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Old February 22nd, 2014, 11:17 PM   #61
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Re: Got $500 to spend....

The gear acquisition never ends. Never think you're done buying stuff. This is a very expensive hobby/business. The most important things you can buy are the knick knacks you'll need on gigs. Things like audio connectors, clips, cables, converters, etc. You'll know what I mean when you're on a gig and some tiny crucial piece of equipment would have made the difference in a successful shoot.
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Old February 23rd, 2014, 12:53 AM   #62
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Re: Got $500 to spend....

Steven, I enjoyed your article, but I'm afraid it's out of date. No mention of 4K?! ;)
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Old February 23rd, 2014, 01:36 AM   #63
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Re: Got $500 to spend....

Patrick, I have been waiting for that. Congrats, you are the first one to say it!

And 4K, I can draw with rocks better than that.

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Old February 23rd, 2014, 01:39 AM   #64
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Re: Got $500 to spend....

Brock,

That AT899 and Tascam DR100 mkII should do the trick. Use a long XLR cable and headphones when you can - and put the recorder on/near the talent when you must. For placement, center the mic just below the 2nd button on a dress shirt, loop the cable to reduce cable noise, and use gaffers tape when necessary to avoid clothing noise.

Regarding placement, if it's not centered, you can get volume changes when the talent moves their hear left and right. Mount it too close and you get big changes when the talent looks up or down. Too far and you get additional noise and room sounds.

Regarding the slider, the keys are good stands/mounts (so it doesn't droop as you move the camera) and a decent photo-style ball head, so you can aim the camera as needed.

It will be interesting to see if the slider becomes a key part of your kit or if it collects dust. Part of it depends on the quality of the slider. If it doesn't deliver smooth enough shots, you'll find yourself avoiding it. The other aspect is need. A slider complicates things with more stuff, setup time, and complexity. I use mine not when I might like it, but when I need it. If I need to shoot an inanimate object like a circuit board, I definitely use either slider or jib. Otherwise, I might as well shoot a photo. Frankly, I go for the jib more often than the slider, despite the additional size and weight. The ability to roll the jib where it needs to be and quickly place the camera wherever I need it in space is really nice. To position a slider for critical framing is more of a trial and error thing.

All that said, getting the equipment to gain the experience is a critical part of the process. DSLRs with manual focus and control over shutter, aperture, ISO, and picture profile - plus the ability to change lenses - are excellent for learning image capture. They force one to learn about camera support and motion as well as external audio solutions. They don't always make sense (especially when delivering to a paying client), but when you're on your own time and budget and want low-light capture and/or shallow DOF, they blow away anything that was available before the D70 and 5D2 came out in 2008.

One nice thing about buying a lot of this gear is that if the shoe doesn't fit, you can always sell it and reinvest. Cameras eventually go obsolete, but mics, camera support, lighting gear, and lenses all hold their value for years.

Best of luck with your projects. Let us know how this round of gear works out. :)
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Old February 23rd, 2014, 01:46 AM   #65
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Re: Got $500 to spend....

OK Guys,

Here is good news. It does not have to be a choice between camcorder or DSLR anymore. The pictures are (bad snap shots) of my DSLR rig, kind of. It is my Sony EA50 kit. The manufacturers finally caught up and built a real camcorder with the benefits of a DSLR and everything that is awesome about a camcorder in one unit. And, bang for your buck, it is dirt cheap in my opinion. The basics are:

An aps-c sensor, a single sensor large enough to get the shallow depth of field you get from a DSLR

Sony E-mount interchangeable lens system. Accepts entire line of Sony e-mount lenses

Sony has an adapter for it to accept their entire line of A-mount lens

Metabones (third party) adapter available to accept Canon EF mount lenses. That is what I use. Also made for other brand name lens mounts.

Semi-Shoulder support design and ergonomics

Comes with a power zoom kit lens 18-200mm f3.5- 6.3

AVCHD, 35 MBS

Built in stereo microphone

Included shot gun microphone

Two channels of XLR audio with limiting, VU metering and plenty of options

Classified by Sony as Entry Level Professional, that is important only because the camera is supported and serviced by Sony Professional services. If you have ever dealt with consumer services you will know how important that is.

