Whether you’re working on a larger set, doing some one-man-band stuff by yourself, or on a run-and-gun shoot, you’ve probably been in a situation where something went wrong and you needed a quick fix for it. Here’s some gear that I’ve been taking with me to every shoot for years specifically for scenarios like this. These things can be absolute lifesavers - or time savers - on your shoot. The best part? Everything can be bought for under $10!
[The video version of this blog post can be seen here]
1 - Lens rocket - This little air blaster by Giottos is a lifesaver for your lens, it’s small and can be used to puff dust or particles off your lens or your camera. Plus, it’s really cute!
2 - Lens pen - A lens pen with a small brush is ideal for getting the rest of the crud off your lens. It’s also got a special end to get off finger smudges and things like that.
3 - Small flashlight - Whether it’s dark out or you just need a little extra light to find something in your camera back a small flashlight is a MUST HAVE - I keep one in almost every bag I use, because I find myself needing a flashlight constantly. I like Coast brand ones but there are a ton of options out there for under $10.
4 - D-ring tripod screws - While I don’t regularly use these, they are absolute lifesavers if you forget a screwdriver or a coin to screw a tripod screw with. Just flip the little back piece up and use your hand!
5 - 4 in 1 pocket screwdriver - This little guy isn’t necessarily GREAT for using on things like your tripod screws, but I find myself reaching for this one all the time - probably because it’s quicker than pulling out my multi-tool.
6 - Headphones / earbuds - Bring an extra set, I only end up using these a couple times a year, but one of the worst scenarios for a filmmaker or video producer is being out on a shoot without a way to monitor your audio.
7 - Field notes - if you want to take notes from a shoot, storyboard out your next project, or just doodle between takes these things are great. Durable, inexpensive, and fit into almost any small pocket or pouch.
8 - Pens / Markers - I love Pilot G2 pens, you can buy a 4 pack for a few bucks, and do NOT go anywhere without a Sharpie. Ever. I’m serious. You can find tons of options at like your local Walgreens or Target. Bonus tip - pick up a silver Sharpie - they can write on gaffers tape for quick labels or notes. And speaking of….
9 - Gaffers tape - Probably one of the most ubiquitous pieces of filmmaking gear is gaffers tape. This stuff is invaluable on set - pick up a small roll (or 2) for under $10 to keep with you.
10 - Rechargeable batteries - I rarely end up needing these, but it’s always a good idea to have some extra double A’s around in case you need them. Grab a set of rechargeable batteries when you’re out buying your pens and sharpies.
11 - Clamps - Bonus item! Get some clamps - spring clamps are dirt cheap at like Home Depot, and you can get several in various sizes for under $10.
So there you have it - these are eleven things, all under $10, that you should have with you on every single shoot. If you’ve got any questions, comments, or other cool pieces of gear for under $10 that I missed, let us know!
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(Disclosure: Some of the links above are Amazon affiliate links, and purchasing items from these links allows me to continue creating content like this - and the best part is that there is no additional cost to you! Thank you!)