The 2015 Holiday Buying Guide for the Filmmaker

The holidays are nearly here and if you have a filmmaker you are shopping for you may be stumped as to what you should get for them.  Well fear not trusted reader, I am here to make your job much easier.  All but one of my suggestions are camera agnostic, so you can avoid making the mistake of getting a gift that doesn’t work with their current equipment.  However a little bit of knowledge of what type of shooting they do, what equipment they already have, and which camera type, if they already have one, is very useful for making sure you get them the most useful gift.  

I have broken down this buying guide by price ranges from gifts under $50 all the way to more expensive drones and cameras.  I hope you find this guide helpful and if you are a filmmaker and have any suggestions of your own, feel free to leave them in the comments.  You never know, maybe someone you know will read your comment and get you what you want!


Gifts up to $50


Giottos Optical Cleaning Bundle with Rocket Air Blaster, Brush & Liquid

Everyone needs a good cleaning kit.  And if they already have one, they can keep one in their second camera bag, which if they don’t have could be another great gift.  And there just happens to be one below!



Bescor LED-70 Dimmable 70W Video and DSLR Light

A great on-camera light will give their subjects that extra little bit of pop. This is a great gift for people with smaller cameras and anyone who shoots in low light conditions.



Porta Brace – 3 Unit Camcorder Stuff Sack Set, Black (CS-B93)

A great accessory to keep items protected and organized.  This tough nylon stuff sack lets them even pack away lenses and small cameras in camera bags, giving them that extra bit of protection.



The Digital Filmmaking Handbook, 5th Edition, By Sonja Schenk, Paperback

For the aspiring filmmaker or anyone starting out this book is a great resource.  It will help them learn the fundamentals and theory of filmmaking.



Gifts $50-100


Flashpoint Video Shootskate II Dolly

The flashpoint skate dolly paired with the Articulating Arm below is a great combogift.  The dolly allows for very cool tabletop shots and the articulating arm allows for a much higher degree of flexibility in positioning the camera.  Plus it’s just fun to play with on set.



Flashpoint 7.5″ Articulating Arm



Sony MDR-7506 Professional Folding Headphones

Amazing reference headphones that will give true sound reproduction.  These are the industry standard for headphones and while you can get more expensive headphones, they may have too much bass to be truly effective. 





Leatherman Surge Powerhouse Stainless Steel Multi-Tool with Sheath, 21 Tools in 1

A Leatherman is a great tool to have on set and it will be indispensable.  Just make sure they don’t already have one though!



Gifts $100-250


Rode Microphones VideoMic with Rycote Lyre Suspension System

For the DSLR and mirrorless shooters, this is a great gift that will allow them to get much better sound than the internal mic which is of fairly poor quality.  This external microphone will get your filmmaker much higher quality sound while not adding much weight.



ONA The Union Street Camera and Laptop Messenger Bag

A stylish camera bag that doesn’t advertise that they are carrying around camera equipment.  This bag comes in several colors as well as a more expensive and lush leather model.  I think this bag looks boss.



Gifts $500-$1000


Sennheiser Wireless Microphone System with EK 100 G3 Receiver, Frequency Band A (516-558 MHZ) – BUNDLE – with Audio-Technica AT8004L Handheld Microphone, Protective Pouch, and Pelican 1200 Hard Case

A wireless microphone system that comes with some great extras.  The EK 100 G3 wireless lavalier is a very reliable mic that is used in many different recording situations.  The handheld microphone and clip on wireless transmitter is the perfect setup for a simple interview setup.  This will make anyone who has been worried about their sound really light up.



DJI Phantom 3 Advanced Quadcopter Aircraft with 3-Axis Gimbal and FHD Video Camera, Remote Controller Included

Quadcopters are all the rage right now and for good reason.  Drones are extremely versatile tools that allow for a variety of interesting aesthetic choices when shooting.  The DJI Phantom 3 will allow them to get aerial views, perform complex tracking shots, and get angles that would be impossible without them.  They truly allow for a wealth of creative options.



Gifts $1000+


Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4 Mirrorless Digital Camera Body Only, Black – Bundle With $50 Gift Card, 32GB Class 10 SDHC Card

If your filmmaker hasn’t yet gotten a camera or they are looking to upgrade their gear, the Panasonic GH4 is a solid choice and is used by many budget filmmakers.  This camera records 4K internally, there are a wealth of lenses you can get for it, and it is at a very solid price point.  This bundle comes with two extras that are very useful, a 32GB SDHC card and a $50 gift card to get accessories or to put towards lenses.












Manfrotto Video Kit with 526 Pro Fluid Video Head, 545GB Pro Video Tripod and MBAG100P Tripod Bag, Maximum Height 68″, Supports 35 lbs

This Manfrotto tripod and fluid head combination makes for a great tripod.  This tripod and head will support up to 35lbs which is great for heavier video cameras and will future proof you should you upgrade your gear and add more weight in the form of accessories or a new camera. 



Atomos Shogun 7″ 4K HDMI & 12G-SDI Monitor & Recorder – Bundle with 2x SanDisk Ultra II 240GB Solid State Drive

This is a dual function recorder and monitor that makes for a much more controlled shooting experience.  This is top of the line in both regards, allowing them to externally record footage up to 4K at up to 30fps and 1080p at up to 120fps into industry standard formats such as Apple ProRes that are much cleaner than your camera can record internally.  Don’t worry too much if you don’t know what that means.  It is awesome!  The monitor has many excellent features that ensures they will be capturing the best possible footage.  This is a bundle that comes with two certified drives which lets it work straight out of the box.



Apple MacBook Pro 15.4″ with Retina Display, Force Touch, Intel Core i7 2.5GHz, AMD Radeon R9 M370ZX Graphics (2GB), 16GB RAM, 512GB PCIe-Based Flash Storage, Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite (2015)

If someone has been extra good, a MacBook Pro is the gift for them.  But I mean only if they have been like extra super good!  This is great for the filmmaker who needs to edit on the go. 



Well I hope this buying guide has been helpful and that you now have found something that will excite your filmmaker.  Maybe they will be so thrilled they’ll want you to make a guest appearance in their next film!

You can read other content like this (buying guides, tips and tricks and insightful articles) on Adorama’s ALC blog.

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