That is just the basics. Since I am old school from the Betacam days this is an electronic wonder to me. In terms of all the features and options that are built into it for the low price. I bought mine when they were first released. I already had the Canon lenses so the choice was a no brainer. I paid $3,700.00 (maybe $3,800.00) for it. First street price, worth every penny. Then it started to drop as it always does. Currently at B&H for $3,325.00 plus Sony has a $600.00 rebate until March 31, 2014, final cost $2,725.00. A thousand less than I paid one year ago and I have no regrets!

I work with broadcast cameras on a regular basis, I don’t own them. I always own cameras like this because they are perfect for many of my clients needs. It saves the clients and me a ton of money.

Sony EA50 page: Sony | Micro Site NXCAM & AVCHD

In the Sony forum here on DVINFO there is an EA50 sub forum. If you are truly interested in this camera don’t look at the current pages first. Go to the beginning because about five of us bought it at the same time last year and we chronicled everything good, bad and ugly as we worked our way through it. No there is probably too much to read as others joined in and the forum is going strong.

It really is a DSLR in a professional camcorder format for $2725.00. To me, that is incredible because I have spent tens of thousands of dollars on cameras in the past that had nowhere near what this thing has. And I own a lot of equipment. Anyway, food for thought. I am throwing this out there because guys in this thread are investing money in gear of this level and genre. Lots of bang for the buck.

Steve
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Old February 23rd, 2014, 02:14 AM   #66
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Re: Got $500 to spend....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Fairhurst View Post
Brock,

That AT899 and Tascam DR100 mkII should do the trick. Use a long XLR cable and headphones when you can - and put the recorder on/near the talent when you must. For placement, center the mic just below the 2nd button on a dress shirt, loop the cable to reduce cable noise, and use gaffers tape when necessary to avoid clothing noise.

Regarding placement, if it's not centered, you can get volume changes when the talent moves their hear left and right. Mount it too close and you get big changes when the talent looks up or down. Too far and you get additional noise and room sounds.

Regarding the slider, the keys are good stands/mounts (so it doesn't droop as you move the camera) and a decent photo-style ball head, so you can aim the camera as needed.

It will be interesting to see if the slider becomes a key part of your kit or if it collects dust. Part of it depends on the quality of the slider. If it doesn't deliver smooth enough shots, you'll find yourself avoiding it. The other aspect is need. A slider complicates things with more stuff, setup time, and complexity. I use mine not when I might like it, but when I need it. If I need to shoot an inanimate object like a circuit board, I definitely use either slider or jib. Otherwise, I might as well shoot a photo. Frankly, I go for the jib more often than the slider, despite the additional size and weight. The ability to roll the jib where it needs to be and quickly place the camera wherever I need it in space is really nice. To position a slider for critical framing is more of a trial and error thing.

All that said, getting the equipment to gain the experience is a critical part of the process. DSLRs with manual focus and control over shutter, aperture, ISO, and picture profile - plus the ability to change lenses - are excellent for learning image capture. They force one to learn about camera support and motion as well as external audio solutions. They don't always make sense (especially when delivering to a paying client), but when you're on your own time and budget and want low-light capture and/or shallow DOF, they blow away anything that was available before the D70 and 5D2 came out in 2008.

One nice thing about buying a lot of this gear is that if the shoe doesn't fit, you can always sell it and reinvest. Cameras eventually go obsolete, but mics, camera support, lighting gear, and lenses all hold their value for years.

Best of luck with your projects. Let us know how this round of gear works out. :)
Great post. Spot on about the slider and jib. I do the same thing. Some times I take them with me to a shoot and never have a chance to use them because of the time commitment.

Steve
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Old February 23rd, 2014, 02:56 AM   #67
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Re: Got $500 to spend....

It's all Patrick's fault! I've got all this video to edit and he got me sidetracked:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick Janka View Post
John, what I love about the Panny GH3/2 is there is no recording time limit =)
Spent the past several hours searching for info on the GH3, looking at prices, reading craigs list ads, and got nothing done.
With one ad a guy is using his Nikon lenses and an adapter - this sounds interesting. I still have my f/2.8 wide angle.
In one review it said that to get the 16:9 format it crops from the 4:3 format. Obviously there is going to be some resolution lost doing this but I don't know how significant that would be.
I really shouldn't be looking.

