Equipment Help

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    • #44561

      I have my HD canon and a sony hand held mic.

      Can you please give me some advice on ‘what next’ equipment to buy?
      Brand/Model/Price Range Please

      I have no idea and would prefer to buy quality used equipment once I know what I’m looking for.

      I’m doing Adventure videos and Interviews.

      Thank you,


    • #186599

      Luke, Why am I thinking Star Wars? Software! Yes choose your editing tool, here are a few of the most popular.

      1) Corel VideoStudio
      100% fully functional 30 day free trail.

      2) Sony VP this is perhaps the best, but also costly

      3) Adobe Yes another best, but another high investment.

      If you have the bucks (and a lot of them) to drop #3, if tight on money #1. Don’t use free.

      Once you have your software in mind, build around that.

    • #186600

      I think of my equipment as a group of kits that make up a whole. There is a level of technology that has a great deal of influence on the finished product you can produce but that doesn’t always mean you have to break the bank to get there. Its kind of like setting goals as you go as to what you need to expand on to better the quality of you finished product. Its kind of difficult to tell you what you should buy next when I have no clue what you really need next. Are you shooting more adventure or interviews for the next six months? What do you need quality wise to get paid or paid more?

      The camera kit- You have a camera and that’s a start but expanding on the kit down the road allows you more latitude in what you can capture. Since you do “Adventure” filming as well, something like go pro’s Hero 2 can get you in rough weather or under water or perhaps you might need to upgrade to a better camera than you have to do more in low light or reduce “Rolling Shutter” effects to capture better quality footage. You might also think of camera movement to make your footage more interesting or to use movement to draw attention to your subject with a “Jib” or “Slider”.

      Audio kit- You have the sony handheld but adding some sort of shotgun mic, field recorder and perhaps a radio lav, will broaden what you can capture and also increase the quality, especially out side. Also think about positioning the mic, getting your gun mic above or below talent for your interviews.

      Lighting kit- I really think this is the one that gets left out or not thought of the most. Even for outside shooting things like reflectors are shot savers that can really increase the quality of what you capture. I recently found a 42″ 5-1 on line for 11 bucks, it was 16.00 with shipping.

      For indoors to cover your interviews, don’t just think three point lighting, think about controlling light. You’ll need something for a key light, back light, and fill light but that’s just to light your subject you also might need something to brighten a room or background or to over power sunlight you can’t hide.

      Of course the editing kit as Mr. Watts spoke of. You might find yourself needing to upgrade to speed up workflow or sometimes advance to a different NLE.

      Then, last but not least is the “Kit” between your ears. Which is where this site can help a ton. Just click on everything from audio to post production and there is the information to take you to the next step.

      So, just think of where your greatest weak spot is. Is it in audio, lighting or do you need to take some time to sit down and study some? Everybody has weak spots and grows their “Kit”, “System”, what ever from the same point, the beginning. Also if your greatest weak spot is something out of your control for the moment, then just move on to the next one that is in your control. As far as equipment goes there are a lot of DIY projects that can get you by till you can afford brand gear. You can find lots on this site and else where on line.

      As time goes by, you’ll get there. I’m a ways from where I want to be but getting closer by the day.

    • #186601

      Figured I would add something else. If you are at a point that you just don’t know what to add to your tool kit, go and search out video similar to what you do. Keep a list of “Qualities” you would like to add to your video’s and go study those things. Most of which you can find at least something on this site about.

      “Quality” is a subjective term and is going to mean something different to everyone. Its the qualities you want in a video that are going to make you different from others and much of the time that is a good thing. What you prioritize as “quality” though, is going to have influence on what you need equipment wise. That would help you visualize where your weak spots in your kit are.

    • #186602

      @ Gregory Watts – I have adobe premiere, but I’m using windows movie maker fore the following reason.

      1) My cannon shots .mts format. I can’t easily import that into adobe premiere. I’ve tried converts, but the quality seems to suffer tons from this. I might just be doing it wrong.

      2)Geez, premiere seems like a nightmare to use to get my videos done quickly..

      Your thought on this would be awesome.

      @WSanford I am going to start with a wireless microphone. What do you suggest?

      Also, I want one of those things that help with steadying your camera shot as you walk. Looks like a pole you hold.

