Video Production Equipment Budget Help

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by Boe11, Feb 4, 2015.

  1. Boe11, Feb 4, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2015

    Boe11 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2010
    #1
    Hi folks,

    I'll try and give you the abridged version of my situation but essentially, I'm requesting feedback on the assembly of a video production equipment list that I'm putting together for work.

    Three years ago, I took a job at a company that sells recreational vehicles. At the time, that company didn't have a video department but they were hoping to bring it back in the near future and I was hired as a sort of placeholder for the position if and when it was approved to return to the budget. Well, two years and change later, it finally was but we didn't really have the budget to buy the gear we wanted. Instead, they agreed to buy the equipment that I owned and we'd been using for our occasional shoots at work (I know... but it's a long story).

    Cut to: last week when my boss says that we might be able to get our equipment budget this year and that I should put together a list. So of course, my eyes light up with the fire of a thousand suns because I enjoy nerding out over gear. Another perk of the job is that I'm allowed to use my work gear for personal projects like the short film I made last year and the follow up I hope to make this year.

    I need to decide what gear I want to put in for in the budget. I wouldn't be afraid to go up to $40,000. There's no guarantee we'll get approved for that much, but at that point, we can recalibrate.
    -----
    We currently have:

    GH3 w/ 12-35 Lumix Vario

    a good manfrotto tripod w/ fluid head

    Arri tungsten light kit (only about 3 of the lights work at this point)

    2012 model macbook pro 15" w/ two 23" cinema displays and a WD thunderbolt raid

    A decent amount of C-stands, light stands, flags. and a few other odds and ends
    -----

    The lion's share of the work I do is instructional content (sometimes zoomed in on a small part with lighting that is often subpar) and talking head interviews. Right now, we don't do any marketing material or content directed at customers but that expectation could evolve once we get more equipment.

    -----
    Currently, I'm leaning towards going back to canon. My tentative list is:

    Canon C100 Mark II Camcorder - with 3 Lens Kit
    $9,999
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1110671-REG/canon_0202c010_eos_c100_cinema_eos.html

    Canon 70D DSLR B Camera
    $1099

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/986389-REG/canon_8469b002_canon_eos_70d_dslr.html

    Arri LoCaster LED Light Kit
    $2544.95

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/664981-REG/Arri_553952_Locaster_LED_Panel_AC.html

    Bescor bi-color LED 2-light kit
    $499

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1030731-REG/bescor_fp500k_dual_color_500w.html

    Cinevate 35” Slider
    $779.98

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ...CILTAT1023_ATLAS_flat_package_35_TERRAIN.html

    CameraRibbon Shoulder Rig
    $419

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/841304-REG/CameraRibbon_RIG_QR_QR_Shoulder_Rig_Camera.html

    Shape Camera Shoulder Rig
    $1055.12

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1042437-REG/shape_c300evfr_canon_c100_c300_c500.html

    Manfrotto 536 Tripod
    $1799.88

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/760090-REG/Manfrotto_509HD_536K_509HD_Video_Head_with.html

    Varizoom QuickJib
    $1329.96

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/664150-REG/VariZoom_VZ_QUICKJIB_VZQUICKJIB_QuickJib.html

    Shure SM7b Mic (with some sort of desk mount for VO)
    $349

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/225820-REG/Shure_SM7B_SM7B_Cardioid_Dynamic.html

    Rode PSA1 Mic Mount Arm
    $99

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/484972-REG/Rode_PSA1_PSA_1_Studio_Boom_Arm.html

    M-Audio 2 track USB sound interface
    $74.66

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/922663-REG/m_audio_mtrack_m_track_with_ignite_digital.html

    3x GoPro Hero 4 Blacks
    $1500

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1078001-REG/gopro_chdhx_401_hero4_black_edition_adventure.html

    iMac
    $3899

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1098354-REG/apple_z0qx_mf88615_tp_27_imac_with_retina.html

    Apple Thunderbolt Display
    $949

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/812533-REG/Apple_MC914LL_A_27_Thunderbolt_Display.html

    Total: $26,396.55

    The only thing I haven't really tabulated yet are extra batteries, media cards, and cases.
    -----

    Sorry for the lengthy post but I always like to get some feedback from people who are smarter than me before I make an investment, even when it's not my money.

