Another confused soul…..

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    • #39742
      Avatarcrazman
      Participant

      You could try looking at the Canon GL1 or GL2. Also the Pannasonic DVC30. Those are pretty similar to the Sony’s and also around that price range.

    • #171497
      Avatarcrazman
      Participant

      First poster here who has a billion questions but will try and narrow them down to a few. I am an aspiring filmaker who for the past two years has been trying to decide on what fim school or course to take as I have been looking at digital film production courses. They are all ridiculously expensive and was wondering if any of these 3 month intesive courses (like NYFA, Digital Film Acadamy) are worthwhile for the beginner. I have taught myself to use NLE platforms like ADOBE PREMIERE PRO(Not to its full potential), PINNACLE, ULEAD etc… but would like to learn and hopefully master F CUT PRO as well as learnig camera and lighting techniques.
      I understand if no one can reply to the above because after reading I am not asking a straightforward question. Here is one more defined and to the point. I have been gifted a dream oppurtunity in a month to go shoot a documentary(lets say mock for now) on a rare African tribe with a one of the worlds experts(on the tribe). I don’t have a camera as I have been using my stepfathers home video camera for my own little projects. I want to go semi pro or pro and have been on the hunt for the past weeks without sleep. Everyone recommends this or that, "don’t buy this". The main problem lies in my budget which I started off at $600 and now am willing to spend $1,300(just means I will eat less for a while). I am looking at used Sony VX DCR1000, VX 2000, PD150, 170 etc…. from companies like B & H. Is this a good move. I am based in Italy there seems to be no place in Europe where yopu can get good deals. Anyway, hopefully a few of you are still awake at this point and can give me advice. Thanks.

    • #171498
      AvatarEndeavor
      Participant

      Hi! Sounds like an excellent opportunity for you! It will be hard (but not impossible) to find a good camera in that price range. The thing is, you might want to think about other things you will need for a good documentary as well. The main thing being audio equipment. I don’t have time to elaborate as much as I would want but I would consider it a necessity to get a good mic and you will definitely want to think about what else you may need as well. Any possibility of renting or borrowing equipment?

    • #171499
      Avatarcrazman
      Participant

      I lookded into renting gear but the only place that rents gear has over the top prices. I guess that is because they have no competition. What kind of mic would you suggest? I know very little about sound but have heard that the built in mics are poor. Do you think I should look at other brands apart from Sony to fit in my price range? I do look to use this camera on other projects besides this one.
      Cheers

    • #171500
      Avatarralck
      Participant

      Hi,

      Endeavor is absolutely right. I spent 1300 on a VX2000 on ebay (actually, I got a great deal because it was the videographer’s backup camera so he hardly ever used it). That was last year, so prices may have dropped a little bit.

      However, I just spent about $500 on my audio setup. And that’s a ‘budget’ setup! I got a Rode NTG-2, which is one of the cheapest ‘good’ mics. Not many mics in that price range offer 20Hz to 20Khz, battery or phantom power (I’m using battery right now to forego the costs of a phantom power providing mixer right now). You’ll also want to get an XLR adapter for your camera (since cameras in your price range probably won’t have built-in XLR). You can pick up a Beachtek DXA-4 (they have one specifically for the Sony VX series as well as Canon GL series and other versions of cameras) for fairly cheap. You’ll also want to get XLR cables (a 50′ cable and either a 20′ or 25′ would suffice). Then a good pair of monitoring headphones (I recomend the Sennheiser HD-280’s. They sound great, are comfortable, and can be picked up factory refurbished on eBay for less than similar Sonys and such). Finally you’ll want a shockmount for the mic (mine came bundled with it from B&H), as well as a boom pole (pick up a painter’s pole or a light changer pole for a cheap solution). That’s a pretty basic setup for sound (though keep in mind shotgun mics aren’t the best for indoor sound), and should be good for you filming outside and the like.

      Another thing you might want to consider is lighting. You could go to a place like B&H and buy a really expensive, 3-point lighting kit with all the fixings, but a great alternative for gorilla/low-budget indie filmers is to go to Home Depot (or your favorite hardware store) and pick up several of the hallogen work lights they sell. These won’t be as good as a professional lighting kit, but at 100 dollars for a decent Home Depot setup compared to 3000 dollars or more for a pro lighting kit, I think it’s pretty worth it for low-budget.

      All-in-all, it might be easier to rent stuff as Endeavor suggested. If you look around your area, you might be able to, when you rent a camera, get a camera man with it!

    • #171501
      Avatarcrazman
      Participant

      But thanks anyway. I hope you were joking about the rent a cameraman bit because if not it contradicts everything in regard to saving money. I don’t know think I was that clear in my original post. This project is not going to be broadcast(as far as I know). The expert I will be going with is also a friend so there is no outside pressure except the expectations I am putting on myself. I do agree about the sound issue. It is for a my portofolio and for the Dr. of Anthro I am going with for his research. A mock doc. I do have a good eye as I have won various photography competitions in the past but am still an infant in the video world which is my true passion. Basically what I am trying to say is even if I get god footage but average sound I will be delighted. There will be a lot of his narration overdubbed in the end anyway.

