Camera bought for new student job? What else to buy [HELP]

edited February 27 in Filmmaking

Hey forum. I'm an 18 year old guy who just came from a job interview. The company does e-marketing and have chosen me to work with video advertisement. Normally, when I do productions I borrow camera gear from my High School. But the company is willing to invest in a camera + the needy gear for me to use.

My task was to find something I wanted, that met my needs. However, I'm not very technical, so I came on here to ask you guys what you could recommend me. "I'm looking for a quality camera with a price that is fair towards the company". It needs to support/work well with HitFilm 2 Ultimate or HitFilm 4 Express (I'm saying this, because I've worked with cameras that miss the audio or the HitFilm software doesn't support the formats)

Also, i'm thinking of getting the new HitFilm 2017 when I get enough money. 

Thanks,
- Mattias

«1

Comments

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    What's your budget, what kinds of ads are you going to shoot and what is the ouput destination for final videos? 

    Ask about which camera to buy and you'll get 50 different answers. 

  • Honestly, a lot of answers was kind of what I was hoping for. I understand it's a tricky question. The task is also a little unclear to me. There has been given no "budget". Note: It's not my money. The output destination for the videos will be mainly Facebook (Sponsored) and possibly Google Adwords. The company supports "Free creativity" meaning I can do a lot as long as our customers are in on it.  

    No, I'm not looking for a RED. But a full HD, solid resolution and mobile camera, with mic input, light exposure...  I'm used to a Sony HDR CX900, HD camcorder. That's what my school uses. I looked up the price, it was: $1,299.99. I just need a lot of potential cameras that I can show my boss. The company is professional after all, so I suppose they are willing to put some money on this. At least I give a good impression by not coming empty handed next time.  We can discuss the budget by taking different camera options into account. 

    - Mattias

  • You might also need to consider the look of the film, do you need stay looking shots of so your going to need a stabiliser.

  • You're right, Andy. I should look into that too. 

  • There are now several budget friendly camera options avaliable, but the range is huge. Part of what we're going to have to figure out is what you're going to be doing with it. Also, whether or not you'll be solo or working with a crew -- do you need professional quality on board audio, or will you be working with sound recordists?

    You also should budget for lighting gear like a Lowel kit with a Tota or two, at least one DP light, and some silks, gels, and bounce boards. Without quality lighting, you won't produce quality work even if you did invest in a Red.

    There are some good ENG cameras that are all-in-one designs that are worth a look also; most of them have XLR audio inputs as well as on-board ambience mics.

    The Panasonic GHx series is also worth checking out, though you do need to account for lenses and an add-on to get XLR audio on camera.

    Don't jump into a stabilizer just yet though; first off, to do it well requires planning, extra time, and extra resources and crew -- your lighting becomes more complicated, you need more rehearsal time to get the choreography and timings right, and all of takes time and effort to rig. It's great when it works out (Birdman) but terrible when you skip those and just go gimbal-crazy like about 95% of the indie crap on every streaming channel there is.

    I've had people compliment me on my camera movements for films that I shot entirely locked off. So don't go thinking you need a gimbal right away; instead, learn visual design skills and lighting first.

  • It's hard to describe "what I will be doing with it". I will not have a crew. I will be taking requests from customers located in the local area. Let's say a local floor shop wants "my" company to do a video for them. This is where I come in. I vision the productions to range from simple videos showing off their products to all out commercial skits. Customers would want their advert to be at a reasonable quality, so I just want to avoid any absolute disaster camera that can't even handle movement in the frame, like my personal little Sony handycam. But I've lived in this city for a long time, and I know their standards of commercial quality aren't at the highest level. With a decent camera I could probably outrun them. You should have seen our cinema commercial. They are horrible, hehe. Anyway, I will take a closer look at the series you have recommended me :) Thanks so far
    - Mattias 

  • @Amorson  I would think you definitely want to put the camera you are most familiar with in the list of options for them.  You might think it's too pricey, (I mean, really, our common working men budgets are different than companies) but if you give them other less expensive options but make a good case for it highlighting your past experience with it and no learning curve to get up to speed on a new rig, they might see it as a better alternative.  Just something to factor in...

  • However, my past cameras are in no way good enough. The only decent camera I've used is a Sony HDR CX900. And I definetly think it would be a good idea to seek just a bit higher than that. What do you say? 

  • You're preaching to the choir there.  I shake my head at the technical discussions on a lot of threads here because I am totally out of the loop. As far as cameras go, I use two low end hobbyist grade ones a Toshiba x416 and a Sony PJ-340 and have no clue about the CX900.  If you can make a case to them for a high end one; go for it.  I only was saying that your familiarity was a definite plus not be dismissed.

