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Here’s everything you need to cop to start making your own short film

At one point or another, we’ve all tried to shoot our own movie before.

Whether you were a kid playing around on your family camcorder, or you just think your SnapChat stories are lit like that, chances are you’ve had a vision for a story to tell.

You might have an idea to tell a street story that inspired you, a comedy skit or some spooky shit. If there’s one thing you shouldn’t do it’s not sit on it.

So how do you take that idea with and make it come to life?

The first thing you should know is that it is an investment. You’re going to need to put time and money into it regardless. The real question is how can you finesse it?

But first let’s figure out how you’re going to cop everything you need to start shooting.

We chopped it up with our head video editor Orandi Cole and he gave us some useful ass tips for one of the biggest questions:

“I want to shoot a short film. I don’t have the biggest budget in the world but what type of equipment do I need to get started?”

The equipment you get typically define the type of film your going to make, but with the right basic equipment and techniques you can make something that looks like it was done on professional gear out of nothing but a camera, some lenses, and a recorder.

Be prepared the most cheapest budget is at least a $1,000 – $1,500. The most expensive part being the lenses. Peep below.

The camera

To start off you need a camera, but not just any camera — a DSLR.

DSLR cameras allow the most flexibility to capture your ideas. Your first DSLR is like your first car. Get something that is cheap but reliable with little maintenance needed to keep it up.

Another way of getting a camera is from other people in who make movies or shoot. Again, ALWAYS try to finesse it and get a great deal.

They are always looking to sell old equipment which is a perfect chance for you to steal a deal and get a camera, and potentially lens, SD cards, or anything else you can bargain for.

Be sure to pay attention to the brand of camera you get cause that will affect the types of lenses you can get.

DSLR cameras can range from $300 to $2,000. Try to stay around no more than $500 for a solid camera. This should come with one lens.

The lens

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You will need at most a zoom lens, a prime lens for close shots, and a wide angle lens (can be a zoom or prime, and if money is super tight get a wide angle zoom lens and a prime would be good) to start off. Together, these three lenses should be able to capture the different types of shots you want to get.

Lenses are the most expensive part of the equipment you purchase so make sure you purchase lenses that are worth it. Do RESEARCH on what lenses work with your camera base, and will help you with the different situations in the film.

Example: if you have a running scene you might want to get a lens that has image stabilization in it (if the base doesn’t) so the shot doesn’t come out shaky like it was done on a phone.

Handy recorder

If your movie has any type of sounds then you’re going to want to record the audio separately. Cameras are known for having poor audio quality.

I recommend a Zoom H1 Handy Recorder. The recorders just need to be placed in the room or near the subject so that you can pick up the audio to be thrown into the video over camera audio.

Most people tend to get the camera and lens and ignore the audio but one of the biggest difference between a professional looking video, and something that is obviously amateur, is the audio.

SD cards

When purchasing SD cards, you don’t want to just get any SD card, but quality SD cards. You want to try and get gold or silver ones.

The main thing to look for is how many MB/s the card can do. The faster the read and write speeds (x MB/s) the easier it is to capture video, the quicker it is to transfer video files to your computer and the higher quality footage you can record.

But the general rule of thumb is the faster the card the better.

Hard drive

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The last essential piece of equipment you need is the hard drive. Typically you want to have a hard drive with a HUGE amount of space. You also want to make sure the upload and download speeds of the hard drive are up there.

The hard drive will be where you dump footage, edit off of, and store your work. I have a portable hard drive right now and a WB Deskbook Hard drive.

My portable is for on site shoots and work I do between the week and the WB is a place to keep all my old footage. As your portable hard drive fills up, it helps to have something else to keep old footage if you want to keep it.

Some prefer to just delete the old footage, but to each their own.


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Super must! Doesn’t have to be expensive but will save you from having sore arm/shoulders on long shoots.


Rigs help get smoother shots. This is not necessary but it helps the shoot go a lot smother. Rigs like a shoulder rig can just help get smoother follow shots.

Others like this help capture more fast moving shots but keep the shot stable.

It all comes down to the shot / scenes you want to have in your film, and the techniques you know (or looked up) that you want to use.

Here’s the cheapest on you can cop at B&H.