10 Last-Minute Gifts for Filmmakers


Shopping for a filmmaker can be difficult. Equipment tends to be so specific and personal, that getting the right piece of gear to go with what they already have can make anyone frustrated with the holidays—but not to worry! The list below contains suggestions that will suit the needs, and even the fantasies, of pretty much anyone in the filmmaking field, no matter what their role or how long they've been working. So, if you are buying for someone else, or yourself, here are 10 last-minute gifts that would be ideal for filmmakers.

1. Slates

Slates are a thoughtful gift for filmmakers. A slate has multiple purposes, from keeping shots organized on set and as a quick handheld lens cutter protecting the lens from flares, to confirming the metadata in edit and providing a guaranteed sync point for your audio. Plus, "banging the sticks" on set lets everyone know that the camera is rolling, and to settle down. This Elvid 9-Section Slate makes a fine gift. The slate is translucent, which makes it ideal for use either front or backlit. The face of the slate has fields for entering pertinent information, with paint-filled engraved markings that won't rub off over time. And the back of the slate is left clean, providing a handy surface for writing messages to the editor.

2. Go Solar

Solar power is reliable and steady, and while overcast days may put a damper on charging, if you've got a filmmaker who spends their time away from cities, or where power is iffy, then some solar charging panels may be just the right thing. The Elios Wanderer 6W Foldable Solar Power Bank provides an excellent balance between power, weight, and portability. It has a built-in 10,000mAh battery, which, depending on your smartphone or device, will be good for several charges. You can use the solar panels, or wall power when you're not out in the wild. It unfolds to reveal four panels for collecting the sun's rays, and folds down to about the size of a smartphone for transportation and storage.

3. Power for Your Car

Filmmaker or no, if you have a car, you've most likely had your car battery give up, and it always happens at the worst time, like when you've got to be on set in half an hour and there is no time to wait for road service. I picked up a jump starter few years ago, and it has come in handy many times. Just pop open your hood and connect the cables and start your car. I like the small, lightweight units. When I need an emergency boost, the NOCO Genius Boost Plus suits me just fine. It's got the power to jump-start a 6-liter gas engine, built-in flashlight with four brightness levels, as well as strobe, flash, and SOS modes if your car has broken down. Polarity protection protects you, your car, and the jump starter. It features a USB port for powering devices, and charges from an included AC power adapter.

4. Portability: The Key to It All

Being able to back up your footage provides huge peace of mind. If you don't want to lug around a computer, then you might consider a portable drive with a built-in SD card reader. Great for copying your footage for a backup until you get to your edit system, or if you need to reuse a card, the beauty of these drives is that you don't need a computer to control them—just insert your SD card, press a button, and the drive does all the work. The GNARBOX 2.0 SSD 256GB hits the sweet spot. It has a ruggedized body, an SD card slot that can read at 75 MB/s, as well as two USB Type-C ports and a Micro HDMI port for playing out to HDMI displays. What sets GNARBOX apart from other portable hard drives is that it features a built-in OLED screen, and it comes with software apps for organizing and managing your footage.

5. Back in a Flash

The flash drive (or thumb drive, if you prefer) is ubiquitous in today's day and age, and yet there is always room for one more. The capacity of these drives keeps expanding, while their dimensions stay pretty much consistent; they're small enough to get lost in your pocket or confused for a stick of gum, but the transfer speeds have only gotten faster. With growing capacities, you are no longer limited to text or image files, and with USB 3.0/3.1 Gen 1 supporting speeds of 5Gb/s, flash drives have become fabulous ways to carry around video files. You can't really go wrong with the Kingston 32GB Data Traveler 100: 32GB is a fair amount of storage, and the USB 3.0 speed makes it suitable for video files, because you won't lose hours while transferring the data to and from the drive.

6. The Great Outdoors

Shooting outdoors can be tricky. I remember far too many nights working outside in the cold, with freezing-cold equipment. Gloves are indispensable when working in the cold. Durable gloves are important, because the last thing you want is to have your gloves fail in the middle of a shoot day. RucPac Professional Tech Gloves make an excellent gift for filmmakers. Durable, warm, with a rubberized palm for a good grip, these gloves have a touchscreen-compatible thumb and forefinger, so you don't have to take them off to operate devices or make a call on your phone. Available in a variety of sizes, these make a great pair of gloves by themselves, or they can be used as an underlayer for additional gloves when working in extremely cold conditions.

7. Tools and Multi-Tools

Multi-tools are always a good choice for a gift. No matter what kind of production you are working on, multi-tools are great. Pliers, scissors, screwdrivers, and corkscrews tend to be the basic tools, but if you are looking for something a little different for the techie filmmaker, then you might want to check out precision, or jeweler's, screwdrivers. The Platinum Tools 19101 Precision Screwdriver Set is a 33-piece set, with a comfortable handle that can be extended from 5 to 9.5" long, for working with hard-to-reach screws. If you are worried about duplicating tools, don't worry—fine bits and drivers go missing all the time, so having a spare set ready to go is comforting and appreciated.

8. Flashlights

The ultimate no-brainer, flashlights are always in demand, and you probably have one on your phone, but a dedicated flashlight is just the thing to have on set—good for illuminating the inside of your gear bag when looking for that small part that has gone and lost itself in there, or for working in dim locations or night exteriors. Flashlights are a useful tool and, for filmmakers, there is no such thing as too many flashlights. Small, lightweight, and powerful, the Maglite Mini Mag comes in a presentation box, which makes a sweet gift. It is also available in a variety of colors and even a flag pattern. Oh, and with this gift, batteries are included.

9. White Balancing Cards

Whether you're shooting in natural or artificial light, a white balance card is an essential tool. Light varies widely depending on the time of day and the conditions, the quality of LEDs, or various ambient lights around the location. White balancing your camera ensures there are no color-related surprises in post. White cards aren't necessarily white, but they do have to be color neutral, and the WhiBal G7 White Balance Pocket Card is certified to be neutral and has white and black reference patches that are useful tools later in post, for setting your shot's white and black points. Rugged and waterproof, this card is built to survive being used on set and location. The color is embedded throughout the card, so it won't wear or scratch off, making this a gift that is meant to last.

10. Gift Cards

If you just can't choose, but you still need a last-minute gift, then I recommend the B&H Gift Card. Available as either a physical card or an electronic card (sent by e-mail), it lets the person know you are thinking of them, and you can send one for any occasion, and even add a message to personalize your gift.


I hope that this list helps you find the perfect last-minute gift for the filmmaker in your life (even if the gift is for you). For more information on filmmaking, visit the B&H Photo Website, or if you're in New York City, visit The Studio at the B&H Photo SuperStore.

Please feel free to share with us below a favorite filmmaking gift that you've received.