I am really grateful and glad that so many people seem to be enjoying some of the filmmaking contraptions that I have been putting together for the last year or so. I've had lots of great comments and support and am still amazed when people make requests for items that have been made many times over. I'm flattered that you constantly want to see "my take" on any given piece of homemade gear.
I has made me think, however, about how easy it is to get caught up in obtaining that gee-whiz item that will finally let us make our film, even if that item is a cheap, DIY knock-off of the retail version. It's a trap, really, that keeps us from flexing our creative muscles when we feel we "need" some piece of kit that will make our shoot possible.
From a completely minimalist perspective, the only gear required to make a film is a camera. You don't need a dolly or stabilizer or jib. None of these will make your film "better". It's all about technique and what you do with what you have (a good story doesn't hurt, either).
Granted, some of this stuff costs nothing to make (The $5 PVC Stabilizer is still the most popular video I've made), but if you don't have it, so what? Soon you'll be telling yourself you need the next item on the list and soon you're in a downward spiral of need, need, need instead of write, shoot, edit.
Of course, there is an opposite side to this coin. While I admit all you need is a camera, I cringe when I hear things like, "I don't need lights!" and "the on-camera mic is just fine!". You DO need lights and you SHOULD use an external mic. People watching your film deserve to see and hear what is on screen, even in microbudget-land.
Does this make me sound crazy? After all, most of my show episodes are built around the very thing I seem to be criticizing. Gear is great, but the desire to create and express shouldn't be tied to it.
All I'm saying is that the most important thing about being a filmmaker is you need to make films. Waiting to obtain the latest bell or whistle is just plain silly. Did Dumbo need the magic feather that he thought made him fly? Nope.