“It's not what a movie is about, it's how it is about it.” - Roger Ebert

Whether it’s action, animation, sci-fi, drama, or comedy (the most popular film genres in the UK), we love films!

Have you ever wanted to shoot one?

To get started, you can make some great videos with your camera.

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Get a Backpack or Camera Bag to Protect Your Equipment

This might seem obvious, but a camera bag is rarely the first accessory that aspiring filmmakers think of when picking out their camera be it a compact point and shoot cameras or a full-sized SLRs.

Do you need a camera bag?
If you have a lot of equipment, a backpack or camera bag will be essential. (Source: linsepc)

Your bag won't just protect your equipment, it’ll also useful for lugging it all around. This is particularly important when it comes to filming whilst out and about.

Camera bags are often padded so that your gear doesn’t get jostled around and you can get them either as satchels or as backpacks.

Don’t Forget Memory Cards for Saving Your Footage

It’s all well and good pointing your digital camera at something but unless you have a memory card, you’ll have nowhere to store your footage. While most cameras do have some internal memory, it isn’t much so you should invest in one or several memory cards.
SD cards are the most common type of memory cards in cameras but some cameras require specific cards.

Don’t hesitate to get a few of them. After all, 4K video or even HD video will take up a lot of space; a lot more than photos do. Having a few extra memory cards won’t hurt.

It’s better to have several smaller ones than one with a lot of memory. If you lose it, you’ll lose everything. By having your footage across several cards, you’ll only lose the stuff on that particular card.

Learn more about the different types of camera.

Lenses: Essential for DSLRs and Hybrid Cameras

A digital SLR camera and hybrid camera have interchangeable lenses. Lenses can be really useful when filming as you can choose the focal distance you want. There are plenty of different lenses to think about, especially when it comes to bigger brands like Sony, Canon, and Nikon.

The lens isn’t the only thing to consider but it can greatly affect the image quality. It’s recommended you invest in a lens with a good aperture.

In terms of price, you should know that they can cost a pretty penny. Depending on the model, you can pay anywhere between a few hundred and thousands for a lens.

Compact and bridge cameras have fixed lenses so you can’t change them. You need to carefully consider this when it comes to finding the best DSLR, hybrid, bridge, or compact camera in terms of value for money.

With different lenses, you can play around with focal length and depth of field, too.

Buy Emergency Batteries for Your Camera

Filming can quickly drain your camera’s battery. It’ll run out if you’re filming all day so you should pick up several batteries. Charge them all the night before and you can just swap them over when the time comes.

How long do camera batteries last?
You can quickly use an entire battery without realising. (Source: Deeashley)

There are external battery packs available for DSLR cameras that can clip on to the camera’s body. They often tend to be more expensive but they’re a great investment if you’re going to be filming regularly.

Check out our advice for shooting video.

Tripods and Stabilisers

There’s nothing worse than shaky footage. It’s very difficult to fix with editing and it can ruin a whole scene. However, it’s a mistake that a lot of amateur filmmakers make.

When holding a camera in your hands, it’s impossible to get a perfectly smooth shot. That doesn’t mean that you can’t fix it, but it’s better to invest in accessories that’ll prevent this rather than fixing it.

Tripods are the most common option. They’re usually quite easy to transport as they fold up. That said, they can be quite heavy. The heavier your camera, the heavier your tripod will need to be. If the balance is off, it can fall over.

There are also camera stabilisers that you can hold. These stabilisers are often used for cameras like GoPros but they can be used with hybrid, bridge, compact, or digital SLR cameras.

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Invest in an External Microphone

Recording sound can often be a nightmare for filmmakers. While it might be fine for home movies, the sound quality in most cameras isn’t great so you should invest in an external microphone.

Rode Microphones are particularly well known and you can plug them into reflex and hybrid cameras.

If you can’t connect a microphone directly, you may need to record all the audio on a separate device and sync the audio and video up in post. You’ll need to use a clapperboard or just clap your hands on camera to sync up the audio and video.

You can get Zoom recording devices for around £100.

Spotlights for Recording Indoors

Spotlights aren’t an essential investment but they can certainly improve your footage. Lighting is an essential part of photography and film. The image sensor needs to capture light to create the images. When filming indoors, it can be tough getting the perfect lighting.

Do you need spotlights outdoors?
When shooting outdoors during the day, you probably won't need spotlights. (Source: Hans)

Ideally, you’ll want a device with a full-frame sensor (a hybrid or DSLR camera). If you have a smaller sensor, you might need more light. You'd be surprised at how much sensor size can affect your photography.

Spotlights can be pointed in any direction and will do the job. After all, shooting in low light conditions can be tricky,

A Sunshade

The sunshade is often forgotten about even though it’s incredibly useful for photographers and filmmakers. It’s a way to stop the glare from the sun appearing on your footage. Too much sunlight will cause streaks of light to appear on your footage. The sunshade will protect unwanted light sources from entering the lens. Additionally, it can also act as a small buffer protecting the lens from impacts.

Filters

Filters can be attached to the ends of lenses and can filter certain types of light. Whether it’s for photography or filming, you can use them to alter the colours, contrast, etc. There are several types available.

Invest in a Viewfinder

Rarely, you can’t see what you’re filming. However, you'll want to see exactly what your camera sees. Most digital cameras now come with an LCD where you can see the image being captured. However, in the sunshine or the rain, you can’t always see this screen.

What is a viewfinder?
If you can't see what your camera is capturing, you might want a viewfinder. (Source: Free-Photos)

Getting a monitor is a good way to see what you’re filming clearly. It’s also easier to focus and set up your shot.

Where Can You Buy Accessories for Your Camera?

Where can you find lenses, electronic viewfinders, memory cards, etc.?

You can get photography and film equipment in most large electronics stores as well as in dedicated camera shops. You can also get everything online.

You can also get second-hand accessories. You’ll find you can find everything you need second-hand!

If you find yourself confused by megapixels, single-lens reflex cameras, and image sensors, you should consider reading our other articles on photography.

If you'd like to learn more about photography and film, there are plenty of private tutors on Superprof who can help you. There are different types of tutorials for different budgets and learning styles so it's up to you which one you go for.

Face-to-face tutorials are the most costly but are also the most cost-effective. With just you and the tutor, the tutorials can be tailored to you, what you want to learn, and your preferred learning style.

Online tutorials are similar but instead of the tutor being there in the room with you, they'll teach you remotely using video conferencing software. While this is fine for academic and theoretical subjects, it can be trickier for hands-on subjects that benefit from having a tutor there in the room with you.

Finally, there are group tutorials which tend to be the cheapest per student per hour. Since the cost of the tutor is shared amongst all the students in attendance, each student will be paying a smaller amount than they would in face-to-face or online tutorials. However, this also means that the lessons aren't as personalised as the other types of tutorials and you won't get as much one-on-one time with your tutor as they have other students to worry about.

The choice is yours!

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Vanessa