ESSENTIAL GEAR is a regular feature produced in collaboration with StudioDaily’s exclusive retail partner, Adorama

In this special extended mega-installment of Essential Gear, we look at last-minute gift ideas for the filmmaker friends in your life. (Maybe that filmmaker is you.) We’ve kept the prices down this time around — you won’t find anything selling for more than $450 on this list, and most items go for less than half that. Full disclosure: we stole a bunch of these ideas from Adorama’s Alex DePew, whose great Best Gifts for Filmmakers This Holiday Season may give you a few more tips. But we’ve also added a few affordable items that impressed our reviewers recently for your consideration.

For more ideas, check out Essential Gear: Gifts for Filmmakers (Part 2)!

As usual, if you use the included affiliate links to shop with our friends at Adorama, your orders help support StudioDaily.


Joby GorillaPod 3K Pro Kit

This small but inexpensive and lightweight tripod option is endlessly flexible and incredibly versatile. It boasts an impressive load capacity of up to 6.6 pounds, making it a good match for mirrorless cameras. It may not be the best tripod on the market, but sometimes you can bet it will be the best tripod for the job.

Learn more about the Joby GorillaPod 3K Pro Kit at Adorama | SHOP NOW

DJI Ronin-SC Gimbal Stabilizer

DJI Ronin-SC Gimbal Stabilizer

DJI’s Ronin-SC three-axis stabilizer supports a payload of up to 2.0 kg, making it a good match for mirrorless cameras from Canon, Fujifilm, Nikon, Panasonic and Sony — see DJI’s official compatibility list.  DJI’s ActiveTrack technology uses visual data from a smartphone mounted above the camera to help analyze motion and more precisely control the gimbal’s movement. It’s a fun-to-use device that delivers a lot of production value.

Learn more about the DJI Ronin-SC Gimbal Stabilizer at Adorama | SHOP NOW

CLAR Venus Five-Inch On-Camera RGB LED Light

This battery-powered LED fixture has 88 five-color LED lights that can be controlled using knobs on the device itself or via an iOS and Android app. Animated effects modes include police lights, fireworks and campfire, and the app can be used to sample a color and produce a matching RGB value for lighting. Surprisingly small and surprisingly inexpensive.

Learn more about the CLAR Venus Five-Inch On-Camera RGB LED Light at Adorama | SHOP NOW

CLAR Basic Two-Light LED Softbox Kit

Just your basic classic lighting kit right here, with two seven-inch 1400 lumen LED lamps and lightweight studio stands. The total package weighs in at a little less than 11 pounds, making it easy to haul out to shoots.

Learn more about the CLAR Basic Two-Light LED Softbox Kit at Adorama | SHOP NOW

Litra Torch LitraPro

Litra perfected its product design for the Litra Torch Litra Pro, with bicolor LED lights and an on-board OLED display to aid in setting color temperature and brightness. It cranks out a max of 1,200 lumens, and can run for up to 40 minutes at maximum power. Read StudioDaily’s full review.

Learn more about the Litra Torch LitraPro at Adorama | SHOP NOW

Pelican 1510 Carry-On Case

The traveling life is hard if you don’t have a solid box to protect your gear. This watertight, crush-proof and dust-proof case from the experts at Pelican is designed to protect your gear and travel with you, fitting in the overhead compartment. It’s tough and reliable and it’s made in the U.S.A.

Learn more about the Pelican 1510 Carry-On Case at Adorama | SHOP NOW

Atomos Shinobi 5.2-Inch Photo and Video Monitor

Atomos Shinobi

Good things come in small packages — at 5.2 inches, the Atomos Shinobi is just big enough to be usable for field monitoring, but it’s only seven ounces, so it doesn’t weigh you down. Waveform, histogram and vectorscope monitoring are part of the deal here, along with the ability to view HDR images on a 10-bit, 1000-nit screen. Does it support 4K input? Of course it does. It’s a highly affordable piece of pro gear.

Learn more about the Atomos Shinobi at Adorama | SHOP NOW

Proaim Director’s Monitor Cage

This rugged high-grade aluminum cage with hefty grips is designed to put a dedicated monitor in the director’s hand. Adjustable to use a range of monitors measuring between four and seven inches, the cage accommodates various accessories — sun hood, wireless receiver — and provides a V-Mount battery plate for power. It comes with a neck strap and can also be mounted on a C-stand for comfort’s sake.

Learn more about the Proaim Director’s Monitor Cage at Adorama | SHOP NOW