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Wedding / Event Videography Techniques
Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...

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Old February 4th, 2011, 08:21 PM   #1
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If you only...

Ok, I've taken everything from the last post and made notes. I'm going to ask one more question and then compare those notes. And then...I'm going to start buying.

If you only had ten thousand dollars to spend on your video biz....what would you buy...very specific. The only thing that you have in your vid room is a brand new Imac computer. You have ten grand to spend....go for it. Thanx guys...trying to look at the budget and make sure I get what I can get for the money that I have. I would just like to see what you would spend it on and how. Do not add anything related to marketing costs....that's a seperate budget. So ten grand in equipment. Thank you kindly!
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Old February 4th, 2011, 09:14 PM   #2
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Your iMac is just barely going to cut it. If you scale some big HD files or render some big HD files it's going to feel like a Yugo.

But because this is a fledgling endeavor, I'll start this off with the purchase of two 7Ds (of course you have to know how to shoot video with these. To assume it's easy is pure folly)

Buy camera body only. The kit lenses are junk K-mart toys - don't even buy it. For weddings choose all f2.8 or better lenses IMHO.

I just spent 3K.
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Old February 4th, 2011, 09:45 PM   #3
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I am going to have to do this in shifts, as my calculator cools off in between.

Adobe Production Premium for Mac $1,699
Plural Eyes for Premiere for Mac $ 149
Colorista II for Premiere Pro/After Effects $ 299
Subtotal for software $ 2,147

Panasonic GH2 w/ 14-140 lens From Provantage $ 1357.43
Panasonic GH2 w. 14-42 lens from Provantage $ 883.92
2 Panasonic 20mm Pancake Lenses $ 650.00
6 Patriot LX 16gb SDHC cards from Newegg $ 120.00 (on sale today for $104 less rebate)
Subtotal for GH2s and accessories $ 3011.35

Software and Cameras and lenses so far $5158.35
Left to go $4841.65

Panasonic HMC 150 from Adorma $2,825.00
4 more Patriot LX 16gb SDHC cards $ 120.00
Subtotal for Panasonic HMC 150 $2,945.00

Left to go $1896.35

3 Digital Voice Recorders (take your pick) $ 500.00
5 Giant Squid Mics (3 black & 2 white) $ 162.00
Subtotal for recorders and mics $ 662.00

Left to go $ 1234.65

Manfrotto 562B Pro Fluid Monopod $ 219.99
Manfrotto 028B Black Tripod Legs $ 285.00
Manfrotto 055XPROB Tripod $ 160.00
2 Manfrotto 701HDV Tripod head $ 280.00
Subtotal for supports $ 944.99

Total right now for all this gear $9710.34

I personally wouldn't do it that way, but people have been known to call me cheap. I would search Ebay and the forums for almost new used stuff and save some cash that way.
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Old February 4th, 2011, 09:53 PM   #4
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CHIP!!! Why would you tell me to do it that way if YOU wouldn't do it that way!?!?! If it was YOUR ten grand was the question!! So, what would you have kept on your list and what would you have gotten rid of. I'm still going to research your items. Hopefully more people will post and I can take the best of the best and put it together. Thanx for you time in sending me the budget. So nice of you.
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Old February 4th, 2011, 10:17 PM   #5
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Chip, that's an extensive list, damn you did some homework! But...

"Panasonic GH2 w/ 14-140 lens From Provantage $ 1357.43
Panasonic GH2 w. 14-42 lens from Provantage $ 883.92
2 Panasonic 20mm Pancake Lenses $ 650.00 "

