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Old December 1st, 2016, 11:55 PM   #1
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When to invest in new equipment and sale old equipment?

Just curious what others typical life cycle for cameras and equipment is?

I recently sold some of my old HD cameras (one 10 years old) and was surprised at how little they were worth (on ebay). In order to have newish worry free equipment, what's your turn around time for getting new equipment?

With 4K becoming the norm soon, I would think that there would be clients who would ask if we are shooting in 4K. Its going to be expected, especially from production companies. Time to sell the old! HD cameras seem to be cheaper then ever!
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Old December 2nd, 2016, 01:30 AM   #2
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Re: When to invest in new equipment and sale old equipment?

Cameras, 5 years or so. I actually know folks who buy and sell every 12-18 months and don't lose any more value than I lose after 5 years (and they get a new gizmo every 12-18 months).

The rest of the gear... tripods, mics, cables, lights, stands, grip gear, etc... that stuff lasts forever.

The cameras I'm buying (I'm on a Sony FS5 right now)... $6k new... in 5 years, even if I just throw it away... the hard cost on that camera will have been $1250/year. I'm charging almost that much a day. And if history serves, it will last much longer than 5 years (but will be a B-cam by then).

I just don't sweat the loss that much.
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Old December 2nd, 2016, 02:24 AM   #3
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Re: When to invest in new equipment and sale old equipment?

I think the time to replace your cameras is when they no longer do what you require, either through wear or reliability or because your requirements have moved on.

I am still using 3 Panasonic HD cams that are 7-8 years old, battered and scratched, basically B cams now, but have never let me down. On the other hand, I also have two 4K cams as they give me greater editing options, great stills from video and the ability to supply in 4K for future clients if asked. At the moment my delivery is always HD and usually with a DVD requirement aswell.

The sale value to me is irrelevant as the cameras have all earned many times over what they cost and will probably be worth nothing when I finish with them.

Roger

Last edited by Roger Gunkel; December 2nd, 2016 at 02:25 AM. Reason: Spelling
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Old December 2nd, 2016, 05:59 AM   #4
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Re: When to invest in new equipment and sale old equipment?

If you choose wisely cameras while expensive and depreciate greatly pay for themselves. Its all the other extas and special equipment that might get used on only one job or never. I have room full of this stuff I'm trying to get rid of.
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Old December 2nd, 2016, 07:50 AM   #5
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Re: When to invest in new equipment and sale old equipment?

Camera cost is a big factor obviously too. You don't want to spend $10K on a camera and then have to make a loss of $5K selling it after a year to get the latest model. The wisest move is to speak to your accountant NOT the local camera shop. See what your gear will depreciate by each year and then you can work out when it's worth zero (on paper) and replace it. It's a bit like buying a car which loses huge value as you drive it out the showroom. I used to take advantage of the tax breaks on my cameras due to depreciation and value loss after selling them but prices are coming down for 4K cameras and you can make a decent amount of money with a reasonably priced camera and basically just write it off anyway. For me (like Roger) I can pay for a camera with one wedding gig and then it's a money making tool after that so the capital cost is way smaller than the income it produces. In the old days when we had to look at $15K to $25K per camera for weddings and make back a tiny percentage of the capital cost each month we had to keep them longer ..nowdays you can shoot a wedding on a 4K sub $2K camera so IF a new model comes out it's far easier to upgrade and not lose any money.

As long as my cams are running well I work them hard and really only replace when I feel I might start having a reliability issue as they paid for themselves a long time ago.
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Old December 2nd, 2016, 08:14 AM   #6
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Re: When to invest in new equipment and sale old equipment?

Some camera decisions are easier than others. Often a client isn't asking for a specific equipment but you want to add a new technique or increase the quality of your video. For instance I'm researching adding fluid steady cam motion but the cost and equipment can escalate quickly. I believe in exploring new technology that can lead you to new opportunities while trying not to break the bank. Many times you can't tell what purchases were bad business until later.

