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I’ve got something a little different for this episode as we talk about gear. We are living in a very exciting time to be a filmmaker. An industrious filmmaker can build a powerful production package of equipment for very little money. But where do you begin? There are so many options, and so many pitfalls, that if you’re not a gear head, you can easily get lost and spend money on things you don’t need or can’t use. 

I have invited Joseph Palma of B&H Photo & Video to help us navigate the gear landscape. I posed Joseph this scenario:

Imagine I walk into the B&H store and tell you I was making my first low-budget/micro-budget feature film, and i need help buying the gear I’m going to need on production. I might not be a professional, but I’m not Youtuber, nor am I just goofing around. Some people will say use whatever you have to make a film, even a cell phone, but I’m beyond that. This is a serious endeavor. I want to be able to capture a good quality and sound, so that I can make a film that I can sell. 

I don’t have time to scour reviews on the Internet, and I don’t have a lot of money. I want to buy wisely — which means I don’t want to spend money on items that are not going to last long — either because of poor durability or because the technology will be obsolete quickly — and I don’t want to buy things with a lot of fancy bells and whistles that I’ll never use. 

I also need to know what gear I’m going to need that I might not have thought about. I don’t want to get on location with my actors and find out the batteries for this camera are only lasting 20 minutes and I need 5 more to finish the day. I need your help to build a foundational package that will last me for a good long while.