I would ask myself... Are these lenses good in low light for receptions?
Do I want to invest in Panasonic?
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Old February 4th, 2011, 10:41 PM   #6
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Here is my kit so you have some ideas. Two other software items I'd recommend, prodad by mercalli, and neat video. I'm also saving up for a slider and a blackbird stabilizer. I'd also upgrade the tripod with a 504HD at this point.
My kit:
1- 5d Mark II
1- Canon t2i
1- 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM
1- 1.4 extender
1- Helios 44M-6 58mm(M42)
1- Sigma 85 f/1.4
1- Zeiss 50mm 1.4 (C/Y)
1- 35mm f/1.4L
1- extension tubes set
1-32 cf card
3-16 cf card

tripod kit~
1-Smith-Victor SMTB990 TB-990 Tripod
1-Manfrotto 501HDV Pro Video Head
1-zucato z-finder
1-D|Focus V3 follow focus
1-juicelink preamp
1-Sennheiser MKE 400
run and gun stabalizer~
1-Cullmann CUTP 3090 Travelpod
1-Zoom H4n w/cheetah stand
1-TASCAM DR07 Handheld Digital Recorder w/ lav
1-Genus GL GMB/DSLR Adaptor
1-561bhdv-1 monopod

Good luck!
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Old February 4th, 2011, 11:19 PM   #7
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If I were to go DSLR I would prolly have to go canon....even though I'm used to shooting Nikon, and my lenses are Nikon. I just don't know that I would want to shoot just cam. The audio part doesn't scare me at all, but if I'm honest....12 minute record time really does. I have to remind myself to breath sometimes!!! That's an awful lot of pressure to think about forgeting to press record and missing out on "the kiss"....or "the I DO". Hmmm....really scary for me. However, it's simply beautiful footage. I may go vidcam and play around with a 7D. I already have enough in my homework file though. Who knows, we will see.

Mainly, just trying to figure out how to distribute my budget so that I can comfortably build each section as I go. Just looking for a balance. I have been reading the forums on the big debate between wireless mic and voice recorders. There are clearly places to save money. I just need to figure out how my budget is best spent to be operational, and fully functional and still have the opportunity to build each section as I make money. I just want to make wise choices. By asking the question here and getting different opinions, I can see things that I might have forgotten, but mostly I can research those things and see where my best buy might come from.
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Old February 5th, 2011, 12:17 AM   #8
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Amanda, this is essentially the same question that you asked on 27 Jan except now you're imposing a budget.

Seems to me that Chip replied as he did because whilst offering you his advice, he wouldn't start his journey from the same place.

My recommendation remains the same; rent until you can answer the question yourself.
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Old February 5th, 2011, 01:15 AM   #9
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Amanda: I think Phil is dead on correct. What any one of us would do might not be workable for you.

Case in point: you seem to like DSLRs. I, on the other hand, haven't touched my Nikon glass in almost 20 years and haven't even laid hands on a still camera for at least 16 years. I've been doing wedding videos for 20 years and multi-cam shoots for 17 years.

I look at Chip's list and say that a GH2 would not work for me. Would it work for you? Maybe. Maybe not.

If I had to replace everything today, I might look seriously at the Panasonic HMC150 that Chip recommended, particularly if I were going to run with only one or two cameras. I might look seriously at getting four or five small cams (CX550vs) and running multi-cams the way Philip suggested in a recent speculative posting. (It's actually not too far off from the way i work now, anyway.)

On the other hand, to keep doing what I do now, I would probably get a Sony AX2000 (used if I could find one), a couple of new Sony CX700s, some extra batteries and SD cards, some mike stands, a Sennheiser G3 wireless lavalier, a good pair of over-the-ear headphones, a couple of good shotgun mikes (the new Rode Videomic Pro looks interesting), one digital recorder (maybe a zoom H1), and the support/tripods that Chip suggested.

I'd be looking to buy new computer hardware, as well. Assuming you want to stay with your iMac, I'm at something of a loss. The only things I can suggest are getting some external drives (7200 rpm firewire drives would be best with an iMac, I think) and then dowloading trial/demo versions of software to see if and how well it runs on your computer. I work with Avid MC5 and Adobe CS5 Production Premium. That's mostly because these are packages I have as the result of the eternal cycle of upgrades being much less expensive than buying into new software and at any given time.

Would this approach work for you? Maybe. Maybe not.

