Regardless of what time of the year it is, there is always that certain someone in your life that you have to buy a gift for.
It could be a birthday, anniversary, or holiday season gift that may have to hunt high and low to find the perfect gift. But if there is a filmmaker in your life, what do you get them?
If you are stumped and have no clue what to get that certain someone who loves the art of filmmaking, we have you covered. This list of 20 amazing gifts for filmmakers covers all the aspects of filmmaking.
How do we come up with this list of gifts for filmmakers? We asked local filmmakers in our area, what is one thing they wish they had in their filmmaking kit and why they need it.
Below, you will find some fantastic gift ideas under $500 that will delight any type of filmmaker. And don’t worry there are only a few ideas close to the $500 mark.
15 Amazing Gifts For Filmmaking At Any Skill Level
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Gifts For Filmmakers
As many filmmakers know, filmmaking equipment can either be cheap or insanely expensive.
For example, most 4k filmmaking cameras start at around $500 and can go as high as $500,000 like the IMAX Camera.
The good news is that you will not find these filmmaking cameras on this list, but if you are looking to buy a camera as a gift, head over to our overview of the best 4k filmmaking cameras under $1000 to make a solid purchase decision.
Mind you; some of the items on this filmmakers gift list might be out of your price range, but they make for excellent are a great group gift ideas.
Have everyone chip in a dollar or more to spoil that certain filmmaker in your life.
When was the last time you watched the Blair Witch Project? Are you still afraid to watch it not because it’s scary, but because of the nauseating shaky camera work throughout?
While some great 4k Cameras on the market today have built-in stabilizers to minimize the shaky camera effect, nothing beats a reliable gimbal stabilizer.
Regardless of whether or not the video is being shot on a DSLR, Mirrorless, or Smartphone camera, having a handle help gimbal that offers 3-axis stabilization ensures that every shot is steady and shakey free.
If you are thinking of purchasing a gimbal as a gift for the filmmaker in your life, Zhiyun-Tech and DJI are the best stabilizer producers today. They offer fantastic stabilizers for DSLR/Mirrorless Cameras and smartphones.
Tripods are another essential piece of camera gear that every filmmaker needs in his/her filmmaking kit. They are great for keeping the camera still for shots that involve low light, panning, and titling.
Most filmmakers use a heavy-duty tripod like the Sachtler flowtech, to hold the camera kit that can include the film camera, lens, external monitor.
But when a filmmaker needs to do location shots that don’t require an entire camera kit, its great to have a sturdy travel tripod to get the job done.
Travel Tripods like the Peak Design Travel Tripod and the Sirui Travel Tripod, are fantastic for any filmmakers camera kit because they are lightweight, compact, and sturdy. Protect his/her film gear any gift-giving season.
No matter how good the film is shot or the performances from the actors, bad sound can ruin everything. There are some fantastic options available for any price range when it comes to recording sound for film.
The first option is running directly to the camera via a shotgun mic like the Rode Mic Pro+ which is convenient for documentary’s and in tight shots.
The second option would be to use an audio recorder kit like the Rode VideoMic NTG Shotgun Microphone Kit with Boompole and Recorder to record multi-channel sound.
The third option, which I like is using an audio recorder like the Zoom H4n Pro with a Rode Wireless Microphone to be able to record sound without being wired in.
There many pieces of the puzzle to make a film complete, and lighting is no exception. Lighting is essential to filmmaking, and it needs to be part of any filmmakers film equipment kit.
When it comes to gifts for filmmakers, I don’t want you to purchase an expensive lighting kit like the ARRI Compact Fresnel Three-Light Kit, because they should save up for that themselves.
What I suggest is an ultra-portable light kit, that can be taken everywhere in replace of a standard light kit.
One portable light that makes a huge difference in my video footage is the Dracast Halo Plus Ring Light. Why? Because it casts an even light onto the subject I am filming. It’s perfect for reducing shadows and blemishes on a subject’s face.
For indoor scenes that don’t require a lot of lighting, the Bi-Color LED 2-Panel Kit from GVM works out perfectly.
Another great camera attachment is the Manfrotto‘s black Lumimuse 8 On-Camera LED Light which is bright while remaining compact enough to fit in a compact camera kit.
