Got $500 to spend.... at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > Most Recent Additions... > SPC - Single Person Crew

SPC - Single Person Crew
Who said "One is the Loneliest Number?" You'll never walk alone here.


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old February 18th, 2014, 11:10 AM   #1
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Charleston, WV
Posts: 326
Got $500 to spend....

If you hadn't figured this out from my last few posts, I am pretty new to this whole thing, but I have a pretty good start in regards to equipment. I am going to be a DSLR shooter and I currently have….

Canon T3i
kit lens
nifty fifty
70-200mm
3 soft box lights
2 tripods (1 with a decent fluid head)
3 or 4 light stands
2 sets of wireless mics (Azden)
mini (tabletop) tripod
camera backpack

I'm looking to get into corporate work, but I am currently shooting just about anything currently just to get better.

I got my tax refund back and my wife is letting me (yea yea I know) spend $500 on my new "hobby"

I was wondering what advice you would have on what I should purchase with the money. I have considered on here purchasing a steadicam which some have said was a bad idea for me currently.

I would like to jump up and get a 60D, which I know I can't get for that money, but it could be an option used.

I also want a slider, which would be a great purchase I believe.

A new lens could be a smart purchase for me.

I am considering a Rode shotgun mic

Or do you guys think I should simply purchase a lot of the little things that are imporant (new SD cards, straps, cases, etc).

Any advice you can give would be VERY much appreciated. Thanks!!!
Brock Burwell is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 18th, 2014, 11:26 AM   #2
Major Player
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Cleveland, OH
Posts: 242
Re: Got $500 to spend....

If you are planning on being a DSLR shooter I wouldn't bother buying another camera until you can go all the way and get a Mark III. That being said, do you have an external mic for recording nats with? Rode is a pretty popular choice for a mic that will sit in the accessory shoe. Also, if you are mounting lots of stuff to your camera there are products out there that mount in the shoe that basically just make it bigger so you can mount multiple things such as lights, mics, and recorders. The one I have is made by Cam Caddie. What is your editing situation looking like? It doesn't matter how much you spend on cameras and such if you have nothing to edit with.
Mark Koha is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 18th, 2014, 11:29 AM   #3
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Ferrisburgh, VT
Posts: 178
Re: Got $500 to spend....

Hello again, Brock,

From your list I would recommend the shotgun mic, or nothing, and keep the rest on hold for expendables.

To get the most out of an expensive shotgun, you need somebody to hold it. If you decide to buy one you can use it as an on-camera (and if you are shooting with a DSLR, I would recommend buying one that is compatible and camera-mountable) you still won't really see the benefit unless you are very close. For corporate when I work alone, I rely heavily on my lavalieres.

As for the other stuff, it's all cool stuff to have, but you should probably just get down to making some money so that it won't feel like a "hobby" anymore. My rule of thumb for earned revenue is 50/50 to my household and to the business account. Currently, that has me in a surplus, which is good. Over time, I plan to feather down that percentage so that more goes to the household and less is held "in escrow," if you will.

It's amazing how fast the expenses of this business can suck your money away. But in my humble opinion, that is one of the first points of distinction between a hobbyist and a professional: a hobbyist works to fund his equipment acquisitions, while professionals cultivate the discipline that is necessary to make their tools work for them.

I know you're just starting out, and are bound to be in the red for a while. Just try not to feed the techno-beast ALL the proceeds of your efforts that could be going to your family! I can't tell you how satisfying it was the first time that I was actually able to pay off my equipment and cut an income check to our household account.

Something with more control than a Ti3 and fast zoom are on the horizon, too, but with only $500 to spend you won't make that just yet. Mark is probably right about skipping the 60D, just because the improvement is incremental and every time you change cameras you lose money, so you don't want to do it all the time. Hang in there.
Finn Yarbrough is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 18th, 2014, 11:29 AM   #4
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Miami, Florida USA
Posts: 113
Re: Got $500 to spend....

If you put the Magic Lantern program into your t3i...you'll have pretty much ALL of those extra functions of the 60D...plus a few more.

http://www.magiclantern.fm/downloads.html

I use a t3i for a reverse camera on two camera shoots and that program, in that camera, is awesome.

That frees you up to spend that money somewhere else.

Why not go for the nice Rode mic and a slider?

I've heard lots of good things about the Optika sliders when it comes to budget versus quality.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/buy/Op...npage:In+Stock

You might have some money left over for those consumables...like new cards!

I agree with others...a steadicam is overkill at this point in time.
__________________
John DuMontelle - Freelance / Miami, Florida - USA
http://www.latincamproductions.com/
John DuMontelle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 18th, 2014, 11:51 AM   #5
Major Player
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Plantation, FL
Posts: 238
Re: Got $500 to spend....