As Philip says, the only way for you to find out is to start doing some work and the best way is so rent some of the cameras you think you might want. I'm guessing that Mount Vernon might be a little too rural to have camera rental, but can you get over to St. Louis and check out the rental places there? Rent some dslrs and see if they work for what you want to do in video. Then try working with a rented NX5 or XHA1 and see if you like that any better. Are you connected to any of the colleges in or around Mt. Vernon? If so, maybe you could check out some of the equipment there.
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Old February 5th, 2011, 02:05 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Craig Terott View Post
But because this is a fledgling endeavor, I'll start this off with the purchase of two 7Ds...
The 60D is much better than the 7D, the swivel screen on the 60D is invaluable for video and the 7D overheats like its on fire - not trust worthy for weddings. Remember that when you have a budget & make a once off purchase you buy a lot of stuff you never use also in this industry you never stop buying equipment its a bottomless pit.

If I had to start over from starch this is what I would buy however my current list of equipment far exceeds your limited budget but this is a good starting point & will empower you to fully cover a wedding professionally.

Camera & Lenses
2x Canon EOS 60D DSLR Camera
Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Zoom Lens
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM Telephoto Zoom Lens

Support Gear
1x Manfrotto 561BHDV Fluid Video Monopod W/Head (You will use this more than anything!)
2x Manfrotto 504HD Head w/546B 2-Stage Aluminum Tripod System

Power Solution
2x Switronix PowerBase 70 Battery Pack

1x Zoom H4n Handy Mobile 4-Track Recorder
2x Zoom H1 Ultra-Portable Digital Audio Recorder
2x Lavalier Mics

Filters & Light Control
2x Genus 77mm ND (Neutral Density) Fader Filter
2x Sun Hood for 60D: Hoodman HD-300VIDEO Camcorder Hood
3x 800W Lights or 650W
2x Z96 LED Lights

Data & Storage
8x Transcend 32GB SDHC Card
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Old February 5th, 2011, 03:06 AM   #11
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Amanda, just like I wrote on the other thread it really depends on the way you want to work.

I find Chip's list really good with only a few objections (I would only get the 14-140 and one 20mm pancake lens and the rest would be a bunch of other fast primes. If you choose to go that route I will be glad to write about them).

Phillip and Jay would recommend a different approach with small multiple camcorders and that would be also an excelent idea but with a different filming approach.

Nicholas also did a nice list of equipment to buy that would work just as well as the equipment in Chip's list.

So which approach you think you will take?

Will you be shooting solo? will you have one assistant? will you have 2 shooters? will you have 2shooters and an assistant?
Do you like steady shots ?(cameras on tripods) do you preffer shots with a sense of movement? (slider, steadicam and crane shots),

Are the wedding venues in your area dark? what type of ceremonies are the most common there?
Do you want to deliver a long version of the wedding? do you want to deliver a short movie and you don't care about documenting the whole thing? Do you want to deliver both a long version of the wedding and a short edited movie? do you want to direct your couples? do you want to leave them enjoy their wedding and just shoot what is hapening? are you planning to interview guests? etc etc

The answers to these questions will determine what sort of equipment you need.

Last edited by Spiros Zaharakis; February 5th, 2011 at 03:47 AM.
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Old February 5th, 2011, 03:09 AM   #12
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Amanda -
OK, you shoot Nikon, and have some lenses - are any of them fairly fast, could you perhaps just buy a new Nikon body that shoots video (IIRC there's a D7000 thread, I think that's the latest and greatest from Nikon). Reasoning being that to collect glass for a HDSLR can burn your budget fast.

One question, do you intend to shoot solo, recruit the hubby for second cam/b-roll, or develop secondary shooters? Reasoning being you don't need a camera with a bunch of manual control if there's no one to tweak it - whle the small cams have limited manual capability, they'd be "set and forget", except for perhaps the quick visit if you shoot multicam (I set my front cam framing up for wide, with the zoom in giving me the tight framing I will want, and I stop by the cams to adjust the zoom before I rotate to the back of the room).

