Back to School: 43 Needs and Wants for Film School


Whether it’s a four-year undergraduate program, a two-year graduate school, or a single class, studying film production is different from other fields of study. Film production classes are more like being in a trade school. Students learn and apply work skills, as well as film theory. Most importantly, you will be shooting at least one short film, and to make that film you need equipment, tools, and supplies.

Most film programs provide the cameras, sound equipment, and editing facilities you need, but, to take full advantage of them, some personal tools are necessary. Many of these tools are the same as what professionals like screenwriters, assistant directors, gaffers, and assistant camerapersons use daily.

Film instructors will supply a list of required and optional supplies for their classes, but just in case you lost that list or want another list of supplies to get you started, listed below are some of the tools of the trade that you might need; some are expendables that you will use up and some are items you can use for years to come.

1. Screenwriting Software

2. Storyboarding Software

Power Production StoryBoard Quick 6 Software

3. Production Software

4. White Balance Cards

5. ColorChecker Chip Chart

X-Rite ColorChecker Classic Card

6. Clapper or Insert Slate

Elvid 9-Section Acrylic Dry Erase Production Slate with Soft Case Kit

7. Dry Erase Markers

8. Powder Puffs* for erasing the slate

9. 1-Inch White Gaff Tape

10. Sharpie Pens

Sharpie Fine Point Permanent Marker

11. 1/2" Spike Tape for marks

12. Microfiber Lens Cloth

B+W Photo Clear Cloth (7 x 7")

13. Lens-Cleaning Solution

14. Flat-Head Screwdriver

15. Multi-Tool


16. Flashlight

17. 2-Inch Black Gaffer Tape

18. Clothes Pins

General Brand Clothes Pins - Wood, with Spring - Pack of 50

19. Lighting Gels

20. Gel Roll

Visual Departures Gelly Roll - Holder for 10x12" Gels - Orange

21. Gel Frame Tape

22. AC Belt Pouch

23. Work Gloves

24. Reflectors

Photoflex Multidisc 9-in-1 (42")

25. Blackwrap

26. Production Bag

27. External Media Drive for Editing

28. Closed-Ear Headphones

Sony MDR-7506 Headphones With Deep Earpads & Carrying Case Kit

For Shooting Digital

29. Memory Cards for the Camera

30. Memory Card Case

31. Card Reader

SanDisk ImageMate Pro USB 3.0 Reader

32. Sensor Scope

33. Air Blower

Giottos Rocket Blaster Dust-Removal Tool

34. Sensor Brush

35. Sensor Swabs

For Shooting Film

36. Film

37. Scissors

Dahle 40006 Vantage Scissors

38. Canned Air

39. Camel Hair Brush

40. Lighted Magnifier for checking the film gate

Carson PO-25 3x MiniBrite Lighted Magnifier

41. Orangewood Sticks Cuticle Pushers* for cleaning the film gate

42. Light Meter

Spectra Cine Professional IV-A Digital Exposure Meter

43. Film-Changing Tent

*Drugstore Item