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Essential Video Production Equipment?


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#1 Rhys Day

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Posted 02 June 2008 - 12:39 AM

Hey I'm new here and looking for some help/advice. I'm planning on investing in some video production equipment and was wondering what you think of my list so far? Is there something that's better for the price? Is there something there that I don't need? Is there something missing that I do need? ...I plan to make low budget short films, music clips, docos etc.

I'll most likely be shooting in standard definition, is it worth shooting in HD at the moment?

My Budget is $8000
And on my wish list I've got the following...

CANON XL2
Estimate $5000 NEW off EBAY

Shotgun Microphone, Boom Pole and Shock Mount (Any recommended brands?)
Estimate $400 off EBAY

3 x 800w Red Head Studio Lights with tripods, barn doors and soft case.
http://cgi.ebay.com....1QQcmdZViewItem
Estimate $500 off EBAY

Video Camera Steadycam Flycam Stabiliser + Comfort Vest
http://cgi.ebay.com....1QQcmdZViewItem
$930 off EBAY

PROFESSIONAL VIDEO TRIPOD / PRO FLUID DRAG HEAD EI9003s
http://cgi.ebay.com....1QQcmdZViewItem
Estimate $700 off EBAY

Total $7530

Thanks

Edited by Rhys, 02 June 2008 - 12:40 AM.

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#2 Matthew W. Phillips

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Posted 02 June 2008 - 01:04 AM

CANON XL2
Estimate $5000 NEW off EBAY


There is a fellow on here that is selling an XL2 with barely any use on it for only $3,500 with extra batteries and such. Might be worth looking into...that $1,500 extra could do a lot.

View thread here

Just to inform you before David Mullen or someone else does, you are supposed to use your real first and last name as your handle.
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#3 David Auner aac

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Posted 02 June 2008 - 01:16 AM

Hi Rhys,

another essential thing is to read the rules! Change your user name to first and last name as per forum rules!

Thanks, Dave
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#4 Chad Stockfleth

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Posted 02 June 2008 - 04:25 AM

I might go for a better tripod. You'll immediately wish you have one. Also, a monitor. And some extra batteries. And a wireless lav. And some xlr cables. And a flag kit. And some c-stands. And some sand bags. And some stingers. I also might go for some sort of dolly instead of the steadicam...you'll need it to haul around all the gear. :P

If you're staying SD why not just get a DVX100? Those go for around $2k which would give you more budget for other stuff.

ps. don't forget gels, headphones and some gaff tape!
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#5 Josh Bass

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Posted 02 June 2008 - 04:54 AM

If you want to get an XL2, I'm sure you can find a NEW one for at least $500 less then your quote, possibly $1000 or more. $5000 seems way high for a new one. I'm not even sure it was that much when it came out several years ago. I got the body only kit from a local (Houston) for $2800 in 2006, so with the stock lens it should be about a $1000/$1500 more. Be very careful with ebay and high-end prosumer cams.

You can get a sachtler perfectly suitable for the XL2 for about $1000, again, brand new. I have the DV4 tripod from them, though they don't make that one now (it's the DV4 II or something).
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#6 Ollie Bartlett

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Posted 02 June 2008 - 07:36 AM

If youre looking for an SD prosumer camera then the XL2 is a fine little beast, but i really wouldnt buy something like that brand new these days. You'll pay so much for a camera that is unfortunately already out of date technology. I WOULD NOT buy this from ebay. I would have 5 years ago, but that was before some **** relieved me of 2 and a bit K for a PD170 that i never got... nor did i ever get my money back.

I'd suggest just keeping an eye out on the bhphoto website and getting something second hand from them. If they say something is in good condition i would be happy to take their word for it (i buy stills glass from them and havnt been let down yet). Or check out what your local rental house has got and might be willing to flog on. Here in the UK it seems quite a few of them are getting rid of their DVX's, and as theyre from a rental house, you know that although they're well used, they're also well maintained.

Then with the money you save you could spend more on a set of sticks, or, dare i say it, maybe some more lights, some fresnels perhaps (again, i've never had a problem with second hand lights. If youre just sticking to tungstens theres really not much that can go wrong with them).

If you havnt got them already i'd spend any remaining money on various grades of ND and CC gels.

Hope some of this helps... epecially the ebay warning.

All the best,

Ollie
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#7 Serge Teulon

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Posted 02 June 2008 - 02:18 PM

Definitely some better legs than those.....it really makes a big difference a good set of legs.
Also try and pick up a 3 light kit or something like that which includes a 1k.

