Pre-Production: 4 Basic Pieces of Film Equipment You Need

In pre-production, you will need to track down a good amount of equipment for the upcoming shoot. Your crew members should be able to advise you about this, but before you have hired everyone, you should still have a general idea of what you will need.

1. Camera

There are many different cameras out there that come at all different costs. You will need to balance your budget across your entire film, so you will want to consider cost before quality. First, ask what you can afford to spend on a camera and go from there. Some of the top HD cameras can be as expensive as shooting on film. However, there are plenty of low budget options available from all the same manufacturers. You can search for personal owners or you can go to a rental house.

2. Sound Equipment

You will need to capture good sound to compliment your visual images. Though many cameras have an on-board microphones, these mics will never be able to capture high quality sound. They are too far from the subject and too omni-directional. You will need to find a directional mic to put on a boom pole. You can also look into getting some wireless lavalieres. To fully control the sound, you will also need a mixer to balance the levels. Many sound people come with equipment, but otherwise there are many rental houses you can look into.

3. Lights

Though you may be able to use all natural light in order to get exposure, you can improve the quality of your images with some lighting and grip equipment. The extent with which you invest in this equipment is vast. You can use as little as an Arri kit or as much as an entire truck full of equipment. Again, you need to evaluate what kind of budget you can allocate to this department, then leave the specifics to your cinematographer.

4. Camera Accessories

A camera as is is not very effective. Even the most basic cameras need extra pieces to function properly. Get enough batteries to keep the camera on long enough for another battery to charge. In most cases, you can achieve this with 3 or 4 bricks. You also need something to record on. Many cameras now use data cards to collect the footage. Others use cassette tapes. Some of the more high end cameras will allow you to change the lenses. This could be an excellent opportunity for you to improve your images with some better glass. A tripod can also be necessary if you are not going for the handheld look. The list of possible accessories is extensive, but these are just a few key pieces.

Equipment can add up to a large percentage of your budget, so you need to have a good idea of what you are getting into. There are many options available, but the basics are always the same.

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