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Newbie Looking For Product Advice

ChrisJordan's picture
Last seen: 2 years 1 month ago
Joined: 10/07/2012 - 7:55pm

I have been doing basic videos for family stuff but am just getting started doing some corporate work. Nothing too high end, just some basic web videos for local businesses and some training videos. My personal camcorder and tripod are not going to cut it for this purpose.

 

Was hoping to get some advice on a good quality hd video camera and tripod. I'm also not sure if an external microphone would be better or a lapel mic for capturing audio from individuals. I have also seen wireless models for lapel mics. Some advice and product recommendations here would be greatly appreciated as well as anything else I might need.

 

My budget is up to $2k.


voodeux's picture
Last seen: 6 months 1 week ago
Joined: 07/25/2012 - 7:29pm

Used XH-A1's are a bargain right now, and you'll have some money left over for a quality wireless lav. Stick with Sennheiser or Sony wireless systems. Libec has some affordable video tripods. I haven't used them, so you might want to demo them at your local retailer.

With support gear, a good unit will outlast your camera, so it pays to buy the best you can afford. Buy once, cry once.


ChrisJordan's picture
Last seen: 2 years 1 month ago
Joined: 10/07/2012 - 7:55pm

Thanks for the tips. I have never been a fan of buying a used electronic device but there certainly is a considerable difference in price between new and used. I will have to research that a little further to see if any of the used ones come with a warranty or an available extended warranty.

 

This will really solidify my status as an amateur but if you are not using a tripod for the camera, what do you use for steadying it?


Rob Grauert's picture
Last seen: 10 months 4 days ago
Joined: 02/16/2008 - 10:47pm

Man, you are really making it tough with such a low budget. Is there any chance you can get at least $5000? Even prosumer gear will put you over $2000...

 

With such a low budget, have you considered a used SD camera? The DVX100B is a fine camera and finding a used one will give you more money to spend on other necessities.

 

When considering a tripod for video, you need one with a fluid head. I got this one in college and it has served me well: 

 

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/576022-REG/Bescor_TH_770_TH_770_Hi...

 

When it comes to mics, I avoid wireless. They're a last option, in my opinion, because they're more of a hassle. If someone is speaking in front of the camera and they're not moving around much, a wired lavalier mic will do the job. I use the Sony ECM-44B and have never been disappointed. If you're subject is moving around, then consider a boom with a shotgun mic. This is a pretty good kit:

 

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/421933-REG/Sennheiser_ME66BK_ME66_...

 

Don't forget lights. You need lights. If you have 3 500-watt lights, you'll be in relatively good shape. I purchased a kit from Lowel, but it cost a bit over $1000. This is another reason why I feel you should increase your budget. You need lights.

 


ChrisJordan's picture
Last seen: 2 years 1 month ago
Joined: 10/07/2012 - 7:55pm

That budget is what I would like to spend if possible. Basically I own an SEO company that just added video marketing services to our list of client offerings. What we have done up to this point is produce lower end videos for web use that are basically slide shows using still photos and with either music or professional voice over backgrounds. You can see an example on our website at http://mylocalmarketing.org. They are nothing fancy or high end, just basic videos for businesses.

 

Our main selling point is the low cost between $295-$395. We have sold quite a few of them since introducing them to our existing and potential clients over the last month and a half.

 

What we are running into are some clients wanting some on site video shooting and more advanced video production options. I have just been referring them to a local video production company but I really enjoy making videos and would love to start doing that part myself.

 

I wanted to experiment with creating some videos for my own company and my wife has a spa with two locations. So I also get to experiment doing some work for her without the pressure or stress of trying to do this for the first time for a new client.

 

So with that in mind, I am totally brand new to video production and have no idea what it costs to get started. I don't really need the best equipment out there but I also don't want to buy something that will severely limit my options of producing something nice.

 

I could probably go up to 3k if necessary but that would be about it, so some recommendations in the prosumer area will probably be more fitting for me and would be much appreciated. If it is going to cost more than that to get started, I will probably just stick to what we have been doing for a while.


voodeux's picture
Last seen: 6 months 1 week ago
Joined: 07/25/2012 - 7:29pm

BTW, I do own 3 tripods, and a fluid head monopod. However my Sachtler FSB-6 would pretty much blow your budget. Look into the Sachtler Ace. Another tripod I haven't used, but it's from a company I trust.

Rob is on the right track recommending SD gear. Dirt cheap, and good enough for the web.


brunerww's picture
Last seen: 1 day 6 hours ago
Joined: 06/09/2011 - 6:40am
Plus Member

Chris - with a $2000 - $3000 budget for a new pro HD camera, I would get the $1999 Sony HDR-NX30U with its amazing balanced optical steady shot:

 

https://vimeo.com/39824407

 

Combined with a $110 Ravelli/Fancier AVTP Professional - with its fluid head and dual handles - your shots should be smooth as silk.  I have one of these and it works great.

