Holiday Wish List Shopping Guide

Okay, we’ve all heard that it’s better to give than to receive. After all, it’s the thought that counts, right? But do you really need another tie? One more bottle of cologne? Another flashlight keyring? You’re a videographer and you’re loved ones had better face it, you want video gear.

The winter holidays can be a great time to expand your video equipment inventory. But those non-video friends and family of yours may not know the difference between Mini DV and Minnie Driver or Hi8 and Hi-C. Take, for example, a reader named Dave, who after hinting endlessly to his family that he wanted an accessory bag, got a package in the mail from his Aunt Rose. It was an accessory bag, knitted with pink yarn.

The following tips, along with our Annual Holiday Gift Guide should help you avoid Dave’s situation and help ensure that your, "Wow, I love it! It’s just what I wanted!" is actually sincere.

Tip 1 Let’em Know What You Want

Start early and be imaginative with this one. While shooting your niece’s birthday party, for example, be sure to drop hints and mention things like, "If only I had a new character generator (or audio mixer or whatever) this video would be so much better."

In the weeks before the holidays, step up the campaign. Leave this Holiday Gift Guide laying around in a prominent place, with your selections circled, highlighted or underlined. Cut out pictures and stick it on the fridge or wherever gift givers frequent: the bathroom, coffee table, car, etc


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Tip 2 Be Specific

It can be heartbreaking to receive something really great that just doesn’t work with your gear or system. If you’re angling for software, for example, let likely gift givers know you use Windows or Macintosh. Likewise, details on such things like your lens’ diameter and the cable types you use can help ensure gift getting success.

Tip 3 Match The Request to The Giver

If you let your nephew Charlie know that your heart’s desire is a turnkey editing system, he may be sympathetic, but he’ll never be able to afford it with his paperboy’s income. However, if you have prudently named your first-born after Great-Uncle Myron who invested in 3M the year they invented Post-It Notes, you just may score big. This is especially effective after you explain that you would love to document his life in a video as a keepsake for future generations of family, if only you had the proper equipment.

Tip 4 Do Your Homework

The best holiday surprises are not unexpected. Help your prospective givers by doing price and feature checking. Let them know about companies whose names you trust and who have good technical support. Check out the New Gear and Test Bench columns of this year’s Videomaker to give you plenty of ammunition uh information.

Tip 5 Give’em Some Options

If you handle your wishing and hinting with the right amount of tact, your gift giving friends and loved ones will think they’ve come up with the perfect gift idea all by themselves. You can strengthen this illusion by providing them some options. If you need both a tripod and a lavaliere mike, why not let them choose which one to surprise you with? Basic accessories like batteries, blank tapes, cables and lens cleaners are always needed. Let them know which ones you need as these can make affordable stocking stuffers and might be a good alternative for the no-nonsense folks who usually give you socks.

Tip 6 Sit Back and Enjoy The Season

It really is the thought that counts. Face it, no matter how well organized you are and how often you’ve hinted, Aunt Rose will probably still knit you something pink. Whatever you get, take the chance to videotape the opening of presents so you’re loved ones can see you sincerely shout, "Wow, I love it! It’s just what I wanted." Who knows, maybe your new pink camera bag will start a new fad.

The Videomaker Editors are dedicated to bringing you the information you need to produce and share better video.