@ Jon:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Fairhurst View Post
That AT899 and Tascam DR100 mkII should do the trick. .....

Regarding placement, if it's not centered, you can get volume changes when the talent moves their hear left and right. Mount it too close and you get big changes when the talent looks up or down. Too far and you get additional noise and room sounds.
One thing I remember reading or hearing about and that is to have the lavaliere mic facing down rather than up. Don't remember if this was just for the 899 or in general. Do you have any thoughts on that idea?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Fairhurst View Post
All that said, getting the equipment to gain the experience is a critical part of the process. ....

One nice thing about buying a lot of this gear is that if the shoe doesn't fit, you can always sell it and reinvest. Cameras eventually go obsolete, but mics, camera support, lighting gear, and lenses all hold their value for years.
Here we don't know anything about Brock's finances, he went over budget on the purchase, partly by getting carried away by expanding the scope. His wife knows he spent more on his stuff than what she did. Then he says "he's happy" with what he got. No sooner has he said that and the next post he says he's got a "Wish List" at B&H (!). Not only that, but it's already getting populated with a wide angle lens and who knows what else.

Should we be concerned if we are enablers? Maybe the family could even be going without food on the table as we're tantamount to encouraging equipment acquisition. Thinking about this, my gosh, how can we sleep at night?

Well, enough of this guilt trip. It's late and I gotta get work done tomorrow.
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Old February 23rd, 2014, 03:36 AM   #68
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Re: Got $500 to spend....

Stephen, that Sony EA50 looks pretty sweet. Looks like it overcomes one of the key DSLR flaws for handheld work - that they're front heavy. The LCD is on the back and everything goes forward from there. ENG cams have the viewfinder next to the lens for a reason - it gets the weight over the shoulder.

My solution for handheld DSLR work is to use a monopod. (I compared about 15-20 models and chose the Slik Pro Pod 600. It's cheap, solid, small enough to fit in a rolling suitcase, and as light as many carbon fiber models.) I use it in one of three modes - standing (for standing interviews on the fly), tucked into my belt (for human tripod work), and held just below the camera (as a faux steadicam). Aside from the faux steadicam style, the forward weight is often on the ground and never anchored higher than the hips. Works great at tradeshows (which is about the only place where I shoot ENG-style.)

Being able to have one camera that can shoot ENG style as well as shallow DOF on a tripod for interviews is pretty killer.

Last month, we rented an FS700, and it was pretty nice to be able to shoot with a large sensor in an integrated package. It's not really ENG-ready out of the box, and we didn't use it that way or use the audio inputs. It was all about slow motion b-roll, which was a blast to shoot and edit.

One warning about the Metabones adapter though... It's not robust. We rolled our jib into the parking lot with the camera on it as well as a modest lens. The surface got a bit rough, so we stopped, looked at the camera - and the lens was drooping by about 15 degrees! The adapter is held together with some tiny jeweler screws, which stripped. The adapter was ruined, but fortunately, it was a final, optional shot and nothing else was damaged. Anyway, treat the adapter like fine china. And if you hang a big lens off the end, use cheeseplates and whatnot to support both camera and lens. You don't want this to be the weak link during a critical shoot.

John - regarding pointing lavs down, this can help avoid p-pop from plosive speech. Most lavs are omnidirectional, so the angle doesn't matter - except for keeping the plosives from directly entering the capsule. That said, I mount both up and down - whatever works best with the clip, the clothes, and the broadcast loop.
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Old February 23rd, 2014, 10:36 AM   #69
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Re: Got $500 to spend....

As far as the questions about video guys being bad a finance goes, I think we are inherently at a disadvantage to the rest of the normal business world. If I were to go start any other business, one of my first moves would be to go to a bank and apply for a loan for all the start up. So many video guys go from hobbyist to making it their business so gear is acquired over time rather than all up front. And the other disadvantage to that is so much of our gear trends change over night. If I were to go open a bakery, mixers, ovens, and ingredients and a space would be the main things I need and those things hardly ever change. So many of us are just finally completing our HD kits and being tempted already with the world of 4K. Thank god 3D never went anywhere.
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Old February 23rd, 2014, 12:37 PM   #70
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Re: Got $500 to spend....