    Let me know your thoughts, if you think I should go in a different direction, or if you have any suggested tweaks to the list I've got. Another route I could see as being viable would be to stick with panasonic and get an A camera, keeping the GH3 as my B camera. If we get approved for the budget, I'll probably just sell our current equipment to help recover costs.

    EDIT: Forgot to mention that we currently have a wireless LAV kit and sennheiser Shotgun Mic. I'll probably add another mics for our wireless kit,
     
  2. kohlson macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2010
    #2
    For audio, which is a significant component of any successful video, I think what you're trying to do is use the Mac as your recording device. I don't know how this would work in the field, but i don't think much of it at the studio, either. It doesn't take much to get a Mac fan running, which creates noise. While the noise can be removed in post with Audacity/Logic/Audtion, it's just another step. Far better is to get a digital recorder. I use a Tascam 100 connected to various mics, including the SM58 in the studio for VO. But you may want to consider the Zoom H6, as well as some sort of shotgun mic for field recording. And either Audacity (passable), Adobe CC (subscription) or Apple Logic Pro (one-time price) to include in your budgeting. Also, get a small mic stand, and a mic suspension mount for studio VO. I've added up to $1000 here, so you could consider using an SM58 in place of the SM7B, and not getting the usb audio interface. And you will need some XLR cables.
     
  3. Boe11 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2010
    #3
    Thank you very much, sir! I forgot to mention that we currently have a wireless LAV kit and shotgun mic for field recording. I kind of forgot about field audio but I would like to spend some money there as well. The biggest problem is we often don't have a quiet place to record so background noise is an issue. We're hoping to eventually get studio space but right now, we have to make due with filming in semi-noisy areas.

    I'm going to check into some of the items you mentioned and digest some of the information.

    Thanks again.
     
  4. kohlson macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2010
    #4
    Take a look at the SM58. They have very low pickup beyond a few feet. You need to get them close to the source so they sound good, which can be off-putting when reading a script. I use them in a conference room in a large building, with live walls. All in all, happy enough with the results, considering.
     
  5. puckhead193 macrumors G3

    puckhead193

    Joined:
    May 25, 2004
    Location:
    NY
    #5
    Forgive me if I sound ignorant/a donkey, but why are you spending almost 30k on video equipment? Are we talking about a major company that makes the vehicles like Sea-doo or just a local reseller like "Bobs recreation vehicles"? What are you making? What are you doing once the video is done?

    If your serious, ditch the Apple monitor and get a color calibrated monitor like a NEC PA series.

    For the gopros don't forget about batteries and mounts for all three cameras

    I'd also add in a prime like 1.2 or 1.4 maybe some ND filters for the better DOF so you can shoot at 2.8.
     
  6. coldsweat macrumors 6502

    coldsweat

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2009
    Location:
    Grimsby, UK
    #6
    Take a look at the Sony FS7 - fantastic camera
     
  7. Boe11 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2010
    #7
    Would you recommend the SM58 over the SM7B or just as a way to recoop the extra cost of the H6? The more I look into it, the more I really like the idea of getting the H6 and recording my audio separately.

    A very reasonable question. It's a major company like Sea-doo. We're just getting the video department here rolling again but right now, we make videos for our dealer network. How-tos, product updates, safety bulletins, etc. The completed videos (mostly) reside on youtube. The company has a lot of marketing material but it's all handled by an agency. The hope is that we can one day supplement their efforts with some customer-centric content of our own.

    The monitor is probably a great suggestion and better direction to go in.

    Good call on the gopro stuff.

    A prime or two would be great as well.

    I appreciate the thoughts, I'm going to add some of these to the list.

    I'll check it out, thanks!
     
  8. kohlson macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2010
    #8
    I work in a big company/bldg. We used to have specially treated video conference rooms - padded walls, curtains, etc. I used a low-cost mic that is pretty "hot" and it worked great. Our group moved to another building, and there was nothing else like this, and the AT mic I used was now awful, picking up every pindrop and reflection. I switched to the SM58, which has a tight pickup, and now my VOs need only minimal post. My point is that you need to match the equipment to the environment and target media. If the SM7 is sensitive (which is great in a sound booth) it may not be well-suited for a makeshift VO recording environment. You should try different things. A wired or wireless lapel may work well, and they generally have tight pickup patterns, too.
     
