As a film student, I have learnt a lot about what is necessary to bring to a shoot. Obviously, you will need cameras, lights and all the equipment but there are so many other things that you may forget to bring that will actually make your life a lot easier. If you are starting as a film student or are new to the industry then this list of film essentials should help you out.
Tape is really useful to have in your bag for any shoot. Tape can be used for floor markings so that actors know where you want them to stand and can stand in the same place for each shot. Tape can also be used to quickly fix things and to hold things together.
- Lots of water and food
Film shoots often last for hours and big companies will have a catering team come along with them. For independent companies and filmmakers, you are most probably going to have to provide your own food. You may want to make sure that someone brings food and water for the actors as well as yourselves as your film will suffer if you have hungry actors.
- Spare batteries
You do not want to be caught out without a spare battery. There is nothing worse than being in the middle of a shoot and the battery dying. Make sure that your equipment is fully charged and working before you start the shoot and always make sure you have a back-up plan in case the equipment starts playing up.
- Broken down script with shot lists
Before shooting, crew members should have broken down the script so they know what shots are needed when what props are needed, costume etc. This will make it 10x easier to keep up-to-date with what is needed and when it is needed. You will easily be able to see what is missing and will allow you to quickly correct any mistakes rather than not realising until you have nearly finished the shoot.
Having a notepad is useful for writing notes for the editor, any changes with camera settings or using different shots. You will want to write down anything and everything so make sure you have the right stationary with you. You will also want to write on the script as changes are made.
Even if you are not recording sound with the camera, you will want to have headphones to listen to it. This makes it much easier to sync up the sound post-production. I use Sennheiser headphones as they are very good at blocking out other sound so you can easily concentrate on what you are doing. Always record the sound with the camera as it will make it so much easier to sync up in the edit. I found this out the hard way so please learn from my mistakes.
- Comfortable footwear
I know this sounds trivial but you will be on your feet a lot so you will want to make sure that you wear comfortable footwear. My favourites shoes to wear are Timberlands as they are padded and I can wear them all day without my feet aching. Make sure that your shoes fit properly and you are wearing comfortable socks.
- Appropriate clothing
Before you go on a shoot, check what the weather is supposed to be like so you can make a judgement as to what would be best to wear. Obviously, if you are filming outside during the night then you will want to wear warm, comfortable clothing. If you are filming in winter then you will want gloves, hats, thermal clothing etc. Always be prepared and organised. It’s better to wear too many layers than not enough.
Do not ever go on a shoot without a clapperboard. On a clapperboard, you will need to write down the scene, take, director, camera operator etc. This will allow you to sync up the sound and remember which take it is without watching the whole thing. If someone is writing notes on each take, then that will also make it easier for the editor to use the correct shot.