Making a film requires more than just an idea and some actors — it also requires the right film equipment. From lighting to cameras, film production requires specialized tools that can be expensive. But with careful planning and budgeting, you can buy or rent what you need without having to exhaust your capital.
In this blog post, we’ll explore essential film equipment for filmmakers of all levels, discuss average costs associated with each piece of equipment, weigh the pros and cons of buying versus renting film gear, and provide tips on financing film equipment.
Whether you’re making your first short film or shooting a feature-length movie, having quality film gear is essential for creating professional results. Let’s dive in!
10 Essential Film Equipment Pieces
Here are the equipment pieces that are essential for a film production:
A camera is the most important piece of film equipment, as it’s used to capture visuals. DSLRs and mirrorless cameras offer great quality at an affordable price, typically at around $1,000 for a body. But if you want to go higher end, cinema cameras are available at around $15,000 and up.
A film camera is nothing without the right lenses. There are different lenses available to suit your film needs, from wide-angle lenses to prime and zoom lenses. Expect to pay between $1,000 and $15,000 for film-grade lenses.
Quality lighting is essential for good film production results. Types of lighting equipment you’ll need include light stands, softboxes, floodlights, and LED lights. Prices of lighting equipment for film start at around $500 but can go up to several thousand dollars depending on the quality of the gear you need.
A sturdy tripod is essential for capturing smooth footage, especially when shooting outdoors or in low-light situations. Quality tripods range from about $100 to several hundred dollars.
Capturing good audio is essential for film production, so you’ll need a microphone and an audio recorder to get the job done. A basic setup with an entry-level mic and recorder will cost around $400 to $500. Post-production equipment can also get pricey, running into thousands of dollars.
To achieve film-grade results, you may need a stabilizer such as a Steadicam or a gimbal. These allow you to capture smooth footage while walking or running, and they range in price from $500 to several thousand dollars, depending on the type of film equipment you choose.
You’ll need a powerful computer to edit your film. A basic setup should cost around $1,000 and up, depending on the specs you need.
8. Editing Software
To edit your film, you’ll need film editing software. Popular options such as Adobe Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro range in price from $20 to $60 per month.
To store all your film footage and data, you’ll need an external hard drive or a cloud storage solution. An external hard drive with 1TB of storage should cost around $100 to $200.
You may need extra monitors for film production — such as a monitor for your camera and a larger monitor to review film footage — which should cost around $200 to $500 each.
Overall, you can expect film equipment to cost several thousand dollars. To make film production more affordable, you can consider buying used film gear or renting film equipment.
Buying Vs. Renting Film Gear
When it comes to film equipment, there are pros and cons to both buying and renting:
- Buying film gear gives you permanent access to film equipment, but it’s a large upfront cost. Purchasing your own equipment also means you can customize it with film accessories such as lenses and stabilizers.
- Renting film gear gives you access to film gear for a shorter period of time, so it’s better for film projects with deadlines. The downside is that rental costs can add up over time. In addition, film equipment availability may be limited depending on the rental company.
Financing Film Equipment With Charter Capital
If you need help financing film gear, there are options available such as leasing or financing film equipment through Charter Capital. Leasing film gear allows you to pay for film equipment on a monthly basis, while film financing gives you access to funds for film equipment purchases.
No matter what film project you’re working on, having the right film equipment is essential for film production. With the help of an experienced financial broker like Charter Capital, you can make film equipment purchases more affordable and easier to manage.