8 Last-Minute Gifts for Filmmakers

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Ahh, it’s the holidays. Time for warm clothes, good food, and figuring out what to get your relative or friend who has an affinity for filmmaking. Looking at film and video equipment from the outside is confusing. It’s sometimes even confusing to those of us who make a living with film and video, so I can’t imagine what every-day folk are thinking. I’m also not saying that you shouldn’t get them the lens replica coaster set, it’s just that there are some more practical gifts that will be much more appreciated.

FotodioX LenzCoaster Lens Replica Coaster Set
FotodioX LenzCoaster Lens Replica Coaster Set

Gaffer Tape

When completely without a clue of what to give, get gaffer tape. This is perhaps the one gift that will always be appreciated because film sets eat up tons of tape. Use it to attach gels to lights, tape down wires, as a quick fix for an outfit, or attaching a mic underneath clothing. The uses are almost endless. If you don’t know what makes gaffer tape so special, it is because it is strong, doesn’t leave a residue, and is hand tear-able. It’s significantly more efficient than duct tape.

ProTapes Pro Gaffer Tape
ProTapes Pro Gaffer Tape

Better Power

One other thing that always seems to be in short supply is power. With aims to keep equipment highly portable and eliminate the need for long cables running across set, batteries have become more and more important. It used to be just cameras and some other essential gear ran on batteries, but now even lights can be powered by them.

There are a few extremely common types that are a good place to start if you want to help bolster the kit of the filmmaker in your life. The first is the small L-series battery. This can run a lot of smaller lights and cameras, as well as monitors and other filmmaking tools. It’s common for indie filmmakers to make use of these. 

Anton Bauer NP-F976 7.2V, 6600mAh L-Series Li-Ion Battery
Anton Bauer NP-F976 7.2V, 6600mAh L-Series Li-Ion Battery

If you are looking for a solid L-series battery to gift this season, we like the L-Series Li-Ion Battery from Anton Bauer. This 47Wh battery is compatible with most cameras if they power via L-series batteries. It can also work with 7.2V accessories such as monitors and lights, making this battery an extremely handy edition to a creator’s kit if it can fit in their gear ecosystem. With compact form factor and enormous flexibility, this battery can be charged using the unincluded Anton/Bauer L-series single or dual-position charger.

Another great L-series option is this L-Series Battery Kit from Core SWX. This kit includes a 7.2V lithium-ion battery and a travel charger to provide around 2 hours of light at slightly less than maximum light output. Thoughit was designed specifically for the TL-BT200 LED light, this kit is capable of powering other L-series compatible products, making it a versatile tool in your gear kit. The battery has notably been outfitted with a Sony InfoLithium microchip and the charging system is compatible with Sony batteries, so Sony fans can enjoy more charging flexibility.

Core SWX NPF-970, 6600mah L-Series Battery Kit

L-series batteries only scratch the surface of power options available today. High-end productions and equipment move up to the much larger Gold and V-mount battery packs. These can power serious cinema cameras and extremely bright LED panels. Overall, we like Anton Bauer as a solid name when it comes to battery packs and is a great shortcut to find exactly what you need. Keep in mind that, for air travel, you are limited to 100 Wh.

Compact Camera

If you're shopping for a filmmaker, consider gifting them a compact "B" camera to complement their "A." Action cams like the GoPro HERO11 Black make for great B cameras. Not only is the HERO11 Black a wildly capable camera in its own right, but its compact and ruggedized design means you can easily bring it with you on all your shoots and use it in situations where you wouldn't want to risk your main camera. We especially recommend gifting a GoPro to outdoorsy creators or anyone who likes to film on the fly.

GoPro HERO11 Black

Another compact secondary we like is the Mevo Start: a versatile, live-streaming camera designed to make content creation on platforms like YouTube Live and Facebook Live incredibly easy. 

Mevo Start Live Streaming Camera

Compact and portable, the Mevo Start supports battery-powered streaming for up to six hours, making it a perfect camera option for those who like to create in extended sessions. With three mounting types to choose from, creators can enjoy variable configurations with crisp audio and up to 1080p30 resolution capturing. 

The Mevo Start is a great gifting option to consider if a filmmaker in your life has been considering documenting their creative process, or for a creator who also enjoys gaming, making music, or other forms of self-expression they might be thinking about broadcasting to the world. Compact, professional, and intuitive, this streaming cam is sure to delight a creative in your life. 

