Tips for beginner filmmakers , what is the best camera to start filmmaking with?

What is the best camera to start filmmaking with

Tips for beginner filmmakers , what is the best camera to start filmmaking with? When I first started making films I used a handycam with DV tapes to record on, the slightest knock to the camera body and you would get interference on the screen. Digital grey squares would appear in and out of frames, internal sound recording meant you heard a constant mechanical hum throughout the footage.

It doesn’t matter what camera you use when you first start out. It really doesn’t, use whatever you can get your hands on. Most Mobile cell phones now have high quality cameras, technology is improving every year, HD is not hard to obtain. I have made a list of filmmaking equipment below to guide you if you wish to start spending money on filmmaking equipment.

This is a beginners guide! I am referring to high quality products and brands that do the job well but don’t cost a fortune. I am not techy minded, I figure there are other filmmakers out there which lack a technical care like I do, so I made this guide easy to understand. Feel free to add your own thoughts or reviews of products you have bought in the comments section below. 


What is the best camera to start filmmaking with ? From the lowest price and easiest to get hold of a DSLR camera with video will give you a great start. The camera quality is high and you get full control of your focus (allowing you to make those blurry background shots). 

A Canon 750D costs from £450 ($570) usually coming with a zoom stock lens so you can start filming straight away. For a lower price any DSLR with video will do, for the lowest price I recommend a second hand Canon 550D (£200 / $250).  


We often forget about sound when we first begin to make films but bad audio can ruin everything. The DSLR cameras do record internal audio but this will come with internal camera noise. A quick fix is the RØDE VideoMic this fits on top of the camera and is good for close up audio and interview recording (£80 / $100).  It is the cheapest of fixes.
For further improved audio use a Lavalier Microphone (£150 / $190  ) this attaches to the actors shirt allowing you record their dialogue even if far away from the camera -  but you will also need an external recorder with this such as the Zoom H4n (£180 / $230 ). For more versatility a BoomPole , with a Shotgun Microphone and an external recorder (Zoom h4n). A complete Boom pole set up like this will cost you around £450/ $575 so you see sound recording can cost you as much as a camera.  
what is the best camera to start filmmaking with
what is the best camera to start filmmaking with
what is the best camera to start filmmaking with


Tips for beginner filmmakers Natural light can go a long way, remember you can use the lights you already have in the room to create atmosphere. Lamps, torches, the light glow from a TV can all be used as a cheap alternative to paid for lighting.

For outdoor lighting a simple Light Reflector (£10/ $15) can reflect light from the sun to light up your actors faces. 
For white natural daylight Photography Soft boxes £60/$100) can fill a room with light. A set of Red Head Lights (£100 / $130) can be used on any student film set, you could also get colourful lighting gels to peg to the front of the lights to change the colour of light in scenes. Remember cinematography is all about creativity.


Accessories and packages

For your camera you will also need a tripod, the best company for this is Manfrotto which do a whole range of tripods, ideally you want one will a fluid head allowing you to move freely.

The Manfrotto is rather expensive so I found a cheaper, recommended alternative Magnus (£160 / $200) Your cameras will also need cards to record on to (SD Cards). A recommended camera bag company is Lowepro. Below I have built a list of eqipment packages so you can see the price of a starter filmmaker kit.

Filmmaker Package ONE -  £500 / $640

Canon 550D, (comes with a 18-55mm lens), SD Cards X2 , Magnus tripod , Zoom recorder, light reflector, 

Filmmaker Package TWO –  £1000 / $1275

Canon 750D (comes with a 18-55mm lens), SD Cards X2, Magnus tripod, zoom h4n & lav microphone, 

Filmmaker Package THREE - £1500 / $1900

Canon 750D (comes with a 18-55mm lens), SD Cards X4 , Manfrotto tripod head and legs,zoom h4n, Rode boompole, Rode shotgun Microphone, Set of red head lights and gels, Lowepro DSLR camera bag, Manfrotto tripod camera bag

Of course you could always do what I do and borrow equipment  from others (all universities and colleges will likely have equipment you can borrow).  

You don’t need to splash out money to make your first films, you can very much learn the basics for free, and create high quality content for a low cost.

You can find me via Twitter here - @amyclarkefilms