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Canon GL Series DV Camcorders
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Old November 16th, 2003, 06:34 PM   #1
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What would you buy with $2000? Help needed.

Hi guys. New here but I've been doing plenty of reading and researching. So here's the deal. I'm about to begin shooting a documentary. It will be my first project and I want to make it as professional as possible.

So the question is.. if you had $2000 dollars to spend on equipment, what hardware would you buy for the gl2? I already have the camera, but NOTHING else. No tripod, nothing. Well it did come with a batery, but I'm not counting that.


I've been reading for about 10 hours now, researching this, and have some ideas. for instance, I figure I'll need a good shotgun mike, and some kind of xlr connector. Also I figure I'll need a better tripod as well as some sort of wired remote controller.

I've read that recording the audio seperatly and putting it togther with the video in post is a good option. I have the experience with post to do this, as well as the software, but as far as what hardware I would need, or whether it would be worth it to do this is still unclear.

The only thing I am really leaning towards is the GlideCam 2000 pro with the Body-Pod. I can pick these up for under 500 at b&h. I think that this setup will give my cameraman smoother shots and allow us to do some interesting things. I'd also like to have these anyway as I figure wie might shoot a few independent films after this documentary.

I will have someone available to hold a boom and I'll have a cameraman, so manpower is not really an issue here.

So with all that said.. If you were in my shoes, what would you do with $2000 dollars.? Any help on this matter is greatly appreciated and I thank you in advance.
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Old November 16th, 2003, 07:40 PM   #2
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I don't have a GL-2 but do have a glidecam 2000 which I use with a much lighter camera. If you do a search here on glidecam you'll get a lot of feedback, which is what I did before purchasing. From the comments I read I decided not to get the body pod since it sounded like it would just transfer more hip movement to the stabilizer. Be aware that you will need to first spend awhile getting the glidecam balanced... it isn't trivial. It's so precise that even adding a filter to the lens or changing the position of the LCD screen requires re-balancing. And dismounting the camera means unscrewing the whole top plate and removing a slotted bolt that mounts the camera. Then of course you need to balance all over again the next time you use the glidecam.

Then you'll need to spend a lot - and I mean a LOT to get footage that you like. And you'll also probably be limited to pretty short sequences because it's really tiring to work with. Also, if you're working with an external mike and XLR box it would make good sense to record your audio separately when using the glidecam since any wires would make it impossible to balance.

So anyway you might want to consider just how vital the glidecam rig is to your shooting style because (using your figures) spending 25% of your budget on it might be excessive. If it were me, I'd think about putting that money into a better tripod. For example, you can get a Bogen with a 501 head in the $250 range, but the better ones really start up around $800 or so. Do a search here on tripods if you haven't already. I'm using a Miller DS-5 which is a big, big step up from the 501.

There are just SO many expensive things that you'll realize you need along the way! Don't forget batteries (even though you say one came with your camera). In my experience these are pretty limited; is that the case with the GL-2? Then of course there are wide angle and telephoto adaptor lenses, filters, video monitors, carrying cases, studio headphones, upgrades to your computer like hard drives and software... :-)
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Old November 16th, 2003, 07:40 PM   #3
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Do you want a tripod or do you want a "GlideCam 2000 pro?" You already have a tripod? Or you don't?
Quote:
I already have the camera, but NOTHING else. No tripod, nothing... I'll need a better tripod....
Beachtek + Senn ME66

UV filter

extra battery / extra tapes

Perhaps a monitor and a mixer?
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Old November 16th, 2003, 09:04 PM   #4
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Good eye on the tripod. Technically I do have a tripod. One that I had with an old telescope. But for this discussion i'd rather pretend I don't have one at all, because i know the telescope one will not be good enough.

I Guess I could forgo the GlideCam, If the experts here think it is better to invest in a good tripod. I'm really a novice here and just want to get some feedback on what more experienced people have to say on this matter.

Do I really need a monitor? wont the cameras LCD surfice?

and can you be more specific on the type of UV filter to get and mixer. Once again thank you for the replys.
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Old November 16th, 2003, 09:19 PM   #5
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You mentioned doing docs. So that means keeping everything legal.

A UV is good to keep on the cam to protect it. Some may not agree, but then I've seen what the "purists" do. They sell their lenses when they're nicked and scratched them for a new one. With the GL2, the cost for replacing a screwed-up lens isn't worth it. A lens hood is another good thing to have.

What you see on your LCD is not the same as what you'll see on a TV.
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Old November 16th, 2003, 09:49 PM   #6
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$2000 eh? Here are some fast suggestions... the prices are just a wild conversion to US $ from prices on stores around here.

1.- A decent Mic with an XLR adapter, plus a good cable, a foamscreen and a boompole will take away about half of your 2k.
You can allways rent some of that stuff or make your own.
(I spend about $300 on my mic setup... and its just a Shotgun and a DIY XLR adapter)..

2.- With the Gl2 an extra battery (at least) is a Must. ($100?)

3.- Id also go for a decent tripod. $250-$300

4.- Add the UV filter (I think very necessary and even more depending on what kind of doc your are shooting). $25-$60 ?

5.- Do you have a good case for the cam? - $50-$100

6.- Monitor? WIth your budget Id use small TV or rent it.

7.- Are you shooting outdoors on beach or snow. or just very bright days?... then get an ND filter... $20-$60.

