Feedback needed on equipment list for documentary work

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by Steven1621, Mar 21, 2008.

  1. Steven1621 macrumors 6502a

    Steven1621

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2003
    Location:
    Connecticut
    #1
    In a previous post on this board, I got some great feedback about what to purchase for some documentary work that I'll be doing in Africa this summer. I'd appreciate some comments and suggestions on what I'm about to order.

    Canon HV20: 2x$800=$1600
    Canon BP-2L14 Battery: 6x$55=$330
    Sennheiser MKE 400 Compact Video Camera Shotgun Microphone : 2x$200=$400
    Bogen / Manfrotto 190XDB Tripod Legs (Black) with 701RC2 Video Fluid Head: 1x$206=$206
    Lowepro Clips 110 Camcorder Shoulder Bag (Black): 2x$25=50
    Panasonic AY-DVM63PQ Mini DV Tape Professional 63 Minute: 20x$3.50=$70

    Total Cost: $2656

    A bit more information about what I'll be doing: I'll be working in a village in Ghana documenting the stories of a group of refugees from Togo. I'll be traveling for three weeks with two other people, and our work is funded by a fairly substantial grant from a foundation. We have alloted $3000 for video equipment, but can go a bit higher if necessary.
     
  2. bigbossbmb macrumors 68000

    bigbossbmb

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2004
    Location:
    Pasadena/Hollywood
    #2
    I would add a lot more tapes than 20... for 3 weeks, i'd bring closer to 75-100.

    everything else looks fine, I'd maybe spring more for a nicer tripod. but if it is just going to be used to lock down the camera for interviews, then don't bother.
     
  3. Steven1621 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Steven1621

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2003
    Location:
    Connecticut
    #3
    I should add that the documentary is going to be 30-45 minutes, so not feature length.
     
  4. Schrambal macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2006
    Location:
    Amsterdam
    #4
    I don't know if the Shotgun mics are delivered with one but it never hurts to spend a little more on a decent windjammer (like a rycote softie) if you're shooting outside a lot.

    The rest looks pretty neat.

    I have to agree though that 20 tapes for 3 weeks doesn't seem like a whole lot...
     
  5. bigbossbmb macrumors 68000

    bigbossbmb

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2004
    Location:
    Pasadena/Hollywood
    #5
    still, for docs you should get as much footage as you possibly can.

    i definitely second the recommendation for wind protection for your mics. this will be essential in getting good sound in the field.
     
  6. pdpfilms macrumors 68020

    pdpfilms

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2004
    Location:
    Vermontana
    #6
    That's one view. The other is to shoot selectively and with a purpose. You'll have one hell of a time sorting through 75-100 hours of tape in post.... just my view.

    Hard equipment case? A must for any sort of ground (or air, for that matter) travel. Pelican is the most notable manufacturer, and even sells TSA-compatible locks.

    Also, what are you using to secure the shotgun to the camera? A decent shockmount is a must if it's not going to be mounted on a boom. Keep in mind that sound is the single most overlooked and important aspect of video. Viewers will forgive a bad exposure, crappy composition or bumpy picture. But the instant they hear camera handling noise or are unable to make out dialogue, your film will be seen as amateur. It's scary, but it's true.

    Good luck on your project. Keep us posted!
     
  7. Gymnut macrumors 68000

    Gymnut

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2003
    #7
    I'd suggest taking at look at BestBatt.com.

    http://http://www.bestbatt.com/category_s/56.htm

    I purchased the BP-2L24 and am pleased with its performance. It seems to average around 3.5-4 hours of use. Purchase the wall charger as well. I got the BP-2L24 when it retailed for $35 bestbatt's site but I see it's now $49.

    I'm not too familiar with that Lowepro model but I ordered the 140 from B&H and had to send it back because it was just too darn small when you thrown in a shotgun mic, flash bracket and whatever accessories you may need.
     
  8. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #8
    Docs are made in post though and tape is cheap compared to covering once in a lifetime events. Steven1621 and his group have one chance to go to Ghana and record this footage so there's really no reason not to shoot as much as they possibly can. 20 tapes for three weeks is less than 1hr of shot footage a day.

    Steven1621,
    I'd also include a kit for cleaning the cameras and a cleaning tape.


    Lethal
     
  9. Steven1621 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Steven1621

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2003
    Location:
    Connecticut
    #9
    What would you consider to be a decent shockmount for a Canon HV20? Also, is a shotgun mic preferable to a boom, or vice-versa? I could get both if necessary, but am looking to minimize travel weight.
     
  10. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #10
    Check out this post over at dvxuser.com. You might want to drop him a line for any last minute tips/tricks.


    Lethal
     

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