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Old February 19th, 2014, 09:59 PM   #31
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Re: Got $500 to spend....

"The devil is in the details" .... and with recorders there are a LOT of details.

Several months ago there was a lot of discussion here about the features and pros and cons of the new recorder models. One comment was about locking XLR connectors and one of the models, surprisingly, didn't have any (!).

A recorder is on my To-Buy list (I've got a separate Folder just for buying stuff) but since it isn't imminent it hasn't been kept current because I'm happy using the JuicedLink pre), there are a couple old threads I saved:

About line level inputs (Jan 2013 so before the new models)
Does the Tascam DR-40 have Line level input?

Tascam DR 05 or the Zoom H2N? (Dec 2012 so before the new models)
Tascam DR 05 or the Zoom H2N?

As for deal breakers - the locking XLR issue would be high on my list, and especially in pro use where there are (should be) no excuses. If you have to be watching the vu meters constantly to make sure there is signal coming in then this is a real distraction.

It would be nice to have a "wikipedia" type of section here for equipment specs, review comments, and with pros & cons.

And one more thing .....
There was a thread by Danny Winn who wanted to buy a LED Spot light and he said his budget was $300. In the last post he wrote (as I'm writing this) he was very happy with the one that was suggested. Oh, and the retail was about $1,500.
Need help! LED Spot Suggestions?

So, big question, how did we do here? (AT899 & recorder)?

After this, what else is on the To-Buy list???

Last edited by John Nantz; February 19th, 2014 at 10:13 PM. Reason: And one more thing......
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Old February 19th, 2014, 10:13 PM   #32
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Re: Got $500 to spend....

I know audio gear isn't always the sexiest choice but it is very necessary. The Rode video mic is a very popular choice for DSLR work but keep in mind it is just filling a void in the camera. It is meant to act as the mic that damn near every handheld camera already has built into it. There is a whole industry based on filling the voids that are left when using a DSLR because at the end of the day, they are just stills cameras. Syncing your audio is not overly difficult. Just give yourself a good sync point to line everything up with. That is as simple as turning all of your gear on then standing in front of your camera and clapping your hands.
I know there is a wealth of information to be had on this site but go check your local bookstore and see if they carry any industry magazines. Those are a great way stay up on trends and gear. At my local Barnes and Noble they are spaced out among two different sections in the magazines. Some are in the Art section while others are in with the Movies.
As far as being worried about your mic reaching your talent? Welcome to the world of corporate video. I'd go buy a couple hundred feet of XLR cable to go along with whatever you choose to use. And yes, XLR's are the industry standard as far as mic cables go....which was really confusing when BlackMagic put out there camera and it had 1/4" inputs on it.
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Old February 20th, 2014, 08:47 AM   #33
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Re: Got $500 to spend....

Haha I love you guys…

Yea I'm still looking at getting the H4n (ebay seems to have some good prices, but I'm trying to be careful on purchasing this stuff for a discount cause you never know).

Next on my list? Ummm…

Headphones (good advice on how in ear headphones can benefit over the bigger headphones in certain situations. Good stuff there)
A Slider
A wide angle lens
I'd really love to get a steadicam (Since everyone is a photographer these days, I'd like to try to crack into the market of selling videos to those people to try to stand out from the crowd. I've seen a few videos of photographers and steadicams seem to a pretty good way to make a "quick" and "easy" video for them)
I'd like to get the 50mm 1.4 but my 1.8 is ok for me at the moment. Can't justify the money at the moment.
Then I guess I need to upgrade to a new camera. I was considering the 60D, but it was suggested that I wait and save up to get the 5D Mark III

Any advice on those would be much appreciated.


Mark - You're right. Audio is not a sexy choice at all. That's why I struggled at first wanting tp spend money on that. After hearing you all though, it makes me realize that you're right. Audio is 50% of the video and I need to think like that. It is a very sexy choice once you have the right mindset (I'm getting there).

John Nantz - So what do you suggest to me in regards to a recorder? Do you think the H4n is a good purchase? I was considering the Tascam that is about $70 cheaper on B&H. It also has XLR, but less bells and whistles (which I really don't need). I only plan to get ambient sound and record on a lav through the XLR. A B&H rep told me the H4n has better mics so the ambient sound would be better so that sold me on it. What do you think/suggest?
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Old February 20th, 2014, 10:48 AM   #34
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Re: Got $500 to spend....

As far as another camera goes, after all of this you might want to check out the Sony FS100 and the Canon C100 rather than a Mark III. They both address a lot of these issues that you are having.
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Old February 20th, 2014, 12:15 PM   #35
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Re: Got $500 to spend....