Sounds to me like Jay also uses a similar multicam approach to how I shoot - multiple smaller video cameras strategically placed, to give the angles you know you will want. My intentions are to add an HDSLR (two actually, as one will be doing photos most times - redundant gear/capabilities) and shoot the "glamour" and tight shots while manning that rig.

I think what Chip was getting at was that he'd buy used when possible to save $$, which I'd advocate as well. Stretch that budget!

I'd get the manfrotto 561 without question, I have used the 560, and just scored a 561 - you'll find it quite handy. If your other cams are mostly going to be locked down (don't NEED smooth action, just support and HEIGHT to shoot over crowd), a couple Sunpak (they sell under several brand names) 7500's are cheap and solid and will get your cams up over anyone but Herman Munster (the 561 is also very tall, and height counts sometimes in this biz!). The heads on the 7500's are pretty marginal, but once you get them pointed and locked, who really cares!?

If you want dynamic shots but still handheld, consider a MultiRig or similar - stable shots will set you apart, so you want a rig for your "main" camera that will take weight off your back (thus the waist belt and support rod), and be easy to hold steady. If you want to keep the budget down, pick up a Spiderbrace and use a monopod to sub for the support rod - not quite as good, but very workable, and there are other options. I cobbled up my own rigs, because "lo-budget" works for me.

Buy supprt gear ONCE, or at most TWICE (if you go too cheap on round 1!) - you'll use it WHATEVER cameras you're using.

I lean towards digital recorders - at least one should be very compact, to easily fit in the Grooms pocket, with a lav mic. I've got some old iRiver 700 and 800 series with Giant Squid and Audio Solutions mics. That said, I also have a modified Sony Bluetooth mic that attaches to my Sony cams, and a couple unmodifed I can use for zone coverage. I used some inexpensive VHF wireless, but they tended to be short range, and a couple venues I shoot had so many "in house" wireless, it wasn't worth trying to find an available channel.

I've got some cheap Sima LED lights, they work if I really need the extra kick, but you really need to either add diffusion or get a dimmable light - people tend to have trouble with a bright light in a dark room! I think a number of the guys here have purchased the Comer 1800 from Taky, who shoots weddings and is a member here, and also sells some cool toys on the side.

And now back to....
To start, buy at least TWO, preferably three smaller top of the consumer line cameras (Sony 500 series or the new CX700, Panasonic 700 series or the new 900 series, or Canon HF-S series). This gives you multicam/cutaway abilities, immediately setting you apart from "one handycam guy", and opening advanced editing in post. IMO, you don't want these to have shallow Depth of Focus (DoF, most won't, by design, and this is where the HDSLR comes in - maybe your "new" Nikon body?). Simple reasoning is if you do shoot multicam, now you've got the cameras for it, and can add a "big cam" or HDSLR later to get fancy. You may have the "big cam" or HDSLR in mind, and so try to select something that won't be too much of a pain to color match in post with your eventual purchase.

I think I've used a little more than 1/3 but less than 1/2 of your 10K budget, now you've got plenty of money for a rainy (or snowy) day, and you've got enough toys to do a professional production. Although your cams aren't too "impressive", (the one downside to the high end consumer cam, even if the image quality is just dandy for all but the most picky), you can pimp them out to look impressive enough <wink>.

Again, this is the sort of setup I've got, pulled together on the cheap, but it does the job. I've bought and sold plenty of "toys" along the way, and my current setup is compact, light, fast to set and strike, and almost idiot proof.
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Old February 5th, 2011, 03:18 AM   #13
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Appart from what everyone has said so far, you will also need something to boost your iMac's performance.

OWC TurnKey Upgrade/Installation Program for Apple iMac 27" 2010 Models (iMac11,3) - Add Solid State Drive (SSD), eSATA Port, and/or additional options as well as a backup system (external backup drives frequently backed up and saved in a different location).

I would go for 16GB of RAM, 2 SSD drives and an external enclosure with large 2TB drives in it (WD 2TB Caviar Black FASS would be my choice) plus a USB docking station to attatch the back up drives (lower cost Samsung 2TB drives would be my choice).

