Gifts For Filmmakers At Any Skill Level – 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 15 amazing gifts for filmmakers covers all aspects of filmmaking.
How do we come up with this list of great gifts for filmmakers? We asked local aspiring 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 Filmmakers At Any Skill Level
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 filmmaker’s gift list might be out of your price range, but they make for excellent is great group gift ideas.
Have everyone chip in a dollar or more to spoil that certain filmmaker in your life.
One of the best gifts for filmmakers is a good camera stabilizer.
Smartphones and professional video cameras today deliver incredible video performance, but there is one negative thing to these cameras and that is the possibility of blurry or shaky footage.
The great thing about gimbal stabilizers for smartphones or Mirrorless or DSLR cameras is the ability to eliminate shaky or blurry footage to help filmmaker’s videos look better than ever before.
The two most popular manufactures of portable gimbals for smartphones or Mirrorless or DSLR cameras are DJI with its Osmo / Ronin products, and Zhiyun with its Smooth / Crane products that will not disappoint any filmmaker.
Next on the amazing gifts for filmmakers list is a travel tripod.
Why a travel tripod? Because for a filmmaker on the go, they need a compact tripod with legs that fold upwards to pack easier for filmmaking on the fly.
Full-size travel tripods from Benro or Peak Design can stretch more or less to the same height as a regular tripod but are made of carbon fiber that is lighter to carry and can fold to a compact travel size.
If you know a filmmaker/vlogger looking for a more compact tripod, you can get mini-tripods and table-top tripods that still support a camera, but they’re small enough and light enough to fit in a bag or a jacket pocket.
Whichever style of travel tripod you choose, they are a priceless travel companion for any filmmaker.
Sound is a very significant part of filmmaking. A filmmaker needs to pick the sounds they need, and skip out the ones they don’t want.
Sure a filmmaker can use the internal microphone from the camera, but for the best results using a separate microphone can make all the difference in the world.
The huge problem many built-in camera microphones is that it records sound that is closest to the microphone. So, it can pick up sound from around the camera microphone that can include sounds a filmmaker may not want.
For filmmakers that want the best sound possible, having external audio options available in a filmmaking kit is key.
For the best audio, lavalier microphones, wireless microphones, directional microphones can make amazing gifts for filmmakers.
- Lavalier microphones are great for close-to-camera shots by clipping the microphone onto an actor’s clothing and then connected to the camera.
- Wireless microphones are perfect for shooting actors on the go without being connected to the camera.
- Directional microphones are great for documentary interviews or vloggers because they point directly at a subject without recording noise surrounding the microphone.
There are 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 filmmaker’s 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 (pictured above) 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.
Related Article: 5+ Best Portable LED Lights For Smartphone Filmmaking
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 video 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 series for over $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.
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.
Perfect for the filmmaker friend that tends 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.
Related Article: Mirrorless VS DSLR Cameras – 10 Key Differences
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 space 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 a 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 independent 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.
Related Article: 10+ Best Filmmaking Books For Beginners
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 besides 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 the first-year tuition at a prestigious film school can cost for a film student.
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.
Want to Learn More About Filmmaking?
Become a better filmmaker with the MasterClass Annual Membership. Gain access to exclusive video lessons taught by film masters, including Martin Scorsese, David Lynch, Spike Lee, Jodie Foster, and more.
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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