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Newby here...What do I need!?!

thejuggler1's picture
Last seen: 2 years 11 months ago
Joined: 12/16/2011 - 6:51pm

I say I'm a newby, but I've actually been compiling some things over the past year. I am starting a videography buisness this coming year and hope to be transitioning out of my job as a therapist sometime mid to late 2012. My question is..."I have a lot of equipment right now and know that I am either lacking, or could upgrade, in various areas. What do you think would be a good way to start spending my money in regards to equipment purchases? (ie, back-up harddrives, faster computer, better camera, etc). Here is a list of what I have so far...

Canon t2i, Sigma 28mm 1.4, Tamron 10-24mm 3.5-4.5, Neewer viewfinder, Manfrotto 561BHDV-1 monopod, a couple 16gb class 10 cards, homemade steadicam & slider, 3y/o 24in iMac, 1y/0 15in Macbook Pro (i7 dualcore w/ 8gb ram),using FCPX &Motion 5,LaCie 1TB external HD, another 500gb for Timemachine, and probably some small things I forgot to mention, but that's the big stuff.

So should I look at investing in a Drobo for storage, a Canon 5D MkII, a 8-12core Mac Pro (preowned), more memory cards, Zoom H4N, wireless lavs, etc? How do you suggest I prioritize? I will be shooting events (weddings and other events, as well as real estate property tours). Any help would be very much appreciated!


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

 Ashley, welcome to the Videomaker forum. You mentioned that you are a newby ('newby, but actually been compiling...over the past year'). My suggestion to you would be to continue shooting and making videos. Shooting landscapes, family gatherings, events, real estate tours, etc. Get to know your equipment and the process of creating video outputs (DVD, Blurays, you tube, etc). As you progress in your experience and talent at this, you will be better able to decide what additional equipment might be needed.


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

 Ashley, in my previous post I didn't address your inquiry about equipment, sorry. After googling the camera that you presently have, it appears that it should be adequate for video shooting. The only initial suggestion that I have is some sort of equipment to get audio. I recommend some sort of on-camera microphone (stereo?) that can plug into the microphone input on your camera or some wireless setup (VHF or better still UHF) or a freestanding audio recorder (H1, H2, etc.). Other than this equipment, I think that you have all the basic stuff that you will need to make great video. If you search this forum you will find suggestions and feedback about the equipment that I have suggested. Once again I suggest that you keep shooting and making video, you have enough stuff to make great video. All that you need is experience and practice. Keep shooting.


David Forrester's picture
Last seen: 5 months 4 weeks ago
Joined: 05/09/2010 - 8:04pm
Plus Member

Hi Ashley: I agree with Videoman - keep shooting. I have both a Sony Z5 dedicated camera as well as the Canon 5D Mk 2 and the Hn4 recorder (+++). Let me give you the benefit of experience. A DSLR is NOT a good choice for video. You are plagued with far too much work, constant focusing due to the very shallow depth of field at wide open apertures and audio issues.

The sound quality is no good on them unless you invest in a Beachtek or similar and even then, it is marginal due to poor pre-amps on the camera. With a separate recorder, you have to push 2 record buttons and then sync the sound afterwards - it is a pain - but you get terrific sound this way. You have an enormous amount to do at the recording session without
adding additional work load - unless you can bring along a dedicated
audio guy. That I highly recommend if you stick with your Canon.

To offset focusing issues, a separate monitor with peaking is sorely needed. A marshall 5 or 7" will do a superb job. I tell you, i have lost soooooooooo much footage due to focusing issues. When I do night shots as f1.4 or 2 at 2500 ISO, the depth of field is razor thin and if there is any fore and aft movement, you either move the camera or move focus. It is a pain. Don't know about autofocus on your camera, but this is a huge issue.

Now another problem surfaces - noise - especially at night. The 5D is remarkable, but at 2500 iso, noise starts. At 5,000, it is no good. Ideally is 640 tops - not powerful enough for night. I try to max out at 1250, but sometimes I am forced to 2500. Then noise. rats!

A dedicated camera does everything - I mean everything either automatically or manually or in combinations. You can add any sort of mic system, line input, phantom power and so on. You will not get shallow Depth of field, that is the only downfall and that is where the DSLR wins big time. And you will not get the best of night shots either - again noise. But the 5D is better - much better.

The Canon will need a moderate telephoto lens. I use a 28-85 zeiss zoom from my Contax line and I swear by it. All manual of course. but it is not good at night as it is only f 3.3. Night shots are always f1.4-2. Even my f2.8 28mm is too dark.

You must have a darn good tripod with a great fluid head. I have Manfrottos and quite pleased with them. Non-negotiable. Get a rather hefty one with a long control arm. Nothing looks so good as a steady shot on a tripod. Jerky motions scream amateur.

If you get a dedicated camera which I highly recommend, get a 20X zoom, dual XLR inputs. The cameras that you are looking at in this league of those 2 options will give you everything you will ever need. Don't get caught up in the trap of a gear head, but get shooting every darn thing you can. And you will find out soon enough what your real needs are.

Best of luck. Dave


Rocky M's picture
Last seen: 2 weeks 1 day ago
Joined: 03/12/2010 - 5:53am
  • Ashley, some suggestion to prioritize on the basis of the work you propose.
  • Audio isas important as video: Suggest UHF wireless lavsand along cord mic
  • Lighting is important: Suggest camera mounted LEDwith adjustable light
  • Monopods are great for on the move: buta sturdy Manfrotto tripod with fluid head would be required for extra smooth pan shots and long speeches/lectures
  • Camera brand is what gives you quality results, works best for you and you are comfortable with. Personally I use a small HD Sony HVR-A1 camera with on camera stereo mic and 2 x XLR inputs for weddings and interviews as I have found it's much smaller size has proved to beless intimidatingin interview & close up situationsetc
  • Seems you are set on a Mac with FCP which most professionals inthis line of work choose however I settled for a PC with the Adobe Premiere CS4 suite. Once again a matter of preference and what you are comfortable with.
  • The only other thing I might mention is your editing suite,try to make it as workable as possible, comfortable, presentable for customers, isolated from outside noise and distractions.
  • Editing Iconsider is the most difficult in videography,one never stops learning.I found theeasiest way to learn, was todo editing work (at the obligatory reduced rate) for production companies etc.. On each and every one of these edits Ilearnt something different in the way oftips, what to do and what never to dothings thatyou won't find in books, that all goes into making a the final product, professional.Plus I still read whatever I can get my hands on. Think about it this way, if you shoot whatever and give that same footage to 6different editors you would most likely end up with 6 completely different final results.
  • On the surface it appears you have sufficient hardware for editing, any upgrading or additional hardware can be added as the business progresses.
  • Agree with Vid-e-o-man keep shooting and practicing. Why not offer you services to an wedding videography to get on hands experience in the first instance, who knows, later onwhen he's busy you may get more work

Trust the above helps

Good luck with the new business.