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Old March 23rd, 2005, 07:42 PM   #1
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what do i need to start?

Hey guys, been reading these posts for a few weeks to sort things out, and would really like a little help and some guidance for my further research. I am trying to figure out what hardware/software/lighting i will need. I am basically putting everything into three categories, need to have/should have/extra bells and whistles. If you could give me a recommendation for hardware/models and its use so that i can look at and research then that would be great. I am shooting for dvd's and web content. I am thinking to shoot and edit in hi def, then downconvert to sd for web and dvd and when hd dvd and bluray hit the scene reauthor for that. What i already know and decided on is
1 going to shoot hi def with 2 z1's
2 mac based with a 2.5 g5
3 final cut pro-hoping that dhv is fully supported come april
Thanks, and for anyone with a few words of advice, as a thank you i will be happy to freely pass some of my work around for further "critiquing"
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Old March 23rd, 2005, 09:02 PM   #2
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Joe'

The cam and computer system sound pretty good. HiDef might be a bit of overkill, if you are not certain to go to DVD later.

I think what you really need to consider, is a serious lighting kit. Not to make light of it, but shadows will not be your friend in close-ups, - and harsh light is nobody's friend. Think softlights, and keno-flos.

Some good three light kits are a place to start. And do work with a crew... I know that might be hard...

See, it's not easy giving simple advice in such a straight manner. And do your legal work right, you are treading in dangerous territory my friend. Cross your i's and dot your t's an attorney will be worth the trouble.
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Old March 24th, 2005, 11:46 AM   #3
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I am thinking you will need more than three lights, since you will be moving with the action to different angles, and do not want to keep stopping them (camera interupptus) to relight. You will also want some booms to keep yourself from casting shadows. Get a half dozen double-worklights at Sears.

Other equipment:

maybe an on-cam light for shadow fighting.
boom mic setup for high quality oohs and ahhs
RF music
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Old March 24th, 2005, 12:15 PM   #4
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I'd skip the Z1's, and go with DVX100's.
Either that or Gl2's, and spend the extra money on lighting as per Richards recocmendation, Kinoflo's or other soft banks of light.

Plus Zeiss Softar filters for the cameras.
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Old March 24th, 2005, 01:58 PM   #5
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When I first started in this business you always hear
"You film will always fail if you have bad Audio and bad Lighting."
So to your thread I could imagine that this would be a million times more correct in your position .. If your lighting or audio is weak so will your projects. I would highly recommend dropping a couple more dollars into your lighting rigs and make sure you light your subject correctly. The shadow comment is to the T, that cant be more correct.
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Old March 24th, 2005, 05:50 PM   #6
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And perhaps, spend some money on a good royalty free music library? :)
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Old March 24th, 2005, 11:07 PM   #7
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Yeah, I'd stay away from HDV, too much information and too sharp. All the imperfections will be emphasized. The DVX is perfect. Some basic and simple diffusion will help everyone look their best. And soft light.
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Old March 25th, 2005, 05:27 PM   #8
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Regarding some royalty free music...I know a few companies have it stated on their end-user agreement that their music is not to be used in adult entertainment. It's certainly something to check out before plunking down a wad (bad pun) on music.
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Old March 26th, 2005, 12:37 AM   #9
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thanks!

Guys, thanks for your great ideas, once i get some real clips i'll be sure to offer up so that you can give me some "constructive equipment"

Yeah, lighting is a big worry for me, i was thinking about getting a pretty decent 3 light kit and also camera mounted lights. Can anyone recomend a good camera light, something that will give me decent light but not be too hot for the close-up action, don't want to burn anyone!

As far as hdv, yeah, i read about some people thinking it may bring out flaws in the performers, but i also know that the big studios are starting to use it, and i want to be able to re-release what i shoot on blu ray, i figure it will be an edge to be early to market.

Also, can someone recomend a good book for a beginner on filming a shoot, just techniques on multiple camera shooting, stuff like that.
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Old March 26th, 2005, 11:22 AM   #10
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Joe, I am new to this stuff as well and I have been doing a lot of reading and so forth to try and learn the basics. I'm not sure if you are familiar yet with the term "guerilla lighting". This would be where you use lights and stuff that is already available to you like China lanterns or "China balls" ($6.00at target), "construction lights" ($5.00 at home depot) and diffusing them with cheesecloth or baking paper or wax paper set up as to not be fire hazzard. And bouncing light with tin foil or a white poster board, etc. If you conduct a search on this term you are bound to find a lot of ideas to get the effect you might want, and save some money at the same time. (at least until you get started) Like I said, I am here to learn just like you and I'm sure that the professional kits are much better than these make-shift lights.... but it's a start. Another thing about this "guerilla lighting" is that it may appear "unprofessional" to the talent that you are working with. Good luck Joe and keep us posted.
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Old March 26th, 2005, 04:30 PM   #11
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It would help to get some education/experience first so you know what gear you need, but more importantly you will know how to use the gear. Ways to go about it:

A- Read. There's lot of great information on these boards and on the internet, although some of it may be hard to find.

