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Old September 19th, 2013, 10:02 PM   #1
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Video novice looking for multi-cam and lighting for YT series ($3,000 budget)

Hi there. I have some limited equipment funding (about $3,000) to do a series of 8 shows for a YouTube channel, with the possibility that the show (or segments of the show) will air on some local cable channels, and also be used as a demo to pitch further. I'm looking for some suggestions as far as cameras and lighting for a very small crew (2-3 people, but mostly me), all of whom are novices as far as filming goes. These will be 11 minute variety music/comedy shows meant for kids/families. Some of the content will be animated (2D, stop-motion, motion graphics, etc.), but there will also be several live segments.

I have a large-ish room rented for a few months this coming winter, which will have a green screen wall/floor area, a semi-permanent news/game show studio set area, and an area for a set that can be adapted with different scenery. And we'll be filming a few things outdoors at various locations. In addition to camera recommendations, I would welcome some suggestions for decent lighting for the room. I don't need this to necessarily be top-notch professional looking (and for what I have to spend and work with, it probably won't be, anyway), but good general quality for YouTube that is flexible for different things and relatively easy enough to work with. I have extensive experience in audio recording and editing, and a fair amount with video editing, so I should be good to go once the footage is in the computer, but I will be learning as I go to some extent as far as the filming.

I have an older Panasonic DVX100 camera that I've used in the past for some music videos, but I think I'd like to start from scratch and get two matching HD cameras, so I can do some of the studio set shots from different angles and have the look and quality be consistent. So for under $3,000, what do you recommend for a decent quality two camera setup and basic but effective lighting? And what else might be needed... microphones, reflectors, etc.?

Thanks in advance for your time and experience to help me out a little. I'm looking forward to learning more about video production from everyone here, and I'm excited to start working on that this fall and winter.
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Old September 20th, 2013, 02:02 PM   #2
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Re: Video novice looking for multi-cam and lighting for YT series ($3,000 budget)

Hi Eric (again) - Just came from your first post and wrote this over there:

Hi Eric - Thanks for the update. I'm kinda surprised a little bit in the lack of replies because, it seems, usually there are quite a few when someone posts about recommendations/suggestions for equipment.

Part of the problem, though, with regard to this post is, it is a "Welcome Aboard" kinda post and as people scan down the titles they fly past it. Since you're in WA (big Washington, not little washington), I stopped to read what you had to say. With the link you provided I'll jump over there (it is a better location) and repost this and write more. Maybe this will help develop more action?

---------------------------

Unfortunately, this post starts out differently - didn't think about that! - so i'll have to think about how to handle my reply. More to follow.

Hi Eric (again) - Just came from your first post and wrote this over there:

Hi Eric - Thanks for the update. I'm kinda surprised a little bit in the lack of replies because, it seems, usually there are quite a few when someone posts about recommendations/suggestions for equipment.

Part of the problem, though, with regard to this post is, it is a "Welcome Aboard" kinda post and as people scan down the titles they fly past it. Since you're in WA (big Washington, not little washington), I stopped to read what you had to say. With the link you provided I'll jump over there (it is a better location) and repost this and write more. Maybe this will help develop more action?

---------------------------

Unfortunately, this post starts out differently - didn't think about that! - so i'll have to think about how to handle my reply. More to follow.

Here is my original post on the other thread:
So, that was a good introduction and there is enough about your project for getting started with us asking some questions:

1. Venue: will it be in a typical classroom? Or will it vary a lot? Reason for this question is about lighting and audio. Indoor or outdoor? HVAC systems? Outside noises (aircraft, trains, traffic, people next door)?

2. Audio: How important will the audio be? Typical you tube (use the mic on the camera) or did you want something better (camera mounted mic)? Or a lot better (mics in close proximity to the sound source)? Will there be narration or voice-over? It's been said that 2/3 rds of good video is good audio so this may be an important budget item. There are some pretty good cheap cameras but the same isn't true with audio.

3. Gear: What, if anything, do you have for gear already? Even XLR cables, lighting, reflectors, backdrops, tripod(s), booms for mics, etc.?

