Need help choosing equipment at $2000 budget

Hello!
I did surf posts in this forum and got a lot of information and knowledge.

I love cinematography and would like to shoot short films as a hobby.

What camera, lenses, camera add-ons and lights would you recommend to purchase on the subjected budget that would make it possible to have that FILM LOOK in my future shorts?

I have already constructed a nice track dolly. Have some lights, though not happy with them. Purchased Matthews M25 Tripod.

Please, help me to get the right equipment.
 
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chilipie

Pro Member
indiePRO
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You can certainly get a nice camera and sound setup for that price, especially when you already have a decent tripod. You probably won't get much in the way of professional lighting equipment, but there's enough there for for some good DIY lighting gear.

What kind of things are you planning to shoot with the camera (drama, live events, documentary)? You also need to consider what matters to you most - HD v SD, manual controls for focus/iris, sensor size, changeable lenses, weight, size, ergonomics of the camera and what's available where you live.

If you can decide what you need out of your camera we can help work out what you'd be better off with :)
 
You can certainly get a nice camera and sound setup for that price, especially when you already have a decent tripod. You probably won't get much in the way of professional lighting equipment, but there's enough there for for some good DIY lighting gear.
I honestly do not know what does DIY abbreviation mean, but I understand it relates to lighting.
I have
1 x Designers Edge L-18 Home Light One-Light 500-Watt Halogen Portable Work Light (or similar)
3 x Stanley W12665 500-Watt Convertible Worklight (or similar)
1 x Windshield reflector
What kind of things are you planning to shoot with the camera (drama, live events, documentary)? You also need to consider what matters to you most - HD v SD, manual controls for focus/iris, sensor size, changeable lenses, weight, size, ergonomics of the camera and what's available where you live.

If you can decide what you need out of your camera we can help work out what you'd be better off with :)
Ok, lets go down the list

1) I am planning to shoot drama (short comedy, horror, music video) and maybe documentary.
2) The world is moving towards HD so I'd love to shoot in HD, but this is not a big deal. I am more concerned shooting widescreen 16:9 film-look 24p
3) Manual control is a MUST. Exposure, white balance, focus, DOF and so on.
4) I have no practical knowledge to decide on a sensor size
5) I'd prefer one universal lens, but ready for changeable if film-style frames require one.
6) Weight and size does not matter, but I want everything to fit into my Honda CRV's baggage compartment.
7) Ergonomics is a good think to have, not an issue, since I think I can handle any camera after sometime of use without pain.
8) Let's drop my local market off the list as electronics here are too expensive to consider.

I'm so grateful for your help, as with all the information I got here and from other sources in Internet I feel myself drowning in the info-ocean...
 

directorik

IndieTalk's Resident Guru
You are going to need good audio. You can sacrifice the “film
look” and a camera with an interchangeable lens to buy a good mic,
cables and a boom.

The reality is you cannot get a full, pro set up (camera, lens,
mic, cables, lights) for $2,000. A good light kit all alone will
take up most of that budget.

So you’re actually looking in the $1,200 range for a camera. So
take a look at:
Canon HF S21
JVC HM1
Panasonic HS700k
Samsung S16

You aren’t going to get some of your wish list, but that’s what
you can afford.

Do It Yourself
 
Its kind of difficult to tell you what to get when you haven't given a budget. Recommendations will be different if you have a $3,000 dollar budget or if you have a $7,000 budget.

-- spinner :cool:
 
Sound Kit:

Rode NTG-2 Package - $579 (mic, boom pole, softie, shock mount)
Oktava MK-012 - $349
Zoom H4n - $299
Sony MDR-7506 Headphones - $100
50' XLR cable - $45

Total - $1,372

If your camera has XLR inputs you can forego the Zoom.

If you're handy you can do a DIY boom pole for about $50, a shock mount for about $30, a windscreen for about $25. That will save about $250.

Don't be afraid to look for used gear.

Read my blog here about production sound here at IndieTalk.

"Sound is half of the experience."

One thing about audio gear; you're investment will be useful through many cameras and retain a larger percentage of it's value than video gear.
 
It's in the title - he has a $2000 budget ;)

It sure is, sorry :blush:

Since you are starting small, I know you can get a pretty good AudioTechnica shotgun mic for about $250. Yes, Sennheisers are better, they are also more expensive. I have a AudioTechnica similar to this one:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/563843-REG/Audio_Technica_AT875_Short_Condenser_Shotgun.html

Its a pretty good mid range affordable shotgun mic. For right now, its doing a good job for me.

-- spinner :cool:
 
You are going to need good audio. You can sacrifice the “film
look” and a camera with an interchangeable lens to buy a good mic,
cables and a boom.
The "film look" is ESSENTIAL for me.

The reality is you cannot get a full, pro set up (camera, lens,
mic, cables, lights) for $2,000. A good light kit all alone will
take up most of that budget.
Let's forget about PRO light kit; I will use the fixtures I already own. Let's go with ALMOST or SEMI-pro camera, lens, mic, cables.
So you’re actually looking in the $1,200 range for a camera. So
take a look at:
Canon HF S21
JVC HM1
Panasonic HS700k
Samsung S16
I will review each of them and will post my decision afterwards.
You aren’t going to get some of your wish list, but that’s what
you can afford.
Which items of my wish list you dropped off due to the budget limitations?
 
