Let’s face it, gift-giving season is upon us, and you’ve got someone you care about to whom you would like to give a useful and meaningful gift. But, you don’t know what to get them. Sure, you could go with the old stand-by, the B&H Gift Card, but this year you really want to make an impression, and can’t wait for them to shower you with compliments of how great your gift was. So, grab a warm beverage and read on, as I offer up some gift ideas for that videographer/filmmaker in your life, even if that means you are giving a gift to yourself.
I know, we envision far-off locations with majestic vistas, but the truth is that all these films and videos get edited, visual and sound effects added—and don’t forget the score and sound mix. All of that is going to take place inside a room, with closed windows, for many hours at a time. Sounds like just the place for a filterless air purifier, with a variety of models to match the size of your post-production closet, I mean, room.
You just cannot go wrong with a good Multi-Tool, and this year there are a few surprising ones I had never thought about. Certainly there is the old stand-by, the pliers based Multi-Tools from Gerber, SOG, and Victorinox, to name a few. Also from Victorinox is the Swiss Card multi-tool, a credit-card-sized tool set and holder that can fit inside your wallet. The iFootage Beetle X1 is an interesting assemblage of tools, and it also doubles as a cell-phone holder/desktop stand. 3 Legged Thing presents the Toolz, which is an ABS plastic carabiner with a few tools and a bottle opener. Ah, the bottle opener, most multi-tools have one, and it can be a necessity after a hard day’s work. I would be remiss not to mention the 293 Victorinox Swiss Army Knives that B&H sells. Arguably the first multi-tools, the biggest questions you’ll face are: how big is too big, and corkscrew or Phillips screwdriver, or both? My personal favorites are the Climber and the Huntsman, and the versions with the translucent side scales, now that’s cool.
Nuts and Bolts
Gray cards and color charts. No way to go wrong here. If you are shooting video, you want to shoot color charts, and if you are using DaVinci Resolve, then these are the color charts that work with the Color Match feature, which is a great time saver. If you are looking for charts from DSC, check them out here. White-balancing your camera is still a valid technique, and you should also know that you can use a gray card to white-balance, and it is just as, if not more, effective than using a white card.
It happens to everyone: it is a long day’s shoot and the D.P. has lost the ability to speak in full sentences, but the camera has got to go somewhere, and lighting has got to be set. Instead of gesturing wildly and spilling coffee all over the set, the D.P. calmly pulls out their trusty laser pointer and clearly points out exactly where they want the camera or lighting instrument. Well, they would be able to, if only they had a laser pointer but, thanks to you, now they will. Great for clarity on the set, and good for hours of fun playing “spot on the floor” for those with cats, dogs, and young children.
Flashlights and more
Just like a Multi-Tool, a flashlight is an indispensable tool. The variety of flashlights available is jaw-dropping. It isn’t just a choice between waterproof or water resistant, now there are flashlights that also record video. However, don’t forget—these are tools, so hands-free operation can be key, and if you have to get light into a hard-to-reach area, gooseneck lamps are the way to go. Just for fun, UV flashlights are great gimmicks, and good to have on hand, especially if you mark your tools with Invisible UV ink.
Warm Hands, Happy Work Day
Winter is coming and gloves will be required, but the fall and spring will have plenty of days that, although brisk, don’t really call for gloves. However, raw, chapped hands are no fun. To that end, consider Celestron battery-powered hand warmers. More than just handwarmers, some double as flashlights or USB chargers.
Not a Hanky
Lens cloths. I promise you, no videographer can ever have enough lens cloths or lens wipes, even if they have 100 of them right now, one day on a shoot they will be down to their last one, and if it was one that you gave them, they will think of you with appreciation.
USB battery packs are virtually indispensable these days, so although utilitarian, a great gift to which no one is going to say, “uggh.” Scosche makes a couple of batteries that are for the iPhone with a Lightning connector. They also have magnets to hold them to your device and so shouldn’t be used with hard drives. Solar-charging USB batteries make excellent gifts for those who travel to remote locations with questionable power.
Last, but Not Least
Some of you may know a budding documentary filmmaker, and one of the biggest obstacles for them is going to be transcription. For that person I recommend these voice-recognition hardware and software options.
Gift, Gift, Gift
I hope that I’ve pointed out some new gifting options for that videographer/filmmaker in your life. If I’ve missed any of your favorites, please feel free to share in the Comments section, below.