What Are The Filmmaker Essentials?

Script, camera, actors? Sounds pretty obvious, right? But if you do want to make a quality film, you might want to pick up a few extra things. YouTube and filmmaker Darious Britt (D4Darious) has listed his 12 filmmaker essentials that he thinks are required for first time filmmakers.

Here is what he recommends:

Filmmaker Essentials - Computer

1. Computer

You’re going to need one of these to edit your films on. And you’ll probably need at least 16GB of RAM (I get 32GB), a decent video graphics card and processor with plenty of speed. Rendering is the bane of many filmmaker’s existences, so a computer with decent speed will save some headaches. If you’re doing more graphics heavy work, you may want to upgrade your RAM and processor.

Filmmaker Essentials

2. Camera

You don’t need the most expensive camera in the shop. You just need the one that works for you. As Darious says in his video, as long as it has manual functions to control the settings and can shot at least full HD 1920 x 1080, you can shoot your film on it.

Filmmaker Essentials

3. Memory

You need memory cards of whatever type your chosen camera takes. It may be SD cards, a compact flash card, a video tape? Darious recommends buying two or three extras, just in case one fails, breaks, or you just shoot a whole lot of footage!

Filmmaker Essentials

4. Filters

Especially for shooting outside when it’s really bright, filters will help you keep that shallow depth of field which gives that “cinematic look”. You can get a variable ND filter for whatever lenses you have which means you can adjust the amount of light that is being blocked. This is instead of buying multiple ND filters of specific light stops.

Filmmaker Essentials

5. Tripod

A tripod is absolutely one of the filmmaker essentials you will need. It will help you get perfect still shots, and smooth camera moves like tilts or pans. Nothing says amateur filmmaker like shaky handheld footage (unless your film is supposed to look like that).

Filmmaker Essentials

6. Audio Recorder

Another thing that separates the amateurs from professionals is sound. Bad sound equals a bad film. It’s just very hard to watch and enjoy a film if the audio quality is poor. So a decent sound recorder is absolutely essential. One of our favourites here is the Tascam DR-40. Don’t forget a decent pair of headphones.

Filmmaker Essentials

7. Boom Mic

In addition to the sound recorder, you’ll need a decent microphone. External mics get far better sound that on camera mics so at least one of these is necessary. Plus you can get the mic much closer to your actors. Our pick is the Audio Technica shotgun mic.

Filmmaker Essentials

8. Boom Pole or Mic Stand

Next in the audio section is a mic stand or boom pole. This will help you get the mic as close as possible to your actors. If you’re shooting on your own, or with a limited crew, a mic stand will mean you don’t have to swing the boom while also holding the camera.

Filmmaker Essentials

9. Lighting Kit

As Darious says, your audience should not notice your lighting, but it will make so much difference to your film. You can grab something like a Lowell lighting kit which will work well in many situations: films, corporates, YouTube videos. When you can invest in better quality lights, you can. And you can also get very cheap kits off eBay and Amazon.

Filmmaker Essentials

10. Reflector

These are great for bouncing light when you don’t need (or have) another light source. It’s very simple and very handy. You can also get reflectors with multiple colours (usually silver, gold and white) and also ones that can become a diffuser as well. Check out this one.

Filmmaker Essentials

11. Editing Software

You need to be able to edit your film. HitFilm Express is a free software option you can use, but then you could step up to Final Cut Pro X or Adobe Premiere Pro. The Adobe suite is our editing platform of choice, but it’s totally up to you, your budget and your preferences.

Filmmaker essentials

12. External Hard Drive

Shooting footage (especially HD footage) chews up a lot of drive space. You’re going to need to store that somewhere. Not only that, you might want to think about backing up your footage. If you’ve spent a week filming, then a week editing, then your drive breaks, if you haven’t backed up your footage, then it’s probably gone. Keep a back up on a drive and save yourself some headaches.

That’s Darious’ options for filmmaker essentials. What would you add to your first time filmmaker kit? Anything you think is unnecessary?

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