HELP!! (Rookie Here): Acquiring new (initial) Equipment at

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Old January 7th, 2006, 03:19 PM   #1
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HELP!! (Rookie Here): Acquiring new (initial) Equipment

Hello Guys.

First of all, thanks to everyone for their advice about my HD music concert thread. Right now, planning is underway for that great event this summer.

But for now, I need some even more important, experienced insight on my new venture as the new producer for Real Life Evangelistic Ministries online ministry. I have been given $3800 to spend on equipment in order to start our videography part of the ministry. Right now, the only equipment I have is my computer to edit footage and the cameraman experience.

I need some insight on (primarily) what kinda camera should I purchase for this important aspect of the ministry organization? I really don't want to focus too much on HD cameras, as my computer surely doesn't have the resources to handle that kind of editing right now.

Here's what I need:

1. Camera (of course) SD/3CCD/prosumer or professional designation, something with good resolution and suitable for streaming online content

2. Lighting - As for now, we don't have a studio or set, so my pastor will be speaking on daily practical issues from a Biblical perspective outdoors. But I still want to know affordable lighting equipment, so that I may use it secondarily for wedding videography, other church services, etc.

3. Microphones - What lapel/lavalier mics come to mind? I'll need to monitor the sound as well.

4. Achieving that "polished look" These video presentations will be streaming online, but will also be availble for puchase on DVD. So, what kind of image manipulation can I use to achieve an "unraw" look. I'm speaking of filters, balance adjustments, fps adjustment, and even after effects.

Thanks guys for your insight. This is a critial position to play, and I want all the knowledge/support I can get.

Thanks again. (Sorry for the grammatical errors.)
HD Rookie here...
Cornelius Allen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 7th, 2006, 03:45 PM   #2
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By your request several different cameras can be suggested :) It all depends on your needs. I would certainly recommend some Sony, for example PD170, but now the question is whether you would require 16:9 or not. A good widescreen SD camera is the Canon XL2. For example I decided to go with Sony, because it's small/large enough for my needs, it has an LCD screen and is good in low-light without any special lighting equipment.

If you are planning to film concerts too, then PD170 or VX2100 would certainly be a good choice, because the concerts are often rather dark and those cams would handle such situations very well. If you will have much time for preparations and in case you have good lighting also with you, then Canon XL2 would probably produce some awesome footage.

EDIT: Sorry, looks like XL2 may be out of your budget. You could get a used one for a good price though!
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Old January 7th, 2006, 03:48 PM   #3
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But George....the XL2 cost $5K...that's $1.2K over my budget.
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Old January 7th, 2006, 04:09 PM   #4
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I'd budget $1,750-2,500 for the camcorder. The rest for sound, lighting, tripod, and software, even then it's gonna be tight.

In that price range, you're looking at the Canon GL-2, Panasonic DVC30, and the Sony VX2100. You may be able to go for a used Canon XL1s, Panasonic DVX100a, Sony PD-150, or PDX10.

For the price, I'd go for the GL-2 . It will work well for your needs and leave you with approx. $2,000 for the rest of your needs .... after the rebate.

The Sony VX2100 is a little pricier but it's highly prized for event work because of it's low light ability and may save money in the lighting department.

Check out the sound, lighting, and wedding/events forums for more detailed information.
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Old January 8th, 2006, 01:37 AM   #5
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I can't stress enough how beneficial it is to have the light sensitivity of the PD/VX series of Sony cameras. It is possible to get great footage with standard room lighting. Until the lights get really dim, the Sony PD/VX cameras keep a natural look to them. It's not a bad idea to have supplemental lighting, but you can get away with something about as strong as a bright flashlight with these cameras. Other cameras need a few hundred watts to light an area the size of a living room. Unless your church is dimly lit with dark stained wood, the VX2000/2100 should be just fine.

For a wireless system, don't skimp. Get a UHF (not VHF) system that costs at least $400. Sennheiser makes some nice units in the $500 range. The Samson UM32 is not bad either. The best are Lectrosonics or the higher Sennheiser units, but they cost at least a thousand to start.

Your most important method of being "polished" is to have good camera skills. Don't pan and tilt like a madman and keep things as smooth as possible. Get a good tripod with a ball leveling mechanism. This allows you to re-level the camera in seconds if you have to move to get a better shot. I use a monopod with a stabilizer to keep things smooth. A good tripod costs at least $250. I am getting a Bogen 501 video head and some carbon fiber legs from ebay. Adding a ball leveling device from B&H adds another $70 bringing the total up to about $300. This is about the minimum you can spend and get professional results.

Filters? If you shoot outdoors frequently, get a circular polariser. You could experiment with Pro-mist or Black Pro-mist filters to get a softer look for weddings.
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Old January 8th, 2006, 01:50 AM   #6
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For Ease of Use, Sony VX 2100 or PD 170

If you are going to be sound man, and camera operator in one package, I think the Sony's are going to give you the least amount of on the fly adjustments in all lighting conditions.

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Old January 8th, 2006, 04:16 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Cornelius Allen

But George....the XL2 cost $5K...that's $1.2K over my budget.
I'm a big believer in bottom-up budgeting. $4000 on equipment that doesn't do what you need to accomplish is a waste of money while $4000 spent on equipment that will do what you need is money well invested. The thing is, you have to first define your needs and then research the gear that meets them before you ever look at the money side. If the Canon XL2 is the lowest priced camera that has the features and quality your particular style of video production requires and it's 1.2 kilobucks over your budget, buying a different camera that is within your budget is just throwing all the money down the drain - it's a waste because you won't get the results you're doing the exercise for in the first place. (Not saying Canon is the only good camera out there, just using it as an example since it was mentioned previously.) Far better to draw up a proposal and detailed specification document to justify the expense, research the market to find what meets those requirements, and then go back to the source for a budget that lets you proceed.

My present "day job" is teaching computer applications and project management is one of my specialities. One of the fundamental concepts - one that students sometimes have a hard time grasping - is that the budget of a project is not what money you are allowed to spend, it is what money achieving the objectives will cost. Bottom up budgeting deals with projected costs while top-down "budgets" are actually distributions of anticipated revenues. The thing is, the bottom-up budget is determined by the nature of the required outcome itself. If the bottom-up budget is greater than the top-down allocation, the project is doomed to failure because the money required to do the job won't be there. The same principle applies to gearing up for video production.
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Old January 8th, 2006, 09:53 AM   #8
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My two cents....

The camera is the least important part of this project. Mics, tripod, lights, backgrounds, TRAINING, will all be more important. SO do the bottom up budgeting thing, get the quality on that equipment that you need, and if you only have enought left for a cheap consumer-class camera, maybe a member will donate or lend you one. Once the project has proven itself, you can get more money to upgrade the camera if needed but everything else will be in place and have a bigger impact on your end-result than the camera.

Although an expensive camera might make you FEEL more competent, it really does not do much until you have everything else under control.
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Old January 8th, 2006, 11:12 AM   #9
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I agree with Bob.
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Old January 8th, 2006, 11:25 AM   #10
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This has all been great guys...really..I'm learning so much with my own research and the input I've been receiving from this forum.

Right now, I have been advised to not use that money for purchasing video equipment, but to set it aside for my new business startup, to take place within this month.

Our concert (this summer) will be the business engagment that will be used to purchase the video equipment on a much larger scale. In fact, we will be turning an execute office suite into a small set for interviews and discussions, which will be recorded and streamed to the Internet live, and also archived, and produced on DVD for donations to the ministry.

Right now, the focus is to remain diligent in our audio recording, and we will progress to that wonderful world of video within a few short months.
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