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Old December 30th, 2003, 09:15 PM   #1
Obstreperous Rex
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: San Marcos, TX
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Budgeting for Equipment Purchases

Howdy from Texas,

Just curious about how some of you plan your budget for such captial expenses as equipment purchases. For instance, I've been under the impression that a camera package should break down as roughly 50% to 60% for the camera and 50% to 40% for the tripod, extra batts, and camera-specific gear (but maybe not necessarily a lighting kit... hmm). And I've thought that the budget for post production assets should roughly equal the value of the production assets -- in other words, however much you spend on the camera package is what you should spend on an NLE to match. Anybody else looking at it in those terms?

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Old January 1st, 2004, 02:17 PM   #2
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I think that this depends very largely on what you are going to
use the camera for (documentaries, fiction, news etc.).

Personally I only budgeted for my camera at the time I bought it.
For two reasons. One, I didn't know yet about the extra stuff.
Two I needed to learn the camera first anyway. Three, I wanted
a good camera and thought I'd buy other stuff lateron.

I already had a PC so wasn't looking into that either, since I
don't care too much about NLE speed.

But if I seriously wanted to invest now (already bought my
camera) I'd be looking at new screens for my edit PC + calibrated
monitor (portable would be nice as well), steadicam and perhaps
a harddisk recorder.

Again, it depends a lot on what you want to do. Fictional work
will have different lighting requirements than a news shoot.

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Old January 1st, 2004, 05:37 PM   #3
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My little biz isn't in the same league as those whose opinions you were most likely soliciting, but FWIW:

Even though we want to do "fictional" work, it seems the event shoots are what we're getting. (At least it's something to show in the income column at the end of the year.) Regardless, I think our budget would be about the same, if we're taking lights out of the equation. I agree with the 60-40 on camera/gear expenses--that's what we've done and been pretty happy, although we've put up with some inconveniences over gear (lack of) while I wait to justify the expense.

On the post-production side, I've ignored comments from local production people who sniff at our software-based--and inexpensive--editing system, because our little setup has rivaled their "industry recognized" NLE's in both editing time and finished product. (Like lots of folks in this community what matters most to me is what the viewer will like on a tv. Learned that from a guy on this forum who said, "Content is king.":) Therefore, our post-production package didn't come anywhere near to matching that of the camera package.

Not sure if that was the kind of opinion you were looking for; it would be interesting to hear how other folks are planning.
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Old January 1st, 2004, 11:32 PM   #4
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Location: Ventura California
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budgeting percentages


Im not sure if those percentages work on prosumer dv, it sounds like it could be right for the full size dvcams or beta. The problem is a top of the line prosumer mini dv/dvcam is generally 4-5. But with a really good tripod running $1250-2000 and Lectrosonics as a top wireless in the $1500-2000 mark(and its always best to have two:). Then with batteries, lights, lavs, monitors, lenses etc the percentages seem skewed where to get top level access. other essentials you could easily outstrip your camera cost....Now if I was getting a Beta SX, or DSR-370/570 I think that those percentages might be right on the mark.

In terms of post with FCP and other programs out there (and coming from a news bg) those costs have been pushed downward with more than acceptable quality possible at affordable costs whether a pro or prosumer cam.

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