Camera add-on advice needed

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    • #44059

      I couldn’t think of a better title but hopefully this will suffice. I read Videomaker religiously as one of only two magazines that I never miss a month. The other is HD Video Pro. The stuff I notice in all of the magazines are ads and review guides about all kinds of accessories for cameras. My problem is that this dilutes the market and it makes it very hard to know what are accessories and what are add-ons. Things like mate boxes, add-on batteries, dollies, lights, twelve mics, 87 filters, rail systems, etc. It all just seems so daunting. What accessories are needed and which ones are just supperlative?

      I currently use a JVC GY-HD110u with a tripod, dolly, extra mic and XLR cable, and a three light kit. Am I missing out on something that would really set me to the next level, or am I still beign held back only by my skill? I don’t usually post general noob Q’s like this but I just can’t figure out who would <span style=”text-decoration: underline;”>need</span> all of that stuff.

    • #184668


      This isn’t a ‘NoobQ’ at all. You’re obviously an intermediate ready to move into advanced level work. Really all matteboxes do is help block unwanted light and allow you to use higher end lens filters comprised of high quality glass. They also with the help of a lens adapter, rails and focus support gear facilitate using 35mm lenses for film or video cameras. All both the stuff you mentioned and what I just described are just tools to allow you to get a much more polished and professional look to your work.

      Dollys help you to make smooth tracking shots. Cranes and Jibs help give your shots a more ‘3 Dimensional feel’ by allowing you to move the camera smoothly up, down, side-to-side and everything in between. Filters give you different looks or act as protectors (you should have a UV filter on your lens at all times to protect the glass.)

      ‘Your skills’ will become more advanced as you learn when, where and how to use these other tools. Truthfully, if you don’t have the basics of composition, focus and exposure down, none of that other stuff will help you at all. You asked, “What accessories are needed and which ones are just superlative?” The only real answer I can give you is another question, “What do you want to do?”

      BTW, the 110U is a nice camera. We use the 200 and 250 also nice cameras. There’s a deep resevoir of stuff to learn just with what you have. How to get desired looks in camera by adjusting the menu’s and so on. On a recent job, I figured out you can get stereo sound out of one mic just by putting the mic selector switch between the audio 1&2 channel. It’s kind of tricky to get it to work the first time, but once you figure it out, it’s easy. You can’t use it like that with two mics though.

      What will get you to the ‘next level’ will be you trying new things and building up your kit. Of course, the more complicated your shots get, your requirements for additional personnel will grow too.

    • #184669

      Well, to be honest I consider myself a professional. I have worked for Gospel music channel, shot an indie feature, and won some awards for 48-hour filmmaking. My reasoning for the thread is that I have never felt held back by my lack of the “professional” tools. I use filters but typically only the big three, my lens hood tends to give me all the shade I need, and my manfrotto tripod dolly is one of my favorite tools, I use it every chance I get. Yes I can see that a matte box could come in handy if I wanted a full size glass filter to also help keep debri out of the lens (sand, dust, etc.) but I really think at the independent or freelance level, it’s a bit overkill.

      The jvc has a great lens, and I love the camera. My only complaint is that the 110 doesn’t have HD video out, so I can only preview in SD on a monitor. Other than that, it’s my first time using a lens with a back focus, but once I got the hang of it, I think I am hooked on a “real” lens from now on.

      I actually built a jib last year for use with a Canon HF10 but it couldn’t support the weight of the JVC so I scrapped it until I could build a sturdier one. I also don’t have the skills to make it functional with electronic pan/tilt so I will probably buy my next one. One of the guys I worked with a few months ago had one that I got to help with and I def see the advantage.

      I think part of my reason for not seeing all of the thrill is that once I got serious about film and video I got an XL1 and then my JVC so I always have had shoulder cams so I never really get carried away with the follow focuses and rail systems, etc. because I work solo a bunch and only have two hands.

      Thanks for your response, you are among the most knowledgable on these forums and I love reading what advice you have to give.

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