Top essential camera accessories
If you’re looking to upgrade your camera gear, now that you’ve written that screenplay during that productive quarantining, you’ve come to the right place. For independent filmmakers and commercial DP’s, the following are the 5 essential accessories you will need to bring your camera kit to the next level in 2021.
Wait! Before we talk about accessories let’s talk about the star of the show, the camera in your kit. In 2021, the popular queen for DP’s on a budget is the BMPCC 6K Pro. The newest upgrade to the Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K and 4K cameras. If you click here, you’ll get all the details on what this affordable prosumer cinema camera has to offer.
Some good news: We’re happy to inform you that AMC is now working with two state-of-the art Black Magic Ursa Mini 4.6K cameras, as well as our BMPCC 4K and 6K cameras. This is all part of our unstoppable initiative to bring you the best gear, Live Streaming and Teleprompter Rental packages to you.
Here are the 5 essential camera accessories of 2021
#1 – Movement is essential for your independent video productions, and that is why you need to get a good gimbal that won’t break the budget.
Getting a good 3 axis gimbal is ideal for smooth dynamic movement in shots.
For content creators and filmmakers who take advantage of the impressive new cameras on smartphones, The Osmo Mobile 3 from DJI is the perfect option. The impressive Osmo Mobile 3, packs a strong motor into a compact frame that’s easy to balance and fold down.
Filmmakers that use lightweight Cameras like the BMPCC 6K Pro can also benefit from a DJI gimbal: The Ronin-S Gimbal is perfect for small and mirrorless cameras. The Ronin-S gimbal empowers creators to shoot stabilized shots on the move.
DJI also produces the upgraded Ronin 2 for heavier cameras. The Ronin 2 lets filmmakers capture their vision. With high torque motors that support a wider range of cameras, resist high winds and G-forces caused when mounted to a car, the Ronin 2 keeps the shots running smoothly.
#2 – A good Shotgun Mic and a Lavalier are essential for capturing clean audio.
You don’t have to worry about sound if you’re shooting a music video or an old timey silent film, but if you’re filming a speaking person, sound is the second most important thing, after image. A sound engineer would disagree, but this isn’t an audio blog or podcast. If you’re a one or two person crew, you may not always have the budget for a sound person. In this case the easiest way to ensure you capture clean audio is by attaching a Shotgun Mic to the camera and/or a Lavalier to the subject.
In this case I’m recommending the Sennheiser AVX ME lav mic and receiver. The receiver on the AVX ME system mounts directly into the XLR socket which can save space and shoe mount on your camera rig. And it detects phantom power from the camera. It’s a lav on the go. Once it’s plugged in you can leave it be.
#3 – The internal HDR Monitor is too small, it’s essential to have an external HDR top monitor.
When you get an external HDR monitor, also remember to include a D-tap power adapter. You don’t need to be messing with small batteries over and over. Also get a monitor that’s also a recorder, that way you’re always recording in two separate locations. This can save your shot. Some monitors can deliver up to 4K proxy back-up files, which doesn’t hurt to have.
Here’s a good top recording monitor we use at AMC, the 7” Black Magic Design 12G-SDI/HDMI HDR Recording Monitor. It features a bright, 1920 x 1200 display with brightness that helps you frame and focus your shots with ease. It provides a 12G-SDI and HDMI inputs for recording the video output from professional cameras.
You might think that we have a deal with Black Magic Design or something, but we don’t. We just like their products. To not be biased, a highly recommended monitor is the Atomos Ninja V+. This is the world’s first 8K RAW HDR monitor recorder.
According to their website:
“The Ninja V+ is the next stage in the evolution of the multi-award-winning Atomos Ninja, delivering up to 8Kp30 and 4Kp120 continuous recording in Apple ProRes RAW while inheriting HDR, 4Kp60 RAW and video as well as HDp120 slow motion from its little brother, Ninja V.”
It sounds like overkill until it comes in handy. So if you can afford to be on the steeper end of the top monitor game, go ahead, get the Ninja.
#4 – Get the good sticks, they’re essential.
Now, there are some cinematographers out there that claim that the sticks (the tripod) are a waste of time for dynamic shots. For those of you who defend handheld shots, be honest. It’s hard to work with shaky camera footage, no matter how steady you think your hand is. Use a good tripod, with a fluid head. It might not be the most fun, but a good old-fashioned pan works wonders on film.
I like to use a Manfrotto 509 Pro Video Head with 645 Fast Twin Alu tripod. A lot of tripod users like to drag Manfrotto Tripods down, because they’re usually the first you get straight out of film school. But the truth is the truth, Manfrotto tripods are good and they come in sizes for almost any budget filmmaking. So there’s no excuse no to have a good tripod.
Again if you have the budget, get a Miller Carbon fiber tripod or a Sachtler Flowtech Carbon fiber tripod with a Nitrotech fluid video head. Please get it.
#5 – The essential base for a practical camera rig is a nice cage.
A camera cage comes in handy when you want to protect your camera body. The cage is the armor that protects the camera from getting scrapped or damaged. Small Rig makes an excellent full cage for the BMPCC 6K Pro. They also make all the adapters, knobs and weights you might need to rig all those extra, non-essential accessories you might want to add to your camera. That’s why a cage is important, there are all sorts of accessories you’d want to use with your camera. Wireless transmitters, a Solo Live U Unit ( for Live Streaming straight from your camera) or a ring light, all of these things you can mount on your secure camera cage.
That’s it for now. Hopefully, this article has provided you with the essentials for a sick camera rig.