Edited by Serge Teulon, 02 June 2008 - 02:19 PM.

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#8 Robert Tagliaferri

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Posted 05 June 2008 - 04:10 AM

Why would you get an XL2? The HVX200a is around $5000 new (without cards anyway). I wouldn't buy a steadicam rig either, I've never had trouble finding an operator with a good rig to come out for very reasonable rates when I need them.

Also, I would say buying everything off ebay without actually using it first is a big mistake. Some retailers will allow you to rent equipment and deduct the rental price should you choose to buy. And like everyone is saying: don't skimp on the tripod!
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#9 graham robbins

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Posted 08 June 2008 - 03:34 PM

Ok I am still a student but here is what I spent my money on.

1. I would jump on a HD camera, I have a cannon XHA1 and couldn't be happier, camera bag and extra battery ran me to about 4,500.

2. Lighting wise I would say go cheap because your low budget walmart is your friend. Out door flood light kit, is about 40 dollars and it has three lights, then just invest in some gels. I have noticed because I have limited lighting I find more creative ways to get a shot.

3. As for mic's a shotgun is a good investment but if your plan on shooting indoors you will also need a condenser mic. The shotgun will give a lot of eco indoors. As for a boom pole a cheap one can be build out of a painter arm. Another benefit of the Cannon XHA1 is it has phantom power which a lot of mic's these days require.

4. A good tripod is key. I would say get one that will last like a 400 dollar Manfrotto. Most other stability mechanisms can be built for cheap.

5. One thing I didn't see in your list is a light meter. Lots of people say its not something you need with video, but I disagree it helps me a ton.

I think if your go this route you will save a lot of money. You can put the remaining money into your first production.
Ok well thats my amateur 2 cents, hope it helps you good luck!

Graham R

Edited by graham robbins, 08 June 2008 - 03:36 PM.

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#10 Robert Tagliaferri

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Posted 09 June 2008 - 10:24 AM

Ok I am still a student but here is what I spent my money on.

1. I would jump on a HD camera, I have a cannon XHA1 and couldn't be happier, camera bag and extra battery ran me to about 4,500.

2. Lighting wise I would say go cheap because your low budget walmart is your friend. Out door flood light kit, is about 40 dollars and it has three lights, then just invest in some gels. I have noticed because I have limited lighting I find more creative ways to get a shot.

3. As for mic's a shotgun is a good investment but if your plan on shooting indoors you will also need a condenser mic. The shotgun will give a lot of eco indoors. As for a boom pole a cheap one can be build out of a painter arm. Another benefit of the Cannon XHA1 is it has phantom power which a lot of mic's these days require.

4. A good tripod is key. I would say get one that will last like a 400 dollar Manfrotto. Most other stability mechanisms can be built for cheap.

5. One thing I didn't see in your list is a light meter. Lots of people say its not something you need with video, but I disagree it helps me a ton.

I think if your go this route you will save a lot of money. You can put the remaining money into your first production.
Ok well thats my amateur 2 cents, hope it helps you good luck!

Graham R


1. I think the HVX is a better investment because it can record DVCProHD rather than HDV... but I guess it depends on what you're using the camera for.

2. I guess these types of lights work in some situations (use them for bouncing?) but they're not going to be ideal film lights.

3. ?? I think you're a bit confused about mics. A good shotgun like a K6 with an ME66 (a super cardioid condenser) will work well in most situations. Most prosumer cameras have phantom, and the mics usually have batteries anyway.

5. If you're trying to do things on the cheap then I would say a light meter for video isn't a necessity, they are pretty expensive... but I guess this depends on how you work
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#11 John Hoffler

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Posted 09 June 2008 - 11:09 AM

If you can get afford it, go with the Panasonic HVX. If not, the DVX is a good choice for SD but that format is fading quickly. Make sure to get all the amenities (extra Batteries etc.)

The Walmart lighting recommendation is spot on but limiting. You can also build a bunch of smaller light rigs, like a ring light of 100w bulbs, or homemade china balls from a hardware store ( and you can build them to take photofloods )
. You can also build 600w hand dimmers really cheaply so you can control the output of the Walmart lights.
But if you can afford it, go for a light kit. a 1K, 650, 300 kit is a good investment. (Tungsten Fresnels)

A couple of trips to the fabric store can get you a nice array of flag, net, silk and reflective material. And you can fabricate U-shaped brackets and sew the fabric to slip over it. The frustrating part is getting good stands to rig them off of. ANd get some particle board or even white poster board for bounce. (especially with those big lights)

There is a nice set for a shotgun mic made by Rode, (the NTG-1 or 2) that'll include a boom and accessories that was recommended to me. A teacher of mine swore that when you played dialogue recorded with a Sennhieser 416 and one of these Rode's they could barely tell the difference......but I can't attest to the truthfulness of the statement. the ME66 isn't bad either. You will also need spare XLR's.

