Best for people living in metropolitan centers, LA Casting is a free and easy way to find actors willing to work for nothing but the promise of lunch and a copy of the finished video.
Wherever you live there are bound to be folks who love film and want to be part of the process. Craigslist is a great place to start looking.
It all starts here. DSLRs have become the go-to image-capture tool for indie filmmakers. The most prominent cameras on the market are the Canon 5D Mark III (pictured), successor to the Mark II that was used for Act of Valor, the Panasonic GH3, successor to the GH2 that was used for Upstream Color, the Nikon D800, and the recently launched Black Magic Cinema Camera.
It's widely known that if you're shooting video on DSLRs, Zeiss are the lenses to use. You want a set of 21 mm (pictured), 35 mm, 50 mm, and 85 mm primes. Known for their buttery-smooth focus ring, exemplary color rendering, sharpness and pleasing bokeh, these heavy lenses sport a build quality second to none. If you're on a budget, go Sigma. If you want autofocus and top quality, stick with Canon's EF or Nikon's Nikkor lines.
The Tripod, With Fluid Head
So many brands, so little time. Most importantly, you'll want to ensure the tripod can support the weight you plan to load on it, and the drag on the fluid head is smooth and consistent.
The Shoulder Mount
Back to the old school. The tried-and-true shoulder mount is key for that indie hand-held look that won't break your camera operator's biceps. Check out the Redrock Micro (pictured), Zacuto or Cinevate.
"But my camera already has a screen!" Unfortunately, most DSLR screens are too small to monitor focus and exposure while shooting. Look to Ikan or Marshall (pictured).
The Follow Focus
Sorry, no autofocus here. You're going to need total control over your optics so when the camera and/or your subject moves, a skilled focus puller can keep them in prime focus.
A must-have for the aspiring filmmaker. Let your camera float through space with tracking shots that become a ballet of movement and light. Though it takes time to master, no kit is complete without a stabilizer. Steadicam created the market way back in 1975 and continues to produce a range of solid, reasonably priced stabilizers. However, the Glidecam 4000 sits atop most indie filmmakers' gear checklist.
Best for establishing shots, the jib provides a true cinematic sense that the camera is not harbored to a person, but a conscientious observer with a mind of its own. Keep an eye out for the Cobracrane or Aviator jibs that attach directly to your tripod and break down for easy transport.
The Handheld Sound Recorder, With XML Input
Often overlooked as the least important facet of a film shoot, professional-quality sound is what will separate your film from the hundreds of hours of home videos uploaded to YouTube every minute. The Zoom H4n (pictured) is by far the most popular, with the Tascam DR-40 following closely behind.
The Shotgun Mic & Boom
Shotgun mic/boom kits are relatively cheap, and when coupled with a handheld sound recorder you have a great starter kit for a budding sound mixer. Rode (pictured) and Sennheiser produce quality gear that's also affordable.
The Five-Point LED Lighting Kit
Three-point lighting is good for portraiture, but you'll want five for film. Definitely the priciest accessory on the list, LED panels provide a cinematic lighting effect, but only when used properly. Look for Litepanels or Ikan brands at a rental shop if buying them will put you in the red.
Also known as a production slate, use it to ensure syncing of video and sound in post. Prices range from $15 into the thousands. Then again, if you're working with no budget just use your hands.
The Portable Data Storage Device
Your CF cards will fill up quick so make sure you have a portable device to save your precious dailies.
The Bounce Board
Light doesn't always behave the way you want it to, and often times the best way to fill a shadow is by reflecting what you've already got. Definitely the least expensive utensil in the kit, a bounce board can be a white poster board -- or choose from a wide selection of moderately priced collapsible colored reflectors.
The Editing Suite
This is where the magic happens. With these modern nonlinear editing programs a filmmaker can cut his movie on his train ride home. In 2011, Apple revamped its Final Cut line with the release of Final Cut Pro X (pictured), which was universally reviled by professionals. Two years and seven software updates later, Final Cut appears to be back in fighting form, trying to regain the lot of disillusioned users that had switched to Adobe's Premiere Pro.
The Effects Suite
For indie filmmakers, it's best to leave effects-driven stories to the professionals. Adobe's After Effects (pictured) is the go-to effects suite for beginners looking to liven up their projects. But if you're uber tech-savvy, Nuke may be your best option.
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