  9. Boe11 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2010
    #9
    That makes sense, thanks!
     
  10. Unami macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2010
    Location:
    Austria
    #10
    +1 for taking a look at the sony fs7.

    -240fps
    -optional back for raw/prores/v-mount batteries
     
  11. diamond3 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2005
    #11
    I'm just thinking out loud here (typing really).

    I could see something like a DJI Ronin or Movi M5 being useful especially filming recreational vehicles.

    I'd consider a GH4+Metabones Canon EF Speedbooster to use the same lenses as the C100 if you go that route over the 70d.

    Pelican Cases (or check out some offered by Monoprice) Cases for cameras/lenses, as well as memory cards.

    A good backpack to carry enough stuff to go mobile if needed.

    I'd consider getting some Cine lenses. Rokinon makes some reasonably priced options or check out duclolenses. The reason being is quality, plus you could look into purchasing a good follow focus setup for the Ronin or M5.

    Monitors for the cameras.

    Since everyone is getting one, DJI Inspire or Phantom II with H3-3D gyro.

    Storage options: OWC Thunderbay
     
  12. joema2 macrumors 65816

    joema2

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2013
    #12
    This is a good list. The C100 Mk II is a great camera and saves a lot of hassle since it has built-in ND, built-in EVF, built-in XLR, built-in WiFi (useful for use on a crane/jib).

    For your 70D you could consider a Zacuto Z-Finder or EVF Pro -- we use them on our DSLRs: http://www.zacuto.com/zfinderevf

    OTOH if the 70D is just a b-camera, it does have pretty good continuous video AF so that's usually OK for interviews.

    For audio in a noisy environment a shotgun is best provided it's used properly.

    If you absolutely must shoot in an echoey showroom, it's probably worth making the money and training investment in Izotope RX4. It can not only de-reverb and fix many problems, but can match EQ and reverb between two different mics and environments. This facilitates dialog replacment: https://www.izotope.com/en/

    Good audio is absolutely critical. Audiences are more forgiving of poor video than poor audio.

    Re drones, of course they're not generally legal in the US for commercial purposes, but enforcement varies widely. One way around this is using a wirecam. Most are expensive but here's a relatively low cost one for GoPros: http://www.flyingfoxcam.com/

    More expensive: Shot-Line: http://www.shot-line.com/
    Varavon WireCam: http://varavon.com/products/wirecam

    Don't get bogged down in the hardware -- the most important thing is creative use of whatever equipment you have. Re finishing, every shot in the final product should be corrected for audio, color, exposure, etc. It makes no sense to shoot and edit unless the final finishing steps are done in post.
     
  13. handsome pete macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2008
    #13
    All great stuff, but sounds like complete overkill for the type of stuff they're currently shooting. I'd wait until they potentially bring in all of the projects they're outsourcing now, in house before you even start talking Cine lenses. And even then, I'd start out renting before I buy.

    Based on what's been suggested around here, a lot of it sounds like overkill. You definitely want to start out with a dependable camera, quality light kit, and quality audio kit. I only say some of this sounds like overkill because the vague description of the videos you're currently shooting doesn't sound like it requires $40,000 worth of gear. I may be wrong. Are you putting this shopping list together because of the hopes you'll start bring some of that agency work in house? Or is this stuff currently a need for what you do now? Because I wouldn't be so quick to jump on buying stuff for the former since A) there's a chance it may not happen, and B) concentrating on a list of what you may need for the future could prevent you from properly assessing your current needs.

    ----------

    Why would you ever use AF for interviews?
     
  14. joema2 macrumors 65816

    joema2

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2013
    #14
    Because when shooting shallow DOF it only takes a little fore/aft movement by the subject to put a key facial feature out of focus. You could argue that's too shallow but if you look at current work, that's often done and has certain artistic advantages. Here are two frame grabs of recent CNN interviews shot in the field with a 5D Mark III:

    http://joema.smugmug.com/photos/i-VhFcrfb/0/X2/i-VhFcrfb-X2.jpg

    http://joema.smugmug.com/photos/i-hQQCN7z/0/X2/i-hQQCN7z-X2.jpg

    If there's a dedicated operator for each camera (which is ideal) that's less the case since each one can monitor. But if one person must ever run two cameras on an interview, then continuous video AF can be very useful.
     
