No matter how much you prepare, you’re going to forget something. Save your next shoot by preparing a complete backup gear kit.
We’ve all done it — you get to set, camera rig in hand, and everything is set up and ready to go. So, you press record and that fateful error message appears on your camera: “NO SD CARD INSERTED.”
I’ve had to make that embarrassing drive home to grab my SD cards I forgot to back after ingesting from my previous shoot. I’m sure you’ve had to, as well. There’s also countless other little things you might forget along the way, pivotal to a stress-free set. So, Charles Yeager of Shutterstock Tutorials has a plan for us — a cheap, efficient backup filmmaking kit that can easily fit in your gear bag or car, in case of emergencies.
The most important thing to keep in this backup kit is extra storage options. This includes a few spare SD cards and a CF or CFAST card (depending on what type of storage unit your camera uses). I also like to keep either a flash drive or SSD in there, just in case you begin to run out of storage on your SD cards and need to quickly offload some footage through your laptop. (Oh yeah, always have a laptop on set. You never know if you need to check your footage on the fly.)
Along with these storage options, a micro SD card reader is also an extremely cheap and handy thing to have on you. You never know if you’re going to have to show a client footage on set or not, so be prepared.
There’s a shortlist of must-have accessories you need on set that can easily fit inside a carrying case. Here are a few you can pack into a kit for under $75:
Wrap a little bit of gaff tape around an old gift card. It can easily fit into a handheld case, and if you need a little strip, just tear a bit off of your homemade pocket roll.
Clothespins, or C-47s as they’re known in the biz, are essential on set. They can cling film over lights, hang cords, you name it. Keep a few of these on hand.
Gear Car Chargers
Things might get dicey on set, and batteries might run out when you’re nowhere near an outlet. Keep a few battery chargers that can plug into your car, just in case.
If you have to check audio or review footage in a pinch, sometimes having a pair of headphones can be a lifesaver. You’ve probably got some old ones lying around your house already. Chuck ’em into your gear pack to save your future self.
Quick Release Plate
This one is the most frustrating thing to forget on set. There’s nothing more aggravating than setting up your tripod and forgetting the plate. Before you throw your tripod off a bridge, save yourself the pain by buying a cheap quick release plate to keep on hand.
Bonus Addition — Bottle Cap Opener
This is my small little addition, but it’s saved me countless times on set. I’ve got a small Texas-shaped bottle opener on my keychain that’s basically a multi-purpose tool. You can use it as a screwdriver, a quick release tightener, or even as a dull knife if things get dicey. And hey, if you’ve got some beers on hand to celebrate your martini shot, you can also be the hero who opens everyone’s bottles. If you want a Texas-shaped one, it might be tough to grab outside of the Lone Star State, but give me a shout on Instagram at @RobbieCapturesImages. I may be able to send one your way, if you live in a lesser state (just kidding, but Texas Forever).
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