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7 Essential Filmmaking Tools Under $20

Filmmaking can be really expensive, especially if you feel the need to have the latest video gear. However, you don’t have the break the bank to get some great filmmaking tools. In the following post we’ll take a look at 7 essential filmmaking tools under $20.

1. Gaff Tape - Price: ​$12.85

From the outside you probably wouldn’t think of Gaff Tape as an essential tool for filmmaking, but ask any professional filmmaker and they will tell you just how important it is to have Gaff Tape on set. 

Unlike other tape, Gaff Tape doesn’t leave behind residue, meaning you can stick it to just about anything. This makes it perfect for marking off actors points, locking down cables, or hiding a microphone.

2. Diffusion Paper - Price: ​$11.98

Soft light is much easier to work with on a film set than hard light. As a result many filmmakers choose to shoot with a softbox or through a 4X4, but if you’re short on cash a great way to diffuse cheap lights is through diffusion paper. Diffusion paper softens the light that hits your actors face, resulting in beautiful, soft light.

3. C-47s (A.K.A. Clothespins) - Price: ​$6.82

C-47s have been an essential filmmaking tool for decades. While the exact reason about why they are called C-47s is still debated, there’s no debating the importance of a C-47 on a film set. They can serve a number of purposes, such as holding up props and gels. You can get big packs of C-47s online for only a few dollars.

4. Gels - Price: ​$6.40

As you know, light comes in many colors, but when it comes to shooting a film mixed lighting is a nightmare. Instead of shooting with lights of a different color temperature, try changing the light color by using colored lighting gels. 

There are gels that change light from orange to blue and everything in-between. Once you get a good collection of gels you’ll be able to shoot with consistent light and your colorist will love you.

5. Flash Lights - Price: ​$9.95

No I don’t recommend using a flashlight to light your subject, but if you want to channel your inner J.J. Abrams, a flashlight can be a great way to add realistic lens flares into your scene. Unlike plugin-based flares, lens flares captured in-camera have similar visual qualities to your footage. Just don’t get too carried away...

6. Timelapse Trigger - Price: ​$15.99

If you’ve never shot a timelapse video before, you might be surprised to hear that it is actually incredibly easy, all it takes is a simple timelapse trigger and your favorite DSLR. 

A timelapse trigger can tell your camera to take pictures in regular intervals ranging from a few fractions of a seconds to a few minutes depending on the timelapse you are trying to shoot. This is a much better alternative to shooting really long videos.

7. Moving Blankets - Price: ​$10.99

One of the fastest ways to tell the difference between an indie-film and a professional film is to simply close your eyes and listen to the audio. A film is half of what is seen and half of what is heard, so it’s important for you to take your audio seriously. 

One helpful tool that I like to use on a film set is a moving blanket. These blankets can dampen audio from walls and windows to remove echo and distractions.

First time here? ActionVFX creates action stock-footage products for VFX and filmmaking, centered on user feedback. (We also have some great free stuff!)

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