Video gear advice

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    • #82911



      I came across this forum doing a web search and it seems good so thought I could ask some advice.


      I am an American living in Germany; I have a video background and have recently been contacted by a local health clinic about creating short videos for them (4-7 min). The thing is, my background goes way back and I'm not so up on the latest equipment – I shot in the late 80s & early 90s on professional equipment (i.e. Ikegami 55L camera) and spent many years as a broadcast TV video editor in NY (Grass Valley switchers, Sony 9000 editor, Abakus, Chyron, etc).


      I've taught myself non-linear editing and because of my background that's really no problem (I'll probably use Premiere).


      When it comes to the camera, tripod, mic(s), lights, etc, I'm at a bit of a disadvantage. My prospective client has a small budget (looks like 5000 EUR each for 3 videos) and they want me to buy the equipment with that budget. A lot of the videos will consist of animations and stock footage which need to be licensed (I'll need to license some music as well); I'll also shoot some mock discussions (real discussions between staff posing as clients) and show some of the location. I can do VOs myself. So here are some specific questions and I'm very open to concerns I may have left out:


      For the camera itself, as much as I'd love to go pro or semi-pro, I'm thinking of going high-end prosumer because A) it's coming out of the budget that pays me and B) I don't think the highest quality is really necessary as the videos will mainly live on the client's website and youtube channel. (they've talked about offering them to local TV stations as a PR tool when related topics are in the news, and for this I'd render the highest quality possible, but that's really a secondary concern). I've heard that nowadays the quality has improved so much that these top-level prosumer camcorders look pretty damn good especially as the finished product will be seen on the web – am I really off on this?


      For audio, I will need to shoot some conversations but never more than two people at a time. Can I get away with an externally connected shotgun mic on the camera or do I need to go with two Lavs (clip-ons) and have a separate mixer and recording medium (I assume the prosumer camera won't have more than 1 mic input, though it would be great if there were two). RE: voice-overs, could I use the shotgun mic for that (if the shotgun makes sense as I wrote above) or do I need a separate USB mic? I have mic stands already.


      I want to make sure to get a good tripod as nothing bugs me more than fighting the tripod to get a smooth pan/tilt. I'll be shooting in pretty tight spaces so I don't think I need a dolly or sliders. Am I wrong on that?


      Their lighting is pretty good so I was hoping to go without external lights. Saving the money is a concern, but also transportability. They told me that recently they started having a photographer who shoots in natural light and it's been working well. I also feel like as I'll be using staff and not real actors, they'll probably relax more without external lights on them. I've heard that the prosumer cameras adjust well to low light. True?


      I have a decent pair of Audio-Technica headphones that are very comfortable and already have a mini/1/4" jack adapter, so I think that should be ok there.


      I very much welcome feedback and gear suggestions, i.e. what camera (I was thinking panasonic, JVC or Sony), tripod and mic(s)/audio equipment to purchase. I would really like to keep the price for the gear under 1500 EUR (I realize many reading this may be rolling their eyes at this, but at much more the job just isn't worth it). I figure I'll make very little on the first one but more on the 2nd & 3rd and any subsequent videos that come along (they said there is a very good chance for more if these do well for their marketing department).


      Thanks in advance for any opinions.





    • #211216

      Hi Erik – for the price of a high end prosumer camcorder, you can get the new Sony PXW-X70 for 2489€ shipped from Germany or 2016€ shipped from the UK.


      This camera has a broadcast quality 10-bit 4:2:2 codec for the price of an 8-bit camera.  Sony also plans to offer an Ultra High Definition (UHD) "4K" upgrade early next year.


      The camera has a 1" backlit sensor (8 times the size of a standard 1/3" consumer camcorder sensor) which gives it great performance in low light.


      It also has 2 pro XLR mic inputs instead of the standard consumer 3.5mm jack.


      Here is what this camera can do (please watch at 1080p):







      And a nice review from Philip Johnston, the HD Warrior:





      With this camera's XLR inputs, you can plug in a couple of high quality 180€ Rode lavaliers with two €28 Rode Micon-5 XLR adapters and be assured of clean interview sound.



      As far as tripods go, I have a dual handle Ravelli AVTP Professional with a dolly, very similar to this 220€ Walimex Pro Stativ und Stativwagen from Amazon DE.  A very good value for the money.


      Hope this is helpful and good luck with your project!




      Hybrid Camera Revolution





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