Corporate work requires good audio, how are you monitoring your audio?
You need an audio interface or separate audio recorder especially if you have dual Lav setup.

Magic Lantern will give you meters and that can help with peaking (if you're watching them) and you can buy or make a custom cord that allows headphone monitoring out of the camera USB but IMO it's not good enough, the volume isn't loud enough.

Many times you don't have time to setup sliders and steadicams get the basics down solid.
__________________
Mark Ahrens
www.heritagefilms.net
Mark Ahrens is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 18th, 2014, 11:52 AM   #6
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Charleston, WV
Posts: 326
Re: Got $500 to spend....

Great advice guys..

I do currently have Magic Lantern installed which has really helped save a few shots with the focusing tool and I love the rack focus tool on it. So far those are the only two things I've used, but I'm glad I installed that.

I am currently editing on Final Cut Pro X. I am very familiar with it and it comes prety easy to me now, though I've heard some other programs may be better.

So do you not think that the difference between the T3i and the 60D is a big enough difference to purchase one? I don't imagine that I will be close to purchasing a Mark III anytime in the next few years. I'd love to have one, I just don't think It's in my budget yet.
Brock Burwell is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 18th, 2014, 11:54 AM   #7
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Charleston, WV
Posts: 326
Re: Got $500 to spend....

Also, would a Rode shotgun mic be what I need to get natural sound? I read a few things where people were saying they are more for interviews. Is that true? I shoot a lot in my church and would love to get natural sound of the service, but not sure if something like that would work for me.

Any suggestions on what to purchase to get that natural sound?
Brock Burwell is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 18th, 2014, 11:57 AM   #8
Trustee
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Crookston, MN
Posts: 1,353
Re: Got $500 to spend....

$500 won't get you to where you need. You'll want another camera, even just for backup, though the T3i should probably end up as your backup or B camera. The 70D's autofocus is wonderful ($1100), otherwise the 60D (wasn't someone selling them for $450 on this board?) or a 5dMark ii (used for $1000 or so) will be great full frame for this stage for you.

While magic lantern will fix most of the issues with the T3i, the real problem will be light/noise if you're ever in a dim area. Even our 70D (also crop factor) does a lot better with noise versus the T3i, nevermind a nice full frame camera that won't need to push the ISO. They'll also look better with more dynamic range.

Audio is half your video so a good microphone is key, so if it's not a 2nd camera, I'd go with the shotgun mic, too, and *maybe* even a pocket recorder and microphone so you're not dependent on the wireless.
Robert Benda is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 18th, 2014, 12:01 PM   #9
Major Player
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Plantation, FL
Posts: 238
Re: Got $500 to spend....

I'm happy with this:
Rode Stereo VideoMic Pro STEREO VIDEOMIC PRO B&H Photo Video

It's not directional, but it's easy and gives a nice sound.
You're missing a wide angle lens in your kit, too.
__________________
Mark Ahrens
www.heritagefilms.net
Mark Ahrens is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 18th, 2014, 01:22 PM   #10
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Charleston, WV
Posts: 326
Re: Got $500 to spend....

So by "not directional" you mean that it is designed to get natural sound instead of being used for interviews?

So the Rode shotgun mix for $268 on B&H is more for interviews and the mic you just linked to is more for natural sound? Just making sure I'm getting that right?
Brock Burwell is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 18th, 2014, 01:40 PM   #11
Major Player
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Plantation, FL
Posts: 238
Re: Got $500 to spend....

Yes, that mic is good for ambient/natural sound. I wouldn't use a shotgun for an interview unless it's on a boom stand 12" from the speaker. Rely on your lavs for that. The mic above is good for run and gun.

I couldn't find a link to the cable i'm talking about.
I am about to sell my T2i and 60D if you're interested. Not sure on prices yet.
__________________
Mark Ahrens
www.heritagefilms.net
Mark Ahrens is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 18th, 2014, 02:12 PM   #12
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Arlington, TX
Posts: 2,230
Re: Got $500 to spend....

Hey Mark! Hope everything is going well.

Brock, I would say from reading your posts, take some of the money and buy an audio production how-to book. Or a course etc... Learning about audio is so important to making good video. Knowledge is far more useful than a misplaced expensive microphone.

My other suggestion is maybe a decent tripod/head but that will depend upon how you end up making your money (what kinds of jobs you do). As you already know, $500 does not go very far in the grand scheme of things. :(
Tim Polster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 18th, 2014, 02:47 PM   #13
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Camas, WA, USA
Posts: 5,513
Re: Got $500 to spend....

For corporate work, church recordings, and interviews? I'd focus on audio for sure.

For the best quality at the lowest cost, you want to use a wire, rather than wireless. (A $20 cable outperforms a $2,000 transmitter.)

