The holidays are around the corner, but there’s still ample time to find outstanding gifts for friends and loved ones. If you’re buying gifts for people in the video production industry such as filmmakers, making the right choice can be challenging. Luckily, if you know what equipment they have, updating their setup becomes much more manageable.
Although some folks like swapping extensive gift lists, not everyone has such clear-cut criteria for the holidays. So, to make your choice easier, read through this gifting guide for filmmakers and videographers. From tripods to external monitors, this guide introduces you to the best equipment for video production professionals.
Camera Support Equipment
A diverse library of camera support equipment is available, so upgrading a filmmaker or videographer’s setup is always welcome. For instance, the iconic tripod is an excellent form of camera support; three stable legs allow camera operators to capture smooth, clean images that are free of blurriness or shakiness.
So, if you’re buying a gift for someone with a worn or otherwise insufficient tripod, consider seeking a new replacement. That said, tripods are far from being the only support system a filmmaker needs.
Sliders are straightforward but versatile tools for camera support. A slider is a device on which you can place a camera and move it horizontally. In other words, sliders are like compact dolly systems. Any filmmaker or videographer will appreciate a tool that expands the type of shots they can capture.
Plus, sliders and tripods don’t have to be separate units. For instance, you can find sliders that attach directly to tripods, widening the scope of what you can achieve with both devices.
Another great form of camera support is a pedestal, which is a tripod-like device you’ll spot on many news broadcasts or sporting events. Beyond their reliable stabilization, one of the camera pedestal’s most significant benefits is mobility.
The three wheels at the bottom of the pedestal make it easy to move around on the set. In addition, professional camera pedestals allow the operator to move the camera vertically and horizontally comfortably. So, you should consider gifting this to someone who needs or wants to reposition cameras on set frequently.
Camera cages are a support system, in ways, because they do allow more unrestricted movement of a camera without compromising stability or image quality. Specifically, the handles on a quality cage provide the operator with excellent movement.
However, camera cages are more than a support system; these devices allow the operator to optimize the camera with more equipment. For example, mounting points on cages enable convenient access for external monitors, which is a piece of gear we’ll detail later in its own section.
Another piece of gear that camera cages accommodate is a follow focus system, which allows more precise focus pulling on the set. Suffice it to say, camera cages are perfect for professionals who want to personalize or upgrade their camera between shoots conveniently.
Shooting video content, whether movies or music videos, requires focusing on more than visuals. As a result, one of the first things anyone in the video industry should learn is that audio quality will make or break a production’s success.
When the audience sits in a movie theater, the booming sound system can wrap them up in the story as much as the script already is, whether in the middle of an action scene or a sweeping shot of a mystical land.
On the other hand, the dialogue in a scene might be brilliant, but if the audience can’t hear it through the speakers, they leave the illusion of the film. Of course, movies aren’t the only form of production this applies to; news broadcasts, gaming streams, podcasts, and more content prioritize sound and visuals equally.
In other words, if you’re trying to buy for someone in the video production industry, consider their sound equipment. Although some devices feature built-in microphones, such audio options aren’t as professional-grade as external mics on the market.
Desktop & Lav Mics
Desktop condenser mics are perfect for vloggers or podcasters, providing a compact and reliable means of capturing sound. Likewise, lavalier microphones are small devices that can attach directly to the speaker, making it easy to hide on camera.
Additional names lavalier mics go by include a “lapel” or simply “lav” mic. Typically, you’ll find lav mics on set during interviews, though these devices are great for various productions requiring a recording device that moves with the speaker.
Next, another excellent audio device worth gifting to videographers is a shotgun mic. You’ll also hear these mics go by the name “boom mic.” This device is common on film sets because they have a wonderfully narrow pick-up pattern, so holding it just out of frame provides a great source for capturing an actor’s voice.
For this reason, you’ll frequently see boom mics appear in the top of frames in the blooper reels of various movies and TV shows. Furthermore, you can find shotgun mics capable of mounting directly onto cameras, providing more versatility to a professional set.
LCD Field Monitors
The best way to look at footage on set is with a high-quality external field monitor. From continuity issues to background distractions, having an external monitor can immensely aid in refining footage during shoots.
As you can see by browsing LCD field monitors online, these devices are compact and easy to move around. As a result, field monitors allow productions that are typically in a studio to move somewhere else.
For example, a broadcast studio typically has monitors for watching the live productions, but moving to an outdoor set requires a mobile monitor unit. Much of the equipment on this gifting guide for filmmakers and videographers impacts production versatility, and external monitors are no exception.
If you know anyone in the video production field who lacks sufficient traveling cases for gear, then holidays or birthdays are the perfect time to help. A durable but lightweight travel case for production gear ensures videographers can bring their tech out of the studio in a safe, secure way.
Plus, keep an eye out for camera cases with dividers inside; these help the owner section off their equipment storage in a clean, organized way. After all, if the gear inside is tossing and turning with every step you take, the hardware can accrue damage.
Even teleprompters have reliable cases you can find online, so don’t worry; if the person you’re shopping for already has a camera case, they might still need extra protection in the field. As mentioned earlier, knowing what they already have will help you track down the perfect piece of gear they’re missing.