The Last Straw...

All right. I can't STAND it any more. Cracker Funk's thread is just WAY TOO MUCH fun.

The Funkmeister's gallant and heroic effort kicks ass and has me biting my nails and cheering him on.

I never thought I could actually MAKE movies. I'm a writer by inclination...

SO...

I'm headed out to Best Buy. They've got a deal on the T2i. And great financing: 36 months at no interest. That includes any extra lenses. What should I get besides the standard lens it comes with? They've got a cool 55-250mm f/4-5.6 Telephoto Zoom Lens for $300. Should I have them throw that in? Would I use it much? What other accessories should I pick up?

-Charles



I"m skeered. Am I doing the right thing? :D
 
YEAH!!!!!!!!!!

Big ups, Charles. Making movies is so much fun!

I will surely receive some dissent for what I'm about to say. But my recommendation is that you wade around for a little while, before finally jumping in the deep end.

When you're starting to learn how to compose a shot, keep it simple. Don't spend too much time worrying about too much stuff. Just learn and practice one thing at a time. Then, when you feel comfortable with that, move on. First-things-first: Rule of thirds. WITH A STILL CAMERA. Don't even start shopping for a video camera until you can compose a simple but nice-looking shot with a still camera.

This is my beginners' textbook. I swear by it. It was the first thing my professor put in my hands when I first started learning this stuff (in an Anthropology class, oddly enough). It's an easy read and very informative.

http://www.amazon.com/Bare-Bones-Camera-Course-Video/dp/0960371818

Don't even consider moving the camera in the beginning. No handhelds; no tracking/dolly. And NO ZOOMING! Everything on a tripod, steady shot. In the beginning, anyway; you'll know when you're comfortable enough with that to move on to more complicated shots.

Make a bunch of shorts. Those millions of shorts you keep writing -- produce them. In the beginning, don't even worry about sound or lights. Just make it look as good as you can, as far as the shot is concerned, and just as importantly, make sure you're shooting stuff that will cut together well. Add in audio and lights as you progress.

Now, everything I've mentioned up until this point will probably receive a lot of agreement from others. It's the next part -- I don't think you should get a T2i.

If (and that's a big if) you take my recommendation of letting your skills progress naturally and slowly, there's no need for a "fancy" camera. And by the time you're ready to start getting more serious about your footage, the T2i will be long-since obsolete.

I recommend a cheap miniDV camera -- something for a few hundred bucks or less (maybe even used). Just make sure you've got manual exposure and white-balance. If you can find one with a focus-ring, that's a nice bonus. Then, go out with your piece-of-shit camera and make a bunch of awesome movies that make people laugh. Eventually, the time will come for you to ditch that P.O.S. camera and get something better, but no need to rush to that point.

And have fun!!!
 
Just to add to what C-funk said, from what I've read of your material, you have some distinct well composed monologues.

One camera, your monologue, and somebody to play the role, be that just the actor reading it for now. Get yourself comfortable with the camera while ever so slowly learning how to give direction, one person at a time.
 
Ok.

You're right, Funk. You, too, Paper.

*sigh*

The thrill of purchase suppressed by the voice of reason. :)

Actually, I do have a little miniDV by Samsung, but doesn't have the focus ring. Should I pick up a different one? Is it critical?

I'll make a few shorts. Let you guys tear 'em apart, then improve.

Instant gratification ain't what it used to be...

:D
 
If the models had a longer life span, I'd say go ahead.

I wouldn't rule it out, are you going to get the same buzz working with a "t2i" as a "regular-Joe-tourist DV"? hell no. But it's just a suggestion I'm going to second. Yet, having the camera you want, may lead to you sleeping with the manual and shooting everything in sight, getting used to filming a lot quicker than perhaps the alternative would, only giving you half-bit visuals that certainly won't satisfy the imagery you're able to create.

It's just the timing, and the extent in which the manufactures are willing to throw-out, simply trying to spare you from that sickly feeling when you're finally ready to shoot and left sitting with a dud-model.

But i do impulse buys, maybe you need this to fan the flame, don't let it be put out and restrict you to the pen, or quill.
 
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Uranium City

Pro Member
indiePRO
If you've got a bug to start shooting, GET HOLD OF A CAMERA AND START SHOOTING!

And if you can afford the Canon, GET IT! It won't hinder your learning. There are a shit-ton of third party instructional books specific to that camera at your nearest bookstore that will help. And I don't think it will be obsolete for your purposes anytime soon...my Pentax K1000 that I inherited from my Dad who bought it from my Uncle who brought it back from Vietnam in the late '70s isn't obsolete.

You're an incredible writer and more prolific than I can imagine. If you can put those energies toward making your own stories come alive on the screen you'll get the best filmmaking education around.

Looking forward to your first screening room post. Let me know if there's anything I can help with.
 
Ok, now I'm totally confused. My Samsung miniDV pushes the crappiness envelope beyond anything imaginable. I'm afraid it would just frustrate me until I threw it against the pavement and gave up.

Uranium, thanks for the advice. I'm going to hold off for a few days and ponder it.

I do have a buddy who's a whiz-bang semi-pro with a still camera. Maybe I'll talk to him and see if he wants to hook up and work on video, pool our resources, yadda yadda.

