This year’s gift guide is brought to you by
If you’ve arrived at this article, chances are, there’s a video creator on your holiday gift list. Luckily, we’ve put together a great gift guide to help you choose just the right gear without breaking the budget, even if you’re not an expert yourself. Whether you’re shopping for a budding filmmaker, YouTube creator, podcast host or just learning the ropes, we’ve got you covered.
Give them lights… for camera and action.
Lighting is essential for video and film. Good lighting can be costly but there are a lot of affordable options. The Yongnuo YN360 II LED Light Wand offers daytime and nighttime lighting. Its compact size makes it easy to use in motion or small spaces so it’s great for home studios or vlogging. RGB LEDs can be used to create custom lighting so narrative storytellers will love it, too. Find it here.
If you’re looking for a powerful yet portable light to gift to your favorite creator, the Lume Cube Panel may be your pick. This light was made for the on-the-go creator who needs their lighting to adapt to any shooting condition. The Lume Cube Panel features an intuitive LCD screen on the back, which allows you to adjust color temperature and brightness. It even gives you immediate feedback on how long the LED will last at each brightness setting, with battery power lasting up to 8.5 hours. Matching the size of an iPhone, you can pack light and nail any shot. Plus, it doubles as a power bank to charge any USB-chargeable device — handy! Find it here.
For a creator who needs a full lighting set-up to help them get to the next level, a three-piece kit is a perfect gift. The Westcott Photo Basics uLite Three Light Kit includes two 500-watt constant lights and a background light. It includes the light stands, sets up easily, illuminates nicely and adds a professional edge to any production. Find it here.
Give them the gift of sound
Excellent audio can make or break a production for your favorite videographer. Having good microphones is the best way to help save them a ton of time in post-production sound editing.
A new type of 2.4 GHz wireless system, the Azden PRO-XR uses several different technologies to make it the most reliable digital system in its price range. Azden’s proprietary Signal Redundancy Technology, which sends two signals instead of just one, combines with an adjustable output power up to 100 mW and an external antenna design to create a wireless microphone that’s extremely reliable in almost any situation. The compact design works equally well for cameras and mobile devices, and the kit includes a smartphone mount, Lightning adapter and TRRS adapter in the box. Find it here.
Handheld mics can be a fun gift to give if your recipient might be doing on-screen interviews or creating music videos. Get the Shure SM58-S for a classic wired microphone with 50 years of experience behind it. Find it here.
If you have a podcast host on your list, give them a sound boost. Podcasts have particular sound quality needs since they are often produced in small spaces. They tend to have guests on their shows, so capturing dynamic audio is critical. The Røde Podcaster Studio Microphone Kit will definitely make their show even better. Find it here.
Give them a clear view
If you’re hoping to add a professional edge to their projects, consider adding monitoring tools for their cameras. The Atomos Shinobi is bright, lightweight, and features a sharp display. This offers features like waveform, false color and vector-scope. It’s very user-friendly with a tap screen and supports HD and SD inputs. Find it here.
If your creator who rather be in the edit suite than the production studio, consider the ViewSonic VP3481. It’s a curved 34-inch display built with an MVA Panel and offering a WQHD+ resolution of 3440×1440. The monitor’s wide 21:9 aspect ratio gives your editor plenty of room to work, and its 99-percent sRGB coverage makes it a great choice for editors, colorists and motion graphic designers who rely on color accuracy to get the look they want. A 100Hz refresh rate and AMD FreeSync promise smooth playback, while a 14-bit 3D look-up table produces an impressive 4.39 trillion colors for amazingly accurate image reproduction. Find it here.
Give them a leg to stand on
Actually, we mean three legs. It’s not uncommon to find various homemade, modified or Frankensteined camera stands and tripods on a low-budget production set. You can even find DIY camera support ideas from the Videomaker team on our website. Nice new tripods are a luxury or upgrade we don’t often treat ourselves to. Getting them as a gift is a treat your creator will thank you for. Davis & Sanford PROVISTA AIRLIFT 18 is an excellent choice with a professional style. It’s lightweight, very adjustable during usage and comes with a carrying case. Find it here.