Last edited by Pete Cofrancesco; December 2nd, 2016 at 09:34 AM.
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Old December 2nd, 2016, 09:15 AM   #7
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Re: When to invest in new equipment and sale old equipment?

I have a very sober attitude about this. My gear lust days are long gone. It is 100% ROI for me. I work exclusively in the corporate market. They do not even know what 4K is and have no use for it. They leave it up to me to provide a quality product and i do just that. I disagree that "4K will be the norm soon". At least in my market. That is video guy hype. Yes it is here, but HD still has a self life left in it.

So to answer your time line question I replace cameras when my clients have a need for it. So far not even one has asked me about 4K at all.

Kind Regards,

Steve
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Old December 2nd, 2016, 10:41 AM   #8
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Re: When to invest in new equipment and sale old equipment?

Great input guys!

I work mainly in the corporate market and have not had anyone ask for 4K I just figured it would become the norm. Like HD did. Trying to plan ahead.
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Old December 2nd, 2016, 11:00 AM   #9
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Re: When to invest in new equipment and sale old equipment?

Hi Silas,

Think of it this way - if you have produced a high-quality 1080p video and someone is viewing it on a 4K screen, will they even know whether the video source is 4K or HD? The average person would never know the difference. So in that regard, I don't see any big demand for 4K with customers.

Rather, the benefit I see in shooting 4K material is that it allows a lot of latitude when editing as HD which allows for cropping (pan/zoom) in post. For instance, shoot an interview on a medium shot and then while editing, cut between original shot and close-ups created in post, great way to hide jump cuts. I've faked multi-camera shoots for stage events using a single 4K camera on wide angle the whole time.

I was an early-adopter of HDV, jumping in before the competition, and turned out my customers just didn't care. Tried to offer them Blu-ray and saw little interest, they were perfectly happy with DVD and still are to this day for the most part. So I invested in HD cameras and HD editing gear, only to continue delivering the same SD DVDs I always had...well, they are 16:9 now but that's the only difference really.

So no, I'm not worried about delivering 4K ;-)

Thanks

Jeff
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Old December 2nd, 2016, 11:08 AM   #10
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Re: When to invest in new equipment and sale old equipment?

Jeff, I totally agree! I actually did the same thing. Unfortunately I used to have people ask me if I was shooting HD or not. Even when the final product was on DVD. They don't know the difference, they just felt better if I was using the latest and greatest technology.

I am hoping to get a feel for when to sell my HD stuff since it will get outdated eventually. Editing system that will edit 4k when the time comes. Cameras that will put out good quality 4k footage. Etc.

I dumped a lot of money into gear when I started out and now I have sold all but the main stuff I use now. Keeping it simple and light weight. The truth is 4k cameras will probably be better in a few years anyways. So its hard to know when to jump on board with 4k. Hard to predict the future though!
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Old December 2nd, 2016, 11:36 AM   #11
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Re: When to invest in new equipment and sale old equipment?

I have the same feeling about 4k. No need for it plus it hurts low light capability if thats important to you. It seems like manufacturers feel compelled to include 4K on their new models to be competitive. For the most part I film and edit in hd and down sample to Sd for dvd delivery. I don't want the added time and expense of editing 4k.
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Old December 3rd, 2016, 04:36 AM   #12
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Re: When to invest in new equipment and sale old equipment?

The comments on 4K are interesting and I largely agree with most regarding delivery. I have never been asked for 4K delivery, but wedding clients are becoming aware of it through ads for 4k TV. They don't understand at all what it is, but are usually very impressed when I tell them I film in 4K.

I do think that filming and editing 4K footage has speeded up my editing workflow, as I cut to my backup cams far less often than previously. I have also recently filmed a school production with one 4K camera and a safety camera. All editing was done from the single 4K camera and was far quicker than cutting between the 4xHD cameras that I would usually use. That included pans, zooms and action following.

