Filmmaking Tutorials - Chapter 4A: Basic Accessories

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Chapter 4A: Basic Accessories

Most of the items I will be presenting to you in this article are optional and you might or might not need them, depending on your project. So I will just give you a basic overview. If you need additional information, just let me know in the comments!


This is the most important one. You need to have a tripod.

Best tripod for less than US$ 100.00

Dolica AX620B100 62-Inch Proline Tripod and Ball Head - Price: 49.00

After a lot of research I ended up buying one of these about a two years ago. It has stand through the test of time just fine. However keep in mind that the head is not great for video. You will find panning and tilting difficult, but not impossible. Also, this tripod will not handle too much weight in gear. This is the tripod I have used in most of my short films.

Best tripod for less than US$ 200.00

Davis & Sanford Provista Tripod with FM18 Head - Price: 159.00

This one is a beast. Recommended for mounting gear and building your first rig. This one has a great fluid head, which makes panning and tilting very easy and smooth. Also, this one can handle up to 18 lbs. in the head and 25 lbs. in the legs, which is about the weight range you will need if you plan on mounting a rig.

Lens Filters

Probably the accessory you will use the most. You could use an UV filter which are used mainly to protect your lens front element, but the one you will probably use the most is an Neutral Density Filter (ND). These filters will make your image darker by a certain degree (specified by each filter). That begs the question, Why would I want to make my image darker? Because if you want to get a shallow depth of field (isolating your object by blurring the background), you will have to set your lens to an aperture wider than F2 and if you do that in a sunny day, your image will probably be over-exposed. And thats where the ND filter comes handy, so you can preserve your camera and lens settings and expose your image just how you want it.

I would recommend you to buy a Variable ND Filter first, because they usually have from 2 to 8 stops of light control by turning one of the rings. Remember that you have to buy the filters according to the filter size of your lens. 

Altura Photo Neutral Density Filter Set (ND2 ND4 ND8) - Price: 12.99





NEEWER ND Adjustable Variable Filter (ND2 to ND400) - Price: 12.99


Those are the most basic accessories you will probably need for any production. Part II of this chapter will cover optional but important tools like Dolly, Jib and  Steadycam. Hope you find this series of tutorials useful and please buzz and comment if you have any questions!

Also check out the past articles on this series:

Filmmaking Tutorials: Chapter 1 - Getting Geared Up For Less Than US$ 700.00!

Filmmaking Tutorials: Chapter 2 - Sensors Explained

Filmmaking Tutorials: Chapter 3A - Wide-Angle Lens

Filmmaking Tutorials: Chapter 3B - Normal Lenses

Filmmaking Tutorials: Chapter 3C - Telephoto Lenses

Filmmaking Tutorials: Chapter 3D: Zoom Lenses

Filmmaking Tutorials: Chapter 3E: Anamorphic Lenses 

Filmmaking Tutorials - Chapter 4A: Basic Accessories

About the author


Alejandro Hiraldo is a composer and filmmaker from the Dominican Republic. Has composed music for a variety of projects over the last 10+ years and has written and directed several award winning short-films. In 2011 he created his first solo album "Más Allá". In 2012 he unleashed his love for…

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