Videomaker – Learn video production and editing, camera reviews › Forums › General › Video and Film Discussion › In the name of all that is holy- please help a doc-maker with equipment › I too was going to mention
I too was going to mention Blair Witch as an example of concentrating on the story. You’ve got analysis paralysis, and it’s not going to get any better by reading more books. The tools available to you today for under $1000 would rival cameras costing 10 and 20 times as much just 5 years ago. Case in point, in a recent Zacuto shootout, a majority of cinematographers preferred the Panasonic GH2 ($700) against cameras such as the Red Epic and Alexa.
If Michelangelo were alive today, people would ask about what chisel he prefers. The point is: the most important tool is the one between your ears. Of course, you can make your life more difficult by using tools that work against you. Unfortunately, it takes some experience to figure out what works and what doesn’t…and it changes with each situation.
I should add that I’m an advocate for spending money on the gear that will serve you the longest (lenses, tripod, microphones, lights and support gear).
In general, I prefer a light-sensitive camera with plenty of manual controls and long recording times for documentary work. That might rule out some DSLR’s which have record time limitations. The Panasonic GH2 might be a good option for you if you’re willing to invest in good lenses. It’s small, sensitive, doesn’t have record time limits, and can be used inconspicuously if needed. A portable battery-powered LED light can be used to great effect (especially off camera). Invest in a good wired or wireless system, don’t skimp in this area. Bad audio makes for unwatchable video. Hope this helps.