If you have prepared everything from writing a script to arranging a cast and crew, it is time to shoot your short film. But the thing is, you do not have enough cash to get started and you are completely ignorant about the basic equipment needed to make a short film. Since, filmmaking equipments are really expensive, we do not recommend anyone to spend too much on filmmaking equipments without some good experience. The audience only cares about how good your short film's concept is. So, the good news is that you do not need fancy professional movie-making equipment to get started. What you really need is few of basic filmmaking equipment to start filming and here is a list of them along with some cost-efficient movie-making equipment.
The first question that comes in everyone's mind is which video camera should i buy for making movies? The thing is you don't need to spend lakhs of rupees on the latest and best camera out there, a good quality SLR or a DSLR with a decent lens will get the job done. A DSLR can be one of the best cameras to make movies because it affordable and it can give your footage a great film look.
There are many benefits of filming with a DSLR camera like:
1. It can focus on an object and blur the background to create a great bouquet effect in your footage.
2. Your footage will come out with great looking colors and high textures.
3. You can easily change its lenses according to your needs.
DSLR cameras offer filmmakers benefits that are not possible with a camcorder. But keep in mind that while shooting with a DSLR, images tend to go in and out of focus quickly and when you sit down to edit shots on your computer; you’ll find that two scenes that should have gone together perfectly may be difficult to match up smoothly. So, if you do shoot with a DSLR camera, you may also want to look into getting some type of supporting equipment like a support rig. You can learn much more about using a DSLR from our complete post on how to use a DSLR.
Before you buy a DSLR camera, we would suggest checking for these features in a camera and then pay for it according to its specifications.
The size of sensor that a camera has determines how much light it uses to create an image. In very simple terms, image sensors consist of millions of light-sensitive spots called photo sites which are used to record information about what is seen through the lens. Therefore, it means that a bigger sensor can gain more information than a smaller one and produce better images.
A badly-focused, blurry image can ruin a photograph and you cannot repair it in post-processing. Some professionals often end up converting their images to black and white, to hide their focusing problems. If you learn how to focus correctly, you do not have to resort to such measures and you can deliver much better results. If put simply, accurate focus translates to sharper images and that is something everyone is looking for in films today.
It’s a particularly useful mode for taking shots when there is movement. Obviously, photographing children is one such situation, but there are many others including the photography of sport, animals, and even portrait photography.
In digital photography, ISO measures the sensitivity of the image sensor. The same principles apply in film photography – lower the number, less sensitive your camera is to light and the finer the grain. Higher ISO settings are generally used in darker situations to get faster shutter speeds.
Video Quality (HD or SD):
The difference between high definition and standard definition images is the number of pixels contained in the image on display. HD images have more pixels per square inch than standard definition videos. It means that HD images can show much finer detail than SD images.
Often abbreviated to just FPS, frames per second refers to the speed at which a camera can capture photos.
Regardless of which DSLR batteries you need, we highly recommend that you get a spare (since all digital SLR cameras only ship with one battery) - there's nothing worse than running out of power right in the middle of a great film shoot.
Here are a few basic camera accessories that will help you to capture some amazing shots:
This is very cheap movie-making equipment. It is a three-legged stand that supports a camera. It is a necessary piece of equipment to keep your footage looking steady and professional. Try to get a tripod with a fluid head for smoother looking still-shots. Many filmmakers suggest that if you are a beginner you should be using tripod as much as possible to capture your footage from different angles. Not only it keeps your footage steady but also gives a very professional look to your entire short film. Do not buy any expensive tripod because it will not make any difference from a cheap one. Here are the two cheap and best tripods we found online:
This is a single staff or pole used to help support cameras. A monopod is used when you want to move a camera without shaking. It will help to keep your video footage stable while you are moving and shooting.
>> Shoulder Rig
This piece of equipment will cost you little more than a monopod still we recommend that you buy a shoulder rig instead of a monopod because it will do everything that a monopod can and additionally it will keep the camera closer to your shoulder so that you can capture your short film in some amazing angles.
If you buy a SLR camera, the lens is connected to it permanently and cannot be changed, but if you buy a DSLR, then you get 1 or 2 lenses with it that are removable. And, you have the freedom to buy any type of lens in future according to the need of a scene. Here are two basic and best lenses that you can buy: 55-120mm, 20-55mm.
