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The Best Filmmaking Tools Under $15

The Best Filmmaking Tools Under $15

Want high-quality filmmaking gear without breaking the bank? Here are a few of our favorite low-budget filmmaking tools.

If you’ve spent any time at all working in the Film or TV industry then you know gear and equipment can be quite expensive. It’s not uncommon for a production company to spend tens of thousands of dollars on a camera setup. So what are indie-filmmakers to do? Give up their dreams? Of course not.

Thankfully there’s a ton of gear out there that will make your wallet happy, so you can focus on saving up your money for big purchases like cameras and rigs. In this article, we’re going to take a look at some of the most affordable filmmaking tools under $15.

The Best Filmmaking Tools Under $15

Let’s kick off this list of low-budget filmmaking tools with a few of my favs.
Clamps, Gaff Tape, and Extension Cords

Clamps

Price: $2.69 a Piece (Price Varies)
A Clamp is one of the most versatile tools on an entire film set. With a clamp, you can hold diffusers in place, loop a cable around a table, or simply hold a backdrop in place. They are incredibly helpful and a must-have on any set.

Gaff Tape

Price: $13.95 (Price Varies)
Try to use painters tape or duck tape to hold down your cables and you’ll soon find why filmmakers swear by gaff tape. The tape stays in place and doesn’t leave a sticky residue on your cables or floors once you’re done. The cloth texture also makes it easy for tearing. Plus, once you wrap set you can combine all of your used gaff tape into a gigantic ball... 

Extension Cord

Price: $12.99
You can never have enough extension cables on set. From powering your monitors to lights, there is a seemingly never-ending need for extension cables running around a set. DPs also have a funny way of choosing film locations that are far away from power, so a few extra cables can help you have more flexibility with your film location.
Allen Key, Heat Resistant Gloves, Air Blower, and Lens Pen

Allen Key

Price: $13.99 (Price Varies)
Allen Keys are fantastic for tightening tripod legs, fixing light stands, and general maintenance around your set. I find that it’s helpful to have them around just in case.

Heat Resistant Gloves

Price: $13.99 (Price Varies)
If you touch a film light after a few hours on set, your hand is going to turn into Tennessee BBQ. Anytime you are dealing with lights you need to have a pair of heat resistant gloves which can help you safely move and transport your lighting gear. Trust me, it’s no fun to char your fingers.

Air Blower

Price: $6.95 (Price Varies)
Dust on your lens will show up as blurry specs in your footage. So instead of using a rag or worse… your shirt, simply use a simple air blower to safely blow dust or fuzz off your lens.

Lens Pen

Price: $9.99 (Price Varies)
In the same vein, a lens pen is a simple maintenance tool that will allow you to clean particularly problematic lens debris from your camera lens. I like lens pens because they can slip into your pocket.
:ens Wipe, Step-Up Rings, and Extra Lens Cap

Lens Wipes

Price: $12.22 (Price Varies)
If the blower and pen don’t get the job done, I recommend using Zeiss lens wipes to clean off your lens. The simple white wipes are the best in the business. I keep a large box of these at all times.

Step-Up Rings

Price: $12.95 (Price Varies)
If you shoot with different camera lenses, chances are your gear like lens hoods or ND filters may not fit properly on all of your lenses. With Step-Up rings you can ensure that all of your lens gear will fit a unified size which can be different depending on the brand and style of your lens.

Extra Lens Cap

Price: $3.95 (Price Varies)
If you’re anything like me, you may have a problem with misplacing lens caps. So instead of running the risk of an exposed lens getting scratched, I recommend keeping one or two backup lens caps in your camera bag just in case.
Lens Hood, Memory Card Case, and HDMI Cables

Lens Hood

Price: $4.79 (Price Varies)
Light leaks may seem cool, but it’s a much better idea to try to comp them in post rather than shoot them directly in-camera. With a lens hood, you can block the sun and any other unwanted light source from creating glows inside your camera footage.

Memory Card Case

Price: $12.95 (Price Varies)
Memory cards have a funny way of getting lost. I can’t tell you how heartbreaking it is to lose an entire day’s worth of filming simply because a memory card was misplaced. Avoid heartache and use a memory card case to keep things organized. New cards are face up and used cards go face down.

HDMI Cable

Price: $7.99 (Price Varies)
When you’re on a film set there’s a good chance that you won’t be monitoring your video directly from the camera. Instead, there is likely going to be a monitor that the director can use to see the captured footage without having to stand over the shoulder of the DP. This is where HDMI cables come into play. If you have a few cables you’ll be prepared when you inevitably need one.
Clap Board, Tape Measure, Field Notes, and Black Polo Shirts

Clapboard

Price: $14.50 (Price Varies)
Clapboards aren’t just for making your production look legit, they serve a very real function on a film set. As most productions record sound and video separately, it’s important to have a single action that can be used to sync sound and video together. This is where a clap board comes into play.

Tape Measure

Price: $2.97 (Price Varies)
A Tape Measure is a great all-purpose tool to have on a film set. You can take accurate measurements for your actors to find their spots, measure the focus distance so your Assistant Camera operator knows where to pull focus, and more. 

Field Notes

Price: $9.95 (Price Varies)
Field Notes are fantastic for jotting down any important notes on set that need be shared with your editor. They are great because they can easily fit into your pocket. No matter what role you perform on set, field notes are a great way to organize your thoughts.

Black Polo Shirt

Price: $5.59 (Price Varies)
The last tool may seem silly, but if you do live production a black polo shirt can really come in handy. Black shirts help you to stay in the background and not draw attention to yourself so the focus can be on the subject you are shooting. Get a black polo shirt, and maybe even embroider your production company logo on it. It’s an easy way to look legit to your clients.

Find More Low-Budget Film Items and Techniques
If you’re interested in learning more about low-budget filmmaking check out a few of these fantastic blogs on our site.


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Do you have any favorite low-budget filmmaking tools? Let us know in the comments below!

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