  15. Boe11 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2010
    #15
    I genuinely appreciate all of these great replies, folks. They've been a huge help. I'm going back and reading/digesting all of the information.

    Here's an update version of my current B&H cart.

    http://i.imgur.com/Lnf2Syj.png
    I've already noticed a couple of things that I'll have to change.

    I removed a couple of things that seemed redundant and added a couple of things based upon some of the suggestions I've read here and over at DVX user. This will definitely be an evolution and I won't be locked in to what's currently on the list.

    I am taking a hard look at the Sony FS7 and it really does look great. I need to do a lot more homework on it. I kind of like the idea of the C100 as it seems like a blend of great potential for more in-depth and refined work while still being straight forward and intuitive enough for some of the quick and dirty day to day projects that we shoot that don't necessarily need to be perfectly polished and turn-around time is more important.

    This list is absolutely overkill. I mean, we're getting by just fine with my GH3, one lens, a 3 year old macbook, and a hard drive, so anything is pretty much overkill. I would greatly prefer it if we had the kind of latitude to add stuff as needed, try/rent gear to see what works best, and let our current evolving needs dictate the equipment we add. Unfortunately, there's a lot of corporate bureaucracy at play and there's a real 'strike while the iron is hot' mentality. Right now, the reintroduction of the video department is very much on everyone's mind so we want to try and parlay that into getting the kind of equipment budget that the department formerly had. In a few months, when the excitement dies down, it's going to be like pulling teeth to get any sort of budget increase for equipment.

    Unfortunately, that relegates us to trying to predict and forecast the type of work we'll be doing as the department evolves and that's why I need to do my best to gear up for the future.

    It's not ideal, but your suggestions have made the process a lot easier.
     
  16. joema2 macrumors 65816

    joema2

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2013
    #16
    Forgot to add besides this you may need a Thunderbolt external drive array, e.g, Promise Pegasus 2 R4: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ...s_promise_pegasus2_r_4_bay_4x2tb_t_bolt2.html

    And besides that something to back everything up, inc'l the drive array itself. Something like an 8TB G-Raid would be one option: http://www.g-technology.com/products/g-raid-duel-drive-storage-system-8-tb

    If you're in the field you often must back up there, and if so factor in several 1TB USB 3 bus-powered drives like these HGST Touro S: http://www.amazon.com/HGST-7200RPM-High-Performance-Portable-0S03729/dp/B00IVFDQ48

    If you are using multiple GoPros plus main camera and B camera, the space consumption goes up rapidly. Also using common techniques like time lapse chews up lots of space quickly. While FCP X can edit native camera files pretty well, if you transcode to ProRes (sometimes better for multicam editing), this takes even more space.
     
  17. handsome pete macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2008
    #17
    Fair enough, but I'll still decry the use of it in pretty much any situation. If your DOF is so shallow, then manually focus or stop down a bit. Why rely on AF, which even though it's improved, is still noticeably bad?

    There are good reasons and artistic decisions behind isolating parts of your frame with DOF, but there's entirely too much overuse of it these days. The DSLR video boom has been fantastic, but I also blame it for this unfortunate side effect. Just because you can doesn't mean you should.

    ----------

    The time crunch can be understandable, but at the very least, I absolutely recommend renting any camera first before you buy it.
     
  18. joema2 macrumors 65816

    joema2

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2013
    #18
    Because if you're doing a multi-camera interview and not all cameras have dedicated operators this would force stopping down every camera. Else you can't intercut the material because one camera doesn't have matching DOF.

    Video AF works effectively for interviews with modern large-sensor cameras such as the GH4 and A7, and even the D810 does OK.

    For other more creative work I use manual focus and a Zacuto shoulder rig, and EVF Pro with color focus peaking, but this isn't possible all the time.