 

Tripods

Nobody ever wants to use one, but tripods are essential for filmmaking. Now, if you really want to surprise your friend or relative, then look at the Sachtler Flowtech 75. This is one of the few moments where there is a nice improvement to tripod design. It features a single clamping lever for easier adjustments and is very solid. A little rich for you? Well, plenty of other manufacturers produce video tripods that will get the job done. Take this Vanguard VEO 2 PRO 233AV as a prime example. 

Sachtler Flowtech 75 MS Carbon Fiber Tripod with Mid-Level Spreader and Rubber Feet
Sachtler Flowtech 75 MS Carbon Fiber Tripod

Motion Control

Taking the next step in support systems would be to add some motion. There are a few ways to do this, with the most common being the slider. Sliders can be found in nearly every size and at any price point, so I’m going to pick out one that fits somewhere in the middle of the road. edelkrone has made its name on unique products, and the SliderONE v2 is one of its best. It’s an ultra-compact motorized slider with 7.9" of travel. A cool extra feature is the ability to pair with a HeadONE or HeadPLUS to transform it into a two- or three-axis unit. That’s quite nice for a compact device.

edelkrone SliderONE v2
edelkrone SliderONE v2

Lights

Light is so important to video and yet the smallest details can often be overlooked. Sometimes the idea of carrying another 1x1 LED panel is just too much for a small production. That is where ultra-compact lights can make all the difference. One brand making a name in this area is Lume Cube, especially since the Lume Cube 2.0 is an exceptionally tiny, yet powerful LED that is waterproof to 30'. This means you can work it in with a GoPro, place it in dangerous positions, stick it where no other light can even dream, and boost the quality of your image.

Lume Cube 2.0 Daylight-Balanced Portable LED Light
Lume Cube 2.0 Portable LED Light

Extra Space

While they might not be the flashiest gift, memory cards are indispensable accessories appreciated by all creators. Today’s memory cards are constantly pushing the boundaries of technology with larger capacities, faster read and write speeds, and adapting with the newest camera formats and features. We have some solid options to consider this holiday season.

OWC 256GB Atlas Ultra UHS-II SDXC Memory Card

Our first option is an Atlas Ultra memory card from OWC. Available in a variety of storage capacities and in speed classes of either V60 or V90, this card is up to the task of supporting anything a DSLR or mirrorless camera can dish out. Functions like continuous shutter bursts or rapid shooting are met with ease, and videographers can enjoy seamless video capture in a variety of formats, including 6K and 3D video.

The Atlas Ultra’s rugged design is resistant to bending, shocks, and X-rays, and boasts an IP67 rating, meaning that it is both dust and waterproof for creatives who like to work outdoors. 

For an in-depth look at why the Atlas Ultra memory cards will make for an excellent gift this season, be sure to check out our hands-on review.

If you're shopping CFexpress cards, we recommend Prograde Digital's Gold-Series CFexpress Memory Cards, which are available in single or two-packs. With the guaranteed minimum write speed of 300 MB/s, Prograde's CFexpress cards enable uninterrupted capture in several formats, including 6K and 8K ProRes 422 HQ, among others.

ProGrade Digital 256GB CFexpress 2.0 Type B Gold Memory Card

Resistant to shocks and X-rays, these professional-grade CFexpress cards are tough against harsh conditions. One thing we do want to note is that while these cards are backwards compatible, that compatibility only applies to specific XQD cameras, so be sure to confirm that the gear of the person you're shopping for is compatible with these cards.

There are plenty of alternate storage solutions out there. The humble hard drive is useful for video and film as the raw footage always takes up a ton of space. For filmmakers, we recommend an SSD. These are significantly faster than conventional spinning hard drives and don’t have moving parts—meaning they are less likely to loss data because of a bump while traveling.  

Even smartphone filmmakers can benefit from storage such as the SanDisk iXpand Flash Drive Go. Plug it into the Lightning port of your iPhone and copy over all the wonderful footage you just captured. Now you can easily bring it over to your computer to start editing.

SanDisk 256GB iXpand Flash Drive Go
SanDisk 256GB iXpand Flash Drive Go

These are just eight examples of sweet filmmaking tools that your friend or family member will most certainly appreciate. Do any filmmakers reading this have any of their own wish list items they want to share? Leave them in the Comments section, below!

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