Beginners Filmmaking Equipment | Starting Out

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Starting Out... I remember how I bought my first camera. I was 16 or 17 and it was a tiny handheld Canon camcorder (really awful quality but good for the times) and I think it cost around £300 and the people I was lodging with at the time allowed me, because I was under 18 to buy it in instalments through their name. I felt so proud the day I paid it off and owned my very own camera.

There is so much more available now but it took me so long to realise what I actually needed and I wanted to give beginners out there a helping hand. If you want to get into filmmaking or are interested in making a short film for the first time, you'll need some basic tools. Everything costs even though it's way more affordable these days so I have tried to find you the low end, necessary equipment that will work and give you some tools but that you can afford - if you save.

Here is a list of some basic equipment that will get you started and isn't ridiculously expensive:

This camera gives a really high quality look and is relatively cheap (considering semi-pro cameras are in the £1000s) You don't have to get a Canon DSLR you can go Nikon. They allow you to get different lenses and are quite easy to carry around.

DSLRs are the best when it comes to low budget, starting out filmmaking. A lot of traditional TV people have their little huffs and puffs about them but they do the job and they give lovely images

Tripods make your shots looks more professional because they make your shots steady. Always try to film with a tripod unless you have a reason for shooting by hand or are going for a particular look
These lights are not professional but they give really great diffused lighting when you are doing interviews and can be used for short film lighting. Lighting is essential. It elevates your shots to look more professional. The reason big films look so great is the amount of lighting they use.
In general, prime lenses are faster than zoom lenses. I find them more fun to use because it makes you think about your shots more because you can't just zoom in and out. You have to move with your camera and it becomes a physical extension of you instead of just point and shoot. It also means you have to decide why you are taking your shots. Look for them on eBay they are usually cheaper.Watch my video on this for some more details and so you can see what I'm talking about:

So go out and PRACTISE filming something with your camera. Don't be afraid of the camera. It serves you, it will not get you and it's built to be used. The worst you can do is make mistakes and film a load of rubbish. That's how I learned.

Once you're comfortable with your camera, try telling a short story.

If you're stuck for ideas why not try this STORY IDEA:

A man/woman who is afraid to leave their house but realises there is an important package left for them just outside their front door, just out of reach.