 

For sound, I'd start with the camera's standard mic, and if that doesn't give you the sound presence you need, I'd put it on a boom and hire someone to get it closer to the talent.  I agree with Rob - avoid wireless if you can.

 

You will probably want to experiment with different backdrops, to include green screen. For lighting and backdrops I would get one of those all-in-one kits for less than $200 (I built mine piece by piece - buying it all at once is less expensive). 

 

 Total - less than $2500 for a studio that should meet your basic production needs.

 

Hope this is helpful, and I hope that the addition of video to your repertoire makes a positive impact on your bottom line!

 

Cheers,

 

Bill

Hybrid Camera Revolution

 


vid-e-o-man's picture
Last seen: 8 months 2 weeks ago
Joined: 02/06/2010 - 4:20am
Plus Member

Chris, I have a couple of suggestions to help you get some very usable stuff and not break the bank. Radio Shack sells a pretty decent lavalier microphone (model 30-3033? $30) that I and others on this site have used plugged directly plugged into to your videocamera (works unless the subject is moving around a lot) or plugged into a portable recorder (like the Zoom H1, 2 etc.). The other suggestion is try to find a used Manfrotto tripod with fluid head on ebay, craigslist etc, buyer beware of course.It might take you a while but the investment in time should yield good stuff for a good price. I picked up two on ebay each under $90. Manfrotto/Bogen tripods last forever with reasonable care. I have used Sony SR11 videocameras for a few years and have gotten good results, sometimes using additional lighting for the best results. Hope these help. Keep shooting.


ChrisJordan's picture
Last seen: 2 years 1 month ago
Joined: 10/07/2012 - 7:55pm

Thanks for all the great advice everyone. I will do some more research on all the accessories like lighting, tripods and mics. I found this camera that seems like a decent choice for a beginner at my budget and has a lot of great reviews.

 

Canon XA10 HD

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/749467-REG/Canon_4922B002_XA10_HD_...

 

Any opinions on this one? It's not that big a deal to upgrade accessories down the road if needed but I really don't want to have to do that with the camera. I know it's not the best camera out there but it seems like it will do what I need as I'm not doing any high end production stuff.


brunerww's picture
Last seen: 1 day 6 hours ago
Joined: 06/09/2011 - 6:40am
Plus Member

Chris - the XA10 is a great camera - and I recommended it at the ~$2000 price point until the Sony NX30 was released.  The Sony comes with an external microphone, shoots 1080/60p and has class-leading image stabilization.

 

Either one will do the job for you, but the Sony is better value for your money, in my view.

 

Good luck with your decision!

 

Bill

Hybrid Camera Revolution


theonecanoe's picture
Last seen: 5 days 18 hours ago
Joined: 08/31/2011 - 4:20pm

Hey Chris, if the XA10 is too costly, consider the Canon HF G10.  It's basically the same canera as the XA10, but without thr 'pro' XLR audio  extras and it cost about $800 less.

 


theonecanoe's picture
Last seen: 5 days 18 hours ago
Joined: 08/31/2011 - 4:20pm

Chris,  Here's another suggestion.  B&H Photo Video sells the Canon Vixia HV40 for $599.  This is an amazing camera for the price.  It shoots on miniDV tapes, but puts out an amazing HD image (1080 @ 60i or 30p or 24p). As well as fully automatic, it has manual exposure controls, manual focus and manual audio input control!  I shot a 1/2 hr television pilot with one of these and all the technicians at the local TV station could not believe the image quality I got out of this little camera.  At this low price, you'll have lots left over for all those 'extras' like batteries, tapes, wireless or shotgun mics, wide-angle/telephoto adapters, LED lighting, tripod etc.

   Cheers    -Wayne-


ChrisJordan's picture
Last seen: 2 years 1 month ago
Joined: 10/07/2012 - 7:55pm

The XA10 sounds like it might work. I have no idea what pro XLR audio is so maybe you could fill me in on what that is so I know if I really need it right now.

 

Funny you say that about the Canon Vixia. That was the first camera I looked at. It got great reviews and everyone raved about the high quality video it puts out. I just thought it might be too consumerish.

 

I have a consumer hd camcorder now and it actually takes really good video but the main issue is no external mic input. I want to make sure the new one has that and maybe a few more pro features because I don't want to have to match up the sound recorded from a separate device if possible.

 

I will check these two out and see if they have the option to connect an external mic and maybe someone could fill me in if they already know and if they have any limitations vs the XA10.

 

That would be great if I could get started on the lower end and be able to pick up some decent quality accessories.

 

I'll check out the Sony NX 30 as well.