The holiday season is upon us. Here are some cheap and practical gifts to get for your filmmaking friends — or for yourself!
For those of us in the film and video production business, shopping for film-related gifts can be tricky. Yes, there’s tons of stuff we all want and need, but we can be quite picky and need items specific to our individual gear. Also, if we really need something, chances are we will already have purchased it for ourselves.
If you’re looking to get a holiday gift for a film professional — or are a film pro looking to get a gift for a fellow film friend, gift exchange, white elephant, whatever — here are seven gift ideas that are sure to be a hit.
Editor’s note: For the love of all that is good, please do not give anyone you know a coffee mug lens. We appreciate the one you got us last year and we have far too many already. Happy holidays!
1. A Hat That Says Movies On It: $25
Chances are, if you’re in the film and video production industry, it’s safe to say that you’re a fan of movies. From big blockbusters to little indies, movies are great and deserve your support in the face of competition like virtual reality, video games, television shows, and internet videos. Luckily, indie filmmaker and movie-aficionado Kentucker Audley has your back with his successful Kickstarter campaign for “a hat that says movies on it.” You can also buy a movies sweatshirt, blanket or movie.
2. Custom Lens Covers: $14.95
Everyone, and I mean everyone, needs lens covers. They’re small, nondescript, and easy to get lost between pockets, camera bags, and the last place you set one down to change lenses. They’re also easy to get mixed up with your buddy’s or another videographer’s.
All that can be changed with LenzBuddy’s custom lens covers. A great gift for videographers with their own branding and logos.
3. Lumu iPhone Light Meter: $99
While not a mainstay in every prosumer’s setup, setting your shots with a light meter (and not just using your camera’s auto-lighting optimizer) is still the best way to set your lighting and camera settings. With Lumu’s iPhone Light Meter, it really isn’t as difficult as you’d think. Here’s a video of the Lumu stacking up against some traditional digital meters.
4. ASC Magazine Subscription: $29.95
For those unfamiliar, within the film community there is a professional group called The American Society of Cinematographers which represents some of the best and most successful directors of photography and special effects experts in the industry.
Since 1920, the ASC has released a print magazine full of insights into the craft of cinematography with trade updates, behind-the-scenes perspectives, and exclusive interviews. A must-read for any film enthusiast.
5. JOBY Gorilla Pod: $49.95
As seen on TV (probably), this popular invention is the future of tripod technology (not likely). While not quite the game-changer it claims to be, it is an inventive and useful camera mount for certain situations and can be a lifesaver in a pinch. JOBY’s signature flexible tripod comes in different sizes depending on your camera’s size and weight.
6. Google Cardboard: $15
VR is the future and the future is now. That can be scary, especially if you’re concerned with what a VR experience might cost in terms of immersive hardware. However, worry not — Google has your back, as usual. Google Cardboard is as cheap as, well, cardboard. All you need to do is fold together one of their cut-outs, insert your smartphone with one of their designer’s apps, and strap in for a full VR experience.
7. Lens Cleaning Kit: $28
While definitely not the flashiest gift to open up, it might be the most useful. Lenses get dirty, smudged and dusty every time you take one out on a shoot. A good videographer, filmmaker, or photographer will always have wipes, clothes and other lens cleaning supplies with them at all times. That being said, those supplies are always running out, getting dirty, or in need of an update. A fully stocked lens-cleaning kit will be practical and gladly welcomed by any film or video professional.
Have any cool or practical holiday gifts you’d like to recommend? Let us know in the comments.