The Filmmaker's Christmas Gift Guide

Okay, I have to be honest here, I'm a bit of a Scrooge when it comes to Christmas. I like getting people gifts, I'm just not a Christmas person. I don't like the hype, I don't like the sitting around all day eating or the fact that Christmas day for some reason is reserved for sitting indoors watching bad TV and talking to only family. I might be happier if on Christmas day, there were events outside all day that you could go and watch. Anyway, enough of the Grinch...I thought it might be an idea to do a Filmmaker's Christmas Gift Guide today as we are only 5 weeks away from the DAY and you may have some filmmaker friends or be a filmmaker who will share this to your family and friends as a massive hint. I'll only mention gear I have tried and tested myself, so I'm not sending you to stuff I have no real knowledge of.

1.IVATION Pro Steady DSLR Rig  IVATION Pro Steady DSLR Rig System with Shoulder Mount For Video Stabilization For DV Cameras/Camcorders - Compact & Travel Size

I only recently got this rig and I love it. It's great for the camera I use (Canon 5D MK II) as handheld can often be shaky even if you have a steady hand. The rig means I can do on the go interviews and get some moving shots without having to deal with horrible shake afterwards (provided the lens has Image Stabilisation) For the price, a sweet £39, I was really surprised at how good this rig is. It does what I was hoping it would do and I think it would make the perfect gift for your filmmaker friend who has just spent an awful lot on their camera and lenses and has no pennies left for a rig. I think any DSLR owner would love this as a gift.

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2. Digital Film-Making by Mike Figgis  Digital Film-making Revised Edition

A brilliant, concise book all about digital film-making by the legendary Mike Figgis (who invented the Fig-Rig by the way) I just loved his approach to filmmaking. He's very liberating in the way he teaches, whereas a lot of these filmmaking books can almost scold you, Mike gives you tools and asks you to think in new ways. He also has a great chapter on distribution which I found really interesting. Great for someone starting out in filmmaking or a professional who needs some reminders. A great buy at £12! 

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3. LowePro Fastpack 350 Lowepro Fastpack 350 Quick Access Backpack for SLR Kit, 17" Notebook and General Gear - Arctic Blue

This one is a little pricey at £197 but Lowepro do a range of these bags and mine was approx £60. They are so worth the money. They take your camera and lenses, a laptop and have loads of other spaces for everything else. I did a video review of the one I own if you care to check it out here

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4. The Filmmaker's Eye The Filmmaker's Eye: Learning (and Breaking) the Rules of Cinematic Composition

A beautiful book WITH PICTURES. As you may have guessed this book teaches you about cinematic composition by showing you shots from well known films and explaining why they work and what shots you should use where etc., I got this one Christmas and I was SO happy with it. Only £15.49

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5. Writing Short Films Writing Short Films: Structure and Content for Screenwriters

I've read this book so many times I've lost count. It really focuses on the art of a short film and why it is different from a feature. She takes you through all the different aspects of writing a short script, giving great examples from brilliant short films. £13.48 

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6. Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 IS USM Lens Canon EF 24-105mm f/4.0 L IS USM Lens

A bit more of a high-end gift at £544 but this is a great all-rounder lens on a DSLR. It's a zoom lens with an image stabilizer so that you can film on the go and not get crazy shake. It also gives beautiful images and the mm cover wide to close-up. A great beginner lens and a good one to fall back on as you build up your prime lens collection.



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I hope this has been helpful and something might take your fancy either for yourself or for your creative buddy!

Bah Humbug!