So I feel that 4K is a great tool for filming and editing, but we are a long way from delivery in 4K becoming the norm. As has been said, viewing in 4K or HD on a typical domestic size tv is going to show little noticeable difference to most people.

Roger
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Old December 3rd, 2016, 10:38 AM   #13
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Re: When to invest in new equipment and sale old equipment?

Roger,

This is off topic but I am curious......When you have a 4K time line and you manipulate the entire thing into crops, pans zooms etc aren't you creating a processing monster? Do you edit with a proxy file and then render out to HD from 4K? Or do you have a smoking hot editing system that can handle a long 4K time line (what is long 4 U?) with all of those effects in real time? Sounds like a great way to edit but I'm wondering about all of those effects in 4K dragging down real time?

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Old December 3rd, 2016, 03:44 PM   #14
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Re: When to invest in new equipment and sale old equipment?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Digges View Post
Roger,

This is off topic but I am curious......When you have a 4K time line and you manipulate the entire thing into crops, pans zooms etc aren't you creating a processing monster? Do you edit with a proxy file and then render out to HD from 4K? Or do you have a smoking hot editing system that can handle a long 4K time line (what is long 4 U?) with all of those effects in real time? Sounds like a great way to edit but I'm wondering about all of those effects in 4K dragging down real time?

Steve
HI Steve,

It's all relevent to new equipment and exactly the sort of thing I was wondering before getting into 4K.

I didn't use the 4k video for the fist few months with the cameras as my editing system was getting a bit long in the tooth. I had a new pc built a couple of months back with an Intel i7 four core eight thread 3.4 Ghz cpu and 16gb of dd4 ram. This was to enable me to work with the 4k video and I use Magix Video ProX7 for editing. I use the 4k files straight from the camera to edit with no proxy files.

As I am shooting mainly weddings and school productions, my clips are frequently to the maximum 30 minute limit. The camera breaks each 30 mins into shorter clips of around 6 minutes, which seamlessly slot together. I simply join them all together on the time line, then cut wherever I need to zoom in, or start and finish a pan etc. Typically I would cut the clip, crop the new section to the closeup I want, then drag the edge back over the previous and following clips for a cross fade. Everything runs in real time on the timeline and I am able to use a couple of 4k tracks if needed or sometimes a main 4k stream and a couple of HD alternative streams from locked off cameras.

When the edit is complete, I split the timeline into highlighted sections of around 30-40 minutes at convenient points and render each section to mp4 files. As my finished edits are usually 1-2 hours long, I rejoin the rendered mp4 sections if I am rendering out to dvd and add chapter ponts and menu. If delivering on usb, I just copy to a thumb drive after numbering them consecutively. 4k renders to mp4 in real time if simple editing, or up to twice real time if recoloured or stabilised etc. DVD from the joined mp4 is usuall 50% real time.

Hope that helps,

Roger
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Old December 3rd, 2016, 07:53 PM   #15
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Re: When to invest in new equipment and sale old equipment?

Hi Steve

Some people will do a wedding edit (as an example) in one massive 100 minute timeline which would be a nightmare to edit. I tend to render by event so there is one clip for bridal prep, one for arrival etc etc ..I even will break down the ceremony into 2 or 3 parts so even in 4K it's quite manageable. Should we use 4K ?? I'm very impressed with 4K BUT I get brides who talk about 4K (mainly the groom trying to be clever) and then when it comes to delivery, all they want is DVD's so technically I can shoot in SD !! I don't think the bride would know the difference and edits would be lightning fast too. The only valid reason to do a 4K shoot is because you might need to crop or you might want to use the Chroma Sub Sampling effect you get with 4K downsized to 1080 which makes your footage 4:2:2 ...Personally most have no idea so I still tend to shoot in 1080 although my cams will do a very nice UHD ! I really cannot see the point of struggling with 4K timelines if your delivery will be SD !! Corporate clients who specific 4K are a different story of course.
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