Low-Budget Documentary Filmmaking Gear Check-List
One of the most exciting aspects of filmmaking is putting together your video production equipment package.
Keep in mind, there is no "one size fits all" equipment package for everyone since there are so many variables (budget, type of project, locations, pro vs amateur, etc), so what we have tried to do on this page is cover some basic gear you may want to consider.
Below is a video production equipment list for the beginner filmmaker.
This is simply a starter guide in your search for some basic filmmaking gear.
A great place to start is with a video camera and build from there.
A video camera is the centerpiece of your filmmaking gear package. What camera you choose depends on your budget, the type of shooting you're doing (static, stealth, run-and-gun, etc.) and where you plan to showcase your film (web-only, theater, broadcast, etc). You can shoot a documentary on anything from your iPhone to a DSLR to a top of line digital cinema camera such as the Red Epic. Whatever camera you choose, make sure you capture excellent audio. Click here for help on how to choose a video camera.
You only really need a lighting kit if you're planning to do a lot of shooting inside. Creating a well lit scene usually involves a 3-way lighting set-up.
Good lighting doesn't have to be expensive. Learn more about various lighting techniques.
Sure, you can use a "wired mic" which is a bit less expensive, but I wouldn't go on a documentary shoot without my wireless microphone. Unless you have an audio person who can hold a boom mic, this is the next best thing providing tons of flexibility for walk-and-talk interviews with your subjects.
Photo courtesy: Jimmy Jib New Zealand
If you're ready to take your filmmaking up a notch, try some of these specialty video production equipment items to get those cool Hollywood-looking shots.
Do you already have video production equipment? Share what you've learned! Include your own equipment list here and include a detailed review of each piece of gear (how you use it, how you like it, etc).
Click below to see what gear other filmmakers are using...
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Video Gear List For Singalila in the Himalaya Documentary: Filming in Remote and Extreme Conditions - George Thengummoottil shares his gear list for a 14 day trek and documentary shoot through the Himalayas.
On The Road With Alex and Henry: Our Videography and Photography Gear List (VIDEO) - Alex Head and Henry Nathan have been shooting together since grade school. Learn what gear they use to shoot their gorgeous travel videos.
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Affordable Filmmaking Gear For Beginning Filmmakers (VIDEO) - B.L. Garrett spent hundreds of hours searching for filmmaking gear to make his first documentary. In this video, he shares his gear list and why he chose each item.
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