- Ten Lists of Ten Tips for Digital Filmakers &
Tips for Filmmaking & Videography Gear Maintenance
By Edward Boettcher
Figgis, director of Leaving Las Vegas,
Timecode, Hotel and other features,
wrote an excellent book called "Digital Filmmaking"*
where he laments that for some, "the more accessible
a camera seems-the smaller it is, the more plastic
its component parts, the less respect it will be given."
He continues, "Don't have an attitude towards
the equipment based on your preconceptions of its
value" (Figgis, 9).
that to inspire us, below is a list to get you started
on the road to treating EVERY piece of your gear with
reverence. These tips may be the difference between
the project being completed or not, on time or not.
Start a repair bucket. If you ever get the opportunity
to stroll around a large film studio, you may stumble
upon a trailer or large space dedicated just to shop
work. This is where the C-stands get repaired, cables
re-soldered, knobs replaced, etc. Your repair bucket
is your portable shop. Inside you will have such things
as safety goggles, duct tape, two-part epoxy, various
tools, isopropyl alcohol and other items and supplies
for basic cleaning, safety and repair. As your production
company grows, so should your repair bucket and your
Be your own property master. On a small production
everyone is wearing multiple hats and gear can be
ignored, possibly in unsafe spots where an opportunistic
person might partake of your 2nd lens. As you unpack,
ask yourself if it is safe from people, vehicles and
the elements, without your needing to constantly mind
it. As your backup, make sure you have the serial
numbers written down, the original receipts stored,
pictures of the gear and everything insured.
A place for everything, a case for everything.
Two good practices are to have a secure, lockable
place to store your new gear when you receive it and
buying a case for the gear at the time of purchase.
New camera=new camera case. If you can't afford cases,
you can always afford the DIY approach: tape-reinforced
cardboard boxes and thrift-store suitcases.
Non-standard cables travel with the gear. Know
which cables you have that are proprietary to a specific
piece of gear and which are standard. Proprietary
cables travel in the case with the gear.
Treat all gear equally great and save your original
boxes. Throughout your career you will be upgrading
gear often. You will get better resale results from
a well-maintained piece of gear in the original box
with the original manual.
M. Digital Filmmaking. New York: Faber and Faber,