The Gear You Need to Shoot Your Own Indie Movies (2023)
It never was easier to produce your own videos, short films or even feature films. While video production isn’t exactly a cheap hobby, you don’t need a film studio to get studio-level recording. No device will automatically make you proficient with a camera, but if your skills are struggling with the constraints of your environment, these tools could open up a few possibilities.
Update December 2022: We’ve added more information on tripods and a section on audio gear.
A good tripod
More than almost anything, you need a good tripod to hold your camera, no matter what camera you’re using. Finding the right tripod can be a bit of a pitfall because it’s easy to find a very cheap tripod – you could go straight into Target and get one for under $20 – and if you’re first starting out, you should maybe do. But as your needs grow, you’ll find that not all tripods are created equal.
To start with, some very basic photo tripods are designed for static shooting, but when shooting video you might want more movement options. A good video tripod can rotate freely and smoothly without sticking. You may also want to look for a tripod with an interchangeable head so you can buy the right head for the shots you need, rather than trying to match your shots to your equipment.
I use this K&F tripod ($90), which has both a ball head – for freehand movement – and a flat rotating mechanism for pan shots. This gives it a lot of flexibility without a lot of bulk. It also uses a standard Arca Swiss quick release plate, which will come in handy as you upgrade your gear over time. For more tripod recommendations, check out our complete guide to studio gear here.
Stands, C-stands and various clamps
Making sure all your gear is in the right place — and keeping it there — is a job so complex and important it’s an entire profession in Hollywood. Don’t worry, if you’re editing a small production (or a one-person production) you can still get away with basic setups, but it’s worth learning about the different types of gear you can use to power your Position lights and microphones.
Tripods are universally useful for positioning things like lights, and they’re incredibly cheap. They are usually sturdy enough to hold LED lighting panels, GoPros, microphones, or other small devices. You probably won’t want to use it as your camera’s main tripod as they usually only have one screw on the top which doesn’t allow for much camera movement. Also, they tip over fairly easily, so you don’t want your expensive camera sitting unsteadily on them. But for a lot of the other gear on your set, they can really come in handy.
C-stands are a step up when you need something more stable, and especially when you want to hang gear overhead. Not only can you extend upwards, but you can also attach extension arms that allow you to reach horizontally (or at an angle) across your subjects. This is particularly useful for mounting directional microphones, for example, which work better when positioned over a subject as they focus on the sound of the subject they are pointing at without picking up as much ambient noise.
https://www.wired.com/story/gear-you-need-make-indie-films/ The Gear You Need to Shoot Your Own Indie Movies (2023)