If you’re just starting out as a filmmaker and looking into buying gear, it may seem overwhelming. So much to buy, so many options – and it can all be pretty expensive. But Matti Haapoja’s latest video is here to make the decisions easier and help you get your first kit. He suggests the first 10 items new filmmakers need to buy and gives you a couple of examples of the affordable, yet high-quality gear.
1. A camera
Of course, you can shoot with a smartphone and still get decent videos. After all, technology is advancing and smartphones could soon have a gazillion lenses. Still, it’s better to get a dedicated camera for filmmaking: it can be a DSLR or a mirrorless, so you can shoot with different lenses. Matti suggests Sony A7III and Panasonic GH5 as the best price-value options. But really, it’s up to you what you’ll choose.
2. A lens
There’s certainly a lot to choose from, but Matti suggests starting with a Sigma 18-35 f/1.8 if you’re not using a full-frame camera. If you’re using a full-frame camera, go for a kit lens for starters. And from there on, invest in lenses.
Now that you have a camera, a lens, and a memory card, it’s time to bring them together and stabilize your shots. If you only do steady shots (like interviews), you can go with a monopod, a tripod, or even GorillaPod. A gimbal, perhaps? Well, it will be suggested later, because you need two more things before it.
Decent audio is what you also need to think about when you start shooting videos. As the camera’s integrated microphones are not something to rely on, you’ll need an external mic. Matti recommends Rode VideoMic Pro Plus to start with, and you can check out a few more options here.
6. ND filter
You really need an ND filter because you can film at wider apertures outside without cranking up the shutter speed. It can be expensive to buy one for every lens, so you can buy step-up rings instead and the largest ND filter, so you can use one filter on all your lenses.
7. A gimbal
8. A camera bag
You need something to carry all that gear, right? Matti suggests Lowepro ProTactic BP 450 AW II, and there are certainly many other options to choose from. You can check out some more suggestions here and make a decision based on your preferences and needs.
9. A drone
“Everybody needs a drone,” Matti says. I sure hope I’ll get one someday, but for aerial photos rather than videos. For beginner filmmakers, Matti recommends DJI Mavic Air: it’s portable and the image quality is great, yet it’s relatively affordable.
Finally, you need some lights. You can rent them, but it’s good to have at least one of your own. And if you only have a budget for one light, Matti believes it should be the Aputure LS C120d II with a softbox. But if you’ve spent all your budget on the gear above, perhaps you can just use the sunlight for starters. It’s free.
What were the first items you bought for filmmaking other than the camera? Is there anything else you’d add to this list?
[FIRST 10 THINGS YOU NEED AS A FILMMAKER |Matti Haapoja]