How To Find Budget Friendly Filmmaking Equipment (on the Web)?

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Budget Friendly Filmmaking Equipment – Are you an independent filmmaker with a limited budget? If you are reading this article, then I think you are.  

When you are an independent filmmaker, you will be constantly on the hunt for crew willing to work for food, and trying to fill out your filmmaking kit with Budget Friendly Filmmaking Equipment to shoot with. 

I believe that when it comes to filmmaking if you have a great script, vision, and buy-in from the crew then you are on to the next step of filmmaking. 

Keep in mind that you will need to have no problem working under tight restrictions, grueling hours, and surviving off of coffee, then it’s time to start the filmmaking process. 

When I shot my short film “Noelle’s package” (see video below), the film was for a 48-hour film festival in which the short had to be written, shot, and edited in 48 hours. 

None of my actors showed up for the shoot that day, which will happen to any independent filmmaker, so the actors were the crew. 

The writers, camera crew, and director all filled in just to get it done within the time restrictions. All while the community news channel was on the set documenting how filmmakers can film a movie in such a short time. No pressure right! 

Plus, on top of all this, the equipment we use was as low budget as you could get. iPhone 7, cheap lav mics, and anything hiding in the house that could be used as props.

No matter what the audience thought of the film, it was a great experience that has translated to better on set experience for projects that happened after this shoot. 

The good news was that we won the audience favorite award out of 10 films and even the master of ceremonies for that night mentioned it was his favorite as well. 

 So, if I can do it, any independent filmmaker can do it. Trust me.

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When it comes down to a Budget Friendly Filmmaking Equipment List, it depends on how much you are willing to spend. 

There are so many options available to today’s independent filmmaker than ever before to capture an amazing film. 

If you are lucky like I am in which I belong to an independent film society, I can get my hands on filmmaking equipment that rivals anything that productions with major financing are using today. 

If you don’t have filmmaking groups in your area that will rent out the Red Gemini for $125.00 per day (check out this link to see the retail cost), then you have to start thinking about what is available to you that can get the job done. 

There is some fantastic equipment on the market today that you can find on Amazon and B&H video that can produce amazing results. 

 Below are some suggestions on some low budget-friendly equipment that will get the job done and can be used for your next project that will come down the pipe for months to come.

Cameras

Regardless of whether or not you are just about to start your filmmaking career or have been in the film industry for years, any filmmaker wants to shoot the best footage possible at a reasonable cost.

When you are on a limited budget, sometimes the options available may look limited, but they aren’t in today’s filmmaking market. 

If you only have a limited budget to spend on a filmmaking camera, you can find 4K mirrorless cameras under $1,000.00 that will capture some amazing footage. 

Here are a few suggestions that you can add to your Budget Friendly Filmmaking Equipment List.

Sony a7 Full-Frame Mirrorless Digital Camera

No other full-frame, interchangeable-lens camera is this light or this portable. Features 24.3 MP of rich detail, a true-to-life 2.4 million-dot OLED viewfinder, Wi-Fi sharing and an expandable shoe system. 

It’s all the full-frame performance you ever wanted in a compact size that will change your perspective entirely.

Sony’s Exmor image sensor takes full advantage of the Full-frame format but in a camera body less than half the size and weight of a full-frame DSLR.

A whole new world of high-quality images is realized through the 24.3 MP effective 35 mm full-frame sensor, a normal sensor range of ISO 100 – 25600, and a sophisticated balance of high resolving power, gradation, and low noise.

The BIONZ X image processor enables up to 5 fps high-speed continuous shooting and 14-bit RAW image data recording. Fast Intelligent AF for responsive, accurate, and greater operability with a full-frame sensor

The high-speed image processing engine and improved algorithms combine with optimized image sensor read-out speed to achieve ultra-high-speed AF despite the use of a full-frame sensor.

Amazon Review: “Purchased this after using an a6000 (also great) for almost two years. I had invested in quality full-frame glass to use with that camera anticipating a jump to full-frame down the road. This camera is fantastic. Don’t let reviews or ideas of an “older camera” guide you away from this. 