Another good tripod option for gifting is the Nikon Full Size Black Tripod. It has a head that offers very smooth panning, tilting and movement tracking motions because the handle is long. Adaptable and lightweight, this is a great addition to anyone’s video gear. Find it here.
Podcasters and video streamers love tabletop tripods like the 3Pod Small Portable Table Top Mini Tripod. They can attach a variety of cameras to it as it suits their production needs in different settings. It’s easy to use in small spaces, on kitchen counters or in offices. For the price, it would be an easy add-on gift for nearly anything else on this list. Find it here.
Additionally, if you have a vlogger in the family, a JOBY GorillaPod is a gift that supports their projects. It’s a tripod with flexible legs, easily hand-held for walking around while they shoot. Plus, it holds cameras up to about 6 pounds without tipping. We’ve seen them held high above crowds and wrapped around tree branches. They come in smaller sizes, too. Find it here.
Give them the gift of motion
Want to give your creator the gift of a more cinematic image? A motion control system is a good bet. The Syrp Genie II 3-Axis kit is made up of two independent motion controllers that work together as a powerful 3-Axis motion control system. Genie II Linear provides smooth linear controlled motion and runs back and forward without you having to monitor it. Plus it’s ultra-quiet. Genie II Pan Tilt is a 2-Axis system allowing you to combine both movements: full 180° degrees tilt and 360° degrees pan. Both devices sync via Bluetooth and connect wirelessly with the Syrp Genie 2 App, allowing filmmakers to program complex movements using the keyframe editor and other features like multi-row panorama, live drive, stop motion and more. Find the kit here.
For a different approach to camera movement, the MOZA AirCross 2 is a lightweight 3-Axis motorized camera gimbal designed to stabilize handheld capture with your mirrorless camera, producing smooth, professional-looking footage. The MOZA AirCross 2 supports up to a 7 lb (3.2kg) payload and features a larger camera mounting space compatible with a wide range of cameras and lenses. Create cinematic shots through the upgraded Inception Mode 3.0, FPV Mode, Mimic Motion Control, Object Tracking, and other advanced shooting modes. The Intuitive Control Panel provides directional control and mode selection at your fingertips, while the smart wheel provides quick control for precision axis control. Find it here.
Give them a gift above all others
Drones were all the rage as a trendy gift a few years ago. Everyone who loves remote control cars or helicopters wanted one. Now that the buzz has worn off, they’ve become a filmmaker’s favorite weapon for capturing hard-to-get shots. Arial video footage can make a production feel like it has a much bigger budget than it does and offers visual effects that can’t be gained by other means. While there are many options on the market, we really like the DJI Mavic 2 Pro Travel Kit. It’s a bit more pricey than most of our list but it’s not just a drone. It’s a 4K camera, a drone, a monitor controller, a memory card, and all the accessories with a backpack case. Find it here.
Give them memories
Memory cards might not sound exciting, but anyone who’s ever had a project at risk because they lacked adequate storage will tell you it’s a golden gift. We can’t get enough. The more we have the more we’ll use. But that’s awesome because we hate limits. The SanDisk 128GB Extreme PRO is blazing fast and touted for its reliability. It may not be a cheap stocking stuffer but your creator will be happy to unwrap it. Find it here.
If you give them memory cards, we definitely recommend giving them a card reader to go with it. Be sure the reader is compatible with the cards you buy. For the SanDisk card mentioned above, the SanDisk Extreme PRO CFExpress Card Reader is the right choice. Find it here.
A more awesome, techy option is the gift of unlimited cloud storage. It’s usually run as a membership, so it’s a gift that keeps giving. Cloud storage can be incredibly secure and protects against mishaps like power outages. When choosing a cloud option, be sure to read the fine print and watch for extra fees. Setting it up as a gift might be complicated so don’t hesitate to call the help-desk to be sure your recipient will be able to access it. We like Backblaze for cloud service. Find it here.
Give them a hardware upgrade
Shooting video is only half of the equation. Your creator also needs proper post-production tools to help them edit their work and share it with the world.
