12 things You Need [or Think You Want] Under $300

Videomaker’s Buyer’s Guides can be a great wish list as gift ideas for the video producer. But you don’t want Aunt Suzy picking out that special Bling-Bling camcorder, so here’s a list of some essential and just-for-fun items that won’t break the bank.

Everyone who has picked up a video camera knows there’s more to the gear than cameras, lights and tripods. So we’ve made a hint list…er…wish list for you to place in conspicuous view to add to your gear toolkit. You might copy it, then drop one in the kitchen, another in the garage and don’t forget the top of the toilet to guarantee someone will catch your hint!

1 – Headphones

From tiny earbuds to noise reduction ‘phones, you need something to monitor your audio in the field and when editing. Don’t go too cheap; bad phones might not filter out crackles or hum.


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2 – Cables

Whether they’re for the camera, computer, audio recording or attachments, our business can’t thrive without cables. We’ve come across some specialized cables too: for instance, a coiled XLR cable with a right-angle connector.

3 – Batteries & Adapters

Your camcorder probably came with one adequate battery. But for shooting all day, you need a super-duper battery. Check out an adapter, too, if your camcorder has to have the battery attached for charging, so you can charge one batt while the other is charging elsewhere.

Camera Lens Filters
Camera Lens Filters
4 – Lens Filters

We always recommend you place a transparent filter over your lens to protect it from scratches and flying rocks (well, if they’re small rocks…). You can replace lens filters easily for not much coin, while repairing a cracked lens can cost you the price of the camera. Check out Cokin’s filters and adapters, and while you’re there, check out the cool magnetic filter holders. www.cokin.com

5 – Lens Converters

Redrock makes some cool accessories for camcorders, including lenses, adapters and converters. This Redrock Achromat Lens is a 10x lens that shoots very crisp clear extreme macro shots. www.redrockmicro.com.

6 – Rip Ties

C’mon! You’re not still using those green veggie ties, are you? Rip-Tie makes ties from color-coded short strips for bulk reels to tabbed and Velcro shorties – it’s hard to decide which is best. A dozen of each, please. www.riptie.com

7 – Gear Bags

Padded backpack camera bag
Padded backpack camera bag

Your camcorder and support gear need more protection than your old high-school backpack can give. Do you need water resistance or airport carry-on? How ’bout back-packing or day-tripping? Check and Otterbox: www.otterbox.com or Petrol: www.petrolbags.com [shown]

8 – Hoods

Some prosumer camcorders come with sun glare hoods. For the others, Hoodman has some great affordable Velcro-attachable hoods for both lenses and viewfinders. www.hoodmanusa.com

9 – Wind Screen

Sound pops from wind can ruin good video. You don’t have to have a pro cam or break the bank to find a decent windscreen. Rycote’s WindJammer screen is perfect for on-camera mics. www.rycote.com

10 – Wrap It Up

Kata Camcorder Guard
Kata Camcorder Guard

“Fits like a glove.” Here’s something fun and cool to protect your camera from life’s little “oops” moments. Kata Camcorder Guards have transparent windows and are easy to use. The adjustable body wrap fits all size batteries. Checkwww.kata-bags.com.

11 – Speakers

If you’re editing with the cheapo speakers your computer came with, you’re not getting the best audio experience, and your movies deserve better. KRK’s Rockit series begins at $299 MSRP. www.krksys.com.

12 – Portable Drives

Smaller drives used to mean less drive space, but now smaller means portable. Whether it’s a RAID or NAS drive, you don’t have to add a shelf to your desktop to accommodate these newer, smaller portable drives.

Yellow Ducky Thumb Drive inserted into a port on a laptop
Yellow Ducky Thumb Drive inserted into a port on a laptop
Check out the small Newer Tech drives(www.newertech.com) and these funky Thumb Drives from Dynamism (www.dynamism.com). From rubber duckies to Star Wars characters to “Go Green” wooden sticks, Dynamism’s standout drives say, “why be boring?”

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