Low-Budget Filmmaker’s Ideal Equipment List

If you opened a low-budget director’s travel bag, you’d find the following: 

Canon T2i DSLR Camera

The whole film can be shot with this camera at 1080p, 24fps. While it’s not a high-end camera with all the bells and whistles, this DSLR camera is incredibly handy because it is low-profile and most of the time, people you are just taking still photos. This allows you to capture the interactions needed without drawing attention or being overbearing with the camera. The camera rig is so small and unassuming. If you’re a filmmaker looking to capture unpolished, genuine moments, this is a gift. 

DSLR Viewfinder

This needs to be purchased separately from the camera. It comes with a frame that adheres to the camera’s LCD screen and allows the viewfinder to attach to the camera. The magnified image provided by the viewfinder helps when pulling focus, and the eyepiece is great for shielding the image from bright light when shooting in sunlight.

Zoom H4n Digital Audio Recorder

This recorder is small and portable, capturing great sound quality. 

Rode VideoMic Condenser Shotgun Microphone

This microphone mounts directly on the camera and plugs into the stereo mini jack. If you don’t have a separate person to run sound, this is an essential piece of equipment for capturing good audio on location.

Sennheiser Shotgun Microphone

This is a great microphone for interviews. 

4TB G-Raid Hard Drive

Media management can be a challenge on the road. The evenings are a good time to set up this hard drive and transfer the day’s footage over to make room on the media card for the next day’s filming.

Shoulder Mount

A good shoulder mount rests comfortably on your shoulder and gives you the flexibility to move around and capture solid, smooth shots. It won’t be as smooth as a Steadicam or similar device, but it will add stability and a level of professionalism to your shots.

Tripod

Lock your camera down and get a steady shot! This is an essential piece of equipment in your bag.

Micro LED On-Camera Light

Throw a little light in the eyes or make it your key light for an interview– this small, versatile light comes with an adjustable knob that allows you to control the intensity of the light and comes with a set of blue and orange gels to control the color temperature. It’s a great on-the-go light that comes with a shoe so you can mount it to your camera. 

Black Gaff Tape

Use it to anchor down cables, hold together a broken piece of equipment, or mark a position for staging. It’s amazing how many life-saving uses this strong, durable tape has in the field.

There are many brands of equipment out there and many ways of doing things. These tools have worked for other filmmakers in the field, and I hope you find this list helpful as you set out to make your films. 

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