Need Advise on setting up studio and buying equimpment

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    • #40482

      I’m in the process of setting up a studio to shoot short videos of our products. I need to buy everything: Camera, Lighting and backdrop etc. I’m looking for advise on what camera to buy, what lighting I will need and what backdrop might be the best option.

      The videos will be exactly like the one in this link:

      Any advise would be appreciated!


    • #173754


      I took a look at the link and it looks to me like you’re just fishing for site hits.

      If you’re serious, you should decide whether you want to go with Standard Definition DV or High Definition HDV or full HD. You’ll also have to decide whether you go with a tape based or tapeless camera. All of which come in many different brands and recording formats such as harddrive, Flash Media, P2, SxS and many more.

      All of that will be decided after you’ve ascertained what you’re equipment budget is. You’ll need at least 1 camera, 1 2-4 light kit, 1-2 wired or wireless lavalier mics, at least 1 shotgun mic, 1 set of pro headphones, and cables like XLR, firewire, and RCA in order to connect audio, computers and audio/visual devices. Concerning backdrops, there are an enormous amount of choices in color, but you may decide to go with just green/blue screen to cut down on the money spent on backdrops. That of course will bring additional amounts of time for editing and studio lighting requirements.

      Most important, you’ll have to decide whether you’ll be editing your work in-house or sending it out. If you do it in-house, then you’ll have to walk through the minefield of what computer operating platform to use. The three biggies are PC, Mac and Linux. Each has their strengths and weaknesses and your decision on which one to use again will be based upon your budget and logistics (i.e. if there’s a mac store on every corner or if you throw a rock and hit a PC retailer….) Once you’ve decided what platform to use, then you’ll need to pick out graphics and editing programs to complete your videos.

      Again, the type of software you pick will decide what platform you’ll need to get. They come in versions for PC only, Mac only, and PC/Mac (cross-platform.) If you or anyone on your team hasn’t edited before or has limited editing experience, don’t get the pro versions of the popular editing programs. Start out with the ‘light’ versions that don’t have the same depth as the pro software. You’ll still be able to make competent looking pieces, but won’t have the headache of dealing with the high learning curve. Once you’ve got a handle on basic Non-Linear Editing, then moving up to the pro versions won’t be a problem.

      Of course, your decisions may not be so cut and dry. You may have experience with one, but may not live in an area to provide practical support for the product (ever have to send in equipment for repair? The farther away it is, the longer you won’t have use of the gear.)

      So before you start wading into ‘what camera to buy’, take the initial time to outline the scope of what you’re going to be working on. Plan out your purchases for equipment based on your initial production goals and be realistic about what you can afford within your current budget. Once you do that, then you’ll have a much better idea of what you are looking for equipment wise and will make informed choices.

    • #173755
      AvatarGrinner Hester

      Don’t buy anything. You obviously are not ready for an overhead. Staff until ya know the requirements of the biz, freelance until you have a clientele following them buy what ya need as ya need it.

    • #173756

      While I tend to agree with grinner, I think I would have put it less bluntly. You really need to try to get some experience before you make a large personal investment. Now, maybe you have. Have you had opportunity to work in any video-production in the past?


    • #173757

      We have taken literally over a 100K images of our products over the past 9 years. Video is obviously more appealing then still images. My company is in a town of ten thousand people so outsourcing is not a option. We have a budget of $7,500 for the camera, studio and lighting.

      We will be shooting all of the products with a white background, like the examples shown. I’m considering buying a 40′ roll of vinyl flooring and flipping it over and painting it. Possibly attaching two of them together. The studio area is 40′ wide by 45’deep. I’m looking for suggestions and ideas on how to get this setup.

      We are planning on buying a tape less camera. I’m not sure about Standard Definition DV or High Definition HDV or full HD. Our budget for the camera is around $5000. Is full HD necessary for this type of application?

      We use Windows for all of our computers. Were expecting to use Adobe Premiere Pro CS3.

      As far as the lighting we have several two 2’x2′ soft boxes and a few other lights that flash. With a lighting budget of $2,000 what would be the best option for lighting?

      Lots of questions, thanks for your time and any advise or feedback that you can offer.

    • #173758

      “Is full HD necessary for this type of application?”

      That still depends on what use you will be putting the finished clips to. If you do shows or the like where you’d be putting them on a large screen, then go for HD, but if they are just for web use, SD would be ample.

    • #173759


      Sounds like you’ve got a plan. Up front, since it looks like you’re going ‘web only’ I would say ‘full HD’ is unnecessary. Keep that in mind while I suggest the following;

      Okay with so small a budget, you can still get a substantial amount of equipment to cover your needs. Camera wise I suggest getting 2-3 small cameras (CMOS or 1CCD chip variety.) Why? You can get good one’s with good imagery for $700 – $1200 (I wouldn’t pay more than a grand.) The small cam’s are light and when business picks up and you move up to prosumer or pro cam’s, you can still use the small ones as ‘crashcams’. The tech on these new little cam’s are pretty good so I would feel quite safe using them for cut and dry work like you’re planning. Since you’re going tapeless, I say stick to the flash-based cam’s versus the harddrive types. If your camera connections get damaged or the harddrive croaks, your data’s locked in. With the card cam’s, you just pull out the card. Make sure when you’re shopping, the cam’s have headphone and microphone inputs. Having those inputs will save you hours of trying to fix bad audio.