  • Another option worth investigating is a used Sony F3 or similar. Those are well regarded, and a bargaon on the used market. 

    Or see if they're willing and able to make a somewhat more long lasting investment, like a Sony FS5 or Black Magic Ursa Mini. Or a Kinefinity Terra.

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    It's worth asking about a 4k camera for future proofing. Facebook is 720p, local broadcast probably tops out at 1080i. It's worth looking at something that shoots 60fps--if you have to prep material for TV, then a 60p video becomes a 29.97i video with proper interlacing. 

    My personal bias runs towards an ENG camcorder. You're in a situation where you'll need to often move fast, and consumer camcorders have terrible controls hidden in touchscreen menus, and DSLR/MFT/Cinema cameras require rigs to build up for what you'll need to do. That's a lot of additional setup and teardown time with a lot of extra accessories that can get lost if you're alone. 

    My top pick camera for you would be the Panasonic DVX 200 easy access external controls, shoots high-quality 4k internally to inexpensive SD card, shoots to two cards at once, so you can shoot 4k and a 1080 proxy, and has an MFT sensor with a similar look to the GH4. 

    Panasonic's UX180 is more or less identical to the the DVX 200 with a slightly worse sensor. More later. 

  • Panansonic cameras are also very dependable. They last quite a while...

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    @WhiteCranePhoto very true--My ol' DVX 100 is going strong after a decade+

    I also happen to like the way Panasonics reproduce color more than  Sony or Canon--a subjective factor, but to my eye Sonys are always a little "cold" and Canons are a little washed out (although my Canon Xf-305 is a beloved bit of gear).

    Ok, DVX-200...

    Yeah, I'm sticking with that as my camera recommendation. If I were buying a camera this week, that's what I'd want.

    Continuing on--Lights. Lowels and Totas are great, but they're heavier than many and pricier than most. Great lights, but I might recommend any of a number of cheap off-brand chinese light panels. They won't last as long as Lowels or Totas, but you can break 4 or 5 chinese panels for one Lowel, or 3 or 4 for a Tota. Don't forget light stands to put the lights on, and you'll want at least one sandbag per light stand.

    Audio--there are tons of outboard options, but I'm partial to the Zoom H5 or H6. I own the H5, and think that would do nicely. The H5 is a small, battery powered audio recorder with an attached stereo mic and two XLR-1/4" combo plugs. The stereo mic capsule is removable to reduce size, and there are a couple of shotgun mic elements that can be snapped in instead of the stereo mic. There's also an option to add two more XLRs instead of a mic capsule. This can attach to one of the two shoes atop a DVX 200 and feed a line out to one of the DVX's audio inputs. This feeds you clean reference audio to one (or two with a proper y-cable) channel on the DVX while letting you keep separate audio on the Zoom to synch in post. With the two XLR inputs you can mic two people with lavs and still take ambient audio from the stereo capsule or shotgun--or with the additional XLRs you can mic 4 individuals.

    The Zoom H6 is the same thing but with 4 XLR jacks and the mic capsule. The H5 and H6 mic elements are interchangeable.

    There are several comparable units from Fostex.

    External mics--no matter what you need one, even if you forgo an audio recorder you don't want to use the built-in camera mic, ever... Unless you want to hear the noise of the lens focus and zoom. Even WITH an audio recorder you'll want a shotgun for the camera, just in case there's a problem with the zoom, or for camera audio if you've got someone booming a mic and holding the recorder. I don't rememeber the exact model  numbers I've got, but I'm partial to Audio-Technica. The Rode VideoMic is often recommended, but that's better for DSLR/MFT cameras as it's a short mic and only has 1/8" plugs. To connect to a ZoomH5 or DVX 200 you'd need clunky, unreliable 1/8" to XLR adaptors. Get a mic with XLR.

    Pick up at LEAST two wireless lavs (if not three). You may need to mic more than one person, or, if micing one, you've got a backup in case gear fails (eventually, gear will fail--I was on a wedding once where four camera batteries failed simultaneously during the ceremony. Fortunately for us, we'd really gone crazy on this one and had seven cameras set up, so we still had our coverage). I'd argue that it's also smart to pic up at least two WIRED lavs. Wireless has the advantage of not being tethered to the recorder with a long wire, but wireless mics are much more prone to interference, and you also have to figure out how you're going to attach the receiver packs to your camera/tripod (Hint: Gaffe tape). Wired mics work more often than you'd think, if you're shooting anyone sitting (who isn't going to move), or someone standing who isn't really going to move. Also, wired lavs are a third of the price of wireless.