All good advice about equipment here, however if I were you I'd would consider opening a rental account somewhere and renting different gear and then deciding what you like and don't like.

Jonathan
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Old February 20th, 2014, 12:46 PM   #36
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Re: Got $500 to spend....

Now that this thread has led to the decision to buy audio gear, it might make sense to start a new thread in the audio section. In that thread, I recommend three items in the first post:

1) Your application. Really think through your use cases and detail your goals. The best equipment for one use case can be terrible for another, so this section is really important. Making it clear that you're not making feature films is important because the next point is...

2) Your budget. You can expect some to say you need to spend thousands on a full kit of top of the line gear, but your budget and application don't warrant it.

3) Your current target gear (H4n, AT899, head/earphones). Some there might know of newly released/announced products as well as product tests, comparisons, and reviews.

Regarding the H4n vs. Tascam mics, I'm not sure how they compare. I haven't tested them. But we have both the H4n and DR100 mk I here at work. If I get time, I might make a very quick test. My test would be simple and wouldn't show small differences, but if either is poor, I might be able to see if there is a loser.
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Old February 20th, 2014, 01:19 PM   #37
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Re: Got $500 to spend....

OK. I'll go make a thread over there now. Thanks
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Old February 20th, 2014, 05:57 PM   #38
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Re: Got $500 to spend....

Here's a good spot with lots of information about audio for Canon DSLR cameras.

The Canon DSLR Audio thread
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Old February 20th, 2014, 06:45 PM   #39
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Re: Got $500 to spend....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brock Burwell View Post
Next on my list? Ummm…

Headphones (good advice on how in ear headphones can benefit over the bigger headphones in certain situations. Good stuff there)
A Slider
A wide angle lens
I'd really love to get a steadicam (Since everyone is a photographer these days, I'd like to try to crack into the market of selling videos to those people to try to stand out from the crowd. I've seen a few videos of photographers and steadicams seem to a pretty good way to make a "quick" and "easy" video for them)
I'd like to get the 50mm 1.4 but my 1.8 is ok for me at the moment. Can't justify the money at the moment.
Then I guess I need to upgrade to a new camera. I was considering the 60D, but it was suggested that I wait and save up to get the 5D Mark III

Any advice on those would be much appreciated.
My advice will be not on what to get but, as a suggestion, how to keep track of what to get. What I'm going to write relates to the OSX system. This is the way I do it so it is just a suggestion:

In the Documents folder I've created two new folders: "Camcorder" and "Computer". All the camcorder stuff goes in that folder and all the video editing stuff goes in the Computer folder.

Under the Camcorder folder I've got a folder that's called "To-Buy List" and it is highlighted in yellow so it is easy to spot. In that folder there are some more sub-folders with titles of all the things that I hope to be in my future. One dedicated folder for each item and each one is also highlighted in yellow. Why Yellow? Highway caution signs are yellow, but you could use Disappearing Green if you want.

As I gather information about each item I save it in that folder. Normally there is a document for the little bits of info including URLs for company web sites, interesting threads on the item, maybe Owners Manual downloads, retailer and eBay sold price comparisons, product reviews, etc..

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brock Burwell View Post
Mark - You're right. Audio is not a sexy choice at all. That's why I struggled at first wanting tp spend money on that. After hearing you all though, it makes me realize that you're right. Audio is 50% of the video and I need to think like that. It is a very sexy choice once you have the right mindset (I'm getting there).
In my case, the audio kit is worth several, nay, many times what my two cameras are worth. Sennheiser ME-64 & 66, (MKH416 or equal on the list), Røde SVM, AT899 lavalier, another old wireless lavalier (and another, probably Sennheiser ENG on my To-Buy list), Electro Voice ENG interview mic, Rycote softies for the 64, 66, and the SVM, including a Rycote Windshield and Windscreen for the ME-66, JuicedLink pre, K-TEK carbon fiber boom pole, assortment of cables, mic stands, and a few other things. The good thing is the audio gear holds it's value better than the camera.