Let's start with the recorder. Entry-level pro recorders include the Zoom H4n, Tascam DR-100 Mk II, DR-40, and the Tascam DR-60D (which looks really interesting, though I haven't used it.) These are in the $200-$300 range and are adequate. We moved up to the Fostex FR-2LE, which is much cleaner but it's larger and about twice the price.

Next you need the $20 cable. This means that your interviews are fixed (seated or standing), but that's not a bad thing. It's much tougher to move the camera, have good lighting over a distance, and to avoid causing unwanted sounds when walking.

For the mic, I'll bust your budget by recommending a Sanken COS-11D lavalier mic (the version with the XLR connector) or COS-11DBP (can run on batteries). It sounds absolutely great and you will never need to upgrade it. You'll eventually want a second mic for the times you want more than one person on camera.

Alternatively, you could go with a mic on a stand. your interviews will be indoors, so you'll want a hypercardioid. A good (but not "the best") mic is the Audio Technical AT4053b. It costs more than the Sanken, which is why I recommend the lavalier. You can get an A+ lav for less money than for a B+ hyper. The advantage with the hyper is that you can put it on a stand for a solo, seated interview and you can also have somebody hold a boom when you want to record more than one person.

The final "trick" is to get some stands and moving blankets. Let's say you have large windows behind the camera. These will give a hard reflection that will make your audio sound "cheap". Hang the blankets to tame the reflections and your result will immediately go from amateur to pro. And don't forget to find a spot with minimum heating and air conditioning sounds.

The Rode Videomic Pro recommended above is great for an on-camera environmental mic (I own one), but it's no good for interviews. Get a lav/hyper and recorder for that.

You'll also want headphones. Take a look at the Sony MDR-7506, Sennheiser HD 25-SP II, or Sennheiser HD 280 Pro. The Sonys are a bit bright, which is nice for cutting through the ambient sound, the HD 25-SPs are very sensitive so they work in loud environments, and the HD 280 Pros are probably the most accurate and best choice if you do midnight mixing. Note that the HD 25-SPs are on-ear headphones and the others are over-the-ear. You can't make a bad choice among these.

With these tools and good technique, your interviews will sound absolutely professional - at a cost of about $800. Use your current gear with good lighting and you're there. On the other hand, there's nothing that you can do to improve the video-side enough to overcome low-quality sound.
__________________
Jon Fairhurst
Jon Fairhurst is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 18th, 2014, 08:38 PM   #14
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Miami, Florida USA
Posts: 113
Re: Got $500 to spend....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brock Burwell View Post
Great advice guys..

I do currently have Magic Lantern installed which has really helped save a few shots with the focusing tool and I love the rack focus tool on it. So far those are the only two things I've used, but I'm glad I installed that.
My favorite part of ML, apart from the focus assist, is how I can dial in a specific color temp...instead of just going by a picture of a sun, bulb or cloud to get an average Kelvin temp setting. ;)

Oh yes...and the t3i 3X Crop feature too!
__________________
John DuMontelle - Freelance / Miami, Florida - USA
http://www.latincamproductions.com/

Last edited by John DuMontelle; February 18th, 2014 at 09:25 PM.
John DuMontelle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 18th, 2014, 10:30 PM   #15
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Charleston, WV
Posts: 326
Re: Got $500 to spend....

Absolutely amazing advice guys. I really appreciate it.

Let me ask you this. After reviewing the answers here and comparing them with what I will be doing, I have realized that I really need a few things...

A good lav mic. Perhaps this one. The folks and B&H said it was the best one for the price.
Audio-Technica AT899 - Condenser Lavalier Microphone AT899 B&H

A good mic for natural sound. I was looking at the Rode Stereo VideoMic Pro
Rode Stereo VideoMic Pro + Dead Kitten Windshield Bundle B&H

I also want a slider for a few things I have coming up and I thought the Opteka would be a good/cheap slider. I hear a lot of people say it's pretty amazing for the price.
Opteka GLD-200 23" Camera Track Slider Video Stabilization System

All of that said, I do have a question. It was suggested that I get a recorder (maybe something like the Zoom H4 (
Zoom H4n Handy Mobile 4-Track Recorder ZH4N B&H Photo Video
)
I was just wondering how necessary that is? I know that it will allow me to use XLR mics in it, but can't I just find a cheaper adapter to allow me to do that? Would this actually increase the quality of my sound or would it just allow me to watch my levels? I'm just not sure why I need it. Why can't I just get an extender for my lav mic and plug it into my camera? That would also solve the issue of having to sync audio in post. That said, would something like the h4n work as well as the Rode Stereo VideoMic Pro at getting natural sound for b-roll? Comparable?

Thanks for your help guys. You all are live savers for a new guy getting into this. It means a lot
Brock Burwell is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > Most Recent Additions... > SPC - Single Person Crew

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 11:36 AM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network