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Creating an Equipment List and What Should Be On It

written by: Shane Burley•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 5/3/2011

An equipment list is a crucial element of pre-production that will help itemize the exact items you need to get your digital video film started.

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    If you are planning on putting together a large digital video film then you are going to need many pieces of equipment to complete your project. This can be hard to narrow down and keep organized if you are an independent production, so it is best to construct a list of everything you need.

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    The Camera

    The first, and obviously most important thing, is the camera. List a high-quality digital video camera, based mostly on what you have the ability to purchase or rent. Also include in this section anything you are going to be using as a stand, such as a tripod or monopod. Try to include a tripod with a fluid head for a digital video film production.

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    The next section is for sound. Make a clear list of all the types of equipment you are going to need for the film you are trying to produce. Narrative films are much more aesthetically focused than other types of digital video projects, so this is very important. Try to include both a shotgun microphone for open air sound, and several wireless lavaliere microphones so that dialogue is captured clearly from each of the actors. Make sure to get a windscreen or some type of cover for the shotgun microphone to cut down on wind noise. Add quality, sensitive headphones to the equipment list so you will be able to constantly monitor the audio you are recording. Add a shock mount and a large pole for the shotgun microphone, and this will help you get into tight situations for audio. A sound mixer is essential for a feature project, and make sure to also add batteries for that mixer to the list because it is often an easy thing to forget. Also make sure to have 200-300 feet of microphone XLR cables, this way you have enough cord for any filming situation.

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    Since you will most likely be using real lighting equipment for your project that should be the next section on the equipment list. You can either put a standard, five-piece, portable light kit on the list or put each element individually on here. This would be including five 1000 watt lights with barn doors and stands to prop them up. Try to include the same number of extra lamps on the equipment list so you have extras. Also try to add a light reflector for outside shooting. If you want to have diversity in your artificial lighting, also add three softlights of various wattage (ranging from 1000-2000 watts). Also add extra lamps to back those softlights up.

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    Random Tools

    There are a lot of random types of equipment that are essential to location shooting that should be on the equipment list. Get several rolls of two inch Gaffer tape in various colors, such as black and gray. Add any appropriate lighting peripherals, such as gels or scrims. Also include several extension cords, a white card, a stand to hold the white card, a C-clamp, and anything else you think you would need at your specific locations.

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    The reason you make an equipment list is so that nothing is forgotten, and everything you are going to need is accounted for. This is an essential part of pre-production, and this is the way that you are going to make sure that the equipment you need for your film is going to be available.