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The Ultimate Gift Guide for Filmmakers and Videographers

Looking to impress your filmmaker friends this holiday season? Why not give them gifts they will actually use on the job?

Cover image via Shutterstock.

As we’ve mentioned before, shopping for film professionals can be a little daunting — and straight up expensive. More often than not, if we really need something, we’ve probably purchased it for ourselves. But you’re in luck! This list is full of affordable items we will truly never get tired of.

The Ultimate Gift Guide for Filmmakers and Videographers — Production
Image via Shutterstock.

I’ll start with some general items that almost anyone in the industry is guaranteed to get excited about, regardless of what department they work in.

  1. Walkie-Talkie Surveillance: Every crew member on set uses a walkie-talkie to communicate across departments, and surveillance is a must since we’ve got to keep quiet while filming. Owning a personal surveillance is great because you can show up on set with it already strung through your clothing; you don’t have to share ear germs with any other humans on set, and if you lose it, production’s not going to charge you. If you want to get really fancy, you could throw in a pack of silicone earpieces. These make a world of difference, comfort-wise and sound-wise.
  2. Portable Battery Charger: This is such a practical and useful tool for anyone filming on location. When you’re filming out in the desert, or in the mountains, or in the woods with no access to power, nothing’s better than a portable battery with USB ports to charge up a phone, LED light, tablet, or any other electronics necessary to get your job done.
  3. Amaran AL-M9: This pocket-sized LED by Aputure is compact, lightweight, and powerful. You can turn the intensity all the way up and use it as a work light, you can mount it with adhesives to serve as a practical light, or you can use it as the perfect fill light for any tough, small shooting environment.
  4. Travel Bags and Backpacks: Filmmakers are always on the go — sometimes a one-day scout, sometimes a weekend festival, sometimes a two-month feature. Whether it’s a small bag for toiletries or a large duffle to take on location, travel bags of all shapes and sizes are key to keeping organized while on the road. Throw in a laundry bag if you want to get really crazy.
  5. Adult Coloring Books: Now this is how you unwind after a twelve-hour work day. Be sure to add in a Stabilo Fine Point set for optimal coloring that can also double as on-set pens for color-coded organization and labeling.

The Ultimate Gift Guide for Filmmakers and Videographers — Sound Stage
Image via Shutterstock.

Now for the comprehensive, department-by-department, never-going-out-of-style, filmmaker shopping list:

Production Department (producer, director, assistant director, production coordinator, production manager, script supervisor, production assistant)

  1. Aluminum Storage Clipboard: $18.09
  2. Lockbox: $18.95
  3. Sharpies: $24.99
  4. Weatherproof File Box: $24.99
  5. Label Maker: $49.99
  6. Hard Drive: $79.94
  7. Portable Printer: $146.96
  8. iPad Pro: $649.00 (going big!)

Camera Department (cinematographer, camera operator, assistant camera, camera production assistant, still photographer)

  1. Paper Tape: $6.62 per roll (you’ll want to buy several different colors)
  2. Hard T-Marks: $8.25 each (you’ll want to buy at least four to make this useful)
  3. Insert Slate: $10.25
  4. Cinefoil: $24.48
  5. Laser Measure: $49.97
  6. Allen Key Set: $51.04
  7. Pelican Case: $259.95
  8. Light Meter: $599.99 (going big!)

The Ultimate Gift Guide for Filmmakers and Videographers — clapper
Image via Shutterstock.

Sound Department (sound mixer, audio engineer, boom operator)

  1. Bongo Ties: $6.99 (make sure to grab a few packs and vary the color)
  2. Alcohol Wipes: $9.99
  3. Moleskin Tape: $9.99
  4. Transpore Tape: $10.70
  5. Sync Slate: $98.00
  6. PortaBrace Audio Harness: $85.93
  7. Audio Organizer: $139.00
  8. Wireless Lav Mic: $629.95 (going big!)

Lighting/Grip Department (gaffer, electric, key grip, dolly grip, rigging grip, grip)

  1. Spring Clamps: $0.99 each (pick up varying sizes and create a bundle)
  2. Gaff Tape: $16.71
  3. Gels: $32.88
  4. 5-in-1 Reflector: $39.90
  5. Heat Resistant Gloves: $59.15
  6. Quacker Clamp: $86.40
  7. Light Meter: $599.99 (going big!)

The Ultimate Gift Guide for Filmmakers and Videographers — Film Light
Image via Shutterstock.

Art Department (production designer, art director, set designer, lead man, set dresser, set decorator, set construction, prop master, art production assistant)

  1. Strong Tape Measure: $12.90
  2. Tape: $18.99 (pick up all colors, types, sizes)
  3. Ventilator Mask: $32.49
  4. Leatherman: $34.50
  5. Tool Box on Wheels: $37.97
  6. Screwdriver Set: $39.61
  7. Makita Tool Combo Kit: $387.38 (going big!)

Vanities (costume designer, wardrobe supervisor, shopper, set costumer, seamstress, costume assistants, make-up artist, hair stylist, make-up & hair assistants, special effects)

  1. Topstick: $12.49
  2. Clear Over-the-Shoulder Set Bag: $19.95
  3. Heavy Duty Garment Rack: $39.87
  4. Clothing Steamer: $59.00
  5. Portable Hair & Make Up Chair: $61.45
  6. Aluminum Rolling Make-Up Case: $82.99
  7. Pocket Photo Printer: $129.95
  8. Canon EOS Rebel T6: $399.99 (going big!)

Here are a few bonus items that will really take your gift to the next level!

  1. American Cinematographer Magazine: a monthly magazine published by the American Society of Cinematographers, focusing on the art and craft of  filmmaking. Sign up for a one-year print subscription for $29.95.
  2. Film and Digital Times: a quarterly journal honing in on art, technique, and technology in motion pictures worldwide. Sign up for a one-year print subscription for $49.95.
  3. Vimeo Pro: this version of Vimeo provides you with unlimited storage and uploads, professional customization, and team collaboration access.  Sign up for a full year of the Vimeo Pro experience for $216.00.
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