    Besides, it's better to have surplus gear and not need it than not have something vital.

    I'd agree with Whitecrane and forgo anything like a gimbal--first, those are made for DSLR's, which means you're back to jury-rigging cages and monitor/audio mounts. Secondly, gimbals really are a pain to set up and use. And they're expensive. Get a good, solid Manfrotto Tripod--even there I'd say get two--one with an extending center column that you can use to get up to seven or eight feet, and one with a quick adjust ballhead so on the inevitable shoot where you have to move to several setups, you can just twist, level and lock.

    Flags, socks, diffusers and bounce boards, you have tons of options. You can spend a lot of money on something that will look sweet and "professional," or you can look at every Film Riot episode on DIY lighting, then go buy some foamcore and some shower curtains.

    Clothespins. Get clothespins. They're cheap, small, light and can clamp flags, gels, diffusers as well as script pages... Speaking of script pages....

    Get a couple of cheap collapsible music stands. The first time you have a client who doesn't know his or her lines and you have to have script pages visible  but off camera, and you'll suddenly wish to hell you had a music stand and some clothespins. ;-)

    More if I think of it.

  • I come back to drop a comment and find a shopping list!!

    Anyway I don't think you can go wrong with the Panny DVX 200 but @karma seems to love his JVC GY-LS300. It has a Super 35 sensor and I've seen the body for less than 2500 recently.

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    @Aladdin4d That JVC is pretty sexy. Although I don't remember what karma normally shoots. Only disadvantage for what Amorson is proposing is needing to buy separate lenses, which probably aren't going to be powered. And no single MFT lens is going to give the zoom range of the DVX's zoom. By the time a lens kit is purchased we're probably at the price of the DVX 200.

    Not knocking the JVC--it's a good buy--but my biases for workflow would still push me towards the DVX--or even the Panasonic UX180, which trades off some Dof (smaller sensor) for a longer zoom range (20x instead of 13x)

  • I got a chance to play with that new JVC when JVC/Kenwood introduced it at NAB... it's pretty nice. Good color, good ergonomics. The image wasn't half bad at launch, and JVC's made some improvements since. It's a pretty good camera, and should last a good while if cared for. It's not a tank like a Red, but that doesn't mean that it's fragile. Just not suitable for clobbering politicians. :)

    There are gimbals that can fly serious cameras, like several DJI models, FreeFly, Tilta, etc... but in addition to their being expensive, they're not really production worthy without a wireless follow focus and video, neither of which are cheap if you want them to actually work. There are gimbal dongles who rely on autofocus, but their work all looks the same since they don't bother with things like lighting and blocking and that sort of thing. When you're starting out, they're a bad idea. Get an inexpensive slider and/or dolly instead -- there's a chance that you can rent them when you need them.

    Same with lights... you don't have to spend nearly as much as you'd think to get lights that will enable you to make great looking films, though the cheaper you go the more jury rigging you'll probably end up doing.

    For example this:

    https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1674313369/manbaby-feature-film-post-production?ref=nav_search

    For the most part, the lighting was based on scrounged up table and floor standing lamps supplemented by a $300 LED light kit (Ikan Iled One). 

    BTW, MFT lenses basically consist of all of the lenses out there that aren't e-mount. On my Black Magic cameras and on my Sony A7R, I used a set of Minolta and Nikon manual focus SLR lenses; they're vintage, but from the days when only pros owned SLR lenses, so they're excellent lenses, and made for manual focus -- which means that they work really well on film sets. They breathe more than good Cine lenses, but the average price was around $75. And those are the lenses I used for that feature film linked above... 

    That's in no way a knock on the Panasonic... Panasonic does MFT also, after all. There's nothing wrong with MFT as a format; if you're concerned about it being too small for "real filmmaking" look at the classics shot on Super 16 and then stop worrying about it and start shooting. :)

     

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    Ah. Sliders. I recommend an Edelkrone Slider Plus (or knockoff, if you must). Edelkrone gear is pricey, but innovative and built to bludgeon politicians with. 

    Slider Plus has a neat system where the whole track shifts with the carriage. This means their 18" slider can move 32". I bring that up because I'm still planning hypothetical gear around the need to move fast and light. At 18", that slider plus is narrower than my shoulders, which means I can leave it on my sticks all day, and pick it up and carry sticks, camera and slider in one shot. 