Yesterday I just added a Light Panels fresnel light to the list but we'll see if it stays. It's just a list!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brock Burwell View Post
John Nantz - So what do you suggest to me in regards to a recorder? Do you think the H4n is a good purchase? I was considering the Tascam that is about $70 cheaper on B&H. It also has XLR, but less bells and whistles (which I really don't need). I only plan to get ambient sound and record on a lav through the XLR. A B&H rep told me the H4n has better mics so the ambient sound would be better so that sold me on it. What do you think/suggest?
I can't suggest anything because this has been a moving target. It was last summer when I first started delving into seriously getting a recorder but last fall we went to Europe for a few months so it got put on hold. When we returned there were some new models so I had to refresh my memory and basically start all over again. Since it was early December my plan was to come up with a suggestion for my wife of what to get but with the backlog of other "life issues" to take care off it didn't happen. After Christmass I upgraded my FCPX editing application (major update) and added Motion 5 (new application) so I've been learning about these things and there is a really huge backlog of video to edit. Consequently, recorder research is a really low priority right now.

However, there are some suggestions. One is that the forum here is a really valuable resource for information. When the new recorder models were recently introduced (time flies) there was a lot of discussion about their merits, pros and cons, here, and by people much more knowledgeable than myself. The Search function is your friend so I'm sure their posts can be found.

Another suggestion is there is a bit of a nuance between the Camcorder and the DSLR shooters so different feature sets might apply. For one, it was noted that one recorder is designed to be operated best in a horizontal position while another was designed to be used in a vertical position. This is just one example. I have read so many good comments about the details between different recorders that it is really hard to keep track of them. Wish I could help more but can't at the moment. Ultimately I'll probably do a spreadsheet on them, hopefully capturing all the important comments.

Last edited by John Nantz; February 20th, 2014 at 06:49 PM. Reason: added: another was designed to be used in a vertical position
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Old February 21st, 2014, 12:06 PM   #40
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Re: Got $500 to spend....

Brock,

I am a corporate videographer. I am going to chime in here and be very blunt, with no intention of being abrasive. I am not going to cover all the bases of what could become a debate. I am not trying to rekindle that debate. Others will disagree with me but many will not. I am going to state it as I know it. I am in a hurry. So I am going to spit it out. If the DSLR vs video camera debate ever mattered it does right now, to you. You are going down a road with good intentions but your lack of experience has you on the wrong path. What I am going to say applies to you to a great extent mostly because of your stated intent to do work in corporate video. Corporate video is a broad term. It is also a genre where the DSLR craze not only does not apply, it is not even acceptable for many of the shoots I work on. I go into the homes, businesses, and clinics of prominent physicians, and business leaders all over the country. Pulling a DSLR out of my bag would be considered unacceptable by my clients. No one needs to school me on their capabilities. I am very much aware of the incredible video they can produce in experienced hands. The bottom line is, they are a still camera, and in the corporate world you will be perceived as an amateur regardless of your ability. And that goes for all models. Perception matters in the corporate world. You are building a new kit. You have time to change before your kit keeps you from doing corporate work, as you stated that is your intent.

First, going the DSLR route means you are starting out with a camera that has virtually no audio capabilities. The on board recording is only useful as a sync track. Right now, it is clear you do not understand that. Learning to record off camera, quality audio is an advanced skill and full time specialty for many pros. You will also be spending extra money to overcome that limitation. You have a massive learning curve ahead of you, that is true regardless of camera type but DSLRS complicate it further.

Second, almost all corporate work is going to involve run and gun shooting at some point. You will be required to invest extra money in your rig to be able to do that because of its ergonomics.

Help me help you, what is your definition of corporate work? In my corporate world DSLRs are almost nonexistent. That is not just a perception thing. It is reality because they are not the right tool for the job! No one camera is going to allow anyone to do all tasks.

Again guys, I am not anti DSLR. I am not trying to rain on anyone’s parade. I am well aware of the fact that there are guys making a very good living and creating beautiful video with DSLR rigs. I admire Brock’s enthusiasm and ambition. I also believe as a rookie there is going to be much more to this than he envisions. Building a DSLR rig with the intention of breaking into corporate video is an egregious error. In my experience, I believe that to be a fact, not an opinion.

Brock, slow down, think about what you’re doing and go shoot video and audio. No matter what rig you build it will always be in your hands. There are many specialties that could lend themselves to earning a very good living with the rig you guys are talking about building. Corporate video is not one of them.

With Respect,

Steve
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Old February 21st, 2014, 01:32 PM   #41
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Re: Got $500 to spend....

I'll give the counterpoint to Steven's post...

I shoot corporate video on a volunteer basis from within a corporation. And I mainly shoot with a DSLR. The main difference for me? I don't have to sell my services. I get to be the resident expert. :)

The stuff we shoot is very specific - interviews, tech demos, "imaginary scenarios" (narrative), and speaking events.

Interviews - DSLRs work great.