4. Computer stuff: what applications do you plan to use? Will the files be exported only to youtube or would they be exported on media?

5. Growth plans: Any plans for the future beyond youtube?

6. Lighting: indoors or outdoors? Room lighting (tungsten, fluorsent, LED, halogen?) Do you have a lighting kit available? Reflectors available (f.e., like Westcott, etc.)?

Maybe I got a little carried away but a bit more information would be really helpful.

By the way, that's an impressive about of hits. Also, it's good to read that you're doing a storyboard - it seems a lot of people don't think about that.


Here is the reply to my post above from the other thread:
Hi, John. I had included more information in my other post here: Video novice looking for multi-cam and lighting for YT series ($3,000 budget) But nobody seems to be responding to that, so I probably should have just put it all in my introduction here. Anyway, to answer your questions...

1. Most of the live footage will be in a rented hall space, not huge... I think it's a 40x30 room... which will include three set areas; one wall/area will be a green screen/floor; one area will be a newsroom/game show type of set; and one area will be for miscellaneous sets that will change as needed. Seems to be very quiet and away from outside noise. I will also be filming some outside segments now and then at various locations, but by and large, most things will be done in that room.

2. Audio is very important to me, so yes I will want to get some additional microphones. I have several nice condenser/ribbon mics for audio/music recording... those will certainly work great for narration/VO (e.g., the EV RE20), but probably not as far as capturing live dialogue and sound for video. Or maybe they could work for that? I'm not really sure. But I do intend to get what I need as far as microphones, so as you say a "pretty good cheap camera" might work, as long as it has a mic input or I can source the sound recording elsewhere.

3. I have several XLR cables, a few basic muslin backdrops and a couple of tripods, but I think that's about it as far as equipment. I do have a Panasonic DVX100 camera that I've used in the past for some footage, but I feel like I'm looking to start from scratch with two matching HD cameras, and ones that are a little more novice-friendly (though ideally with the option for manual settings and lenses). I was able to use the DVX100 well enough, and some of the footage I got from it turned out good (despite myself, I think), but I felt like it was above my filming expertise as far as getting the best out of it. That being said, whatever I end up getting I'll do a lot of testing with, and learn what I can this fall before shooting this winter.

4. I have Sony Vegas 12 and have used the Vegas programs quite a lot for video editing. I have a new custom PC from ADK built particularly for video editing. For audio I use a combination of Cakewalk Sonar and Adobe Audition. YouTube is the main target for this, but eventually I might like to release a DVD collection of some or all of the series.

5. Again, YouTube is the main target of this series, but I do have an arrangement with a local cable provider that they might show some segments as interstitials, or possibly run the whole show at some down times. And certainly, using the whole thing as a demo to pitch to cable networks is a peripheral intention of this project. But with my limited budget (and limited expertise), if the overall quality is considered "great" for YouTube, but not really broadcast quality otherwise, I can accept that, and I'm going into the project with that in mind. If the quality is also good enough beyond YouTube, that would be terrific. But it's not absolutely essential.

6. I'm starting from scratch as far as lighting. Something that would work well for a basic indoor set is what I'll need, as well as reflectors and such for outdoors.

I should mention that while I have additional money for some other aspects of the project (space rental, costumes, animation, etc.), the specific equipment budget I have is about $3,000. So for that, I need a couple of decent cameras, a basic lighting setup, and whatever other miscellaneous things I'd need (microphones, reflectors, etc.). I can probably push that above $3,000 a little bit, say $3,000 plus tax, but that's the target number for that.

I've usually done storyboarding for my music videos, so I know the importance of that. You can always ad-lib in the moment, or try some different things than what's on the page, but having the structure and vision of what shots you want ahead of time can be crucial.

Last edited by John Nantz; September 20th, 2013 at 02:26 PM. Reason: To bring my post over from the other thread so hopefully this becomes the main one.
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Old September 20th, 2013, 02:40 PM   #3
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Re: Video novice looking for multi-cam and lighting for YT series ($3,000 budget)

I'm running out of time and didn't realize it would take this long. So quickly ......

