5 Things to Have on Set for the Low Budget Filmmaker

Ever spent weeks preparing for a shoot only to arrive on-site and realize you’re out of batteries or your memory cards haven’t been dumped? Well, if you’re a potential or future client, then know that this surely hasn’t happened to me. Anyways, take a look at some other things that’s proven helpful over the years besides battery chargers.


 Dry-Erase board + Netbook

Investing in a slate or dry-erase board helps you easily share ideas, shot lists, and scripts. It creates a visual roadmap for both you and the team, so avoid the chance of any miscommunication.

The laptop is self explanatory. Right? Showcase you’re work, vision examples, reference videos, to the rest of the team. Dump your memory cards when they’re filled up. Pull up the script or a google doc. Personally, I always arrive pre-loaded with assets/songs/references/shot concepts to give the talent a better understanding and what the final product will look like.


Gaffer Tape

Fix broken light stands, mount components to your camera rig, control lighting, set marks on the floor for talent. The uses for gaffer tape are unlimited. The strong cloth type material doesn’t leave any residue when you unpeel it or take it off of stuff. It costs a bit more then duct tape but just buy it. Then bring it. Then paypal me donations.



Continuous lighting sure does get HOT. Keep the talent happy and cool. When I was doing my sister’s portrait shots (see: top pic) I brought in 2 fans originally for the hair, but quickly realized how much of a cheap solution it was to offset the heat coming from a continuous lighting kit. The fans haven’t left my studio since.



Weather conditions are uncontrollable. iPhone weather apps lie. Indoor lighting gets even trickier. These cheap tools can fix a ruined shot and optimize a good one. For outdoor, nothings worse then having harsh, dappled light on the subject. No excuse for not spending the 15$.


Stepping stool

Understand the importance of scene composition and framing? DPs do. Sometimes the difference in getting ‘the shot’ can be as little as moving the tripod 5 ft to the left or climbing that extra rock. A small stepping stool from target/walmart gives you ability to change your vantage point whenever needed. Also, i’m kinda short.

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