“Tools do not a craftsman make.”
– Sean Wes

People always wonder what’s in my camera bag, whether it’s fellow filmmakers or new buyers with a tight budget. I have a modest collection, which fits in a smallish backpack and my smallish budget. Because my kit is well-rounded and efficient, I’ve taken it all over the world – to the Virgin Islands, Mexico, NYC, Hawaii, Israel, Florida, and all over California. It’s easy to hop on my scooter with such a small kit. With the right gear, my run-and-gun-all-day-pit-stains filming is more doable and more fun.

Some guys think buying top-notch gear and shiny gadgets will make them a better filmmaker. As we know, it’s simply not true. Instead, aim to buy smart, quality, basic gear and take good care of it, while honing your skills and constantly make-ing. The gear will quickly pay for itself.

When I moved to LA, I made a budget plan with my wife to avoid overspending. Then I did all my research/shopping , and when black Friday came around I cashed in. Here’s a list of links, perfect for a well-rounded, no-fluff starter kit that gets great results:

(See the whole Amazon Wish List here.)

  1. Canon 70-200mm L (telephoto lens). Heavy but glorious – Amazon
  2. Canon 24-105mm L (zoom lens). All-around awesome – Amazon
  3. Canon 50mm f/1.4 (fast portrait lens). #1 for portraits and people – Amazon
  4. Canon 40mm (tiny “pancake” lens). Perfect for everyday life/travel – Amazon
  5. Mounted mic: Rode. Must-have for field audio – Amazon
  6. LensPen (for cleaning). The best tool for fingerprints – Amazon
  7. Manfrotto QuickRelease mounting plate (for tripod/glidecam) – Amazon
  8. Circular Polarizer (for daylight). Higher-end for stunning colors – Amazon
  9. Giotto’s Air Rocket (lens cleaning)  – Amazon
  10. GorillaPod SLR/Zoom. Our family photographer – Amazon
  11. Canon 6D camera body. Lighter, cheaper, and on par with the 5D MkIII – Amazon
  12. Adapt-Its loops (for the camera strap) – Amazon
  13. Camera neck strap with aluminum carabiners – Dollar store!
  14. Extra Canon Battery – Amazon
  15. Fancy and Generic SDHC memory cards – Amazon
  16. Canon IR remote – Amazon
  17. Microfiber lens cloth – Amazon
  18. Hotel shower cap (for rain protection) – Hotel
  19. Timex Weekender watch  – Amazon
  20. Fat Gecko suction mount – Amazon
  21. Glidecam HD-2000 stabilizer – Amazon
  22. Gold Fold document wallet – Goldfold.com
  23. Zoom H4N audio recorder – Amazon
  24. Zagg Sparq backup battery (for gadgets) – Amazon
  25. GoPro waterproof camera – Amazon
  26. Manfrotto monopod – Amazon
  27. LowePro camera backpack – Amazon

Of course there’s other gear that doesn’t fit in the bag, like this large pop-up bounce, Sennheiser wireless lav mics, and a decent Manfrotto tripod. And I have a lovely insurance package (including drops!) from NSSI, which isn’t just for students anymore.

Leave your tips and questions in the comments. Happy shopping!

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