The full-frame sensor is excellent. I’ve been using it for about a month now and I appreciate this camera more and more after every use. 

For the price, The a7 is one of the best purchases you can make if you’re into mirrorless and want to venture into full-frame territory. I only do stills, so the video is not something I can speak for with this camera.”

This is the best camera for filmmaking on a budget in my opinion.

For reviews and prices, you can check out Amazon.com or B&H photo video.com for more information.

Fujifilm X-T2 Mirrorless Digital Camera

In its compact, lightweight and robust body, the Fujifilm X-T2 delivers everything you need. A large, high definition EVF, easy to use dials, high-speed AF, compatibility with an extensive range of high-performance interchangeable lenses.

Film Simulation modes that inherit the legacy of Fujifilm colors, unparalleled image quality, and outstanding 4K movie recording, made possible by the latest sensor and processing engine, It is the X series perfected.

This is one of the cheapest 4k cameras for filmmaking that produces amazing video footage and features a 24.3MP X-Trans CMOS III APS-C sensor for outstanding image quality. 

Its highly random pixel array effectively reduces moiré and false colors without the use of an optical low-pass filter. When combined with an XF lens, the sensor delivers images with a perceived resolution far greater than the number of pixels used. 

Other features include outstanding read speed, high-speed continuous shooting, high-precision AF tracking, a highly faster live view refresh rate, and superb video recording.

The sensor readout speed is now approximately twice as fast, delivering high-speed continuous shooting, precise AF tracking, playback, and higher-quality movies.

Amazon review: “This camera is awesome! I have used Canon, Panasonic, and Sony. This is my favorite! It definitely lives up to the hype! The colors that come out of this camera are beautiful! It’s compact, has a great weight and is very fast! A real pleasure to use! Buy it now!”

For reviews and prices, you can check out Amazon.com or B&H photo video.com for more information.

Related Article: 4 Important Stages Of Film Production For Beginners

Monitor

You can rely on your cameras monitor if you are the DOP on the shoot, but having an external monitor is a blessing if you have a camera ops team. 

When you are directing a scene, most of the time you will be focused on the performance that you will oftentimes neglect the minor details that a good assistant director can pick up.

With a portable monitor, your assistant director can watch from a distance that footage that is being filmed to catch a boom mic that might drop into the frame at any moment.

Here are two options that I love for external monitors that should be part of a Budget-Friendly Filmmaking Equipment List that can save shots on fast-paced shoots.

Fire HD 10 Tablet with Alexa Hands-Free

The Fire HD 10 features a brilliant 10.1” 1080p Full HD display (1920 x 1200) with over 2 million pixels (224 ppi). Enjoy widescreen movies, videos, and games with wide viewing angles, less glare, and more brightness thanks to a stunning IPS (in-plane-switching) LCD.

Fire HD 10 is now 30% faster thanks to 2x the RAM over the previous generation and a more powerful quad-core processor. Two 1.8 GHz cores and two 1.4 GHz cores run simultaneously, delivering quick app launches, smooth games and videos, and great overall performance.

Don’t be tethered to an outlet—now with up to 10 hours of mixed-use battery life, Fire HD 10 gives you more flexibility to go where the day takes you. The perfect gadgets for the independent filmmaker on a tight budget!

Click here for pricing, reviews, and more information on Amazon.com

Apple iPad mini

With iPad, you get what you need from a computer, along with many incredible things you’d never expect from one. 

Here are a few reasons why your next computer just might be an iPad.

iPad features advanced, Apple‑designed chips like the A12X Bionic with Neural Engine in iPad Pro. These chips transform how you experience photos, gaming and augmented reality. 

They also make iPad powerful enough to handle the apps you use every day. And even pro apps like Adobe Photoshop CC. And all that power travels. iPad is incredibly thin and so light you can carry it with you everywhere. 

And it has up to 10 hours of battery life to keep you going all day.

I recently used the Apple iPad mini on a recent shoot and it worked like a charm with my Sony A7.

