Documentary equipment list

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by Sleepin212, Apr 11, 2011.

  1. Sleepin212, Apr 11, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2011

    Sleepin212 macrumors newbie

    Feb 21, 2011
    Thank you in advance for your help. I want to shoot a personal essay documentary, and need some guidance as far as equipment goes. I will be shooting both in and outdoors.

    So heres what I was thinking of buying:
    2 Canon Rebels T2i w/ 18-55mm lens
    Zoom H4n Recorder w Remote
    Probably cheap shotgun mic to be safe for sound coverage
    3 32GB Transcend Flash Cards
    2 lightweight tripods with travel bag
    Homemade shoulder rig akin to the one in this video
    But add a cross bar that separates the handgrips and serves as an additional mount for the Zoom H4n like a Jag35

    Estimated total cost: $2200

    Also I already have a 80-300mm for an old film Canon Rebel, would that work with a T2i?

    I want to be able to cut between close ups and mediums during interviews so thats why I want 2 cameras, but if anybody has ideas to make the list cheaper, I'm all ears. I know there are cheaper HD cameras out there, but idk what they are I just want to be able to plug a flash card into my computer so I can just upload it quick and reuse them. For post, I have a macbook pro with Avid MC5 and Adobe Creative Suite Master Collection.
  2. krooklynsfinest macrumors newbie

    Apr 11, 2011
    Liverpool, UK
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_3_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8G4 Safari/6533.18.5)

    Just out of curiosity, do you actually like Avid? I jusy find FCP so less time consuming
  3. FroColin macrumors regular

    Jun 4, 2008
    I love the t2i, but I think you will find that it's not what you want for documentary work for a variety of reasons. Of course it depends on what kind of documentary you are making but you will find that the t2i is limiting. What I would do is get one T2i for low light conditions and if you want something with shallow dof and then get a Canon VIXIA HF S2 something. Either S200 S20 or S21. That's your choice. Right now they all have savings on B&H.
    That's the most expensive, not 100% sure why, it's been a while sense I looked at the Vixia line.
    And actually if you don't know things like Aperture and shutter and ISO then getting a T2i will be wasted on you. You will have to keep it fairly still because a lot of movement will cause rolling shutter (look it up). It's awkward to hold. If your in a bright space you won't be able to see the LCD at all and really you should buy a Z-Finder. You will have to learn to focus and you get a TON of shots wrong because you didn't quite focus them right. You will really need to buy more lenses. The list goes on and one. I have a T2i, LOVE IT, but I would not want to use it for a documentary
    Good luck!
  4. zblaxberg Guest


    Jan 22, 2007
    Drop the 18-55mm lens and get a nice prime lens. The 18-55 is ok but very cheaply constructed.

    As far as your old lens, if it is an FD mount it will not work unless you buy the FD to EF adapter. If it is an EF or EF-S lens than it will work.
  5. Blipp macrumors 6502

    Mar 14, 2011
    He is 100% correct as I myself own a t2i and love it. Additionally the first thing that sticks out to me about using a t2i for a documentary is the 4GB file limit of the FAT32 flashcards. This could prevent you from really sticking with unforeseen events as they unfold as you're limited to roughly 12 minute shots. Also the t2i will overheat if you try and shoot too many long shots consecutively, the image sensor needs a minute or two to cool down. Having a "standard" video camera for the bulk of your shooting and a t2i for specialty situations sounds to me like the best way to go.

    I suggest the Sigma 30mm f/1.4. It's been a fantastic lens on my t2i and handles the limitations of the crop sensor quite well. A 50mm prime on the crop sensor is just too zoomed in for shooting indoors in my opinion and makes handheld shooting difficult as well.
  6. alph45 macrumors member

    Jun 2, 2010
    if you haven't shot on a dslr i would do so before committing.

    1. not a good run and gun camera
    2. they need a lot of extra rigging to get them to perform like a proper video/film camera.
    3. great for static / interview material / b-roll / anywhere where there is time and control (think film camera).

    sapplication is critical when choosing equipment. using 2 like camera's is a good idea.

    i echo the prime lens as the way to go unless zoom is a requirement.
  7. Synthion macrumors regular

    Jan 4, 2011

    You should be okay I just make it a point to share the audiophilia in all-caps

    But bad audio ruins a movie, just as a precaution

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