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Must-Have Tools to Keep Any Video Production Running Smoothly

Michael Maher

Don’t find yourself without the tools you need when you need them the most. Here are the must-have tools for video production.

Top image via Shawn Corrigan.

A go-bag for your essential tools is a great way to keep your production running. It’s the best and easiest way to handle any hiccups that may happen on set. If you aren’t a grip or an AC, you should definitely make sure you’re carrying your own tool kit to set.

Now, obviously, you need a camera and some lights, but other than the essentials, these are the tools you need on set.

Video Production Tool Bags

Must-Have Tools to Keep Any Video Production Running Smoothly CineBags
Image via CineBags.

Before you build a camera gear tool kit, you will need a bag to carry everything. The best bag is big enough to comfortably carry everything you need. Avoid roller bags if you will be in remote locations. The best options have shoulder- or  backpack straps.

Here are a few worth checking out:

  • CineBags — durable, removable pouches great for cameras and lenses — expensive.
  • Klein Tools — standard for craftsmen and trade workers — fair price but sometimes expensive.
  • Filmtools — standard for grips and AC, durable, customizable belt and pouches — fair price but sometimes expensive.
  • Generic All-Purpose (Husky, Dewalt, AWP, etc) — available at every hardware store, gets the job done — cheap.

General Tools to Have on Set

Must-Have Tools to Keep Any Video Production Running Smoothly Filmmaking Tools

These are the tools that you should already have at home. They are helpful for just about any scenario you can imagine. These should all fit in a bag, so large items like ladders are not listed. (Most important tools in bold.)

  • Screwdrivers
    • Phillips and flathead
    • Multiple sizes
  • Allen Wrench Set / Hex Keys
    • Imperial and metric
  • Hammer
  • Wrench
  • Pliers
  • Tape measure
  • Zip Ties
  • Velcro
  • Gaff tape
  • Work gloves
  • Scissors
  • Flashlight/headlamp
  • Carabiners
  • Rope
  • Power extension cords
  • Multitool (Leatherman, Gerber)
  • Pocket knife
  • Clamps
    • Spring clamp
    • C-clamp
    • Wooden clothespin (C-47s)
  • Writing Utensils
    • Pen
    • Grease pencil/China marker
    • Sharpies (Multiple Colors)
    • Dry erase marker (multiple colors)
  • Assorted Batteries (AA, AAA, 9V)
  • Assorted 1/4 20 screws, nuts, and bolts
  • Aspirin

Assorted Screws, Nuts, and Bolts

Having some 1/4″-20 nuts and bolts at your disposal can be a huge help on set. The 1/4″-20 size is standard for most film equipment, from tripod mounts to camera cages and accessories.

A backup box of various length bolts and nuts can save you when you’re in bind. Use a fishing tackle box, craft store divided bins, or toolbox separators for easy access and organization. Check out this video from The Slanted Lens on building a bolt kit.

Bonus Assistant Camera Tools

A few things to help keep the camera up and running.

  • Compressed air/blower
  • Lens cleaner
  • Lens cloth
  • Sensor swabs
  • Card reader
  • Assorted cables
  • External hard drives
  • Color chart
  • Slate
  • Light meter

For an example of a fully stocked AC camera bag, check out this kit that Evan Luzi carries with him on set.

What do you keep in your go bag? Let us know in the comments below.