First things first – Amazon is your friend. All the gear on this page is available on its website in India, and although you can go to brick-and-mortar stores as well, the aim of this article is to help you put together a basic kit with the least amount of effort. Read on, all you Nolans in the making.
Any DSLR that shoots video will do, at the most basic level. However, you should get one that has an external microphone input as well as a headphone jack, so that you can monitor your sound levels properly. Wi-Fi capability doesn’t hurt either, since it will allow you to use your smartphone or tablet as a live-view monitor while shooting. The Sony Alpha A7S is a great DSLR to buy, if you can afford the Rs 1.4 lakh asking price. The Canon EOS 7D MkII (Rs 1.24 lakh) is also an excellent option.
You’ll need a shotgun microphone and a lapel microphone for a basic sound setup. The shotgun mic slots into the hotshoe mount of your DSLR, and connects to it via an audio input port; it can be used for general sound recording. For interviews, a lapel mic works best, and a wireless unit is convenient. The Rode VideoMic unit (Rs 7,749) and the Rider Cordless Lavalier Microphone (Rs 1,499) are good value for money.
These are absolutely essential, for steady shots. The Vanguard CX203AP tripod (Rs 3,850) is a solid, functional piece of kit, and you could also get the Manfrotto MTPIXI-B PIXI Mini Tripod (Rs 1,610) for use in harder to reach areas (it also doubles up as a useful pistol-grip for your camera).
These are extremely useful for shooting in a variety of lighting conditions, because you can use them to bounce available light in a variety of ways on to your subject. The Super 5-In-1 Collapsible Photo Light Reflector (Rs 850) gives you silver, gold, white, black and a diffuser, all in one convenient package.
A good set of monitoring headphones is an asset for any film-making kit. The AudioTechnica ATH-M20x (Rs 3,059) is a very good over-ear set of headphones for this purpose.
A clip-on bank of dimmable LED lights is very useful if you’re filming in the dark, or even to fill in for shadows when you’re shooting in daylight (these won’t transform your film into works of lighting art, mind you – for that, you’ll need to upgrade to more expensive lights). The Neewer 160 LED CN-160 (Rs 4,299) will do the job just fine.
RIGS AND STEADYCAMS
These offer stabilization options in various, convenient ways. The Flyfilms Camera Shoulder Mount Kit (Rs 12,100) is pretty much all the rig you’ll need to start off with. As a standalone stabilizer, the Flycam 3000 steadycam (Rs 7,960) will serve you well.
SLIDERS AND DOLLYS
These let you operate your camera smoothly in tracking and dolly movements (from side to side and in-and-out). They can also be mounted on tripods. The Flyfilms Adjustable Axles DSLR Dolly (Rs 5,850) is a good budget option.