Filmmaking is not the cheapest of professions. That’s why we worked particularly hard to keep our holiday gift ideas affordable, sharing products that everyday film enthusiasts might actually be able to use (and afford).
Still, few filmmakers have made careers out of thinking small, so we’re now giving equal space to some of the more extravagant items coveted by filmmakers. When the money you’ve saved by using stock footage adds up and you’re ready to film a helicopter shoot using f/0.7 Zeiss lenses and practical explosions, you might add these to your shopping carts.
Lenses Built for the Moon (and Stanley Kubrick)
Ever find yourself wishing you had a wider aperture on your f/1.4 lens? Doubtful you needed it more than NASA did in the 1960s, when they set out to film the dark side of the moon.
In pursuit of the best low-light lens possible, NASA contracted Zeiss to design and build an insane set of f/0.7 lenses, among the widest ever manufactured. Of the ten that Zeiss ended up building, NASA got six. The manufacturer kept one for themselves and later gave director Stanley Kubrick three, which he used to film the lowlight candle scenes in Barry Lyndon.
The historic f/0.7 lenses are pretty much priceless, but are still in use today. A program to rent them (for an undisclosed price) briefly surfaced in 2013, but appears to be no more. We’re guessing too many filmmakers chose less expensive alternatives for shooting in the dark, like boosting the ISO or switching on a light.
A 62-Square-Mile Film Set
Bordered by Switzerland and Austria, Liechtenstein is a great place to visit—or, if you have a spare $70,000, to rent by the evening.
The country, or principality, is home to roughly 35,000 people and became Airbnb’s most expensive (and largest) overnight destination in 2011. The nearly six-figure nightly fee was brokered in partnership with a company appropriately called Rent a Village and included accommodations for 150 people along with custom street signs and temporary currency.
Presumably, film rights might need to be negotiated separately, but they’re not off the table. Snoop Dogg was reportedly in negotiations with Liechtenstein to rent all 62 square miles of it for a music video back in 2010, but couldn’t come together on timing.
A Carbon Fiber Helicopter Rig
There are a lot of great camera systems for helicopter shooting, but there’s only one five-axis, gyro-stabilized, ultra-lightweight camera system with fiber optic data transfer and carbon fiber gimbal covers. That system is the Cineflex Elite, and it’s capable of capturing some highly impressive aerial footage.
It’s not set up to use f/0.7 lenses, though we’re sure that can be arranged for a price, but it does offer pairing with some spectacular (and not inexpensive) Zeiss primes and Canon cinema lenses that, by themselves, are the stuff of dreams for many filmmakers. Add a dream-worthy camera body and stabilization system, and all you’re missing is the helicopter.
An IMAX Yacht
Once you’ve rented an entire country, it’s got to be difficult to go back to pedestrian movie theatres. Luckily, there are private IMAX theatres on yachts to remedy that situation.
Image: Yacht Intelligence
Dubbed “the Nemo room,” this collaboration by superyacht architect Ken Freivokh and the floating technology gurus behind Yacht Intelligence means the end of having to rough it by watching ordinary movie screens while aboard 150-meter yachts.
Something tells us it might also mean the end to mediocre movies, at least for those watching from within the Nemo room; how can anything be mediocre if you’re watching it from a floating bat cave?
*Note to Freivokh: it’s not too late to re-dub this room “the bat theater.” Please consider.