The first time I got my hands on an action camera, I went crazy shooting underwater footage and crazy hiking videos that I was surprised my body and camera survived.
One of the coolest gifts for filmmakers is a great action camera like the GoPro Hero9 Black. One of the main reasons for a filmmaker to have an action camera in his/her kit is because it’s a camera that can take a beating and produce amazing 4K video while doing it.
Another great feature that many action cameras have built-in is image/video stabilization, which can take any shakey video footage and mystically smooth it out.
An action camera is the perfect second camera for any filmmaker looking to test his/her adventure shooting without using an expensive camera to do it.
First off, drones for filmmaking are not that expensive. Sure, you can get a drone like the DJI Phantom 4 Pro V2.0 for over a $1000.00, but there are inexpensive drones out there that can produce great results at a fraction of the price.
Why I suggest a drone on this list of amazing gifts for filmmakers is, every director I have worked with lately all want a drone shot. Yes, drones can produce some amazing overhead shots that would have required a crane in the past to produce the same thing a drone can do now.
Why do I have two drones? Well, I am not sure anymore because I use the Mavic Mini more than the Phantom 4 lately. Weighing under 250 grams, Mavic Mini is almost as light as the average smartphone and supports 12MP aerial photos and 2.7K HD videos.
It’s the perfect grab and go filmmaking accessory for guerrilla type filmmaking. It doesn’t require a lot of setup to start shooting.
Of this list of gifts for filmmakers, the Mavic Mini is over $300 dollars, but it’s a great gift for any filmmaker.
Portable Hard Drive
With the amazing quality of video footage that many filmmaking cameras are producing, it takes up a huge amount of space on a memory card.
One solution is to buy a few memory cards with tons of space to store the video files on, but what happens if a filmmaker loses one of the memory cards during filming?
I have worked on an independent film shoot where the director of the film dropped his laptop, with a day worth of shooting on it, in a puddle of water.
There is nothing like losing all that hard work because someone didn’t store the footage on an additional hard drive.
That’s where a portable storage unit like the Lacie Rugged (pictured above) comes into play. Seamlessly connect the Lacie Rugged to USB 3.0 computers, transfer content fast with speeds of up to 130MB/s, and trek confidently with all-terrain durability of drop, crush, and rain resistance.
Another great portable hard drive a filmmaker would love as a gift is the GNARBOX 2.0 which is just as rugged at the Lacie, but the Gnarbox 2.0 can be backed up wirelessly from any wireless device. Perfect for those filmmakers that tend to shoot in remote locations.
An external monitor is one of those gifts for filmmakers that would make a huge difference in the quality of footage filmed.
Why? Because with a touchscreen on most filmmaking cameras, they never capture exactly what the film is going to look like in post-production.
Also, camera touchscreens turn into mirrors when the sun shines directly on them which makes it impossible to see what is being filmed.
If you are looking for the right monitor as a gift, something like the Atomos Shinobi 5.2″ 4K HDMI Monitor or the Lilliput A7S 7″ Full HD Monitor will help the filmmaker capture the best footage it can be.
Plus, on every set I have been on, everyone huddles around the monitor to see what was just filmed.
With an external monitor, the director no longer has to feel heavy breathing behind them from the crew trying to see footage on the tiny camera monitor.
Camera Gear Case
The cost of creating a kit for filmmaking can be just plain expensive. Finding the right gear for filming takes time and effort as well.
So in order to protect this investment, a filmmaker needs a reliable carrying case to avoid the unthinkable.
Cases and bags to carry equipment are just as important as the filmmaking kit.
Both cases are waterproof, dust-proof, and crush-proof. Just want any filmmaker needs!
A cart may not look flashy like a Gimbal or Lighting Kit, but for me, a cart is a piece of filmmaking gear I never leave home without.
Why? I rent most of my equipment from a filmmaking co-op, and the nearest parking spaces to this co-op is two blocks away.
So imagine renting an entire week’s worth of filming gear, and having to carry it all to vehicle. It’s sucks!
That’s why own the Rocknroller 8-in-1 Equipment Transporter (pictured above) to help me with all my gear regardless of where I am.
With a well-made equipment cart, any filmmaker can carry along with them all of his/her camera gear, lights, sound equipment, the works.