      Now as for the ‘HD’ issue, truthfully you can get by with standard def preferably progressive scan (that way you can avoid those hideous scan lines that show up when viewing video on computer screens.) But, most of the new cam’s out now are ‘HD’ flavored. Seriously, for web-work I say 720p is the way to go. You’re already working in progressive scan, you have a solid enough resolution for greenscreen work and it doesn’t look so horrible when you downres to SD. Oh and it takes up less storage space than 1080i or p. Not that those ressie’s are bad, it’s just you don’t want to use an elephant gun to hunt deer.

      Next, get three lightweight tripods. They don’t have to be the most expensive things you can find, but don’t get the ‘El Cheapo’ specials either. You may want to take the cam’s outside to shoot stuff and cheap plastic parts will make you regret your purchase. Try to make sure the tripods at least have a leveling device built in so you won’t have to fix your crooked video in post.

      Get one or more small camera bags for your cams. Your camera will thank you for it. Also you’ll need to carry, your flash cards, extra batteries, cables and eventually a good mic and some lens filters.

      Next, a portable lighting kit is a very good thing to have. Starting out I’d say pick up a 3-4 light kit. Lowell makes some great kits for $600-$1200. Don’t forget to purchase extra bulbs for your kit. For studio work, you want a tungsten kit. Later if you want, you can just purchase ‘daylight’ grade bulbs for simulating outdoor lighting. Use whatever cash leftover from the lighting budget to get stuff like gels, diffusion material and supplementary (but cheap) lights.

      Audio wise, get some good headphones. If you’re shooting or editing for long hours you want traditional wrap around headphones vice earbuds. Not to mention the sound quality will be much better. Sony and others make some great sub-studio grade headphones for $90 – $120. They’ll also last longer and will be in good shape when you move your equipment requirements up.

      Next you’ll want mics. 1-2 wireless lavalier mics for interviews and at minimum 1 shotgun mic. Audio technica makes some really good lav kits for under $200 bucks. Far as the shotgun mic goes, you can save money by going with a consumer ‘on-camera’ version and do well or you can get an actual shotgun inexpensively. Just remember, your connections to your cameras will decide what you need or if you’ll need a separate adapter. Good cheap brands for shotgun mic’s are Audio-Technica and Azden. Make sure to get a separate bag to hold your audio gear.

      I know all of that’s more than a mouthful, but it should get you through. Oh and make sure your computers are capable of pushing HD and meet CS3 or better’s system requirements. Even if you’re only shooting DV, you want to be able to edit HD if you decide to. Hope that gives you an idea.

      For your gear search the best place to start is Great support, great service, decent to reasonable prices. There are other good outfits, but I’d start there.

    • #173760

      I can honestly agree with most everything composit1 said.

      The one thing I might do differently is to go ahead and get the 1080p cameras.

      Here’s why:

      1. 1080 24p is the best video to encode in web video
      (it has to do with High quality – Low band-with)

      2. SD and 720p are old technology – both are being sold at bargain bin pricing to unsuspecting cutomers and business to clear out stock and use up old manufacturing equipment. ( I would know – I helped develop and test the latest software to run 1080p screens)

      3. Also as an editor – mixing different resolutions can be a pain – since you will be doing this it’s best to stick with one format so you understand size, technical requirements, encoding time, format delivery, quality, etc.

      4. even though you will hear about higher resolution stuff being invented – 1080p will be our standard for the next 10-20 years at least. (there’s just no reason to have a 4K TV in your house? It’s a case of diminishing return.

      So as my last thought for the evening – when you pick out you PC, camera, LCD screen, audio amp (with HDMI) asking “IS IT 1080p?” will save you a lot of headaches!

      Good night and good luck —Bri

    • #173761


      I hear you about the 1080p thing, but 1080p is old hat too! 2k is coming up fast and with the digital SLR’s, you can work in 5k right now. Also, on a recent forum posting the 2160p format by Pioneer was showcased. So that 10-20 years for 1080p is fading fast.

      If Titan were trying to outfit his setup with prosumer or better gear, my suggestion would be a multi-format HD rig. That way if clients asked for a specific format he could just chunk it out. However, he’s doing this as an in-house gig to display his co’s product line.

      IMO as a production consultant, I would advise against going any higher in resolution. Since Titan’s on the low, low budget end and at this stage of his involvement he can get some good 720p consumer cam’s cheap and won’t have the higher storage requirements that come with full HD. Right now the KISS Program is the best thing for his operation.

      I agree, 1080p is better than 720p, but if you’re down-resing to dv for the web nobody’s going to know the diff unless it’s somebody like you or me. And you called it, 720p gear is going for bargain basement prices which is great if you’re just trying to get started. And you’re also dead-on about matching up your elements (i.e. all 720p, 1080p, etc.)

      When you don’t have loads of Dinars to chuck at gear and software purchases, being just slightly behind the trend can still get you in the game. Besides, sooner than later whatever gear you buy is going to be outdated before you want it to be.

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