20+ Indie Film Gear Production Kit Items, (Must Have)
(The minimum for 'unlimited' narrative filmmaking, content & scene production)
As far as Camera's are concerned, the absolute most important factor in producing good (narrative Cinema looking) photography & media, is the ability to switch lenses. A camera body w/ swapable lenses is a must.
Beyond that I like a decent choice of lenses from wide to long. I'll start with a 30 to maybe around 100+mm Zoom, & then build out with Primes from there.
Sensor size is not a big factor with me. I'm comfortable with them all. I personally have enjoyed owning & shooting with Micro 4/3 bodies, but I mostly/only buy 'Full Frame' glass. I run everything (a variety of lens mounts) to EF or E mounts, and adapt down to M 4/3 from there. This way, if I shoot w/ a different camera body, I still have my full lens set available.Basically, I want to shoot at least 1080, but why not 4K capture these days? There's a variety of brands & bodies to choose from. I won't get too much into the particulars of them, but I do enjoy shooting Stills & Video with the same tool, so the 'Form Factor' of a DSLR type camera works well for me, & attracts less attention in 'small or public locations.
I prefer a Mirrorless camera over a DSLR for my Digital Cinematography & Photography. Honestly, 90% of the best, most cinematic stuff I've seen in the past 3 years has come off the GH4. Its the 96fps & the color & image quality. I've used it a bunch & I love this camera. The GH5 is looking amazing so far &.... what can I say? its the only thing better than a GH4.
The Black Magic 4K Pocket Cinema Camera looks amazing as well, & I'm sure it will be a great tool for its minimal cost.
Really, swapable lenses & manual control of camera functions is my base requirement. From there, brand preference maybe isn't super critical in the context of this article.
'Cinema Camera's' & even 'Camcorders' can be good for recording longer events, but.... You loose the option of Still Photography when you commit to these types of bodies.
Sure, for 12 hours on a Set I prefer a cinema camera body, & maybe even for serious documentary or event work, but beyond that I find a DSLR type camera more useful as my #1 primary shooting option.
JVC LS300. I've seen it out perform a GH4 in side by side test & its got some amazing features. I haven't been able to get my hands on one, but I think this is the most under appreciated 'Cinema Camera' that exist today.
Having an extra little action camera (or 2) is great for general B Roll, Vlog stuff ,& BTS, but where they really shine is on specialty shots!
A crazy POV, Driving Int/Ext, Underwater stuff, Security Cameras, Action Sequences, Specialty placement / Stunts. There's a million things you can shoot with these small cameras & they are well worth the cost. I want mine to shoot 24,30, & 60+ frames per second.
These are definitely the 'Second Camera' choice on my shoots, & more useful (as action cameras) than simply having another conventional 'B body' available.
An SJ5000 or even SJ4000 is a great little cam. Sure a GoPro is nice. I'm actually not a fan of the YI 4K. My personal choice for my kit, & I have 2 of them, is SJ CAM
A drone might not be 'absolutely necessary' but they sure do add a lot of options, opportunities & production value to a project. At thousands of dollars they were cost effective, & these days with them being as affordable as they are, why not have the added capability?
A small drone is a great piece of kit in the current market.DJI Phantom 3. There are better Drones available these days. I think the Phantom 3 is the minimum requirement for decent looking drone footage. Its clean & stable (2.7k?) HD footage adequate for most Web or TV Media. Future Proofing w/ a Phantom 3 PRO with 4K might not be a bad Idea for extended use.
Generally, If I only had 1 lens, I'd start with a zoom that went 'wide to fairly long'. I want every focal length from about, maybe '18mm' to around '100, up to 200mm'.
Of course I shoot wider or longer occasionally, but I find that (at Full Frame equivalent) 18/24mm out to around 135mm, is what I use 99% of the time, & I can do a lot with that, in both Cinema & Still Photo.
I'm not going to recommend specific lenses, but I'll tell you what my major criteria is with lens selection & I'll share some lens related gear that I find essential.
Basically, I prefer a 2.8 or faster if I'm investing money & space to keep a lens.
I'm from the old 'manual' days & really don't need electronic functions or 'In Lens Stabilization'. I can work with that stuff, but you'll never see it on a Cinema Camera & I dont prefer to own it.
In fact, 'Manual' lens operation is quite important to me & I dont like a lot of modern electronic glass, because it lacks that capability.