We were shooting an overhead shot in which the DOP was holding the Sony A7 above the main characters on a bed. From the angle I wanted, the DOP couldn’t access the record button on the camera. 

With the Apple iPad mini wirelessly connected to the Sony A7, I was able to press the record to start filming. From there I can sit outside a tight space and direct the scene from anywhere.

Click here for pricing, reviews, and more information on Amazon.com

Sound

Making sure you have all of the critical pieces of equipment that you need to create a feature film can be very complicated. 

Ensuring that everything works together to create the perfect film that you are envisioning is never easy, but taking the time to ensure that everything is proper before you start recording your film is very important.

Without good sound, you are likely to lose a large number of people who would make up your potential audience. This can often cause a great film to wind up largely ignored and a filmmaker extremely frustrated.

Audio Recorder

There are three things that I believe are the most important when it comes to filmmaking, and sound design is one of them. 

Even if you are on a limited budget, never rely on your camera for recording sound. The camera you will be using on a set was made for capturing images, not sound. 

Your first piece of equipment is going to be an audio recorder. 

This is something that should be looked at far in advance of actually shooting any of the scenes so that you can be certain you are getting the best sound possible.

I suggest adding a field recorder to your Budget Friendly Filmmaking Equipment List because it isolates the sound on the set so much more than the camera will ever do. 

Plus, the ability to add on so many accessories to the filed recorder that can make filmmaking easier. 

The Zoom H4N PRO Handy Recorder

Brilliant Four-Track Audio Recording for Music, Film, Podcasting, and Beyond

At Zoom, we’re always developing new ideas to improve the performance and function of our Handy Recorders. With the new H4n Pro, we’ve taken everything creators love about the H4n and brought it to the next level.

The H4n Pro isn’t just improved, it’s superior in every way.

With advanced X/Y microphones, incredibly natural-sounding preamps, and a super-low noise floor, you can record everything from the Indy 500 to the fluttering of a hummingbird with extraordinary realism.

Welcome to the new gold standard in field recording.

DSLRs & Mirrorless Cameras are great filmmaking cameras that can deliver excellent quality video but limited audio capability. The H4n fills that gap. 

Amazon review: “What can I say, it’s a Zoom! I used an H4N to record the audio for a scene in a Hollywood movie. I ran my boom mic (which was mounted on a pole) to my Zoom H4N with standard XLR cable, and the final product was good enough to be used in a theater debuted movie. 

The price is beyond unbelievable! I have used recorders on a set that cost thousands of dollars, and the sound quality was no better than that of the Zoom H4N. It’s an amazing product that every audiophile should own!”

Click here for pricing, reviews, and more information on Amazon.com

Microphone

Your second piece of equipment for your Budget Friendly Filmmaking Equipment List is going to be a microphone. 

This is something that should be looked at far in advance of actually shooting any of the scenes so that you can be certain you are getting the best sound possible. 

Each microphone will have a different range that it works best. Your key to having good sound from each is knowing the proper range for the microphone that you are using. 

If you need a microphone that records close up, then you need to ensure you have proper placement, without getting so close that you are interrupting the filming of the scene. 

A microphone dropping into the scene during recording can ruin footage and create additional headaches in the future. You have two options in regards to setting up a microphone for your film shoot. 

The first is a microphone that can be mounted on your camera to record sound directly into your camera’s audio input jack. 

 The second is a shotgun microphone or remote microphones that will connect to your field recorder for better isolation of sound for better sound design in post-production.

Rode VideoMic Pro+ Compact Directional On-Camera Shotgun Condenser Microphone

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The RØDE VideoMic Pro+ is an addition to the best-in-market on-camera category. 
It is one of the true shotgun microphone designed for use with camcorders, DSLR cameras and portable audio recorders as a source of primary and reference audio.
Still, with the best-in-class Rycote Lyre suspension system onboard, the VideoMic Pro+ improves on the existing VideoMic Pro capsule/line tube and windshield, plus boasts a host of new features.

