Every filmmaker is different no matter how much experience they have or don't have. However, every filmmaker could always use some help being better prepared and making their shots more effective. Here are 6 cheap add-ons to your production gear before your next shoot:
1. Have a Mini Camera Tripod
Last month, Brian and I had to produce a Kickstarter video at an ice rink in Logan, Utah. We needed to attach a GoPro to a disk that was going to slide across the ice and smack into more disks. Unfortunately, our GoPro suction cup mount wasn't going to work because the disk had a handle at the top. We ended up using our Pedco mini tripod as a mount. This tripod is light and small and has a velcro strap attached to it. really easy to strap it to anything, like a handle, or even a light stand or railing.
Initially, I was skeptical about how the shot was going to look, but afterwards I was impressed with the end result. Watch the footage in the GiF down below and make sure to check out the SlyDysk Kickstarter page.
As a side tip, getting a cell phone tripod adaptor can make the B-camera you need. Mobile phone cameras are improving with each new model so don't feel anxious about not being able to afford the new Canon or Nikon DSLR.
Sometimes in filmmaking we need to find new ways to make every shot work. So go and make it work!
2. Tie a Washer To Your Tripod
Another trick you can do before going out on a shoot is to attach a washer to your tripod. I remember the hassle of going to shoots for college projects, and not having a nickel or penny to loosen or tighten the base plate on the tripod.
Why not just keep a penny in your camera bag? Yes, keeping a penny in your bag works fine, but you still risk losing it or scratching your camera equipment.
For our Allex tripod, an elastic band is tied to a washer, while the other end of the band is hung on the stabilizing handle. It's easy to use and extremely reliable.
Now you won't need to worry about bringing change or having to use your long finger nails to do the job because the washer will always be with you.
3. Get fold-up Headphones
Nobody really like earbuds. They're uncomfortable and they tangle up into an unbeatable mess, taking forever to unravel. It's like a weird intimate relationship you don't want to be in in the first place. So what I am getting at is - buy these cheap headphones for your next shoot you won't regret it.
Why you might ask? Aside from the affordable price it's collapsible feature is handy and saves space in your camera bag or gear luggage. You can put this in your backpack and whip out a moments notice when doing interviews or grabbing some ambient sounds. The audio quality is great and serviceable when running and gunning.
4. Have a USB Battery Pack
Having your phone charged is must if your doing long day shoots, especially, when they're other people involved in the project. Buying a USB battery pack will be a life saver if you're constantly having to communicate with others who may or may not be on location.
Sometimes we may have a USB port device in our gear bag already. For instances, we use the TASCAM DR-70D for recording crisp clean audio for our production shoots. For AC power, it uses USB. Also charging some cameras like the GoPro use USB as well. This battery can also be useful for charging your phone or any other USB device.
5. Business Card Holder in your Camera Bag
Keeping a good relationship with old clients and getting referrals from them is how you survive doing freelance video work. A good tip would be to purchase a business card holder and fill it with as many of you business cards as you like. Then put the business card holder in your gear bag, and don't touch it; until you need to of course.
Let's face it, when having businesses cards in your wallet you destroy them or you lose them over time. If it's in your gear bag then you will never misplace or damage them because their protected by the casing. Having clean unscathed cards looks professional and it shows your a neat, standup person.
6. Get a Memory Card Holder
Keeping everything organized is key to having an effective shoot as you may already know. This handy memory card holder has been great because it's water resistant, durable, and compact to fit in your gear bag.
One trick to manage your cards is to put your empty cards on one side (like the yellow side) and then after you use them stick them on the other side. The downside to a setup like that is your holder now holds half as much, but the plus side is you are less likely to mix up which cards you already used.
Those are some of our cheap add-ons and tricks for your video gear. If you have any other gear add-ons your own please leave them down in the comments below and as always please subscribe to our blog post for production updates, tips and tricks, and film theory from Cinema Spice.