    Re shallower DOF, like it or not this is the new standard, and the average viewer interprets deep DOF as cheap and consumerish. Increasingly news organizations are ditching their expensive small-sensor ENG and EFP cameras for large-sensor cameras. Below are frame grabs of a recent ABC News interview at the White House shot with three DSLRs:

    http://joema.smugmug.com/Photography/ABC-News-Using-DSLRs/27068295_k76gNm

    Another CNN interview using the 5D Mark III: http://joema.smugmug.com/Photography/CNN-Using-5D-Mark-III/41690209_QB2DfS

    Screen caps of DSLRs shooting video for last year's Gold's Gym Super Bowl commercial: http://joema.smugmug.com/Photography/DSLRs-shoot-Arnold-Golds-Gym/38212863_2V6Cgr
     
  19. handsome pete macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2008
    #19
    Yeah, but only on the cameras that match framing.

    If your setting and shot requires you to open all of the way up, then sure. But I see way too many people think, "hey, we got some super fast primes. Let's open that **** up to 1.4 because we can." There's no rational reason behind besides having the option.

    If people really looked closely at a lot of the cinematography styles that they're trying to mimic with these smaller cameras, then they'd realize that shallow DOF is just another tool at their disposal, not a rule.

    There's a lot of middle ground between extremely shallow depth of field and having the entire frame in crisp focus.

    DOF is not the only reason people are shooting with bigger sensors. Smaller form factor, better low light, etc.
     
  20. catonfire macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2013
    #20
    Don't cheap out. Buy once, cry once!

    Boe 11,

    Always happy to help someone burn money. Here are some value/quality ideas:


    1. LENSES:

    They'll last longer than your camera and may define your look more than the camera. Consider Zeiss ZF lenses with a Duclos cine modification. Great contrast, high resolution, low distortion & aberrations. Their manual design make them ideal for follow focus. No autofocus of course.

    If you can stretch the budget, consider the Zeiss CP lenses. Or just rent if you've run out of money. Zeiss ZF is probably your best value though.

    Interviews/Close Ups:
    -Zeiss ZF 135: $2122
    -Zeiss ZF 85 1.4: $1283

    B Roll/Masters:
    -Zeiss ZF 35, 1.4: $1658
    -Zeiss ZF 25, 2.0: $1699
    -Zeiss ZF 21, 2.8: $1843
    -Zeiss ZF 15, 2.8: $2950



    2. AUDIO:

    You'll never get more value than investing in a top of the line mic and mixer. Most modern DSLR/cine cameras have an obsolescence lifespan of 4 years or so. Audio gear can last you 3 or 4 times that if you take care of it. Will you use 3 Go Pros more often than you record audio?


    For indoor mics consider:
    Schoeps CMC6 MK41. $1918


    For outdoor mics:
    Schoeps CMIT5U. $2200.
    Sanken CS 3e: $1450
    Sennheiser 416: $1000

    Lavs:
    Sanken cos 11d: $469

    Mixers:
    Sound Devices 633 Mixer/Recorder: $3229


    3. LIGHTS:
    -Chimera Softbox (For keylights if you don't have them already)
    -Kino Diva Lights: Good for greenscreen lighting and more.


    4. MOTORIZED PAN HEAD:
    -Bescor MP 101: For your jib arm: $130

    5. MONITOR:
    -SmallHD AC7 OLED: Nail your focus & exposure. $900-$2400

    6. HARD DRIVES:
    All that data has to go somewhere, right?

    -8 Bay Areca / Thunderbolt 2 RAID: 8050T2: $1800
    -8 4TB hard drives: $1200
    -16 4TB hard drives: (onsite/offsite backup) $2400

    There. $30-40,000 gone. :)
     
  21. Boe11 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2010
    #21
    Thanks, catonfire! I enjoy nerding out on this stuff as well and your reply was really helpful.

    I'm meeting with my boss this afternoon to go over some things so we'll see how much gets shot down before we get off the ground.

    A few thoughts:

    I'm leaning more and more towards the FS7 and the sound devices 633. I'd really build off of quality audio and video core components (lenses included) and add some more supplemental things as we go, if we're lucky enough to get more money down the line.

    I'm sort of undecided about which lights to go with. I like the idea of LEDs but the kino flo diva lights look great as well. I have also checked out some ice lights for some specific uses.

