Kits and Crews: When First-time Filmmakers Have Some Money

Kits and Crews: When First-time Filmmakers Have Some Money

This is the second part of Kits and Crews, a 3-part series that talks about film making in relation to the budget availability.  Read the first part by click here.

OK, so for some reason mom and dad helped out or perhaps your college buds see a future Scorsese in you so they pitched in get to your project going. Fact of the matter is, you got it better than our first example. So here’s what you can do with their money.

Your Camera Kit

  • If your budget can afford it, get a good quality DSLR camera such as the Canon C300, or maybe the cine camera from  Blackmagic. It’s cheaper than it was released way back in 2012, but you’d want to take a rental at this point in your career.
  • In terms of media storage, stick with one of those portable external hard drives that will work with your camera’s output specs.
  • Save yourself the stifling neck pains and rent out a monitor. It will allow you to view the images as you shoot without having to use the viewfinder. It’s not too expensive, but renting it makes good sense as this is your first film project.
A good, all-around solid state monitor from Leader. Perfect rental when starting out.
  • The 50mm prime lens is your best bud right now because it works well with a wide range of styles and shots.
  • You should be able to afford 70-200mm telephoto lens which will allow you to play around with camera placement, such as flattening the background and outdoor shots.
  • For your lighting kit, rent a 2 or more fill lights, a bounce board and pick (or 2 if possible), gels and stands.
  • Be sure to get a tripod.
  • Get your hands on a shoulder rig. This will be extremely helpful for shooting handheld or on the move. Steadicam would be quite pricey at this point, so it would be a good idea to acquire a Fig Rig.

The Audio Kit

  • The shotgun mic, along with the necessary extension cables, an external sound recorder, and the boom are a must.

Now that you’re working with a higher budget, start checking out other options you can use as part of your audio recording gear. A shotgun mic is an indispensable tool, but using body and ambient mics are great for picking up intimate sounds where a shotgun mic can’t.

More Gear

  • Now that you can afford to ditch the skateboard, hire a professional track and dolly setup. This should come with a nice set of rollers, and with tracks that can be laid out on virtually any surface and still get fluid motion.

Your Crew

  • Director or DoP – this time the director can focus on just the actors and the camera operator without having to worry about operating the camera
  • Producer – will be responsible for organizing the set come shooting day, including other activities before and after prodcution
  • Camera operator/lighting tech/2nd DoP – be sure to get someone with a good background in photography. Getting someone new in the field would more likely be easier to work with, and might even bring fresh ideas to the table.
  • Hire an experienced sound technician who knows a good deal about boom placement and sound capture. This will bring your movie soundtrack’s level of quality to a professional grade.
  • You’ll need a set handyman who’ll push the dolly around, carry the bags, or to stand in anyone else when they’re busy.
  • You should be able to hire up to 5 actors at this point.

The last part of this 3-part series talks about having enough money to make for a better production. Click on this link to find out more.


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