John, if you're interested in the GH3, you should wait a couple of months when the 4K GH4 starts hitting shelves.
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Old February 23rd, 2014, 12:46 PM   #71
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Re: Got $500 to spend....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Fairhurst View Post
Stephen, that Sony EA50 looks pretty sweet. Looks like it overcomes one of the key DSLR flaws for handheld work - that they're front heavy. The LCD is on the back and everything goes forward from there. ENG cams have the viewfinder next to the lens for a reason - it gets the weight over the shoulder.
The nex-ea50 is even worse then a dslr, all the weight is in your hands and it extends even further from your face, so if you"d add a heavy canon lens to it that won't be a fun experience, the only thing that shoulder pad does is to create an extra contactpoint for holding your camera steady.
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Old February 23rd, 2014, 02:35 PM   #72
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Re: Got $500 to spend....

Noa, come on, "it is worse than a DSLR"?

The EA50 is NOT a shoulder cam. A shoulder cam has the shoulder rest in the middle or forward of center on the camera body so the weight IS resting on your shoulder. They are a pleasure to work with for run & gun. The Ea50 has a shoulder pad to give a support point but the majority of the weight is in you hands. Some guys are adding a weight to the shoulder pad to help with the balance but I have not.

The kit lens is very light, so the camera is comfortable and easy to operate on my shoulder. My Canon glass is all f2.8 L series and very heavy. It does make shoulder shooting somewhat difficult because of the front weight. But, I have my hand under the lens supporting it and operating it just as I do with a DSLR. The camera body has two points of contact and support behind that. It is better not worse.

For those of you not familiar with this design it works like this. The camera is controlled and supported by your right hand. The back strap adjustment is critical because your fingers are in use on controls. Your left hand focuses AND supports the camera when not on the focus ring. The shoulder pad gives a third point of contact and support.

So I agree with Noa to a certain extent. I do not want to mislead anybody at all. I do not agree with him saying it is worse than a DSLR.

Noa had an EA50 and sold it. He knows what he is talking about. He also has a great affinity for DSLR or even smaller cameras. He has stated many times he does not like big cameras.

Noa, I think you know I respect almost all of your posts, but I disagree with you saying it is worse than a DSLR. But hey, I am old school. I like having all of the professional options and tools that camcorder body provides.

Steve
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Old February 23rd, 2014, 07:07 PM   #73
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Re: Got $500 to spend....

Hey Steve

I solve my handheld problems very easily with my ENG rig. It makes the front end a feather weight!!
All it does is take the weight off the front with a mini ballhead attached to rails under the front of the camera and that has a 2 section sprung rod which goes into a waist belt that has a little pouch for the rod.

The dual springs in the rod take all the weight off you and are adjustable and of course allow you vertical movement still. Absolute magic if you are doing a lot of handheld stuff ! If I forget to use it at weddings my back is pretty sore after a night at a reception but when I use it the camera virtually weighs nothing!!

Chris
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Old February 23rd, 2014, 08:47 PM   #74
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Re: Got $500 to spend....

In my experience, there are three ways to balance things, two of which I like...

1) Mount an EVF (electronic view finder) near the front. That is the traditional, proven ENG approach.

2) Support the camera from the waist, like Chris mentions in his post. I really like this approach for DSLRs wtih a loupe. I lean back a bit to restore balance. The main benefit is no weight at all on arms and shoulders.

3) Add a shoulder mount and add weight behind the unit. Unless the camera is very light and you have extra stuff to carry anyway (battery, audio preamp, etc), I don't care for this as it adds weight to the shoulder, rather than re-balancing (EVF style) or re-anchoring (belt style). Like a good backpack, the less weight on the shoulders, the better.

Then again, solution 3 is better than holding a forward-weighted rig all day with your arms. I did that the first time I took a DSLR to NAB. Those were very long days!
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Old February 24th, 2014, 01:14 AM   #75
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Re: Got $500 to spend....

I do not have trouble handling my short focal length lenses in R&G shoulder. As Noa said, when I get into the heavy Canon glass like the 70-200 f2.8 it is no fun. So like John said, I put my mono pod on it, attached to the lens ring tripod mount. That works well, but I feel it is a bit limiting.

Chris, I read about how you made your ENG rig in our section. Does the spring rod really float and adjust well? I can't help but picture it in my mind like some kind of stiff, squeaky shower rod?

Steve
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