      Can you suggest a ‘kit’ for lighting? Maybe a stand, light, and reflector?

      Sorry guys if I dont ‘get’ it yet. I’ve taken only a 1 hour film class, and everything I’ve created is sheer will and talent.


      <p style=”position: absolute; left: -10000px; top: 0px; width: 1px; height: 1px; overflow: hidden;” id=”_mcePaste”>WSanford

    • #186603

      Luke – others have given you good advice about sound, lighting and your editing suite. I would add another basic – support for smoothly moving shots. Smooth, non-shaky images are essential for watchable video. Make sure to invest in eitherquality sticksand a dolly, a Steadicam-like stabilizer, or, at least, some sort of shoulder rig.

      On wireless mics – I’ll let WSanford answer for himself, but I use the Azden VHF WMS-PRO. If you’re going to shoot at longer ranges than 50′-100′, you’ll need a UHF wireless, which is much more expensive.

      One more thing – if you plan to use talent (or even yourself) in front of the camera, do yourself a favor and get them an iPadteleprompter or invisible in-earautoprompter.

      For lights, I recommend 3 softboxes and a black/white/green backdrop. You can get a decent kit for a couple of hundred bucks. If that’s too expensive, get 2 umbrellas, a backlight and the backdrops for $140.

      Good luck!


      Hybrid Camera Revolution

    • #186604

      First things first. I would start a thread about transcoding and list what version of premiere pro you have and the system specs of your computer and what canon camera you are using. I’m sure you’d find some one with some experience with similar at least to help fix your transcoding issue. Using premiere pro (even an early version) is going to give you a lot more tools to work with to make video even better. I would make that the number one priority.

      The wireless mic’s I use are Samson UHF series. I’d keep my eyes peeled on ebay and other auction sites but if you don’t need the distance of a remote mic and are just looking for the freedom of movement, wired lav mic’s are pretty cheap. You can get some good quality sound and two mic’s for a 100 bucks that are 20′ long. That could work well for interviews.

      I would never trust any mic though and always monitor with head phones. This spring I got into the Zoom trend with a H4N and its turning out to be the best audio investment I’ve ever made. I now use it for primary audio capture and connect my mic’s to it.

      I second everything Bill said about a smooth shot. There is a ton of DIY stuff out there and some of it is actually very useful. Depends on the size of your camera though. As far as lighting goes, just search ‘three point lighting” and you will find some very inexpensive equipment. Keep in mind though that it is a cheaper build and keep an eye on wiring, connections and remember it may have a shorter life span but it will all get you started and going.

      This one might sound weird to you but if you’re going to do a lot of interviews, learn something about make-up. Talk to a couple of women that you notice wear it well and talk to them about foundation and skin tones. You’re not going to have to get into lipstick, eye shadow or anything like that. Just in eliminating shiny spots or covering blemish’s. This is a tough one for some people but the use of make-up goes hand in hand with lighting and it is your job to make people look their best. The first time you apply this to a VIP you film, you will thank yourself and if you make them look good, you get to film them again and their friends as well.

    • #186605

      @Bill Bruner

      PERFECT! That’s exactly what I wanted. Links to stuff! I’m visual so it helps 100%.

      I’m buying a Steadicam-like stabilizer, ASAP. Looking for used.

      I’m also buying the 3 softboxes and a black/white/green backdrop. AWESOME. Now I can do video ANYWHERE I can carry that bag to! (Good price for me to!)

      I should have asked first and purchased the Azden VHF WMS-PRO, before purchasing the SONY wireless one that I’ve already had to send BACK to the guys at Sony for the static!

      @WSanford – I will definitely look post about the camera and software. I REALLY need help with that area!

      Stablizer getting one, lighting to. I plan to hit the mall and talk to the ladies that do make up all day at the major stores.


    • #186606


      I ordered my 3 softboxes lights and back drop. I’m excited!

      I bid on a stablizer, on ebay but didn’t win. Gonna keep looking. Is there one in particular that would be very versatile?

      I’m calling sony this morning about my wireless mics. Might have to go a head and order the Azden VHF WMS- PRO

    • #186607

      Try this link on the steady cam Luke.

      Cheapest I’ve seen in a while.

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