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Top 10 Gifts For The Filmmaker You Love This Holiday Season

by  |  December 22nd, 2010  |  Blog

Chances are, if you’re reading this, you or somebody close to you loves B Movies. Quite possibly you have aspirations to make your own B Movie as well! We took the time to compile a list of cost effective must have’s for the B Filmmaker. As the walls of corporate Hollywood begin to come down, the resourceful and motivated artist who’s on a low budget now has a fighting chance at executing their own vision. Hopefully, this list will help set those artist’s on their path…

1. iMac

This little baby is a powerhouse for any film maker. It comes fully loaded with some really nice “free” software like iMovie. This makes it real easy to “fix” the mistakes you’ll inevitably make while filming. Not only can you edit your film, but you can add your sound design, score your film, and ad sound effects. This will quickly become your work horse and is available. I use this one myself. Available thru Apple.com starting at $1,199.00

2. Canon Rebel T2i

Much like a plumber needs a wrench, a film maker must have his own camera! Don’t let it’s look fool you. While still having the ability to shoot still pictures, The Canon T2i is also full HD Video Camera that films in full 1080p resolution, with 18 megapixels, and has the coveted 24p frame rate to give it a nice film look, along with so many other features. I myself have this and get amazing results. The T2i starts at $798.99 (make sure to get the one with the lens) available at BestBuy.com

3. Zoom H4n Handy Portable Digital Recorder

Capturing high quality stereo sound is important for any production. Though I haven’t used this yet myself, it comes recommended by fellow filmmaker Aaron Larson. It’s ease of use will be handy during production and post production. It’s on my list  of equipment to get soon. The H4n is available at Amazon.com for $299.00

4. Books on Film Making


Whether you need some heartfelt  inspiration recounted by indie film maker success Robert Rodriguez in Rebel Without A Crew, as he chronicles his own journey into film making, or you just want some handy reference guides for your production from the Dummies line, these recommended books would be an asset in any film makers library. I have and read them regularly myself. Available at Borders.com

5. Final Cut Express HD

Now that you’re on your way, you might as well get Final Cut Express when you can. This will help you streamline your HD workflow by using multiple time lines and audio tracks, and work on several different projects. It may take some time to learn and longer to master, but so worth it! Apple has lots of tech support and tutorials. Available at Apple.com for $199.00

Miscellaneous Accessories

Target.com offers a nice tripod at around $35. But you can also find some really nice gear on ebay.com as well. Weather you want to get your own green screen, lighting rig, or microphone for the H4n Recorder, along with a boom pole and wind sock. Dig around about and check out some consumer reviews. Ebay can be a great resource for all this, even a steady cam or camera dolly for your Digital rig. I usually check to make sure the seller is located in the USA (for reasons of bootlegs and things work differently in different regions), I look at the feedback and weigh the ration of positive against the amount of transactions the seller has. Example – A seller from Hong Kong with 7 transactions and a 90% negative feedback not good. But, a guy in Alabama with 5,000 transactions and a 96% positive feedback is, in my opinion, good.

Continue to support the arts and the artists anyway you can. If your son or your sister is asking you to hold a camera or to use your backyard, please let them. We need all the help we get. Every film maker needs a team. Allow them to have a supportive and creative atmosphere to learn, fail, make mistakes and succeed. Now is the time for the soldiers of the Digital Revolution to strike! I’m talking about solidarity!

-Matt

I’m now passing you over to Kevin Jacoby, CEO of Rain Computers – a company that creates professional audio and video computers –  you’re in good hands… Take it away Kevin!

Kevin JacobyThanks, Matt. Having the right gear, aside from just being awesome, is a good way to avoid technical glitches and get down to the business of creativity. We work with a lot of pros from the Conan O’Brien Show to the The Walt Disney Company. We also work with people you’ve never heard of, but who nevertheless have something important to say. Their time is precious too and their artistic epiphanies no less fleeting. So without further ado, the stuff indie film making is made of:

6. Rain Computers Venturi Video Editing Computer

Venturi video editing computer by Rain ComputersOK, full disclosure: in case it isn’t painfully obvious, I’m the CEO of Rain Computers. But bear with me – my shameless self-promotion not withstanding, this is a great tool for indie filmmakers. We designed Venturi to be the center of your video (and audio) production suite. Not everyone in the world has an unlimited budget (I’m talking about you, Chris Nolan), but there are lots of people looking for a cost-effective creative platform. Enter Venturi: designed with Avid Media Composer, Adobe Premiere CS5 and Sony Vegas in mind, its a drop-dead-powerful box of electronic doodads designed to get you from idea to Oscar in no time.

While Venturi will officially debut at CES in January, it is available now at B&H Photo Video.

7. Adobe Premiere CS5

There are lots of great video editing software choices out there. Actually, I take that back – there are really only a few. One of my favorites is made by Adobe, software designer extraordinaire. They’re the lovely folks who brought us Photoshop. Need I say more? Anyway, Premiere will give anyone else a run for their money, works seamlessly with the rest of their design suite (Photoshop, Aftereffects, Flash, etc) and features their new Mercury Playback Engine, a software engineering marvel that does unspeakable things to your real-time editing, multiple formats, dishes in the kitchen sink, etc, etc. Adobe.com/premiere

8. NVIDIA Quadro 4000

It’s a video card that costs nearly as much as an Aston Martin and is about as fast too. Though you can use Adobe Premiere with just about any modern video card, you’ll need a workstation graphics accelerator like the Quadro to enable the Mercury Playback Engine. That card, and its big brothers, the 5000 and 6000 are options for the Venturi (above) and are also designed to play nice with Media Composer, Sony Vegas, AutoCAD, etc. PNY.com/quadro

9. Common Sense

It’s free, plentiful and can keep you from making stupid mistakes such as Indiana Jones 4. Honestly, the third one was so damn good. Sean Connery and Harrison Ford? Awesome! So what the hell happened in the fourth one? Yuck. My point is, if you want to be a pro, you have to have the courage to step back and take a long, hard, objective look at your work. If it’s not right, don’t put it out there. (I’m talking to you, Jar Jar Binks). Wikipedia.com

10. The Godfather Trilogy

I don’t know what I can say here that hasn’t already been said. The man’s a genius. But, though I’m calling out a specific title, there’s a larger lesson here: Imbibe great art like a fat guy at an all-you-can-eat buffet. The Godfather is a great place to start, but it is just that: a start. See how the greats did it. Mimic their movements. Discover why they do what they do. And then do it yourself. Make mistakes. Make a lot of them. Learn. The Godfather Trilogy @ Amazon.com

Happy  Holidays!

-KJ


About

Matthew Dowling, a native Philadelphian, now residing in Los Angeles, is an actor, writer and film maker. Matt's training with 2nd City, and numerous appearances in TV shows, movies, theater, infomercials, and most importantly... B movies, has prepared him for making B Movie recommendations.

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