Titan, Sounds like you’ve



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 bhphotovideo.com. Great support, great service, decent to reasonable prices. There are other good outfits, but I’d start there.

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