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The Basics: A Filming Equipment Checklist 

Are you looking for a simple but time-tested filming equipment checklist for beginner filmmakers? 

We’ve put together a list of 12 filming equipment pieces that will get you started on your first film productions.

This list is pared down to the film equipment we consider the essentials of a starter filming kit. We also include links to items you can purchase or rent directly from the DTC website.

Camera Equipment

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  1. Video camera. Most filmmakers want to start with at budget-friendly but high-quality mirrorless, DSLR, or camcorder camera. Whatever your budget, opt for the highest quality audio and video features you can afford, and don’t shy away from older models that you can buy used. Buying a used camera is a great way to get a highly-rated camera at a reasonable price.
  2. Add-on lenses. Ideally, you’ll find a camera that comes with a set of lenses for varying your shots (used purchases are great for getting a complete set). If that’s not the case, you can purchase individual lenses that match best with your specific filming plans
  3. Tripod. A sturdy tripod will guarantee you get steady shots, so get the best one you can afford. Look for fluid head and drag system tripods, as these will give you the smoothest shots. You can always opt to rent a tripod and take time to discover what works best for you.
  4. Film storage. You’ll want plenty of memory cards or videotape for your camera footage.
  5. Extra batteries. These will ensure you don’t run out of battery life in the middle of your incredible shoot. A very worthwhile investment.

Lighting Equipment

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  1. Main light source. We think a great starter light is the Chauvet DJ Cast Panel Pack.
  2. Accent light. We’re partial to the palm-sized Aputure MC RGBWW Mini LED Light, which gives you the ability to reproduce any color.
  3. ColorChecker. Check your light for color control! We recommend the original: the Calibrite ColorChecker Classic.
  4. Light reflector. A simple, but tried and true, way to add beautiful light to your shots.

Audio Equipment

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  1. Audio field recorder. With starter cameras, you’ll want to skip the urge to plug the microphone directly into the camera and instead upgrade to a better-quality audio choice. This is where a field recorder comes in.
  2. Shotgun microphone. You can either mount this on your camera or on a boom pole.
  3. Headphones. These will help you closely monitor the audio quality of your shots.

The Filming Equipment Upgrades

The 12 items above are the pieces of film equipment we recommend you get started with. When you’re comfortable working with all of them and ready to make your first upgrades, here’s an excellent list of options:

  • Shoulder mount rig. You’ll want to upgrade to this when you find you need more flexibility than a tripod can provide. 
  • C-stand. A Century stand, called a C-stand, is a versatile stand that can be used to position lighting, audio, and backdrops.
  • Gimbal. Once you’re ready for advanced movement shots, you’ll want to move from a tripod to a gimbal.

There you have it: 12 essentials for a starter filming equipment set. As your filmmaking career takes off, we look forward to working with you on all of your production grip needs. Feel free to contact us when you’re ready to rent and test different production equipment. We’re here to help.