10 Gift Picks for Your Budding Auteur


Get the aspiring filmmaker in your life one of these 10 gifts and we guarantee you’ll be rewarded with at least a cameo in their first feature, if not a speaking role. Well, perhaps you’ll get your 15 minutes of fame, but they’ll definitely appreciate any of the cinema-style gifts listed below.

1. DSLR/Mirrorless Camera Cage

You can’t capture clean video moves if you’re fumbling your camera. Consider a half or full cage with a handgrip to add ergonomic handling, accessory mounting, and protection to your DSLR or mirrorless camera. The Wooden Camera Unified DSLR Cages come in small, medium, and large versions and feature a Manfrotto quick-release plate and a single 15mm rod bracket.

Wooden Camera Unified DSLR Cage with Rubber-Grip Handle

2. Tripod System

Pan side to side, tilt up or down, or set up a locked-off shot and let your action enter and exit your frame with the help of a tripod. These dual-stage video tripods, like the Magnus VT-4000, feature a spreader for added stability and a quick-release plate for easily mounting and detaching your camera. Step up to the smoothness of a fluid head with the Manfrotto MVH500A Head & MVT502AM Tripod system.

Magnus VT-4000 Tripod System with Fluid Head

3. Gimbal Stabilizer

If your projects run more along the lines of cinema vérité but you’re not a fan of the “shaky cam” look popularized by The Blair Witch Project, try using a handheld gimbal stabilizer to smooth your handheld footage. Supporting cameras up to 3.9 lb, the Zhiyun-Tech Crane v2 offers 360˚ pan, tilt, and roll rotation plus support for longer lenses, such as zooms.

Zhiyun-Tech Crane v2 3-Axis Handheld Gimbal Stabilizer

4. 15mm LWS Baseplate

A lightweight 15mm rod-base baseplate system enables you to mount various camera accessories on your mirrorless, DSLR, or HD video camera. The Zacuto VCT Pro Baseplate offers quick switching from handheld to tripod-based shots and enables you to balance your camera with different lens and accessory combinations. Universal baseplates support a wide variety of cameras, while camera-specific rigs are tailored to individual camera models.

Zacuto VCT Pro Baseplate

5. Matte Box

Eliminate flares from your image, customize your look with filters, and protect your lens by adding a matte box to your camera rig. Matte boxes in the popular 4 x 5.65" and 4 x 4" sizes include both dual-stage, clip-on styles like the Wooden Camera Zip Box and 15mm rod-based versions like the Redrock Micro microMatteBox Deluxe, with rotating filter stages and removable top and side flags.

Redrock Micro microMatteBox Deluxe Bundle

6. Follow Focus / FIZ System

Use one of the multiple 15mm rod-based follow focus systems available at B&H Photo to create the precisely adjusted focusing that is a hallmark of pro cine production. The economical Sevenoak Follow Focus Pro features three swappable lens gears and a durable aluminum build. When hands-on follow focusing isn’t practical, consider a wireless lens controller. FIZ (focus, iris, zoom) controllers run the gamut from single-axis units like the Tilta Nucleus-Nano Wireless Control to the three-motor ikan PD Movie REMOTE AIR 4 system.

Sevenoak Follow Focus Pro

7. Polarizer

See through reflections in windows or windshields, make clouds pop against the sky, get better-saturated colors, and eliminate glare with a polarizing filter. If you’re going to purchase only one filter aside from a protective optical flat, make it a polarizer. Circular (versus linear) polarizers work with autofocus and manual focus lenses/cameras, whereas linear models can disrupt a DSLR’s autofocus and auto-exposure features. The Tiffen Series 9 Linear Polarizer will cover the majority of cinema and still photo lenses when paired with the right adapter. If you’re buying for one particular lens or a set of lenses with the same size front element, round polarizers are available in various dedicated sizes.

Tiffen Series 9 Linear Polarizing Filter

8. Hard-Shell Equipment Case

Whether you’re travelling locally or around the globe, a hard-shell case is invaluable for protecting your camera gear against wear and tear. The Pelican 1510SC kit, from B&H, pairs the 22 x 14" case with a TSA-approved padlock and a reusable desiccant to keep your equipment moisture free. Compatible with current TSA carry-on guidelines, this waterproof case has a telescoping handle and integrated wheels. With most camera components being black or dark gray, the case’s yellow interior dividers help them stand out when you’re searching for a specific item.

Pelican 1510SC Studio Case with Lid Organizer and Yellow Divider Set

9. Slate

Remain within your editor’s good graces by using a slate to both identify different takes and to visually sync up your production’s sound and video when necessary. Start with an economical, simple acrylic slate, like the Elvid Slate with Color Sticks, or invest in a time-code slate if your crowdsourcing appeal has succeeded beyond your wildest expectations.

Elvid 9-Section Acrylic Production Slate with Color Clapper Sticks

10. Reflector Kit

Shooting “off the grid” and anxiously watching as the sun begins to set, just when your talent finally nails their dialogue? Add some fill to your closer shots with a set of collapsible reflectors. This Impact 5-in-1 Reflector Kit even includes a stand to hold your choice of reflector, freeing up a crew member for keeping bystanders out of your frame or for pleading with the location owner for another half hour of access.

Impact 5-in-1 Collapsible Circular Reflector with Handles

Which accessory do you find yourself using more than you expected while shooting video? Share your choice below and explore more gift ideas on the B&H Photo website.