For about $40-50 you can build a DIY dolly with skate wheels, angle iron (I prefer aluminum) and wood w/ PVC pipe track. THere are also some pretty decent Steadicam rigs that you can build as well. I think mine cost me $25 to make. I wouldn't go buy one...

Spend the money for a good tripod!

You can get a cheap light meter off of Amazon for $150.

a small monitor would be really helpful....though I just use a firewire to run video to my Macbook..........


this is my 2 cents.....but I've done or bought most of this and I'm a starving student.
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#12 graham robbins

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Posted 10 June 2008 - 12:32 AM

1. I think the HVX is a better investment because it can record DVCProHD rather than HDV... but I guess it depends on what you're using the camera for.

2. I guess these types of lights work in some situations (use them for bouncing?) but they're not going to be ideal film lights.

3. ?? I think you're a bit confused about mics. A good shotgun like a K6 with an ME66 (a super cardioid condenser) will work well in most situations. Most prosumer cameras have phantom, and the mics usually have batteries anyway.

5. If you're trying to do things on the cheap then I would say a light meter for video isn't a necessity, they are pretty expensive... but I guess this depends on how you work


Great points! yea i was I am not the best with audio but I have been told that thanks for the correction. Yea the meter is probably more of an want than a need. The walmart lights have gotten the job done for me, but they definitely cant beat a professional light kit. Anyway keep us up to date on your purchases.
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#13 Rhys Day

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Posted 30 June 2008 - 06:31 PM

great advice, cheers.

This is what I've decided on so far, I won't need lights though, at least for now, because I'll be able to borrow some.

Canon XH-A1 $4200 (Aus)
From ebay, local seller 'FA Digital'

Manfrotto 501HDV-351MVB2 Pro Video Tripod System $800 (Aus) - Is this a good enough tripid? or will I need something better? I'll be using a 35mm adapter with the camera.

Extra Canon BP970G 7200mAh Li-ion Battery $308 (Aus)
videoguys.com.au

Canon FS-72U Filter Kit $240.00 (Aus)
videoguys.com.au

Lightwave A5 Aluminum Boom Pole $270 (Aus)
videoguys.com.au

XLR Male to XLR Female Professional Microphone Cable 50ft. (15.2m) $90 (Aus)
videoguys.com.au

Rode SM3 Shock Mount $50 (Aus)
videoguys.com.au

A Sennheiser K6/ME66 Microphone Bundle $1100 (Aus)
videoguys.com.au

Custom Designed Case for Canon XHA1 $440 (Aus)
videoguys.com.au

Steadycam Flycam Image Stabiliser $225 (Aus)
ebay.com online digital shop

Brevis35 MP.1 Imaging Bundle (non-flipped) $1103.04 (US)
Cinevate 72mm Spacer Ring $25.92 (US)

I'll also be hunting down some nikon lenses

So all up about 9 grand

Edited by Rhys Day, 30 June 2008 - 06:35 PM.

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#14 John Sprung

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Posted 01 July 2008 - 03:05 PM

I might go for a better tripod. ..... I also might go for some sort of dolly instead of the steadicam...

Consider putting off the tripod purchase and put the money into a good compact dolly. You can lock off the dolly, shoot from it just like a tripod, and use it to move quickly to a new setup and make fine adjustments. Low budgets in the old days we used to pretty much live on the dolly all the time, the tripod was only for terrain where the wheels wouldn't help.



-- J.S.
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#15 Rhys Day

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Posted 01 July 2008 - 05:57 PM

that's the problem, I'll probably be shooting on a lot of terrain.
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#16 John Sprung

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Posted 02 July 2008 - 07:47 AM

In that case, put the big money into a good tripod, and just get a rolling triangle to put under it for convenience when you have a level surface.



-- J.S.
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#17 Rhys Day

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Posted 02 July 2008 - 11:55 PM

looks like I'll be able to get acces to a Sony PMW-EX1, sweet! so I'll be buying a Brevis35mm adapter to go with it, and a few other accessories

and think I'll be going with this tripod:
Miller DS20 (1514) Solo CF Tripod System
http://www.provis.co...products_id=520
$1,679.00
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