The Cinehacker’s Toolkit

1. Tripod screws

Tripod screws are pretty much the same from camera to camera. They’re also the only part of a camera mount you can’t make yourself. With half a dozen tripod screws and a good hacksaw you can stabilize a camera anywhere. The downside: if you buy them from photography shops they cost around £5 a pair (we know!). However, they’re actually not uncommon at all, order UNC 1/4″ screws from a car shop or DIY store and you’re away. You can buy some here for 36p each!

2. Removable tripod plates

As above – but better, and only slightly more expensive. Add to anything to safely mount a camera. They usually have a single threaded hole underneath to fit a UNC 1/4″ screw.

Try this one on for about £8.99


3. Gaffer tape

It’s easy to forget how useful gaffer tape is until you’re stuck without it – it comes in handy for marking stuff out, termporarily (or ‘semi-permanently’) holding things together, measuring things (in lieu of a tape measure), writing on, fixing light/water/petrol leaks.. the list goes on. Get a roll of black and a roll of white (and a can of WD40) and you’re basically ‘in charge’.

As if further proof was necessary, check out some of these “inspiring” hacks:
There, I Fixed It

buy it here for less than £2

Alternatively, bulldog clips are also awesome. (OK maybe not as good as gaffer tape – but probably a bit more weather-proof and certainly a good solution if you need to attach your script to a railing or something).

Stationery shops such as Blackwells tend to have them in stock for less than a pound each.

4. A car

OK – cars aren’t cheap commodities, but you can save a fortune on taxi fares if you play your cards right with companies like Enterprise, who do weekend specials for less than £11 per day. If you’re a small crew and you’re without wheels, this is definitely a viable option. If you’re too young to drive, Parental taxi services can sometimes be traded for willing help with domestic chores. Otherwise, pack light/get your mates involved!

5. Lens adapters

Once upon a time, wide angle, telephoto and macro lenses were prohibitively expensive. They’re still not within everyone’s limits, but there are some good products out there, from the VTec wide angle lens for the iPhone to some smart innovations from companies such as Kipon. So, remember, if you’re using a camera with interachangeable lenses – or even just an iPhone! – don’t feel restricted by the lenses you have – especially if your mates have lenses for other cameras; adapt, share, borrow and away you go!

6. Gorilla grip

Aren’t gorilla grips just about the handiest invention ever? Our advice is spend a bit more – there are some cheap ones, but they tend to fall apart.. If you’ve got a heavy DSLR, would you trust a flimsy piece of plastic to hold its weight? Go and have a look at the ones in shops and hold them, manipulate them and see how far they’ll bend! You’ll get an idea about the kind of quality you need for your camera – if in doubt, ask!



7. Power

(Always best to do this the night before you shoot)

8. Toolkit

Everyone should have a toolkit. If you’re a man it makes you feel like more of a man, if you’re a lady, it makes you feel like more of a lady. They should be given out at birth and should always include:

Screwdriver (flathead/philips)
Bulldog clips
Tape measure
A small spirit level
Masking tape
Some small clamps


9. Water

You know, the wet stuff that keeps us ticking. 2 litres a day apparently (per crew member!)..

10. Smartphone/Laptop

Utterly invaluable, a smart phone gives you a camera for continuity, a flash light, a timer, a personal organiser (for those of us who can’t afford a PA) and access to the lovely informational superhighway of the internet for checking (and ordering things you’ve forgotten for tomorrow) on-site!

If you’ve got space in your boot, do what the pros do and take your laptop so you can check the rushes as they’re made. Better to know sooner rather than later if you’ve got a boom in shot or something dodgy going which you didn’t spot in your viewfinder.

In either case, charge it up fully and don’t forget it!

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