It’s no secret that those of us in the video production and filmmaking industries suffer from “gear lust” (scientifically known as “gear acquisition syndrome”), and these urges only intensify when the holidays are right around the corner. Most of us want all the fun, shiny, new gear, but are interested in waiting it out to see if we get anything in our stockings (because the only thing better than video gear, is video gear we didn’t buy ourselves). So here’s a list of cool gift ideas, that won’t break the bank, for the filmmaker or video producer in your life.
Think Tank Red Whips: These things are awesome and super handy to have with you while filming (so awesome in fact that I set out to make my own) - they’re not only fashionable as bracelets, but can be used to secure cables, tie things down, or connect small pieces of gear together, among other things!
Field Notes: Having a notebook on hand is a must for anyone in the creative field - from doodling to taking notes to storyboarding projects Field Notes are ubiquitous with on-the-go notetaking. I like having the graph ones, but they come in lined/ruled, blank/plain, and mixed packs as well!
MoviePass Subscription: From the creators of Netflix, this subscription (~$10/month) allows each person to see unlimited movies for free at participating theatres - it’s not a piece of gear but it’s too cool not to include in this list. Also, be sure to check the locations/theatres before you buy, and make sure your wonderful, amazing wife reads the blog post you just wrote and knows that you think this is a really really really cool gift idea.
Custom skins for your devices: While these range in price from $5-$25 and up, most of the decal kits are reasonably priced around $6-20. Unique designs and the ability to customize them make this a must-have for any filmmakers who like to make a statement.
YouTube RED Subscription: Also not gear, but something cool to consider. I watch stuff on YouTube as much as I do on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, and watching things ad-free is an amazing feature of YT Red. They usually run deals where you can get a month or two free as well.
Leather cover for your Field Notes notebooks: Available in a few colors, and with some personalization options, these are a great addition if you’re getting your beloved filmmaker a set of Field Notes (or they already use them). I think Field Notes are already pretty durable, but a case will last a long time and class them up a bit.
Anker portable charger: Being on set all day has a lot of side effects (sore feet, sore back, urge to drink beer, etc.) but one that’s easily avoidable is a dead phone battery. These are great and easy to carry, a must have for anyone who finds themselves out in the field often.
Ztylus smart phone rig: Have someone in your life that wants to get involved with smart-phone filmmaking? Get them a rig that provides ergonomic handgrips and a shoe mount. The Ztylus rig is a great, and inexpensive, introductory rig for anyone who wants to use, or already uses, their phone to produce videos.
Business Cards: One of the best gifts my wife ever got for me was a set of business cards that she designed. I get compliments on them constantly (mostly because one variation has pics of our dog on them), and they are a great, and inexpensive, tool to use while networking or growing your business. I like the square cards we get from Moo.com, but there are tons of options out there.
Camera Lens Mug: This cute but cheesy gift is great for the filmmaker who likes their coffee/tea to stay hot while out on a shoot.
Book: Rebel Without a Crew: Famed director Robert Rodriguez made his first movie over the course of a few weeks with only a camera and a few thousand bucks. This book is damn near a replacement for film school.
A framed photo of their logo: If your guy or girl has their own business this is a great and inexpensive way to show support and provide them with a cool office decoration at the same time.
X-Rite Color Checker Mini: A small, portable, and insanely useful piece of gear that helps videographers and filmmakers white balance their cameras or test/develop LUTs for improved color correcting.
StoryClock Notebook: A massively successful Kickstarter campaign put this little notebook on the map. Use them to sketch out ideas, analyze movies, or write your own screenplays. Check out their StoryBoard Notebooks too!
LEGO TV set: Does your filmmaker love TV, LEGOs, or nostalgia? What about all three? Look no further than this super cool (and super cute) LEGO set from master brick layer Chris McVeigh.
American Cinematographer Subscription: Get your DP a subscription to one of the best filmmaking magazines. Interviews, reviews, and tips from the best in the industry.
X-Rite Color Checker Passport: The big brother of the Mini listed below, this one has some added bulk and functionality.
Rode Video Micro: Get pro quality audio for your DSLR, mirrorless camera, or phone (with an additional adapter). This mic might be small but packs a huge punch for the price.
Vintage Film Gear: I’ve got an old film projector, a ton of 8mm and 16mm film reels, some vintage cameras (like this neat 3 lens 8mm film camera), and more that I’ve slowly collected and currently use to decorate my office space. A little searching can yield some great results for even less money - and be sure to check your local resale, antique, and thrift shops too!
$100+ range (if you want to break the bank)
DJI Osmo Mobile: If the video guy or gal in your life really wants to take their smartphone filmmaking to the next level the DJI Osmo cell phone gimbal is a must have. Also consider the Zhiyun Smooth Q if you still want high quality but want to save a few bucks.
Artlist.IO Subscription: For just under $200/yr this service provides a monstrously vast library of music for your productions. Unfortunately it comes with a hefty price tag!
DJI Spark Quadcopter (Fly More bundle): Arguably the smallest, and definitely the cutest, quadcopter out there. While it only shoots HD video it can almost literally fit in a pocket, and is a fraction of the price of any of its bigger brothers and sister.
Are there any gift ideas you’ve either gotten or given for the filmmaker in your life? Let us know! And happy holidays!
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