There are also some great books which are well worth the investment. For audio, "Great Sound for Digital Video" by Jay Rose has virtually all the book knowledge you need to know. You can search these forums for reviews on it. See dplay.com for info on how to order it for $30 or so.

Audio Postproduction for Digital Video is also good if you want to get more in-depth info on audio post. Great Sound already covers what you need to know about audio post, so you don't necessarily need that book.

I haven't really read other books that are definitely worth buying, although I hear good things about Lowell's "Matters of Light and Depth" and John Jackman's "Lighting for Digital Video and Television".

B- Intern, volunteer, or work as a production assistant. This is a great way to learn from professionals. Make friends with the people you work with and hopefully they will teach you what they know.

C- School/university. I go to Ryerson University for Radio and Television Arts, and I don't recommend this route for what you're doing. It gives a broad and shallow education. It's broad in the sense that you learn a little bit of everything and gives you a good overview on how all the crafts interact, and you get a liberal arts education which "teaches critical thinking" (just take a critical thinking course instead?).

Other programs are different. Formal education still takes tuition and your time (which means you're not doing B), and it won't give you a job. There are different opinions on people who graduate with a degree. Some film crews look down upon film students because they think they know everything. However, a degree can help you get a foot in the door (as like a production assistant) and may give you good connections (if some of the faculty are working professionals).

D- Shoot stuff and learn through experience. To do this, yYou need basic equipment to learn on. It might make sense to buy "professional" equipment if you are going to get it anyways, but I would avoid gear that depreciates.

Computers and software depreciate very very fast, so get I would not spend too much on those items. Something like an iMac G5 (refurbished?), iMovie or Final Cut Express, and lots of storage would be a good base and give the same results as a dual 2.5ghz G5. PC-based systems are just as good too, but arguably not as easy to use. Performance also doesn't scale proportionally to price, so this is another good reason to avoid spending too much on a computer.

Cameras depreciate fast too.

Audio, lighting, and grip gear hold their value well.

Audio: Jay Rose's book will tell you the types of microphones and gear you will need. Check the audio forum here for microphone and gear recommendations.

Lighting and grip: The lighting forum here has a sticky on the top on how to put together a budget lighting set. If you need professional-looking equipment however, then go with pro gear.

2- To be a professional, you also need to convince other people to give you money. Before making costly decisions, ask yourself if you stand a very good chance of making money.

Figure out what thedemand for content is (i.e. there may be a niche which is unfilled, like porn for pandas [pandas don't mate in captivity; some scientists already tried doing panda porn to get pandas to mate]). Figure out who will be paying you (a distributor?). If you can't count on people paying you then your investment will be risky.

Also figure out their technical requirements- will distribution be on DVD, web, etc.? My guess is that it probably doesn't make sense to shoot HD as the people who would be paying you don't really care about it.
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Old March 31st, 2005, 03:13 AM   #12
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lots of great info so far!

Guys, thanks again, there is so much info in this board alone! Lighting is my biggest concern at the moment, as i believe it is crucial, yet complicated. I am thinking of this 3-light kino flo kit:
http://www.filmandvideolighting.com/kifloinlikit.html
What do you think? Other options are the diva 400 kit or the diva 200 single light or 2 light kit. They are expensive, but i think they will give me pretty decent quality light without having to be a lighting genius off the bat. I also like that there is not much heat thrown off of these, this will be a big help. Also, i was thinking of getting the litepanel led kit to mount on the z1. A lot of my shooting will be up close, and i don't want to lose any detail in the shadows that would be cast. Keep in mind as well, i will be shooting indoors, relatively small sets for the most part. These choices obviously are not cheap, but i also want to buy equipment that will make a big difference in the quality of the shoot. Of course, the most important thing is the guy behind the camera directing and the talent, but that will come with experience i guess. Anyway, am i on the right track so far?
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Old March 31st, 2005, 10:48 AM   #13
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The Divas might be good as your main lights and then a regular Kino, or two for fill. The Divas are a little brighter and contrastier than the four banks. The four foot four banks might be better for fill, than the two footers.

I have a couple of the Kino four banks and want to get more. They're really great lights.
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