10 Gift Ideas for Filmmakers / by Chris Skyes

So you have a friend, or family member, who is into filmmaking and cameras. You want to get them a gift on Black Friday, or Cyber Monday, but you don’t know what they need, or what brands they’re using.

Fear not! I’m going to give you my list of ten items which every person with a camera needs!

1. Audio Recorders

As videographers, we often find ourselves in need of recording sound. This could be for an interview, a monologue, or perhaps recording ambiences. Devices such as the Zoom H6, Zoom H5, Zoom H4n, or the Tascam DR-60d MkII are compact, durable, and allow you to do just that.

As a guide, the more you spend on these types of devices, the better, and cleaner, the audio will be. Additionally, most of these devices can be mounted on top of the camera, allowing us to record audio whilst filming.

2. Microphone

In order to do actual recording, we need microphones. Some, such as the Rode VideoMic Pro, Rode VideoMic GO, or the Rode VideoMicro can be plugged in straight into the camera, and mounted on top of it, whilst microphones such as the Rode NTG-2 require a separate device, such as the Zoom H6, but produce much better audio.

3. External Storage

Our cameras can produce beautiful images, but all that information needs to be stored somewhere. Filmmakers in general require a lot of external storage, in order for us to retain all of the footage we’ve shot.

External hard drives like the Western Digital Passport, or the LaCie Rugged HDD, definitely come in handy, as they’re small, compact, and can store a lot of footage.

4. Screen Calibrator

This one is a bit technical, but stick with me. Have you ever noticed how the same image can look different, if you look at it on your computer, and then on your phone? That’s because colours look different on different kinds of screens.

Professional filmmakers need a device such as the Datacolor Spyder 5 Elite, or X-Rite i1Display Pro, in order to calibrate our screens to the required colour standard. This ensures that we can accurately edit our videos and photos in terms of colour.

5. Video editing equipment

When editing video, sometimes a keyboard and a mouse won’t suffice. We need additional hardware such as the Contour Design ShuttlePRO V.2 to more easily, and more efficiently, edit our video.

6. Camera Stabilisers

When holding a camera, the resulting footage can be shaky. Even when trying our best, sometimes our hands aren’t quite enough. In order to eliminate shake, a device such as a DJI Ronin-M can help eliminate it, and produce wonderfully stable footage.

7. Camera Tripod

When we’re not moving, holding a heavy camera isn’t particularly comfortable. As a result, using a tripod can help out with that!

8. Power Banks

All of our devices require power. Lots, and lots, of power. We often carry power banks with us on shoots, in order to make sure we have enough. As a general rule of thumb, buying more expensive power banks is the best way to go, as they have built-in safety systems.

Really cheap power banks have been known to explode, or catch on fire, so spending a bit more on them tends to be best.

9. Headphones

When it comes to audio, headphones are a must! We need to go for quality, as opposed to looks, so I’m going to happily recommend the Beyerdynamic DT 150. I’ve been using them for years, and they still work perfectly, even after daily use.

10. Camera Backpack

Finally, all of this gear needs to go somewhere when we’re moving about. Investing in a quality backpack will not only make you look more professional, but also protect your gear if you ever happen to drop it.

I hope this list has been helpful! Getting any of these items on the list as a gift will make any videographer happy!