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I’m often asked about what gear to buy. That can involve lights, camera, lenses, sound gear… you name it. We’ll be doing a lot of articles on gear in this blog, but first I want to talk about the “build order”, or in other words, “what to buy first”.

Most independent filmmakers are on a tight budget. To be honest, I believe that figuring out how to make a really visually and emotionally compelling film WITHOUT having all the money in the world is part of the joy of this process.

  • Digital film equipment is less expensive goes UP in quality and DOWN in price every year
  • There are a lot of cheap ways to make your film look professional
  • Much of your gear can be bought used, and re-sold when you’re ready to upgrade


  • You can spend a lot of money and still have a really lame film

So in terms of “build order” most people start by asking “What’s the best CAMERA?” This is accompanied with technical terms like 4K/6K/8K, “bit rate”, “dynamic range”, and a lot of other things. While the camera is a very important decision, it’s actually part of a much larger strategy.

Build Order

1 – Practice with anything you can get your hands on for free.

2 – Get some cheap LED Lights and a good initial sound recording system

3 – Pick a Lens Mount (Canon, Sony, Leica)

4 – Upgrade to a decent DSLR or Mirrorless camera.

5 – Upgrade your lighting and sound gear

6 – Upgrade to an entry level Cinema Camera






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