    Thanks again for all of the comments - I'll keep you posted as this list evolves.
     
  22. joema2 macrumors 65816

    joema2

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2013
    #22
    That's a great camera. However keep in mind the most important part is the creative use of the camera, not which camera.

    In this 2012 Zacuto test, many famous cinematographers participated in a camera evaluation. The cameras ranged from an iPhone on the low end to the $65,000 Sony F65. In general they agreed almost any of the cameras above the iPhone if skillfully employed could produce good material.

    http://www.zacuto.com/shootout-revenge-2012/revenge-great-camera-shootout-part-one
     
  23. Boe11 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2010
    #23
    I loved that shootout and definitely agree with its underlying conclusion.
     
  24. catonfire macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2013
    #24
    Will That $$$ Show Up On Screen???

    Boe 11,


    PRIORITIZING:


    Something to discuss with your team is how big a difference each purchase will make to what your clients see. Example:

    A great mic or mixer.

    If every single instructional video will benefit from this, give it a first place priority.

    Jib Arm: These produce phenomenal shots but take time to set up, break down, and who wants to carry weights around all day? Time consuming on location and may require a couple people to operate safely. It will add slick openings and closes to in studio videos but will you really be craning throughout your videos?

    Maybe this is a two priority. It can enhance a video but will never be the difference between success and failure on a job. Unless you knock someone's teeth out with it.

    Go Pro:
    If you will use it only every so often, give it a third place priority, etc.

    Be weary of cool but gimmicky tools. I bought a Lensbaby thinking I would get great creative interesting B roll shots. I've virtually never used it. Footage was weird or uninteresting or inappropriate most of the time. $450 down the drain.

    Gimmicky tools are better to rent for those particular times when they really will be useful. Especially if it's a tool you've never used before. As much as possible try to rent big ticket items before you buy so you don't have buyer's remorse. Charge it to the client as an expense. Win win!

    Now if I had bought a Sanken Cos 11d Lav instead of the Lensbaby, I could have saved several outdoor shoots due to bad audio. I no longer think of it as a bloody overpriced $450 lav mic but as a priceless peerless tool that saves me in noisy windy static-filled situations where average gear will fail ruthlessly.

    Really beware the cameraman's instinct to ignore audio in favor of the cool camera stuff. As an owner-operator, I have spent years shooting myself in the foot with this approach.

    That said, Anamorphic is back! SLR Magic & others are churning out new anamorphic lenses, cheaper than those mythical eBay unicorns like Iscorama. Do you need it? No. Do you want it? Of course.



    LIGHTING:

    You indicate dissatisfaction with your current lighting, so you probably ought to make a purchase here as it will materially improve every single studio shoot.

    I have been shooting fluorescent keylights for 2 years now and I have found that it just isn't as flattering on as many different faces as big softboxes. Softboxes always wrap around better putting shadows where they need to be and soften rough skin on less-than perfect faces. Making the talent look good is always appreciated by the client.

    ProMist filters are relatively cheap and can help in this department too. If you want to be frugal, put a beige or black stocking over the lens. Just be careful about not having lights in front of the lens or it may show up the texture.

    If you can add a softbox solution to your Arrilights you'll get good results.

    If you do get fluorescents, you can get cheaper units like Alzo and swap their crappy bulbs with real Kino tubes.The light quality is identical but you pay only 1/3 of the price. You don't get the mounting versatility but for instructional stuff, it's probably moot.

    LEDs are great for location being so light and power friendly. But cheap ones may not be full spectrum and could produce greenish skin tones that are uncorrectable in post production. And by uncorrectable, I mean uncorrectable. 8 bit cameras? Don't even bother.

    I bought a couple cheap brand LEDs, ruined a lot of people's faces for a good year and then tossed them aside. I only use them now for background lights but never on faces anymore. Except if you are doing horror. Then it helps. But not really.

    So study user reviews online for particular LED units. Check the CRI. High 90s is best but of course you will pay through the nose for things like Cineo. So weigh how often you are on location and might prefer LED vs. how often you are in studio where cheaper fluorescent units with Kino tubes might be better value for your money. $500 vs. $2500-3500.

    MISCELLANEOUS: BATTERIES, MEDIA, ETC.

