The Holidays are upon us once again. As a filmmaker, gadgets aren’t only fun to have, but they also make your life easier when it comes to production or post-production. I’ve listed some of my favorite accessories and gadgets that would make any filmmaker happy to see under their tree (or in their stocking).

Let’s start with the stocking-stuffers.

This little mic is great for getting professional-quality audio with your mobile device. Check out a video about it here.

 

You could always use a case to keep your media cards safe and secure.

 

Camera cleaning kit – $11
Gotta keep those lenses clean!

    

 

I have one of these and I use it on my desk for pens and markers.

 

 

Any book about filmmaking is a great gift, but this one is must-read.

 

5-in-1 Reflector – $20

  

 

This thing is surprisingly useful. Great for use as a desktop tripod.

 

These little things are great. They basically track your gear. Throw one in your camera bag, in your luggage, your dog, your wife, anything!

 

DJI Mavic Pro Accessories

 

Pretty much required when the terrain gets even slightly rough.

 

Cause you have to fly in style.

Now we’re moving onto more expensive gifts “from Santa.”

Google Daydream View – $70
This thing is fun. VR is here to stay, so embrace it with Google’s own Daydream View headset.

 

Tangent Ripple Color Grading Panel – $350
I use this thing everyday. It’s a great way to speed up your color grading workflow.

 

 

 

Other

Succulents
This may seem random, but adding a bit of greenery to your workspace has tons of benefits.

Amazon Gift Card
Because there’s no better way to say, “I didn’t know what to get you.”

Do you have anything to add to this list that you’d like this Holiday season? Let me know in the comments down below.

Let me start off by saying that “The Hunger Games” was a great movie. I loved it. It was very well done, and created by very talented people.

The goal of a cinematographer is to bring the audience INTO the story and make the viewers feel so connected, that they cry or laugh when something happens, feeling as though it’s happening to them at that very moment.

While watching “The Hunger Games” for the first time, I was completely absorbed in the story and the plot and for the most part, I LOVED the camera work, and kept finding myself complimenting certain aspects of the cinematography. There are just a couple things that I found that should be obvious no-no’s. Things that stood out to me as I watched, and did not keep me immersed in the story. Things that are basics in film class and should be taught first semester. Things that the director should do everything in his power to reshoot and fix.

I’ll explain 2 scenes with “errors” that I noticed in this film that should have been addressed.  read more ➝

As a cinematographer, it’s easy to get caught up in using fancy camera moves with jibs and sliders. Depending on the content of the scene, an elaborate camera move would only be distracting and pointless. That’s why it’s important to remember the little guys; the static camera shot. A static shot is basically a shot that does not have any tilts, pans, dollies, or trucks. Sometimes, we forget how important a simple camera shot can be. If used correctly, the static shot can be very powerful.  read more ➝

Add Atmosphere in Adobe Lightroom

In this quick video tutorial, I show how to add atmosphere in Adobe Lightroom.

This is a technique that I often use when adjusting photos taken with backlighting from the sun. I do this by using the graduated filter tool in Adobe Lightroom. This little tool is powerful for adding a splash of style to a specific section of an image.

Here’s a neat little trick to add realistic background objects to your footage in Adobe After Effects. In this case, I wanted it to seem like the footage was taken in the lobby of the client’s office. This could work for things like posters, hanging artwork, or logo plaques.