If you cannot even buy an affordable DSLR then try to borrow one from your friend and learn how to use it. If none of your friend has a DSLR, then you can even use a smartphone with a good camera. IPhone can shoot some really good footage with high textures for your short film. There are many short filmmakers who have started their carrier by shooting with IPhone; you can be one of them too.
Filmmaking requires not only great shots with camera but also requires great audio to be recorded from set. And great audio is the factor that separates the pros from the amateurs. Sound equipments can easily range somewhere from Rs.4000 to Rs.20000 but you can start with some budget friendly options that we have listed down below.
>> Shotgun microphone
It is one of the best options when you want to record dialogues on set because it takes sound only from one direction and avoids sound from the surroundings. Having a shotgun microphone prepares you for almost every situation. It's perfect for setting on top of your camera or a boom pole. You can easily get your hands on one starting from Rs.2000.
>> Boom Pole
A boom microphone set-up comes in handy to capture audio from a group's voice, crowd scenes or any situation where you need to gather professional audio quickly. The use of the boom pole is to hold the microphone. It helps to hold the microphone as close to the actors or action as possible without allowing the microphone to enter the camera's frame.
>> Sound Recorder
If you have decided to shoot your short film with a DSLR, we will highly recommend a portable audio recorder attachable to your camera. Why? The DSLR cameras only come with a mini-jack audio input which doesn't capture professional quality sound. Because of that, you'll need some way to capture professional audio. You can easily buy a decent quality recorder for Rs.4000 or less. Next thing you'll need to do is connect your recorder to the shotgun microphone and you are almost ready to record some good quality sound. We will further explain in detail about dialogue and sound recording in our production post. But before that here are some points to keep in mind before buying a sound recorder:
a) If you cannot afford to buy sound equipments for your first short film, don't worry an easy trick is to shoot the video footage first and then record its sound later in a very silent environment with your smartphone.
b) If you are using your IPhone for making your short film, you can download an app which can easily connect a microphone to your IPhone and the audio will be directly recorded from the microphone.
c) If you can afford some basic equipment, then check if your camera has a microphone input port. If it is there, then you don't need to buy a sound recorder just attach your microphone with the camera. This can save you a lot of time in the video editing process because then you do not have to add sound tracks separately that were recorded from the recorder.
d) Buy a 2mm connector for shotgun microphone; it can easily connect your microphone to a camera, recorder or smartphone.
e) If you live near Delhi, then you can buy all these equipments at very affordable prices from Chandni Chowk.
It is a very necessary piece of equipment that often gets forgotten. If you connect it to the sound recorder you can clearly hear what is being recorded at the time of shoot. It will also help you to decide which recordings you want and which ones not.
This is something that is used very less in Bollywood movies when compared to Hollywood movies. You can check it for yourself by comparing two movies of both the industries. The Hollywood one will have a great film look which is created with good lighting.
Whenever you are planning to shoot indoors, and you want to create a well-lit dialogue scene or a scene where your character is sitting or not moving, then a Three-Point Lighting Kit will be of great help. By using three separate positions of lighting, you can light up the subject however you want while also getting rid of the shadows produced by direct light. But if your character is moving, then you'll have to buy more lights to fill the entire area you are shooting at.
Do not worry we have made a complete post on many more lighting concepts like this from which you can easily learn how to properly use lighting and reflectors that will give your short film a professional look.
It is one of the cheapest and most useful things that you can buy. It can be used for outdoor shoots too. Whenever you are shooting in an open area like a park, you can use reflector to fade or apply direct sunlight on the character's face. We personally recommend you to buy a reflector and try it for yourself. Here is a cheap and best reflector that you can buy.
You can buy some led lights and reflectors to create a great film look in your short film. These are some must-have items for your close up facial shots, with their use you can avoid the dark shades that comes under the eyes of the actor. When used correctly, some lighting and reflectors can turn an ugly and bad looking shot into a professionally lit scene.
This list of equipments will never come to an end, so we remind you again to not spend much on equipment unless you have good experience in short filmmaking. Work more and more on your story because it is much more important than all these equipments. Once you have a great story, you can even shoot it with a smartphone and record the dialogues and sound later and then join them in editing. But, if you have some experience and want to learn about using all the equipments mentioned above, then refer to our posts in the production section.
If you found this post helpful, then please share it. And if you have any suggestions or questions regarding this post or short film, comment them down below.