And many more stuff can come up.. so maybe just get the basics... and see for yourself what you might need... Though... you can easily spend those 2k on just the basic.
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Old November 16th, 2003, 10:17 PM   #7
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Thanks for the reply. The camera did come in a case. And I suppose I can use a small tv as a monitor.

I was hoping to get some specific feedback on what types of mics and xlr adapters you folx recomend. Also what type of secondary recording device. Are there any harddrive based units resonably priced that many folx around here are using and I am just blisfully unaware of it?

Thansk again.
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Old November 16th, 2003, 11:23 PM   #8
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Quote:
...feedback on what types of mics and xlr adapters you folx recomend.
See my 1st post, Mike
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Old November 16th, 2003, 11:45 PM   #9
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We've been shooting some documentaries, and I'll tell you what we have, which is working pretty good.

Bogen 679B monopod. (Monopods kick butt for this kind of work, and they're cheap.)
Studio 1 XLR Pro adapter (Sign video makes it now.)
Sennheiser ME-66 mic (Pretty much standard for news.)
Audio Technica 8415 shockmount, with hot shoe mount (Can be mounted on a boom quickly if you need to.)
Mighty Wondercam (Gives you a second hotshoe to mount the mic, and also helps avoid camera noise.)
Frezzi 100W dimmer mini-fill.
Chimera on-camera softbox.
Two Bescor lead batteries.
WD-58 wide angle adapter (You can't live without this, at least I can't. Shooting documentaries often means having to get a shot in cramped places.)
Since you have a GL-2, I would get that tiny light Canon sells that sucks juice from the camera just in case. You probably won't use it much, but being able to throw the thing on and go at a second's notice could really save your butt.

You've got the bucks to get Frezzi's 10-watt HMI instead of the mini-fill, which I would definitely do, if you were going to use it with a softbox, since it would greatly expand your battery time. Big advantage for documentary work. You can use the softbox to control the light output.

We also use a Sound Devices MM-1, which you could do without, but it will improve your sound. If you have a second person to hold a boom, the MM-1 is especially helpful. In that case, it's a good idea to mount a second microphone on the camera as a backup, in case the camera operator gets seperated from the person holding the boom. Your best opportunities often come when nobody's expecting it.

Anyway, that's what we use. Best of luck to you!
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Old November 17th, 2003, 04:49 PM   #10
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Thank you vbery much for your reply. Very Very Helpful. A few quick questions. Do you use the monopod exclusivly? or do you use it in conjunction with a traditional tripod? Also could you explain what a softbox is and does? I tried looking it up but didn't find very much good info on it. Also I searched for Might wondercam, but there seems to be a dozen or more products named that, could you be more specific in what you are talking about.

Sorry to be such a novice, but I'm really trying to learn here and your help is very appreciated. One last thing, do you run the mic from the mm-1 into the camera, or do you use some sort of 3rd party device to capture the sound?

Also could you guys recomend what you normally use to capture the sound when your nmot running it into the camera? I know some people use dats and some use minidiscs, while others use hardrive units. I'm just trying to get a professional opinion on what works well in these situations. Thanx alot.
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Old November 17th, 2003, 04:59 PM   #11
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If you're going to be shooting where there will be anything more than a slight breeze, get a furry for your mic. Don't get a foam windscreen. I have one for my ME66 and if there is anything more than a sparrow's breath blowing you will hear it.

You might want to get an external recorder. Even a good quality minidisc. The GL2 is not the quietest. Whether they are too noisy for the style of release you will do I'm not sure.


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Old November 17th, 2003, 07:16 PM   #12
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The Wondercam is a mini-rover. Here's a link.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=productlist&A=details&Q=&sku=194070&is=REG

Yeah, we plug directly into the camera most of the time unfortunately. We have a GL-1, and it doesn't have manual controls, so the benefits from the MM-1 are kind of limited with that setup. It does have a limiter which seems to help some. When there's time we split the signal and run one side into the camera as backup and the other to a mini-disc. The gain on the MM-1 lets you turn down the noisy preamp on the mini-disc. The improvement is dramatic. With your camera, you can accomplish a similar thing, since you have manual controls. As I mentioned, we don't have a GL-2, so it's not something I've tried, but do a search, and you'll find some posts from people talking about how to do it. You can supposedly get pretty good sound this way. The GL-2 is reputed to have better than average sound to begin with. Jay Rose at DV Magazine wrote an article a while back in which they tested different cameras, including the XL-1 and the PD-150, and the GL-2 fared very well. I suspect the MM-1 would be a better investment for you right off than a mini-disc, which is a pretty ungainly setup. You could add the mini-disc later if you wanted.

I use the monopod for practically everything, but I like to stay close. It's no use at all on long shots. It's pretty easy to take it off the monopod and handhold if you need. The mini-rover helps give you leverage for this.

Here's the softbox we have.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=productlist&A=details&Q=&sku=305442&is=REG

No picture unfortunately. You might try the Chimera Web site if you want to see what it looks like. Maybe that Chimera guy who posts in here sometimes can help.

A softbox basically difuses the light so you get a nice even glow that looks fairly natural. It also helps to prevent your light from blinding your subject. If you're shooting a documentary, you want to be as unobstrusive as possible. The trick is to throw just enough light to brighten things up a bit without it even being apparent that you're using a light. The bigger the softbox, the more diffusion you get, but obviously the more hassle. So it's a tradeoff.

This is Chimera's Web site. It should give you the idea.

www.chimeralighting.com
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