Filming a documentary in Africa. Need to buy equipment QUICK.

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by Steven1621, Feb 10, 2008.

  1. Steven1621 macrumors 6502a

    Steven1621

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2003
    Location:
    Connecticut
    #1
    I have a grant to film a documentary in Africa this summer. I have $3000 to spend on equipment. I need to buy cameras (2), tripods, tapes, a boom mic, cases, batteries and anything else you can think of in this price range. Particularly for traveling in Africa, what stuff would you recommend? I need to submit this budget by the morning, so quick feedback would be appreciated.
     
  2. -DH macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2006
    Location:
    Nashville Tennessee
    #2
    With only a $3000.00 budget, the first thing I'd recommend that you get is a much bigger budget.

    -DH
     
  3. Counterfit macrumors G3

    Counterfit

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2003
    Location:
    sitting on your shoulder
    #3
    I can't imagine being able to get decent equipment if you only have $3k to spend on that much stuff. The tripods will be made of of toothpicks.
     
  4. Steven1621 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Steven1621

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2003
    Location:
    Connecticut
    #4
    I'm expecting to buy consumer equipment. This is student project and the expectations aren't to make a film-quality documentary. I'm just looking to get the best stuff in my price range: $800-1000 each for two cameras, $100-200 for tripods, etc. This is the reason I'm going to the MR community for recommendations. Also, I can go a little over the $3000.
     
  5. Alucardx03 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2008
    #5
    I've had really good luck with my Sony HDR-HC7. The image it produces is stunning and fits into your budget. Good luck.
     
  6. G5Unit macrumors 68020

    G5Unit

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2005
    Location:
    I'm calling the cops
  7. Steven1621 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Steven1621

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2003
    Location:
    Connecticut
    #7
    Any recommendations for a good, cheap tripod?
     
  8. digitalnicotine macrumors 65816

    digitalnicotine

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2008
    Location:
    USA
    #8
    I would try something like this on eBay. I've ordered from this guy before, and was happy with the transaction. Good luck to you on your trip and film.
     
  9. art gardiner macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2007
    Location:
    Cairo, Egypt
    #9
    Some things to think about:

    - How long will you be gone?
    - Africa's a big Continent, where are you going specifically? (What are your available resources, environment, and expected durations at each stay.)
    - Are you expected to cover everything with the $3K? (This includes vaccinations, lodging, food, airfare, gratuities, etc.)
    - What will be your power/electrical needs? (Will you be able to recharge your batteries? and how long between planned stops with electricity? What are their power sources? i.e. - 110/220, or/and most likely generator/solar power driven.
    - Will you then be required to provide your own source of regeneration? (Depending on the answers to the above.)
    - How will you be traveling once in country? Would a soft case be better than a hard? Or, would a backpack be better suited?
    - Can you purchase items used, off ebay?
    - Sticks can be the most important/expensive part of all your equipment needs. I would imagine portability would be key, and so you might want to go with only one tripod. {I'm attaching a link to assist with learning to shoot without one, if needed.}

    http://www.videomaker.com/vidcast/101/

    - As for specific equipment... not really up to date on the consumer market, so I can only suggest you take others advice. Here are a couple of links to reviews:

    http://www.videomaker.com/learn/product-reviews/camcorders/

    http://www.digitalcamcordernews.com/camcorder-reviews

    http://studiodaily.com/main/

    Best of luck,

    Art
     
  10. puckhead193 macrumors G3

    puckhead193

    Joined:
    May 25, 2004
    Location:
    NY
  11. Steven1621 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Steven1621

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2003
    Location:
    Connecticut
    #11
    I'll be working in one community in Ghana for twenty five days. All of the other expenses for me and my team are covered by the rest of the grant. The $3000 pertains only to the budget for video equipment. Electricity will be available, but inconsistent, so naturally I will bring many extra batteries. Used items are acceptable for purchase. I'm mostly concerned about finding the right stuff, not so much where I get it.
     
  12. baypharm macrumors 65816

    baypharm

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2007
    #12


    For people documentaries - any camcorder will do. By your own admission, this is strictly a student film, so I would do this: buy a small HD camcorder (like the Sanyo HD 1000 or Panasonic AG HSC1U), and the rest on a good tripod and sound equipment. Use reflectors rather than carrying lights. Buy extra batteries. If you are going into the wilderness to photograph wildlife, good luck. You will need it. It is not easy to get close enough to lions to photograph them with a small camcorder. That's why you need a long lens and larger professional camera. Just my 3 cents...
     
  13. Steven1621 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Steven1621

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2003
    Location:
    Connecticut
    #13
    It is a documentary about the children in a particular village in Ghana, so no need to venture into the wilderness.

    What sort of sound equipment would you recommend? Boom mic?
     
  14. zioxide macrumors 603

    zioxide

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2006
  15. Steven1621 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Steven1621

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2003
    Location:
    Connecticut
    #15
    I agree. Should I go with the shotgun mic or an external boom? I'll be conducting a few interviews, but also a lot of general footage, so I'm not sure which would be best.
     
  16. zioxide macrumors 603

    zioxide

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2006
    #16
    You'll probably want a shotgun mic for each camera.

    If you're doing interviews, you'll want a lapel/lavalier mic or a handheld stick mic.

    So, for a $3000 budget.

    2x Canon HV20: $1400 ($699 each @ B&H)

    That leaves $1600 for accessories. B&H has what looks to be decent shotgun mics for about $200 bucks each, so 2 of those puts you up to $1800. You can also probably find a decent lavalier for under $200. I don't really know too much about microphones, so check out reviews or something. Make sure the mics you get are compatible with the inputs on the HV20.

    That leaves you $1000 for accessories. I personally like Bogen/Manfrotto tripods. B&H has some decent kits so you could probably find a good tripod for around $250. You'll need two of those also. That gives you $500 for extra batteries, tapes, headphones (for monitoring audio), cases, and other accessories. Make sure you get more tapes than you think you need (Shoot LOTS of B-roll!!!), and get as many batteries as you can afford once you get everything else.
     
  17. Steven1621 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Steven1621

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2003
    Location:
    Connecticut
    #18
    cameras?
     
  18. kingkezz macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2006
    #19
    Everything. All your gear. If you're only going for 25 days, you could hire decent broadcast capable gear for 3 grand. And that's in Australia, so it's probably even cheaper in the US.

    You could at least get a 3CCD Prosumer HDV camera or similar. The new EX1 perhaps, or a HVX - the Z1 as a minimum. Tripods, sound gear, heck you could even hire a mobile edit suite to log and capture on the road. With change left over.
     
  19. Steven1621 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Steven1621

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2003
    Location:
    Connecticut
    #20
    know of any companies online that do this? or ways to find them in my area?
     
  20. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2005
    Location:
    UK
    #21
    I can't comment on Digital Video equipment, as I know nothing about it. But I can give you some advice on mosquito repellent.

    Even if you are taking anti-malaria drugs and have taken the required vaccinations I strongly recommend you take DEET spray as well to repel mosquitos. It is highly effective, and in our month long trip to Vietnam I got bitten twice, and the four of us travelling together got less than 10 bites between us.

    I would recommend getting at least 50% DEET (check when you buy it), though 100% DEET may be better for Africa. For this protection you have to spray about once every 6 hours or so. It only costs £5 ($10) for a can in the UK, and one can should last for the entire trip.
     
  21. kingkezz macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2006
    #22
    Nope. Don't live in the US. Google. Don't even need to be in your area. Most companies will freight it to you. I've had gear freighted to me from interstate many times.
     

Share This Page