Tech demos - This is where camera motion is critical. This is often b-roll. DSLRs are okay.

Scenarios - Being like narrative, DSLRs work great.

Speaking events - We use a camcorder for the master and a DSLR with a long lens for the closer, tracking shots. Frankly, a couple of nice 2/3" cameras with long zooms would be better - and that's expected at big, public events, but the DSLR does okay, given the companion camcorder for long, master takes.

So "corporate" really depends on the scope. For big corporate events, Steven is spot on. When the approach is more like ENG (electronic news gathering), his post nails it. However, for smaller corporate work and seated interviews, a DSLR works fine - given the right equipment around it, such as a good audio setup.

And this is exactly why it's so important to define your exact application. Simply saying "corporate" could mean a sports-event type camera at the back of a huge convention center, or it could mean a two minute interview with the president of a small startup. Or a glossy ad. Before you can select the right tool for the job, one needs to define the job - and the expectations of the client.
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Old February 21st, 2014, 03:16 PM   #42
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Re: Got $500 to spend....

Thanks for chiming in Jon,

This is getting down more into the details vice broad-brush.

For me, the difference between Camcorder and DSLR is a whole lot mental. Having spent years shooting with a Nikon 35mm camera I like the lens approximately in the middle of the camera and some camera body on each side to get a firm grip on. With todays DSLRs they just seem lopsided. I can't help it.

So, with regard to how you would do it here....
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Fairhurst View Post
Speaking events - We use a camcorder for the master and a DSLR with a long lens for the closer, tracking shots. Frankly, a couple of nice 2/3" cameras with long zooms would be better - and that's expected at big, public events, but the DSLR does okay, given the companion camcorder for long, master takes.
For me, due to my, ...what, mental attitude?, ... given the two camera form factors I would reverse them and put the DSLR on the tripod as the main camera (lock the red button on, assuming it stays fixed in focus and position) because I would want the camcorder form factor to run around with as the B-cam.

The camcorder form factor just seems right, to me, for shooting video. Okay, so maybe I've got my barn doors on, but it's all about form factor which includes instant access to buttons and other settings. Video cameras have had a different form factor from still cameras probably for almost a hundred years.

On the other hand, I like glass, not a whole lot but maybe two or three lenses, and I'm not ready to sacrifice form factor for glass. Sometimes this old dog has a hard time learning new tricks.

A new(er) camera is on my To-Buy List, and has been for a while, but deciding on what to get is really difficult. The one I have is both limited and dated, and getting more so every day, but I'm familiar with it and I hate buying something then discovering a "gotcha" or "wish-I-woulda-known".

Nobody said life was easy.

Edit: I think I understand your reasoning for using the two the way you did, such as using the telephoto to help stay out of the field of view, but, but .... *sigh*, I just like the camcorder form factor.
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Old February 21st, 2014, 03:54 PM   #43
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Re: Got $500 to spend....

Let me first apologize that my comment here is off topic.... but I just have to comment.

I've been following this post with great interest and every time this post pops up with new comments, I can't help but getting the song "Another Saturday Night" by Sam Cooke stuck in my head...

"Another Saturday night and I ain't got nobody
I got some money 'cause i just got paid
How I wish I had someone to talk to
I'm in an awful way"

OK, I'm glad I got that off my chest... as you were fellas :)
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Old February 21st, 2014, 04:02 PM   #44
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Re: Got $500 to spend....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brock Burwell View Post
A new lens could be a smart purchase for me.
Good glass is never a bad investment. I personally would try to eliminate your kit lens. Either by buying an 11-16 and wait to round out the mid range, or save and buy an 18-35 and go for your wide angle later. The few corporate gigs I have done I have really needed that Wide angle (11-16) to help shoot conference rooms, large floor spaces/manufacturing, as well as being the go-to for steadicam moves.

However, seeing that you have a bunch of wireless mics, I personally would try to find a way to simultaneously record your wireless lavs and see how you can work that into your productions. Again, very hard to say what you "should" buy since we don't know what you are shooting.
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Old February 21st, 2014, 04:27 PM   #45
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Re: Got $500 to spend....

Gentlemen,

I deleted what I said in this post because when I reread it myself I saw how it could be interpreted as condescending. That is never my intent here on this forum. I have strong opinions I stand by. There are however, times when I should choose my words more carefully. This may have been one of those times. You guys are doing a great job of helping out a new member and shooter. Next post I will try to be more informative than opinionated. Have fun Brock!

Kind Regards,

Steve
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Last edited by Steven Digges; February 22nd, 2014 at 01:22 AM.
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