Sound Kit:

Rode NTG-2 Package - $579 (mic, boom pole, softie, shock mount)
Oktava MK-012 - $349
Zoom H4n - $299
Sony MDR-7506 Headphones - $100
50' XLR cable - $45

Total - $1,372
Why do I need THREE mics? Or did you put them as an option to choose?
If your camera has XLR inputs you can forego the Zoom.
I have not made my mind on the camera yet .
If you're handy you can do a DIY boom pole for about $50, a shock mount for about $30, a windscreen for about $25. That will save about $250.
I would prefer factory manufactured pieces.
Don't be afraid to look for used gear.
Yes, that's for sure. Its a win-win situation.
Read my blog here about production sound here at IndieTalk.
Thanks for guiding, I surely will.
"Sound is half of the experience."
TOTALLY AGREE!
One thing about audio gear; you're investment will be useful through many cameras and retain a larger percentage of it's value than video gear.
With this statement in mind I prefer purchasing some PRO-Rated equipment and forget about audio issues for years.
 

directorik

IndieTalk's Resident Guru
The "film look" is ESSENTIAL for me.

Then you can sacrifice audio gear to spend all $2,000 on a camera.
That opens up your choices a bit.

My point was a movie with the “film look” and poor audio isn’t
going to be as acceptable to the general viewer than a movie with
excellent audio and without the “film look”. But I hear where
you’re coming from.

So don’t drown in the info-ocean and look only at cameras that
offer 24p. That is your one essential and will get you a little
closer to your goal. Check out the Panasonic DVX100B.

Most cameras in your price range that have 24p do not have manual
controls and none of them will have an interchangeable lens.
 
Why do I need THREE mics? Or did you put them as an option to choose?

The Zoom H4n is a digital audio recorder. The NTG-2 is a shotgun mic for outdoor work; the MK-012 is a cardioid condenser mic for indoor use.

I would prefer factory manufactured pieces.

Don't turn up your nose at DIY stuff out of snobbishness; it can fill the gaps quite admirably until you have the budget to get something better.

... I prefer purchasing some PRO-Rated equipment and forget about audio issues for years.

"Pro" audio equipment is REALLY pricey; one mic will eat up your entire $2k budget. The NTG-2 and MK-012 both do a very nice job providing good bang-for-the-buck. After all, you're not waiting until you can afford a $100k camera, right? It all comes down to using what you do have with skill and creativity. When I was a touring musician I never had the latest, greatest toys; yet I always got the big gigs. Why? I could play my ass off and I knew my gear inside-out. The same still applies with my current studio; I'm putting out quality product with maybe 10% of the equipment most of my peers own because I push it to the extreme limits and, as immodest as it sounds, I have skills and passion.

An audience will put up with "substandard" picture as long as the script/story and the performances keep them interested; they will NEVER tolerate substandard sound.
 
Then you can sacrifice audio gear to spend all $2,000 on a camera.
That opens up your choices a bit.

My point was a movie with the “film look” and poor audio isn’t
going to be as acceptable to the general viewer than a movie with
excellent audio and without the “film look”. But I hear where
you’re coming from.

So don’t drown in the info-ocean and look only at cameras that
offer 24p. That is your one essential and will get you a little
closer to your goal. Check out the Panasonic DVX100B.

Most cameras in your price range that have 24p do not have manual
controls and none of them will have an interchangeable lens.
I'll stick with Canon HF S21.
 
Don't turn up your nose at DIY stuff out of snobbishness; it can fill the gaps quite admirably until you have the budget to get something better.
No snobbishness, no turning up my nose... The case is that I'm not very handy. It won't be DIY, but Do It For Me and it will cost me. I have ordered a hand-made track dolly and found out that I could have spent LESS money getting one on ebay.
An audience will put up with "substandard" picture as long as the script/story and the performances keep them interested; they will NEVER tolerate substandard sound.
I got this.

So, here we go (from ebay):
CAMERA:
Canon VIXIA HF S21 Dual Flash Memory Camcorder $998

SOUND:
Rode NTG-2 Package - $389 (mic, boom pole, softie, shock mount)
Oktava MK-012 - $189
Zoom H4 n Recorder 4-Track Mobile +16GB + REMOTE - 299
Sony MDR-7506 Headphones - $74.99
50' XLR cable - $48 (b&h)

LIGHTING(already have, but will get FLUORESCENT lighting in future)
1 x Designers Edge L-18 Home Light One-Light 500-Watt Halogen Portable Work Light (or similar)
3 x Stanley W12665 500-Watt Convertible Worklight (or similar)
1 x Windshield reflector

TRIPOD
Matthews M25 Tripod MSE M 25 For Canon HV20, HV30, HV40 (will HF S21 fit on it?)

GRAND TOTAL: 1997.99 :)
 
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You're not going to get more or less of a film-look just through adding a lens, but a wide-angle lens might come in useful.
Which one would you recommend for Canon HF S21? What about filters?

Another think that I need to know is the editing. Is the codec Canon HF S21 uses editing-friendly?

I have just found Panasonic HDC-TM700 High Definition PAL Camcorder and starting to compare it with Canon.
 
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