Which gear for filming?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by salacious, Mar 4, 2012.

  1. salacious macrumors 6502a

    May 15, 2011
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_0_1 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1 Mobile/9A406 Safari/7534.48.3)

    Hey so I'm planning to do some webisodes (Internet episodes) its gonna be a dark eerie king of them so here's my gear that I've got this month and will get more in next months pay packet:

    Canon 600d 18-55mm kit lens, 2 x 8gb 95mbs sdhc, tripod

    My next purchase is gonna be a 50mm lens, then I was thinking bright green material for some green screen effects that I had in mind, anyone got some cheapskate suggestions? Also I need one of those steady cam things as there will be a lot of movement per shot, so a tripod some scenes won't cut it.

    Also any good radio mics?

    Also I'm in uk
  2. juanm, Mar 4, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2012

    juanm macrumors 65816


    May 1, 2006
    Fury 161
    You can make yourself a pretty good dolly for about 120-150€
    A slider will cost about 100-120€.

    That said, don't fall in the common mistake of putting camera movement in every single shot. Camera motion has to be justified by what you're trying to tell, do not put it just because it looks pro.
    More important than a Steadicam (or any other similar system) is a good tripod head. Manfrotto makes some very good ones for about 150€.

    On the other hand, a good sound recording setup is a must. (300€+)
  3. cgbier macrumors 6502a

    Jun 6, 2011
    How much is your budget?

    I would spend most of it in audio. Zoom H1 or 4, a boom pole and a good microphone like the Røde NTG-2. I don't remember the European prices, but that setup should cost you some 500+ $/€ (depending on recorder and pole).

    Radio microphone? Are you talking about wireless lavalier? I'm using a Sony kit for years. Similar models are available from Sennheiser or Audio Technica. Azden offers something for 100 bucks or so less. Make sure it is UHF and has a redundant receiver (2 antenna).

    How do you want to light your productions?

    I wouldn't spend too much on stabilizers and stuff. Check the Frugal Filmmaker for ideas.
  4. floh macrumors 6502

    Nov 28, 2011
    Stuttgart, Germany
    I have a slider, a good tripod head, a steadycam, a DIY dolly and a fig rig. Of those, if I want camera movement in a shot, I hardly ever use the steadycam or the dolly. But I do use the tripod all the time for pans, as well as the slider for some minor movement.

    Listen to juanm: Don't insert camera movement to make something look more professional, but use it as a stylistic device to for example add tension to a scene. If overused, the moved camera will most likely lose its effect. Also: If you are using a green screen setup, don't try to move the camera in that one. It will be a nightmare if you don't have a programmable slider or dolly that will be able to do the exact same movement twice to get your clean plate.

    For sound, you have two options: Either get a good shotgun mic, a boompole, a field recorder and at least one person who does nothing else but capture good original sound. The second alternative is to do everything in post processing as ADR, but that is way more work than you can imagine. Don't forget: About half of your movie is sound, not image. Don't forget to capture good sound. And always capture a few minutes of ambient sound without anyone speaking or moving on every location you are filming in. It will be very helpful later.

    The big thing that is missing from your list in my opinion is: Lighting!!! If you ever want to do a shot inside or in darker places, you will need some lights and reflectors. A nice looking shot in a movie usually does not look nice because it has shallow depth of field or because the camera is moving, but mostly because the lighting is beautiful.

    Overall: You need sound and lighting. Much more pressing than another lens. If you don't have a big sound budget, go for a standalone recorder like the Zoom H4n. For some cheap lighting, get some flood lights from a hardware store and maybe some gels and dimmers.

    Last but not least: If you just got our 600D, you might want to do a lot of practice before actually shooting with a big crew. Especially with a moving camera, pulling focus will be a real issue on DSLRs. If you have never done it and you are trying to focus while looking on the small camera LCD, the shots on your first day will most likely all be ruined.
  5. cgbier macrumors 6502a

    Jun 6, 2011
    Oh, completely forgot your green screen: You don't want to use bright green. Your green should be as pure as possible. Go to your local hardware store to check the color patches. Take one in the center of the green hues. It comes as close to chroma green as possible.

    I don't know what is exactly in it, but I had great success with Rustop John Deere Green (flat!).

    More important than the color is how you light your screen though. Light your screen and talent separately, make sure you have enough distance, and give your talent a bit of backlight and hair light to prevent spill.
  6. Babybandit macrumors regular

    Oct 29, 2008
    Firstly, I don't think the 95mbps SD card will help much. You really ought to have purchased something simple like a Class 10, or at most, SanDisk's 30mbps.

    Ignore the Radiomic. Go with the H4n. It is the best investment in Audio you can do as an Amateur. With the price going down on the H4n, it's more of a steal then ever. Whilst it allows two inputs, it's own sound recording isn't bad. So it's a good upgrade path when you can afford those XLR Mics.

    Now, You mentioned a dark, eerie film. This immediately lights up a alert light.
    You have the 18-55 kit zoom I presume? It's far from a decent low-light lens. You will need something better. Thus, I suggest you get this 50mm Canon Lens (1.8 - But Cheap). When you can afford it, go for a low-light 30mm. Consider second hand lenses from ebay - they're not actually all that bad.

