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Considering purchasing camera


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#1 Michele Peterson

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Posted 28 April 2008 - 05:37 PM

Hello,

I am considering purchasing a camera (the JVC HD200ub). I am curious what has convinced others to make the purchase of prosumer cameras over renting. My incentives are that it will give me more practice operating and might help me get more jobs (low budget most likely). I am also considering doing video services to practice and make some rent money. I am NOT looking to write or direct my own films though.

My question is how many people who have made the purchase of a camera, have gotten their money out of it? Has it helped you get more jobs? What do most of you who do buy utilize your cameras for; weddings, corporate videos, your own films?

Thanks
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#2 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 28 April 2008 - 06:15 PM

It has been my experience that buying kit does not buy you jobs.

I have only ever bought equipment for specific jobs which I knew would either pay for it, or go a long way toward doing so.

P
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#3 John Sprung

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Posted 28 April 2008 - 07:07 PM

A friend of mine used to do weddings and bar mitzvahs. She says that the business tanked about 5-10 years ago with the advent of consumer digital cameras. What used to be a $7000 job now is either $2000, or some relative's incentive to pop for a $7000 camera.





-- J.S.
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#4 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 28 April 2008 - 08:56 PM

A friend of mine used to do weddings and bar mitzvahs. She says that the business tanked about 5-10 years ago with the advent of consumer digital cameras. What used to be a $7000 job now is either $2000, or some relative's incentive to pop for a $7000 camera.





-- J.S.


It is REALLY hard these days to make money off a camera unless you are willing to rent it out to people, or you have an established, consistent gig, or both. Really, with the advent of digital technology, as John is saying, the video market has all but evaporated in some areas. Couple that to the fact that EVERYONE these days seems to want to get into the business and you got some really tough conditions to overcome. Add to that seemingly every six months there is some sort of new fangled technology that seems to render everything else before it obsolete and one may be wondering what in heavens is going on, or how long can one endure it.

It sure can be done, but it has never been harder to. I am lucky to earn ALL my money by fiddling with pictures one way or another, but some months I wonder if I am not in the wrong business . . .

I write this in part for myself, as I am also thinking finally giving in and buying a higher end HD camera, instead of renting. So this post helps as therapy, sort of, as I must be crazy to think I can make payments on it . . . :unsure:
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#5 Walter Graff

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Posted 28 April 2008 - 10:29 PM

Here is a simple equation you can take to the bank, if you own a camera you have a much better chance of finding business than if you don't. I would never say that a camera gets you work. It does not. I would never say a camera makes you good at what you do. It does not. But most folks want to know they have a deal where it's all there for them, person and equipment. If you own a camera it is simply easier to find a path than if you don't. Now what you do with that path is determined by your skills and attitude but I would say to anyone that buying a camera gets you in more doors than not having one. I know when I bought my first video camera in 1990 it pretty much helped forge a career for me in the broadcast video world. Of course, then I was the only producer in the broadcast business who also shot video and edited too so it not only got me work, but was part of a fantastic streak of making mega bucks. And look how it has come full circle. I just gave a seminar at a company in NY that has one man crews around the country. I spoke about techniques in shooting as a one man band and simple and effective lighting set ups. I used their camera as it was easier than bringing one of mine.

Of course none of what I say above means much nowadays as there is probably a fifteen to one ratio of people who want to work, and the number of sustainable jobs in all areas of video. Everyone and their brother is now wanting to get into the field. Blame it on reality television and the manufactures who made higher quality video more affordable. If I was starting out now, it would NOT be in the field of film and television. It's a free for all with n mentoring and no structure anymore. In my early days I would never be able to touch a camera. Today you not only are given a camera but expected to know how to use it and get paid a 1/4 of what I was paid as a grip in 1982 with inflation added. BTW as a grip I got between $150 and $200 in 1982. That new pay scale or should I say lack of apprecable work for hire has meant that there is work, but the future of moving up the ladder is gone as the ladder is no where in site. It exists actually, but it's tucked away and only the few privileged get to use it. Sad to see how many folks are trying to get into a field that can not support them in a career. This week I got 40 resumes. Since January, probalby over 1000. Last year multiple thousands.

If someone going to school was to ask me what to study if they were interested in film and television, I'd say make sure you also study other areas such as marketing, and accounting as I can guarantee that out of the 66,000 kids that graduate schools all over the US each semester (not yearly but every six months) not many of them will have a sustainable career in the film and television field. Better to make sure you broaden your schooling to hedge your bets.

General thought to anyone under 26. Yea, life is hard, and if you think you are breaking into this business, you better hope you hit the lottery because that is what a fourty year career in this business these days is like. And anyone that thinks life is a lottery better have a trust fund to pay your bills. :o
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#6 Michael McIntyre

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Posted 29 April 2008 - 04:35 AM

In 1990... I was the only producer in the broadcast business who also shot video and edited too...

Must've been lonely. I know several people from your class. I guess you missed the last reunion. :blink:
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#7 Walter Graff

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Posted 29 April 2008 - 06:07 AM

Must've been lonely. I know several people from your class. I guess you missed the last reunion. :blink:


It was lonlely in NY. I was working in what would become talk television. Didn't know anyone else that was doing it at the time but I am sure there were a few.
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#8 Kirsty Stark

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Posted 29 April 2008 - 08:46 AM

I purchased a camera under 3 months ago (a Sony V1P) and have already paid it off. Obviously, it's not as expensive as what you're looking at purchasing, but I think it's definitely worth buying if you can see yourself getting returns.

I chose to purchase the camera because of an 8 day corporate job I had lined up where the camera hire fees in the budget would have paid for half of the camera anyway. It made sense to me to buy a camera and save the hassles of booking equipment, especially when compared to handing the money straight over to someone else rather than taking it myself.

Since then I've worked on other low-budget shoots that I probably wouldn't have gotten had I not had a camera, as well as saving equipment hire costs on other jobs I would have shot anyway - mostly documentary shoots. I still make sure that I get to hire the cameras I want for drama projects as well as anything with a bigger budget.

I'm shooting a lot more because I have a camera at home and available whenever I want to use one, plus it's great knowing that it's been looked after, nothing is missing from the kit, batteries are charged and everything is how I want it to be when I take it out on a shoot.

There are obviously pros and cons to weigh up, but if you have the money to spend and think there's a good chance you'll get some work out of it, I'd go for it!
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