Filmmaking is a notoriously expensive endeavor. Although we certainly don’t believe you need the most high-end gear to shoot something meaningful, you will probably need to drop at least a few thousand dollars to build out a beginner’s filmmaking kit.
Fortunately, there are some handy inexpensive filmmaking and video accessories you can add on that won’t break the bank. In a new video, which we have embedded below, documentary filmmaker Luc Forsyth shares some of his favorite accessories for filmmaking that cost under $20. If inflation pricing for video gear has got you down, grab something from the below budget accessories list for your next shoot.
#1 Bongo Tie
These industrial strength elastic bands are great for organizing cables, keeping batteries attached to stands for powering your lights, or really anything else. You can pick up a pack of 10 for about $7.
#2 Overcovers for Lav Mics
These are essentially micro pieces of “dead cat” (the very fancy industry term used to describe the fuzzy wind covers for mics) that allow you to block wind on a lav mic. These are a great tool on shoots where you are running both camera and sound, especially if you are shooting outdoors.
To use them, you simply sandwich the mic between the fuzzy bit and the sticky backing tape for an easy way to block wind while you are recording. Check out the version made by Rycote for about $13. The best part is that the fuzzy part of the overcover is reusable, you will only need to replace the sticky backing tape after each use.
#3 Paper Lantern
This inexpensive lighting modifier is a great way to create a nice diffuse light source and is regularly used on higher-end film sets. They can easily be hung, and because they are essentially a ball of paper, they are lightweight and will provide a large throw of soft light on your subjects. It’s compatible with a large variety of lighting equipment and is a great way to light an interview or if you have a bigger light source, light an entire room.
#4 Shower Curtain
You can create your own giant softbox to light your subjects with a big window and a translucent white shower curtain. An 8×8 piece of diffusion silk will cost you well over $100, and though the quality of a shower curtain isn’t going to be nearly as nice, an inexpensive shower curtain will provide similar results without the need of frames and stands. Having a roll of tape on hand and a few clamps will certainly help you hang it though.
#5 Lens Tissues
Keep your front element clean during your shoots with a pack of inexpensive lens tissues. They are also super similar to the sweat blotting paper that makeup artists use, so in a pinch they can be used to decrease shine on an interview subject’s face.
#6 Paper Tape
While gaffer tape is super strong and will keep a firm grip most of the time, there are certain situations where a roll of paper tape might be preferable. The benefit of paper tape is that it won’t peel paint off a wall or leave sticky residue on anything, making it a great tool for labeling memory cards as they are pulled out of your camera.