    Secondly, You didn't mention lights. Filming in Low-Light often means the need for lights. Now, depending on the set, something as simple as a Torchlight could work. But I highly suggest you upgrade to something like this in the near future. They give you the versatility you will need. One con however, of that light, is that no filters slots are given. But… Oh well.

    If you want a cheap Greenscreen Option, You could go with getting a can of Green Paint (Check the Color is correct) and paint it on a giant piece of cardboard - Then proceed to stick it on a wall. That's what I did - but I had to do it twice to get the paint to be even - a problem that exists with this option.

    Steadicam… My question is why? I share the sentiments of the others who said : Don't put movement for movements sake. Camera serves the story. Like Juanm said, Monfrotto Tripod Heads are more important. I'd get a good Tripod head, and a decent Tripod Leg for now. When you're ready, upgrade the Tripod Leg - but the Tripod head is the more important bit. So spend more on it. Check Monfrotto's Website and choose one. I have the 501HDV, but might be a bit of an overkill for you.

    Oh, and Steadicam… Go make a DIY version. You'll be much better off with your budget doing that!
  7. LethalWolfe macrumors G3


    Jan 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    In order of importance I'd say your needs are audio, lighting, then camera. Shooting green screen is all about lighting it properly, making something look eerie requires a lot more light than you'd think, and even if you are shooting outside during the afternoon you'd probably still need some sort of fill light to prevent your talent from having 'raccoon eyes' (this can be as simple as just a white or gold bounce card).

    Lighting isn't just about having enough light to properly expose the image. It's about using light and shadows to help tell the story, set the mood, and focus the audience's attention on the most important part(s) of the frame. I'd suggest watching some episodes of the TV show Supernatural to see some good examples of how to light for eerie interiors and exteriors (link has streams from official site).

    A big thing to keep in mind is that even though you want it to look like you shot in the dark you don't want to actually shoot it dark. You want the camera to record as much detail as possible, even in the shadows, otherwise you'll end up with nasty compression and nasty compression isn't eerie. It's all about relative lighting differences. Light the shadow areas just enough so the camera can 'see' what's in the shadows and then light your talent that much more so they are still much more illuminated than the shadows (but not over exposed obviously). Then when you get into post you can color grade the image so that the shadows are nice and black (and noise free) and your talent is still properly exposed.

  8. pigbat macrumors regular

    Jan 18, 2005
    There are some very good points in this thread on multiple fronts. Low light requires a fast lens, audio is very important and handheld, for the sake of handheld can lead to problems. We shot this over the weekend ( http://youtu.be/1sam09BZNOc ) as a test of a used Contax Zeiss 50mm I picked up last week. Steady shots to convey one feeling and handheld to pick up the intensity of the scene. There was very little direct lighting on purpose but I would choose to light different if we were going to take the story further. Audio was captured on a Rode Videomic Pro and I would consider it just barely acceptable for this room. Unfortunately the compressor from the refrigerator picked up a slight hum.

    Sound - Rode Videomic Pro
    Tripod - Manfrotto
    Handheld - Jag35 Rig

    More details in the youtube description. In the end, it's not about the gear, it's about being happy with the final product. Shoot, learn, don't repeat your mistakes.
  9. julesw macrumors member


    May 22, 2010
    In the uk there are a lot fewer low cost radio mics due to frequency restrictions. The sennheiser basic range start at around £400 or so. I usually rent.
  10. waloshin macrumors 68040

    Oct 9, 2008
    Does the Sony pcm m10 work for this?
  11. floh macrumors 6502

    Nov 28, 2011
    Stuttgart, Germany
    For on set audio recording, the Sony PCM M10 will surely work fine, even if I haven't tried it myself. It is almost the same price as the Zoom H4n though, which has the huge advantage of being easily upgradable with external microphone via the XLR plug. The Sony is more comparable to the much cheaper Zoom H2 (or H2n, the newer version).

    It is said a lot in these threads, but I have to agree that the Zoom recorders deliver almost unbeatable sound quality for the price. They do feel a little more plastic-made than their competitors, but the sound is awesome.

    Both recorders capture solid atmospheric sound and will also be nice for speech if placed as close to the actor as possible. For really good recording of one person speaking, you will need a shotgun microphone of some sort. You can add one later and connect it much more easily to an XLR plug like the Zoom H4n has than to a 3.5mm miniplug (like some DSLR cameras or the Sony PCM M10 have).

    Hope that helps.
  12. floh macrumors 6502

    Nov 28, 2011
    Stuttgart, Germany
    I honestly don't know what you mean by that. It may be the language barrier, but you have to be more clear for me to understand you. First of all: What is "it"?
  13. juanm macrumors 65816


    May 1, 2006
    Fury 161
    He's spamming. If you look at his other posts, he's just copypasting other users' comments...
  14. nateo200 macrumors 68030


    Feb 4, 2009
    Northern District NY
    -Practice with the DSLR and make sure you understand the basics of depth of field, ISO, shutter angle/speed, resolution, etc. all that stuff because if you do a bang up job with a DSLR it'll look bad. Make sure you are comfortable with using the camera completely manual in the lighting conditions you will be in.

    -Capture your audio and video in the highest resolution possible without burning up HDD space, then when you downsample you can retain a large amount of quality...for audio the Zoom H4n is what everyone recommends. Record uncompressed PCM. For video, convert everything to ProRes obviously.

    -Most of everything else has been covered so use this thread for reference as there is a ton of helpful info.

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