    • #171502
      AvatarEndeavor
      Participant

      At least get some sort of external mic. I would suggest a cheap clip-on lav mic that you can plug right into the camera (radio shack carries them cheap and they sound pretty darn good) and hide the cord since you won’t have help with running audio (I assume). Also, get some headphones (again, even if they’re cheapos) to plug into the camera so you know what kind of sound you are recording. It’s kind of hard to say exactly what you would want to do with your budget but consider this a learning experience and take note of what works and what doesn’t. No amount of advice here can replace the experience you will get during your project. Who knows, you may end up doing more later on.

    • #171503
      Avatarcrazman
      Participant

      πŸ™‚

    • #171504
      AvatarTomScratch
      Participant

      Hi,

      If you bring all the stuff that ralck is writing about, you will look like the next installment of Animal House Vacations to the Rare African Tribe. Do you see these hilarious films in your neck of the woods about what can happen to virgin travelers?

      Unless you have your own team of carriers or your own air conditioned bus, you will travel light or wish you had. Everything described here can go into one medium sized back pack. (Assuming that you will be washing your second pair of undies every day in the river with the hippos and crocs.)

      Ive shot in exotic locations before and have attended workshops on this subject. Professional filmmakers who dont normally do jungle shoots have been known to characterize them as being hellish (i.e., fun remembering and telling stories about; not so much fun experiencing). (Doesnt apply if you are a Tarzan type). Protecting your equipment (and yourself) from the environment can be key to having a successful shoot.

      If you are able to pick up a PD-170, the on camera mike is pretty darn good. Same with the VX-2100. Take time to figure out the manual audio controls and use them.

      Consider getting a basic portable digital audio recorder with an on-board mic plus a simple lavaliere with cable setup. Odds are better of getting a decent trip ready used audio recorder than problem free used camcorder.

      Bring extra uv filters to protect your lens against bugs and dust. Several extra

      Speaking of bugs, you will get bit. Do not wait an instant in going to the doc and seeing what pills and shots you need. Protect yourself against malaria.

      Id suggest the larger resealable plastic bags to protect your cam between shots.

      Within your tight budget, consider spending more on batteries for your cam, than on a fancy audio setup. You may find yourself in a location where you are not able to recharge. If away from civilization for 3 or more days, Id plan on having a minimum of 5 hours per day battery power in your pack. Even if you are only shooting 2 hours of footage per day, the 5 hours is not overkill. By the 3rd day you will know more about what you are doing and want to shoot; and you will want to have the battery power left to do it. If you will have access to electricity, make sure you have the right converters.

      If something unexpected happens when you are rolling (e.g., a leopard jumps out of a tree 20 feet in front of you (happened to me); or a large snake falls on your buddy up ahead), keep it rolling. This is called an opportunity and could get your doc into some high profile film fests later.

      Come back and tell us about it!

      REGARDS TOM 8)

    • #171505
      Avatarralck
      Participant

      Everything I mentioned except the boom pole will easily fit in a backpack (and you don’t have to have a boom pole, especially in run-and-gun situations). But the other stuff really doesn’t take up much room.

      There are also cheaper mics out there, like the Azden SGM-1X. It’s gotten pretty good ratings, though it doesn’t have the ‘full’ frequency range and can’t take phantom power, but it could give you some pretty good results.

      Also, if you are only using a run-and-gun type filming, and plan to have the mic always on your camera, you could look into the Rode Videomic, which is another cheaper alternative that has gotten some really good reviews. That mic actually would plug directly into a 3.5mm jack, so you could bypass the XLR adapter.

      Of course, the other thing to consider, that inside you probably won’t want to use a shotgun mic. Getting a decent lavalier like others have suggested, or an omni-directional handheld mic (if it fits in the story) might be a better choice.

      And you could go for a cheaper pair of headphones, but keep in mind that what you hear might not really be recorded. Monitoring headphones are meant to be line-leveled so that all frequencies are at zero or as near zero as possible. Listening headphones for games or music are often made to sound extra bassy or more sweet. Monitor headphones are designed to help let you hear exactly what is recorded. What ever you choose, I suggest you go for a closed-ear design to help block out external noise.

      So all-in-all, you really don’t have to go for the complete setup I said. But if you do get an external audio setup, the things I suggest you get are a shock mount if you go for a shotgun mic and headphones that are closed-ear.

    • #171506
      AvatarAnonymous
      Inactive

      ralck Wrote:

      Everything I mentioned except the boom pole will easily fit in a backpack (and you don’t have to have a boom pole, especially in run-and-gun situations). But the other stuff really doesn’t take up much room.

      A collapsible boom pole could fit in a backpack, it may stick out a bit, but it will fold small enough to be easily portable.

    • #171507
      Avatarralck
      Participant

      Very true. A ‘real’ boom pole will collapse that small. A DIY one like I mentioned, generally doesn’t collapse smaller than 3 or 4 feet, which is a little bit for a backpack.

    • #171508
      Avatarcrazman
      Participant

      No joy with Sonys of choice. Does anyone have other suggestions in regard to other brands and models in the price bracket I mentioned at the beginning’

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