  • Automatic Power Function with plug-in power
  • Power via LB-1, 2 x AA Batteries, Micro USB
  • Built-in Battery Door
  • Optimised Windshield Shape
  • Digital Switching

Amazon Review:” This mic is clean sounding and incredible. You don’t even have to plug it into a separate recorder. As long as your camera has it’s own mic input, just plug this microphone directly into the camera.

Just one tip. When you use the camera’s preamp system with the mic, turn the volume of the microphone all the way down, and then select the 20+ on the rode mic.

That way the sound is coming directly through the mic, not the camera making for cleaner audio with no hiss.”

Click here for pricing, reviews, and more information on Amazon.com

BOYA WM8 Pro-K2 Dual-Channel Wireless Lavalier Microphone System

The BOYA BY-WM8 Pro-K2 is an upgraded UHF Dual-Channel Wireless Microphone System for capturing audio with dual subjects, features an easy-to-read LCD display, a wide switching RF bandwidth, PLL-synthesized tuning, and digital companding circuitry. 

The package is suitable for a wide range of wireless applications such as interviews, electronic newsgathering (ENG), electronic field productions (EFP), film production, business, and educational applications, and more.

The BY-WM8 Pro-K2 system consists of two bodypack transmitters, a camera-mount receiver, and two omnidirectional lavalier microphones. 

Also included with this system is a shoe-mount adapter, a single 1/8″ to XLR output cable, a single 1/8 to 1/8″ output cable, carrying case. 

The receiver is built with mic and headphone output jacks. The bodypack transmitter includes a MIC jack and LINE IN jack.

Amazon Review: “Works great, cristal clear sound. Test it with Canon 80D and Samsung Note8.”

Click here for pricing, reviews, and more information on Amazon.com

Related Article: What Masterclass Can Teach You About Filmmaking

Media Management

When it comes to filmmaking, having a well-organized workflow for your post-production is a priority.

That’s why having a media management system is a must on the set.

Why do you need a media management system, so you can organize your media all in one place to avoid disaster. 

Having a great media management practice is a top priority in case your hard drive fails, or a computer virus wipes out all your data just before completion of your project.

A media management workflow should include a data backup plan. By transferring to an external hard drive where you store all your related project data as often as necessary.

A backup of your project files and media is a safety net in case something happens on the set. A media management system is a must for your Budget Friendly Filmmaking Equipment List.

LaCie Rugged Mini 4TB External Hard Drive Portable HDD

With up to 4TB of space, Rugged Mini is ideal for moving footage from on-set to post-production, or for storing massive content library.

With speeds of up to 130MB/s, Rugged Mini enables seamless transfers and backups.LaCie Toolkit offers on-demand, one-click back-up, scheduled automatic backups, and folder syncing across multiple devices.

My Review: ” I purchased the LaCie hard drive because my MacBook can’t handle the huge raw files I shoot on my Sony A7. I rely heavily on my computer while on the set and I was getting tired of constantly erasing files on my MacBook to accommodate my footage. 

The idea that this is a rugged hard drive that I won’t have to worry about when my digital transfer crew is dealing with the off loading of the footage. 

Plus, the speed of transfer of the hard drive is also a winner for me because I can swap files quickly without waiting. This hard drive is a big winner for me.”

Click here for pricing, reviews, and more information on Amazon.com

Additional Accessories

Now on to the equipment that a filmmaker often forgets during pre-productions. 

There are certain additional accessories that a filmmaker might want in his/her filmmaking kit to ensure that the footage that is being captured is the best that it can be.

Below are some accessories that I have in my Budget Friendly Filmmaking Equipment List that have made a world of difference in the quality of footage for all of my projects.