Oh, and I just saw Dave's suggestions and they are sound too. In that case I would preferably go for the new camcorders canon just announced (they are not available yet) the XA10 and the HF-M series with the new improved sensor. One XA10
Canon XA10 HD Professional Camcorder 4922B002 B&H Photo Video
a couple cheaper ones that share the same sensor
Canon VIXIA HF M40 Flash Memory Camcorder 5117B001 B&H Photo
plus a couple DSLR's Be it Canon, Nikon, Panasonic or Sony it doesn't really matter quality wise because they all perform well, however they vastly differ in features and that may be a serious factor.

Last edited by Spiros Zaharakis; February 5th, 2011 at 04:05 AM.
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Old February 5th, 2011, 04:06 AM   #14
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So here's the way I would do it and it would take me months to assemble all of this into one nice big pile.

1 GH2 "body only" from Unique Photo $ 738.
1 GH2 w/14-140 kit lens Provantage $1358.
1 GH2 w/14-42 lens Provantage $ 884.
1 used GH1 w/14-140 kit lens Amazon $ 877.
2 used Panasonic 20mm Pancakes $ 600. maybe a little less
1 Olympus 14-54mm f/2.8-3.5 Mark II $ 479.
Two used Manfrotto 561B monopods $ 300. tops, probably less
3 nice used Manfrotto 3246 tripods $ 420. or less
3 used Manfrotto 3130 Fluid Heads $ 270. or less
2 Used Manfrotto dollies $ 80. or less
Rode Stereo VideoMic new or used $ 250. or less
Rode VideoMic new or used $120. or less
Connectors for Rodes to GH cams $ 6.
3 used Pocketrak CX $ 300 maybe less
5 Giant Squid Mics 3 black 2 white $ 162.
Adobe Production Premium $1699
Plural Eyes $ 150.
Colorista II $ 299.
10 Patriot LX 16 gb cards $ 189. after I got the rebate.

Total for my pile $9181 at the very most.

Now if you would like me to go down why, well here goes.

The GH2 compared to the Nikons, sorry GH2 wins. The GH2 compared to most of the Canons, sorry the GH2 wins. The GH2 compared to the Canon 5dmark2, Canon wins on image, losses on record time. As far as the absolute most bang for the buck, it is GH2 hands down. You see I have 4 cams and 4 lenses for less than 2 Canon 5d bodies only.

Now I would set those up as one GH2 on a tripod on each side with a 14-140 on each. I would then put one on the monopod with the Oly lens for you to roam with. I would put the beater 14-42 on the GH1 and stick up up in the air on the third tripod in the back, just as insurance.

The 20mm Pancakes, those are for the low light reception. The 2nd monopod, for that second shooter you might someday get.

Th 3246s, you will never ever wear those out. But after you drag them around a while, you will see why the dollies are in there. :-)

Because the GHs don't overheat or have record limits, I'd forget that HMC 150. Besides I have one whole camera system to learn, who needs to learn two at the same time, right???

Audio..... Mic up the bride, the groom and the celebrant, and stick the Rode Videomic on top of your cam. Put the Stereo Videomic on the cam closest to a PA speaker or the choir etc. Who cares if you can't monitor any it ??? You have 5 possible mic'd audio sources to work with, at least one of them has got to be good enough to use.

Now Adobe Production Premium has two of the must have programs in it. If you go out to buy Photoshop and After Effects only, you are going to end up paying as much as the entire suite. So this way you also get Premiere Pro for an NLE and Soundbooth which will handle your audio tweaking needs.

Plural Eyes is a must have for working with multiple audio sources. It will sync all 7 of your audio sources in no time, compared to the nightmare of trying to do it manually.

Colorista II, just a seriously way cool color correction plug in !!!

This pile still needs spare batteries and cases to stick all this stuff in.

