every single shoot.
I learned from being on film sets that the most effective way to block light is to use black flags. They look a bit like this:
But flags are useless without a C-stand (we will get to that later). If you’re looking to block off large areas of light, it’s always great to have some of the fabric used in making flags – duvetyne. Getting large swaths will allow you to black out windows, cover walls, and throw in the shadows to cover bothersome objects. Duvetyne fabric is durable and washable – a must to have in your kit. Check out this helpful video on using flags:
To help hang your fabric, you’ll need tape. There are many different types and sizes of tape available to filmmakers for tasks that range from securing equipment to hanging props. You can get all-purpose trusty gaffer’s tape or duvetyne tape (if you don’t want the shine of gaffer’s tape). There’s also paper tape (for shiny or oily surfaces) and painter’s tape (for preserving walls and finishings).
If you’ve got some money to spare, a c-stand is instrumental in helping you do whatever you want! You can hang lights on them, you can put fabric over them, you can use them to secure flags or use them as monitor stands. There are infinite possibilities for these awkward-looking tools. Just be sure that for every C-stand (or Gary Coleman – if it’s a 20″ C-stand), you have a sandbag to secure it. The proper placement of a sandbag is on the tallest and most dominant “leg.”
Though it may seem easy to use a chair or a stool to hoist equipment, props, actors, or yourself – apple boxes are made specifically for the task. They come in various sizes (full, half, quarter, and pancake) and are one of the most-used tools on a film set.
What other film equipment do you often see people neglecting to purchase? What sort of things do you wish you had more of or do you think are under-appreciated? Let me know in the comments below and your suggestion could make it into a future blog post!
If you’d like to see a list of non-essential camera add-ons that will make you look like a pro, click here.