    Edelkrone even makes a tiny 6 inch slider that takes 25 pounds! Trust me, there's a lot you can do with a six inch slide. Since that fits in any camera bag it's always on set, where my five foot slider usually stays in the car. 

    That six inch slider even has a motion control add on! 

  • Well the 18 year old gets a job but the company that hired him went bankrupt because they seriously underestimated the gear budget ;)

    Put together three kit options at three price points. Make the lowest option the minimum you would be willing to work with, the middle one what you would like to with and the high end a dream kit. Be honest about the capabilities and limitations of each price point and ask for their input. Point out areas where costs could possibly be cut without sacrificing capabilities like going for used or refurbished gear instead of new. 

     

     

  • And don't try to buy it all at once. Start simple, aim for great shots rather than fancy ones, and make your customers really happy. Then as you grow income you can upgrade your toys. :)

     

  • Thank you all for the comments. I am looking further into it now. Anyone knows when there could potentially be a discount for HitFilm 2017 Pro? I'm thinking of an upgrade.

  • Amorson, based upon what I've seen it is unlikely that they will have any sales until November when they do Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales

  • It's pretty inexpensive anyway; odds are it's going to be one of the least expensive purchases you'll end up making.

    You can also get by with HitFilm Express to quite a bit, building up some clients before going in for the full monty.

    And don't forget Blender. It's potentially a good way to get started, and in the long run will still be a perfect complement to HitFilm.

     

     

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    FxHome won't tell us in advance when sales are, but there will probably be July 4th sale (there was the prior two years), possibly either an Easter sale, or a one-week sale whenever they launch Hitfilm Express 2017.

  • Hey all,

    I made a post a few weeks ago about what camera to buy for my new student job. I appreciate all your help. It ended up becoming the "Panasonic AG-UX180 Premium Professional Cam"
    Camera
    Now, I wanted to know which equipment is necessary or handy. 

    For my job I will be doing commercials, video profiles, shooting at events and pretty much all like that. So are there any tripods or microphones... (Anything!) that you can recommend for a decent price? My boss is not looking for the most top quality & super expensive gear. We're looking for something that works well for a decent price, that will be very essential for such job. 

    Also the company I work in is willing to pay for a HitFilm 2017 upgrade. So that's super neat :)

    Looking forward to your comments.
    - Mattias

  • Hey WhiteCranePhoto,

    Indeed Express is a good version, but the company is willing to pay for the upgrade. In terms of clients, the company takes care of that. And they are pretty good at it as well. Already got a  handful of possible clients already :)

  • Update: I am aware that there are some recommendations of equipment in my last thread. I am looking at that. Just felt that the camera was relevant to the equipment as well :) 

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    Mattais, I'm going to refer you back to your original (this) thread, as we did some discussion of audio gear already. 

    You'll also notice I merged this thread with your previous. That's just me, man. I don't like multiple threads on the same topic. Not as neat a forum, and answers get fragmented across locations, so it's harder for you (and me) to keep track of a discussion. 

    UX-180 is a good choice for the job. As we discussed, it's all the power of the DVX200 with a smaller sensor, so a little worse low-light, but a wider DoF. Fantastic zoom range. 

    I'll look for some specific mics later. Basic recommendation is the same--one shotgun, one lav to start, or two lavs and a shotgun if we can find a good package. 

    Tripods... Lets see. A UX180 will be about five pounds. With a shotgun and lav receiver attached, and let's assume a light, I'd say get any Manfrotto tripod/head combo where the legs support at least 10 pounds. Ideally with a leveling ball head (for speed). 

    Like this one. 

    https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/944776-REG/manfrotto_mvk500am_mvh500a_plus_mvt502am_plus.html

    You'll need an on-camera light. These days, tons of cheap chinese lcd panels between $30-50 all over the net. 

  • Would you say that the Magnus VT-4000 tripod is a fine choice? It supports 12.8 pounds. Doesn't have much resistance but the price seems pretty good. Looks like it gets the job done. 

    About the on-camera light, I will look for something cheap. 

    Also, I would really appreciate if you could help me find a shotgun microphone :) 

  • I do not recommend on camera lights except for event filming. It almost always leads to a front light, which never looks good; it's one of those things that you put up with when capturing events because you have to, but it's not something that you'd want for other projects. 

  • I've just heard something about the ability to bounce off the light with on-camera lights...and you can get some nice results. What if I get one with a cover up to soften the light? I know that my first task will be in a floor store, and if I want to do some close ups on their floorsboards, how can I make sure I don't have low lighting? Would I have to spend a lot of money on lighting gear or try to get good result with just Iris exposure? 

Sign in to comment

Leave a Comment