I happen to prefer a 6 (or more) bladed aperture that has a somewhat rounded look. I don't really like hard Hexagon or Pentagram bokeh.
From there I may prefer different qualities of lenses like color or contrast values, but mostly I look for a similar & consistent image qualities (like Bokeh) while pairing & building a set.
I enjoy a lot of 'vintage glass' & I have a couple of modern lenses that are quite sharp & even.
Quality Lenses are a good long term investment as they hold functionality & value, but you may not always need to pay top dollar for good glass. There's plenty of functional camera lenses from as far back as the 1940's that will still produce a good image today.
Between thrift shops, pawn shops & the internet, Its quite possible to amass a large lens collection that can be used for current productions.
ShopGoodwill.com/ Cameras & camcorders/ Lenses & accessories.
The best, cheapest place for old glass & vintage camera lenses!! You have to hunt but you can find cheap gems here fairly often. Usually bidding starts at 3-5$ plus shipping. *Filter your search results to find 'Lenses & Accessories', -in 'Cameras'
1 stereo track Recorder, These are OK, but better to get the multi track. 4 or 6.
I actually dont 'like' these mics, but they are the base of an audio kit & common for interviews. The type with a battery & 30ft cord can save you in some tricky spots.
The 'wireless' lavalier mics are great for many purposes, but quality ones are fairly expensive,
and I can rig a small external recorder (Iphone or zoom1) on Talent & record them 'locally', So there's a work around if you're missing a wireless lav mic.
Double clamp with a 'grip clip' to make secure on doors, street poles & surfaces.
If you're using old fashioned 'Hot Bulbs' you can get a cheap Dimmer Switch. If youre using new school 'LED' bulbs, then a 'LED' Dimmer Switch will run you about 30-40$.
I keep a couple dedicated cords like this for my lighting, with the Dimmer Box at the (Female / Light) plug in side w/ about 10+ feet of slack so I can run the light up a wall or stand.
Make Up & SPFX
This stuff is good for Male & Female Talent, to avoid sweaty hot spots in a tight close up shot. It also covers bruises & irregular spots.
I've worked on 2nd Unit Shoots where Stunt Coordinators have personally powdered their guys... point being, it makes a difference in the presentation of a face on screen & worth paying attention to.
With a decent base powder & this stuff you can do a lot... Dead bodies, Bruises, Dirty grime.....
Obviously its good for Artsy Fashion & Glam too.
These & a couple Halloween cream makeups, colored hairspray & skin wax, are about as involved as I want to be with Make Up application. Eventually I'll hire a professional, even for a small shoot.
However, having this small kit allows me to shoot concepts quickly & on the fly.
Theres plenty of artistic creative applications using them directly, but you can also accomplish some subtle VFX with these.
Reflected Fire Light, Neon or Rain Drips in a window, Colored Spot Lighting, Film Noir light bars, Reflected streets on a car window.
There's plenty of in camera 'Visual Effects' that you can achieve with slightly blurring a well placed projection. They're 70-150$
& of course, you can project your finished Film!
'Overhead Shots' are obviously where you utilize a jib arm. I love to be able to do this over a bed, in an interior shot, over a desk or counter top, maybe off a stair case.
Outside I like a jib overhead on a balcony, a cliff or any chasm.
If I can get away with it, I like it on a moving car looking inside or away. You can hang a little Action Camera on a small stabilizer, rig that to a jib arm, & you're shooting some amazing footage.
I have a hand held 'parallelogram' type device that allows me to hand hold a short, 4ft 'Jib Move'
but for all the shots I mention above I like an adjustable 6-8ft arm. More than that is too much for interiors & kind of unnecessary.
Here we are at the end of a long filmmaking tips tirade, and while were here I feel like its appropriate to mention some great free Editing Software...
Check out the totally amazing & completely FREE, 'HitFilm 4 Express' for a surprisingly robust & sophisticated Editor & Compositor!
BlackMagic's Da Vinci Resolve is also another great FREE Editor & Color Grading Platform.
For more FREE tools & Info on Film Making & Media Production, visit EMG-Mediamaker.com
Subject: Narrative film making, Indie film production, Independent film maker, Content Creation, Video Content, Video Production, Documentary Filmmaking, Recording Audio, Photography, Fashion Photography, Corporate Media Production, Commercial Production, *Contains Amazon Affiliate links.
Content by EMG-Pac
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