You also should plan on 2 months of Lynda.com training right off the bat, with several additional months as you get into shooting more. Those are $25 a month, just pay that as you go. When you start Lynda.com training, the first month you will be glued. Sometime during the second month, you are going to hit information overload. A couple of months later, you are going to want to go back in because you will remember they talked about what you need to accomplish right then, you just don't remember what they said.

Now if I was already sitting on Nikon glass, I would go get adapters and probably eliminate some of those lenses. The ones I wold dump first, would by the Pancake 20mm. The 14-140 are pristine in outside daylight conditions and optimized for HD. They also do constant auto focus, which you want on those unmanned cams. If you switch the 14-42 kit to body only, you pick up about $150. That would be my next casualty, if I were to already have some glass.

So that's my list but as always YMMV.
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Old February 5th, 2011, 05:20 AM   #15
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Let's summ it up:

iMac upgrade (very important IMHO) + back up drives Approximately $2500
Software $2147 (I agree with Chip's list)

That leaves you with $5353 to buy cameras, lights, tripods, audio.

Hmm that's tough.

I would start with just 2 small camcorders (canon HF-M40) $1400 and 1 DSLR,
If you have some fast Nikon glass you can buy an adaptor and use the lenses with any camera.

The Canons have a 12 minute limit before you need to hit record again. The 5D, 7D, T2i have overheating problems in hot whether, the 60D DOESN'T.
There is a hack available for the T2i that makes it the most powerfull of all adding Audio control, Live audio levels, Live Histogram, Zebra, Peaking, Auto resume recording (to overcome the 12min limit), and much more.
The 7D is just too expensive for reasons that are of no benefit for video shooting.
The 5D has a bit better IQ in low light but costs a lot more and it is not as versatile as the others. Not recommended in your case.
The Panasonic GH2 is a more video friendly DSLR, adopts third party lenses easier (low cost- high quality used Canon FD and Minolta MD lenses as well as other vintage lenses) shoots up to the cards's limit, is smaller, lighter, and doesn't overheat.
It also has Auto Focus that works quite well, something that the Canons dont have (actualy they do but it is completely useless). It is not perfect and it only works with some Panasonic lenses but it is better than nothing as there are occations were you really need AF.
Nikon has IQ on par with the rest but excels in nothing and it is the most limited of all.
Last but not least the new Sony a33/a55 hasn't got manual controls and that for is banned from most videographers but it is actualy very easy to control exposure using the exposure lock and the exposure compensation dials.
The only reason I mention this camera is because it has Auto Focus that actually works and works really well especialy when you try to follow a moving subject or when you do moving shots (steadicam) in low light (where you cannot stop down the lens for more DOF).

The Sonys overheat badly and they are not recommended for main use but they could be life savers in some cases.

Now if I were you, with the remaining $3953 I would get:
1 Rode Video Mic pro $250 (the +20db setting is very important),
1 Canon Wireless Mic $250 (just announced, not available before March, bluetooth, would use it with one of the small camcorders)
2 Zoom H1 recorders with Giand Squid lav mics $250
1 Manfrotto 028 tripod w/501HDV head $430
1 Manfrotto 561BHDV or 562B monopod $270 or $219
2 Cheaper Tripods to support your 2 small camcorders approximately $300
Clamps with ball heads in case you want to place those camcorders in unusual places $30-100 from ebay
That leaves us with approximately $2150 for a DSLR and lenses.

Option 1) Panasonic GH2 + 14-140 + 20mm Pancace, + 14 f2.5 Pancake + 50mm used MF f1.4 Canon FD lens + Vivitar Series 1 70-210 f2.8-4 or 70-210 f3.5 FD mount plus FD to m4/3 adapter
Option 2) Canon 60D, Tamron 17-50 2,8 VC, 50mm f1.4 MF lens and Vivitar Series 1 70-210 in any mount except FD or MD from ebay + adapters to EOS mount.
You will also need at least 160GB or more for SD cards and that will be an additional cost of $190-250.

Chip was also typing at the same time (I'm very slow at typing) and after a quick read i have some objections. I'm going for lunch (it's 2:30PM here) and i'll post them later.
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