It is good to know you've got a fair amount of kit pieces already. Every piece acquired cost money, especially the mics, so it all helps.

Going multi-cam will help make the presentations look more professional. I'm unfamiliar with (read: "no clue") your previous camera but a matched pair would be nice so using the menus don't cause a problem.

As for the applications, I'm using something different (FCPX) so, again, I'm in unknown territory. Final Cut Pro X is good with multi-cam and it has a nice stabilization mode that helps with monopod and handheld shots if one gets into that. I'm also, not surprisingly, using a Mac Pro.

Speaking of computers, in going the direction you're headed a Raid system is probably going to have to be on your acquisition list too. I'm overdue for getting one and in doing a little bit of research will probably settle on a Synology system because of their user-friendly software. Although, some people have posted otherwise so more checking for me is in order.

Gotta run but seems like you've got a ambitious plan. That's good.

John (a hobbyist so consider the source)
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Old September 20th, 2013, 04:50 PM   #4
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Re: Video novice looking for multi-cam and lighting for YT series ($3,000 budget)

I'm not sure if this is what you are looking for but on the cheap here are some suggestions:
Lighting - good kit lighting will be between $700 to $1500 easy. I would spend more on the cameras and you could possibly go with shop work lights from Lowes or look on Ebay for used lights. Maybe rent.
Cameras - unless you look at renting, you need something with audio in. Maybe two of these
Sony HDR-CX580V currently $699 at BH. or you could go the DSLR route, but if you don't have the experience they may be harder to run.
Do you need tripods? Another $300 or so depending on which route you go.
Mics - are you thinking lavs on the talent? $200 and up per mic.
Microphone mixer - $100 or more here is one that may work on the cheap Behringer XENYX 1202FX $108 on BH.
Cables - another $100 approx. for cables and adapters to get to the mixer and from the mixer to cameras, or record to a single audio recorder and edit it in (harder to do without experience).
Again there are a lot a ways to go and some people will recommend equipment in many different levels. If you are in a controlled environment and lighting, the camera doesn't need to be as low light sensitive. Hope this helps.
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Old September 21st, 2013, 05:22 PM   #5
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Re: Video novice looking for multi-cam and lighting for YT series ($3,000 budget)

Yeah, I was looking at that Sony camera before. I'll probably end up going with that. It's a good price and two of them only eats up about half of the budget.

I'm okay spending $700-800 for the lighting, but is there a specific type that would work best for a studio set room? LED? Soft box? Flourescent? I'm really starting from no knowledge or experience when it comes to lighting, so I'm just going on some of what I've read. I recall someone saying that LED lighting is best for HD recording (??).

Anyway, here are a few light setups I'm looking at...

KIT-FL-110HM3 - Fluorescent - FloLight LLC
Lowel DV901LBZ DV Creator 1 Kit Analog/Digital Video DV901LBZ
http://photographerssupplystation.com/Flo7Sale.html

I forgot that I do have a couple of lav mics and a Behringer mixer that I used to use for audio recording into my computer. I'm an audio guy so I'm pretty sure I can find the ways and means to capture what I need for sound... But when it comes to video and lighting and such, I'm definitely in need of some help. So I really appreciate the input!
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Old September 23rd, 2013, 11:23 AM   #6
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Re: Video novice looking for multi-cam and lighting for YT series ($3,000 budget)

I am not a huge fan of the flourescents, but any of those could work. Be really careful of any set you get and what the color balance is, or you will have problems mixing in any other lights. The nice thing is that they don't put off as much heat. I have used the kit like the Flo lights and they are nice, I would get the 3000k set though. I have an older version of the DV Creator kit and I really like it, but it would be good to add a couple more lights if you lighting more than one person and a green screen. I have not used LED yet, but I tested it at a show and really liked it. I spec'd out some for a new studio space that has really low ceilings and much smaller than my current space. The spec came out to be 10k. I'm not sure if I am going to get the funding.
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