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Old July 6th, 2010, 01:14 AM   #1
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Next best upgrade?

So I have around a grand coming off this summer I plan to put back into my film gear, but I'm not sure what the best next investment is.

My current setup is this:
XH-A1 with a NTG-2 Mic, boompole, and a Vinten Protouch6 head and pozi-lock legs. I have access to lights when I need them through my school, or through some homemade on-the-cheap stuff. In post I have a 2.5 Core 2 Duo MPB with FCS 2.

Mainly I'm looking at investing in a Kessler Crane system (probably the fully loaded Lite model), a Glidecam 4000, or some lights of my own (not sure what, maybe a Rifa and an omni?). Is there anything else that could maybe really enhance the look of my films? The crane is really appealing simply because it can create shots I can't really replicate otherwise. Any suggestions as to what would be the most use would be awesome
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Old July 6th, 2010, 05:40 AM   #2
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I would definitely prioritize lights over a jib.

A jib is a nice addition but good lighting is essential to every shot. Hire a jib if you need one on the odd occasion.

Can you stretch to a Diva-Lite 401. Much more flexible than a Rifa as it can be daylight balanced as well. I have both and the Rifa never gets used to be honest. Lighting has a much longer life that camera gear at present so I would buy the best and buy once.

Also, best bang for the buck, a couple of large 5 in 1 foldable reflectors.
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Old July 6th, 2010, 07:28 AM   #3
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A field monitor has a number of uses including setup, review, director viewing and is something you need when you rent that jib. There's a DVinfo thread on the subject for the A1:
Field monitor for Canon XH A1
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Old July 6th, 2010, 07:08 PM   #4
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Get a slider over a jib and, like Mike said, lights are more important than a jib. Maybe get one decent light so you can do some stuff without borrowing from school. If you start to do any corporate stuff, you will also need a wireless lav which is about $500. Try to figure out what sorts of equipment you will actually be able to use in a real shoot. A jib is an interesting tool, but it is so cumbersome that it may rarely get used. A slider or some sort of steady rig will get much more use.

I wouldn't look into spending money just because it is there. Until you know where there is a bottleneck in your work flow or capabilities, save your dough. Knowledge should come first and until you know how a tool will improve your work, don't start spending all your money on random tools you don't need. Also, if you spend money, only get gear that is considered pro quality by people in the know. Any money I've spent on consumer gear has been a waste.
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Old July 6th, 2010, 11:07 PM   #5
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As other have said, don't get a Jib. You can rent one if you need it.

Even though you can borrow lights, it is still worth getting them for yourself. They will long outlast your camera and you'll get far better use from them than if you have to book them for a certain time/date, waste time picking them up on the morning of your shoot and then rush through the shoot to return them by 5pm or whatever rules your college has.

Rather than thinking about what toy to get next, your funds would be better utilised accumulating some bits and pieces that will always come in handy on set. XLR cables, reflectors, some spare batteries, a nicer camera bag - those little things which can't be rented but which are always needed and often forgotten about. You'll use all of these things alot more than you'll use a crane or glidecam which can be rented when required.
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Old July 6th, 2010, 11:24 PM   #6
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My advice (this how I buy gear):
- What do you use (or want to) REGULARLY that you CAN'T easily rent or borrow locally? Buy THAT. If you have easy access to lights but NOT a jib, have at 'er IF you think you'll use it enough (packing and setting up a jib is enough of a hassle to have made me discount buying one). Be realistic - a SteadiCam style rig or jib requires et up time and CAN be a hinderance to shooting as you need to set it up and KEEP it set up (and in the case of a jib, possibly in the way...)

- Can your current tripod SUPPORT a jib AND camera AND counterbalance AND monitor?

If you have easy access to EVERYTHING, follow any of the advice you've received here. It's all pretty solid.
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Old July 7th, 2010, 01:33 AM   #7
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Hi, Tim..............

You don't mention a Lanc remote control for the A1 (which doesn't mean you don't have one).

It is, by far and away, one of the most invaluable items to have glued to your pan bar/ jib that you can invest in.

It removes the need to fiddle with the camera body itself whilst shooting and allows you to control the important stuff with just a finger/ thumb on that pan bar.

Go for the Canon ZR2000 (at least), the ZR1000 has serious "issues" with the A1.

If you don't have one, it is one of the best investments you can ever make.


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Old July 7th, 2010, 01:34 AM   #8
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Thanks for all the advice guys!

Light's have been what I've been leaning towards mainly because I figure they'll last me a long time, just trying to figure out what would be some good lights to start with, right now I'm thinking maybe two omnilights and gels, etc all the little stuff, put the rest towards a production maybe.

and I definitely agree John, I've spent most of the past year, picking up all my odds and ends for my current setup, finally picked up a reflector today, the one thing on my list I just hadn't really gotten around to getting.
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Old July 7th, 2010, 03:26 AM   #9
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I like the Lowel Pro-light and that's it. I do not like the hammered-metal reflector in the Omni light and the off-center stand mount means it is off-balance all the time. It's too bad they don't make something like a 500w Pro-light. Get something with even light like a 650w fresnel if you need something bright. There are Arri 650 clones for about $250 that should work nicely. They are currently out of stock at coollights.biz, but I'm sure there are others around that you can afford,even if you can only get one or two. If you work in mixed light frequently, I would get a 4 or 6 lamp fluorescent fixture that uses the 55w PL daylight tubes. Something soft that helps balance sun coming in a window is really handy.
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Old July 7th, 2010, 02:16 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Soucy View Post
You don't mention a Lanc remote control for the A1 (which doesn't mean you don't have one).

It is, by far and away, one of the most invaluable items to have glued to your pan bar/ jib that you can invest in.

It removes the need to fiddle with the camera body itself whilst shooting and allows you to control the important stuff with just a finger/ thumb on that pan bar.

Go for the Canon ZR2000 (at least), the ZR1000 has serious "issues" with the A1.

If you don't have one, it is one of the best investments you can ever make.

CS
I'll second the lanc, but I must sing the praises of the Manfrotto 521 PROI.
This does the push A/F as well as all the usual functions.

I also find that I use my Senny wireless lav a lot, but if you've lasted this long without one you would be better off with the lanc.
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