Neewer Film Movie Video Making System Kit

    • PACKAGE INCLUDES (1)C-shape bracket, (1)Top Handle Grip, (2)15mm Rod, (1)Matte Box, (1)Follow Focus, (1)Shoulder Rig, (1)2.5 pounds/1.1 kilograms Counter Weight; This film movie system kit plays supporting and helpful role in assisting moving shooting, which can achieve better movie effect
    • C-SHAPE BRACKET WITH HAND GRIP: This C-shape bracket with a top handle grip can easily transform your rig into a handheld rig, greatly boost the portability of your devices; Counter Weight specially designed for balancing your shoulder mount rig
    • MATTE BOX: Adjustable height (up to 45mm) according to the lens of the camera on the rail rod system; Also works with standard 15mm rails, center-to-center rails distance 60mm
    • FOLLOW FOCUS: Shoot with a variety of options, such as shooting with DSLR camera, video, camcorder, and so on. It provides repeatable and accurate focusing, which makes you shoot precisely, focus precisely and operate smoothly
    • SHOULDER RIG: It includes 15mm rod, shoulder mount, soft rubber shoulder pad, and dual-hand handgrip for all DSLR cameras video camcorders; Soft rubber pad makes it possible to deliver excellent shooting effects without any jerk or motion problems.

Amazon Review: “When I first started doing videos for my Facebook and YouTube channels, I was using an Iographer bracket. My problem is that when I moved to shooting 4K, that bracket couldn’t handle the weight or everything else that I was using (VidiU video encoder, BeachTek audio mixer, shotgun mike, etc). 

This bracket was just what the doctor ordered The 2.5lb round weight at the back makes holding the camera and everything else that I need to have very easy to keep balanced.”

Click here for pricing, reviews, and more information on Amazon.com

Vanguard Alta Pro 263AB 100 Aluminum Tripod

Quite possibly the most flexible tripod in the world Alta Pro is everything you need for out-of-this-world photography. 
Alta Pro tripods have unmatched versatility and stability, enabling more shooting angle than ever before.

  • Hexagon-shaped central column moves from 0 to 180 degrees
  • Premium magnesium die-cast canopy and anti-shock ring
  • The legs have settings for 25°, 50°, and 80° with easy-release buttons for quick set-up.
  • Outstanding stability and loading capacity
  • Available in Carbon Fiber or Aluminum
  • Carrying Case Included

The Multi-Angle Central Column (MACC) system allows you to move the central column from zero to 180° angles in various vertical and horizontal positions, making macro-photography and special wide-angle shots a breeze.

The aluminum alloy and carbon fiber legs have settings for 25°, 50°, and 80° with easy-release buttons for quick set-up. Flip and twist locks are available.

A magnesium die-cast canopy, quick-flip leg locks, non-slip, spiked rubber feet and a removable hook for hanging camera accessories make this tripod a great addition to your kit bag.

The Instant Swivel Stop-n-Lock (ISSL) System securely repositions the central column in one simple movement, in just a few seconds, while maintaining the tripod’s stability.

PROS

  •  Multi-angle head is the best one in the industry (in my opinion)
  • Leg Angle adjusting buttons are best in the industry (in my opinion)
  • Lightweight but feels solid
  • Goes super low and quite high
  • Came with a free bag which is good enough for me
  • Price is BETTER than the name brand rivals which aren’t as good as this one

CONS

  • Haven’t found any yet. Seriously.

Click here for pricing, reviews, and more information on Amazon.com

Neewer 3 Packs Advanced 2.4G 660 LED Video Light Photography Lighting Kit

Description Bi-color LED Video Light:

  • With its lightweight and durable construction, you can carry this light around with you wherever you go.
  • Features with color temperature knob, can adjust the color temperature from 3200K to 5600K.
  • White diffuser can make soften the light source and enhance skin tone in portraits photography.
  • Adjustable U mount bracket makes the light toward different angle for the best shooting.

These are really useful for most of my indoor shoots.

These lights are great for filming in smaller areas as they produce a great spectrum of light and white/yellow color and affordable.

Which is something that a low budget filmmaker needs.

Click here for pricing, reviews, and more information on Amazon.com

Summary

As you can see that when it comes to building a Budget-Friendly Filmmaking Equipment list, there are many kinds of equipment out there and many ways of making a film. 

These excellent tools have worked for me in my filmmaking process, and I hope you find this list helpful as you set out to produce your films. 

P.S. – If you’ve found this article helpful and like the products in the post, please consider purchasing the goods via the links in the post as it helps keep the website running. All the companies are ones I use myself in my own life. If you have any questions, email me!


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