It one of those gifts for filmmakers, they will use and love.
There is a lot of behind the scenes action that happens leading up to production and then during post-production that a filmmaker needs to make a project go smoothly.
Filmmaking equipment is indeed a necessity to film make a movie. But plenty of other stuff is needed during the entire film project that many filmmakers are unaware of.
So if you are looking for gifts for filmmakers that aren’t equipment, then I suggest giving the gift of software to any filmmaker.
Software for filmmakers comes in many different forms.
For post-production, I suggest Adobe Creative Cloud for all of the editing needs of a filmmaker.
I would suggest lenses on this list of gifts for filmmakers, but if you don’t have a clue what camera the person you are buying for has, it will just be a hassle for you. Plus, camera lenses are expensive!
But, what I will suggest buying for the filmmaker in your life, is smartphone lenses to attach to a smartphone.
Why smartphone lenses are on this list is because, with the quality of video footage most smartphones can produce, they can almost compete with an expensive filmmaking camera in picture quality.
The only disadvantage a smartphone camera has compared to a filmmaking camera was the built-in smartphone lens couldn’t produce the cinematic quality that filmmaking cameras can. Until now.
Filmmakers like Steven Soderbergh(Ocean’s 11, Traffic, etc.) and Zack Snyder (The Watchman, Man of Steel, etc.) have shot films using the iPhone with these lens attachments and they look glorious.
Click here for my post on smartphone lenses for more help.
Online Film School
Film school is expensive. Plus, if a filmmaker doesn’t have the time to enroll in a full-time film program, what else can they do to learn the art of filmmaking?
Online film school has exploded over the past few years for many filmmakers who are looking to advance his/her skillset in the comfort of their own homes.
One of the best gifts for filmmakers that you can give beside an expensive 6K Blackmagic Cinema Camera is the gift of online education.
There are fantastic online filmmaking schools that can teach a filmmaker almost every role on set. Everything from screenwriting, directing, and even acting can be learned via the computer.
I recommend the following online film schools as a great gift at any time of the year.
Masterclass – I love masterclass because they have filmmaking courses that cover important roles on set, taught by industry professionals like Ron Howard, Jodie Foster, and even Martin Scorsese. (Read my review.)
The membership cost is inexpensive considering what a first-year tuition at a prestigious film school can cost.
Udemy.com – While Udemy may not have famous instructors teaching its online film classes, but what they do offer is more technical film school classes like cinematography, editing, and so much more.
I have taken the smartphone filmmaking classes via Udemy.com, and they have helped me with my smartphone filmmaking immensely.
If a filmmaker needs to record sound onset, listening to the audio from the camera monitor (mentioned above), or editing audio in post-production, a filmmaker needs exceptional headphones.
A great pair of headphones for any filmmaker needs to be comfortable, durable, and produce amazing sound.
I have two pairs of headsets I use for filmmaking, and they never leave my side.
The first pair is the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Professional Studio Monitor Headphones, which I use onset because they are extremely comfortable, and produce quality sound for when I need to listen to the monitor playback.
The second pair is the Bose NC700 headphones for when I am traveling to film conferences and festivals. These wireless headphones work perfectly when I need some relaxation time on the plane and shut out the outside world for a brief moment.
With a great pair of headphones like these above, the filmmaker you are buying a gift for will appreciate the quality of sound and comfort from them on set and on the road.
It’s amazing when I am on a film set, that tools we need the most, are never around when you need them.
I am not talking about the cinema camera, lighting, or sound equipment, I am talking about film accessories that many of us take for granted.
Film gear items like a clapperboard slate, gaffer tape to pretty much tape everything on set, a multi-purpose utility knife to cut stuff, a flashlight to avoid tripping on things in the dark, ploy spring ‘a’ clamps to keep things in place, dry erase markers, tape measure, and gloves are never on the set when you need them.
So do the filmmaker you are buying a gift for a favor and help them build up his/her gear inventory. They will appreciate it in the long run.
Filmmaking is an expensive hobby, and filmmakers work so we can pay for our hobby.
So, if you are looking to help a filmmaker by giving them the perfect filmmaker’s gift, you can’t go wrong with any of these great items.
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