If you’re an on the go creator, or you’re shopping for one, take a look at the MSI Prestige 15. Inside this mobile workstation, there’s a 10th Gen Intel 7-core processor with the latest GeForce GTX 16 Series Graphics. In total, the Prestige 15 weighs just 3.5 lbs, so it shouldn’t be a tedious load to carry. Plus, it lasts up to 16 hours on a single charge. Its 90% screen-to-body ratio MSI True Pixel display comes with a 4K UHD resolution panel with True Color calibration, 100% AdobeRGB wide color gamut, and Delta-E<2 color accuracy. The Prestige 15 can be a great fit for any traveling creator. Find it here.
The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme is designed for users and prosumers who seek a laptop that provides high performance for intensive workloads like video and photo editing, graphics rendering, and even some gaming. The latest X1 Extreme brings 9th Generation Intel processors, a 4K OLED display, and comes standard with NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 graphics. Less than an inch-thin and starting at just 3.75 pounds, the X1 Extreme is tested against 12 military-grade requirements and more than 200 quality checks making it portable, yet durable for the roughest conditions. In addition, the X1 Extreme comes with Dolby speakers, 360-degree far-field microphones, a camera privacy shutter, rapid charge functionality, and a very portable power adapter. Find it here.
Give them a smoother workflow
Whether your giftee is a professional or just getting started with video editing, VideoProc will help them quickly and easily transcode, process and edit 4K or HD videos on PC or Mac thanks to its Level-3 GPU Acceleration tech. It supports virtually all types of video files from video cameras, action cameras or smartphones. With VideoProc, you can edit and stabilize your footage, add watermarks, create GIFs and resize large files. You can also adjust your bitrate and export to a wide variety of formats and device profiles to fit your needs. Moreover, it also provides a perfect solution for creators who need to capture screen recordings or webcam video with voiceover. VideoProc helps solve codec issues, save video music and more. Find it here.
Give them the gift of wow
If you’re ready to open your wallet for the big gift that will take them to the next level, go for the camera. A Sony PXW-Z190 camcorder might be the answer for career videographers. This camera has Wi-Fi capability for remote use, dual SD slots, and 25-times optical zoom. It’s a powerful piece for event coverage, newsgathering, nature footage, interviews, documentaries and professional sets. Find it here.
Most online content creators, vloggers or streamers would love to unwrap a Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5. We love its nerdy specs. You can get it in a fully accessorized bundle that includes everything they could possibly need to get started. Find it here.
Give them education
We would be remiss if we didn’t mention this novel idea. In an industry that is constantly evolving with new gear and technologies, it’s important for video creators to keep honing their skills and increasing their knowledge. Videomaker has been publishing tips, techniques, product reviews and instructional how-tos for over 30 years. Give your creator a subscription to Videomaker Magazine and they are sure to find great content that helps them stay at the top of their game. Find it here.
Give them the gift wrap
Or, rather, give them carrying cases for their gear. You can scour the web and find camera bags and gear cases that look like backpacks, duffel bags or briefcases. It’s another one of those upgrades that would make us feel good and look good that we tend to not splurge on for ourselves. A few solid pieces of travel bags that are actually made for cameras and gear truly make video work easier. Everything fits securely and stays in place. Organized gear is easier to pack and unpack, saving valuable time and frustrations. The Slinger SL-01 Photo Video Bag is a good option at a low price. The interior spaces can be rearranged and customized to fit various pieces of gear and accessories. Find it here.
You’ll find that many of the items on this gift guide appear in our Best Products articles as well. If you want more information about selecting the right gear for different kinds of use or productions, that is a great section of our website to explore.
And if you want great deals on these and other gifts your creator will love, check out Adorama.com. Since 1974, Adorama has catered to creatives with a broad selection of cameras, lenses, studio lighting, audio gear and more. More than a robust marketplace, Adorama also provides learning resources and support for video producers at every level. Head to Adorama.com for complete details on these products or to discover more great gifts for the creator in your life.
Whatever you decide, we do hope you’ll wrap it all up in festive paper and bows.