    Budget from $500 to $1000 for this junk. Especially batteries. If you do location work, make sure you have enough power to last a full 8 hrs. without charging. And as importantly, make sure you have enough chargers to charge all those batteries SIMULTANEOUSLY over night.

    Saving $70 by not buying an extra Watson charger out of a budget of $30,000 is not a good call. Not having a jib arm won't sink a shoot but not having power for your camera in the desert could get you fired.

    Also, have an extra QR plate for your cameras. I had a teacher who got fired from a job for forgetting the plate. In the desert.

    LENSES:

    If you are going to splurge on camera stuff, splurge here. It will show up big time onscreen. As cameras go from 2k to 4k, investing in Zeiss or Canon cine lenses with their high resolution will serve you well as cameras come and go.

    If your Boss yanks you back down to earth, go for the Rokinon Cine lenses. Best value/quality on the market in their price range. Full focal length line up, geared, declicked, now 'color matched' if you believe that, and much sharper lenses than you deserve for the price you are paying.

    POST PRODUCTION

    Nobody has to tell you to budget enough money to have 3 copies of your media, and 1 copy offsite, right? Even if that means no jib arm. Right? Of course not.

    Also in lieu of that pretty and glossy Apple Thunderbolt monitor with more glare than an iceberg, consider spending twice as much money for the less pretty but much more useful Flanders Scientific Monitor. Great for on set monitoring and even better for post production color correction.

    Normal computer monitors are uneven and unstable in luminosity and color across the screen and with every passing hour to say nothing of months or years. Uncalibrated an undependable. Like a so so mic, you never really realize it until you put it side by side with a much more expensive rival and then it is painfully obvious.

    Good luck getting your fingers into the boss' wallet!

    Also keep an eye on Creative Cow and ProVideo Coalition, if you don't already, for useful info from professionals on every topic imaginable.
     
  25. Boe11 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2010
    #25
    I seriously can't thank you enough for your replies! The one thing I don't like about being a one-man-band operation is that I never really get the time to delve into one specific aspect of production long enough to learn (even close to) everything about it. Thoughtful replies like yours have been an incredible help in this process.

    I've come to agree with pretty much all of your sentiments here and the meeting with my boss was a reflection of that. We basically went down the line and decided which items were a priority right now and would have a positive impact on our product immediately, and which ones we could put on the back burner for later.

    Essentially, we cut the list down from about $40k to somewhere in the ballpark of $25k (estimate). Basically, once we figure out what (if any) money we'll be granted, I will recalibrate the budget accordingly. So some of the items may be swapped out.

    Kept:
    Cameras
    Lenses (minus the cine lenses)

    If we do end up going with the Canon cameras, I'm starting to think that buying lenses individually might be a better route to go than getting the L lens bundle with the C100. That way I can maybe snag a cine lens and a prime or two in addition to a more versatile zoom.

    I removed the zoom H6 and mixer and added the SD 633 mixer/recorder which was kept on the list, and I'm pretty pumped about.

    I also added 2 of the aforementioned Sanken LAV mics which I'm also excited about. We also have a Sennheiser ME66 shotgun mic from before the department dissolved in 2008.

    In terms of lighting, we included the ARRI Led kit that I initially had selected. If we're approved for it, I'll probably figure out an alternative. The ARRI kit that we have now is actually pretty good but half of the lights no longer work. It's basically the following kit except instead of the 750 we have a 1000 with a soft box.

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/752202-REG/Arri_571991P_Softbank_III_Plus_5.html

    I like the way it looks for interviews. The following screen grab is after a couple rounds of compression. http://i.imgur.com/eoms1LW.png

    [​IMG]

    Interviews are a relatively small portion of what we do currently however, and I find these lights to be a little challenging and cumbersome to use for most of the day to day shoots which often involve an engineer standing next to, moving around, and working inside of a stationary vehicle.

    If we don't get money for lighting, I'll probably contact ARRI and see how much it would cost to get this kit fully operational again.

    Some things that hit the chopping block for now included the computer, monitor, drone, jib, and a few other odds and ends.

    I'm going to continue to read these replies and do my homework and we'll see where we end up in terms of approval.

    Thanks again, folks.
     

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