Funkster, Paper, Uranium, I appreciate the advice and encouragement!

-Charles
 
My Samsung miniDV pushes the crappiness envelope beyond anything imaginable. I'm afraid it would just frustrate me until I threw it against the pavement and gave up.

That's definitely a valid concern, and Uranium is right when he points out that the T2i won't become obsolete for your purposes any time soon. I suppose I mis-spoke. I just meant that it won't be very long before there's a new fancy model, but I guess that's always true. When you mention frustration with crappiness, and I mentioned a focus ring, we're talking about the same thing. I don't think I could do a shoot using any of those annoying manual focus methods that so many consumer-level cameras have, like touching the screen, or adjusting it incrementally with a button. My head would explode, and I'd never get through a shoot. So, yeah, from that perspective, the T2i will definitely make things easier (and of course I'm not just talking about focus).

It's certainly not perfect. I'm becoming quite annoyed with how often it's been overheating on my shoot. Then again, it is 100 degrees with 90% humidity in Richmond, and we're shooting half the movie outside, so...maybe it's my fault for asking too much of it.

I suppose my primary point wasn't to keep you from buying the T2i. That camera will be terrific for you to learn to shoot films. Really, I just wanted to emphasize that you don't try and bite off more than you can chew. Baby steps. Learn and practice one thing at a time, and in the end, I think you'll be a much stronger filmmaker.

And, it is true that the shorts you've been writing would be quite good material for you to hone your skills on. And you've got a lot of good material.
 
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First off, I agree with everyone here in that you're an amazing writer. You use of words and ability to create something from nothing is a talent I wish I had.

Sadly, I'm going to have to suggest that you don't buy the fancy new T2i. My reasons being, you are new to this whole thing and you just don't need it. Equipment has jumped by leaps and bounds over the past few years. As someone who was the same as you (new to filming, without the talent of writing that you possess) I'm going to suggest exactly what we did. Started with a crappy camera, went out and filmed about 30 shorts, then took a leap up to a nicer model, and eventually after another few shorts, we will take another leap. You do not have to go in small increments, but I would suggest starting with something a little less nice, but perfect for learning like this such as http://www.amazon.com/Kodak-Pocket-Video-Camera-Black/dp/B002HOPUPC/ref=sr_1_3?s=photo&ie=UTF8&qid=1279491816&sr=1-3. This will give you amazing quality and great bang for your buck, the only accessory I would suggest to add on with that would be a cheap little tripod and your good to go. You will get amazing quality shots for less than $200. You will be able to work on your directing, your lighting, your sound, then when you feel your ready to take it to the next level you can buy another camera and make amazing works.

Hope I was of some help. :)
 
L.I.F.E.

Thanks, man! You make perfect sense. (btw, it's a real pain typing in all those periods after each letter in your name. Just sayin' :) )

I've actually done some work on the miniDV I do have that I think is not shabby at all. I've read quite a bit on blocking shots, lighting, etc. I've also worked with some local actors on a few stage-plays, so I'm no tyco when it comes to drama and what's involved. I sort of want something I can grow into, if that makes sense.

But hey, I'm going to do it right. So I"ll take what you say into serious consideration and make a final decision over the next few days.

Thanks to everyone who kept me from making an impulse-purchase. After my last impulse-purchase, I wound up writing this:

NOTE TO SELF: Inflatable sex dolls not NEARLY as much fun as advertised.

:D

-Charles
 
First off, I agree with everyone here in that you're an amazing writer. You use of words and ability to create something from nothing is a talent I wish I had.

Sadly, I'm going to have to suggest that you don't buy the fancy new T2i. My reasons being, you are new to this whole thing and you just don't need it. Equipment has jumped by leaps and bounds over the past few years. As someone who was the same as you (new to filming, without the talent of writing that you possess) I'm going to suggest exactly what we did. Started with a crappy camera, went out and filmed about 30 shorts, then took a leap up to a nicer model, and eventually after another few shorts, we will take another leap. You do not have to go in small increments, but I would suggest starting with something a little less nice, but perfect for learning like this such as http://www.amazon.com/Kodak-Pocket-Video-Camera-Black/dp/B002HOPUPC/ref=sr_1_3?s=photo&ie=UTF8&qid=1279491816&sr=1-3. This will give you amazing quality and great bang for your buck, the only accessory I would suggest to add on with that would be a cheap little tripod and your good to go. You will get amazing quality shots for less than $200. You will be able to work on your directing, your lighting, your sound, then when you feel your ready to take it to the next level you can buy another camera and make amazing works.

Hope I was of some help. :)

L.I.F.E. and I half-agree. I think the method he and his friends followed, making a bunch of shorts, with a simple camera, is a good idea, as I've already mentioned. Then again, if you feel secure that this is something you'll be sticking with, you'll not outgrow the T2i anytime soon.

Where L.I.F.E. and I disagree is on the choice of camera. God, that pocket cam would drive me crazy. I really feel strongly that you need to be able to zoom, control exposure and white-balance, and I mentioned that ring focus is very important. Makes a shoot that much easier (and therefore fun).

Check this little monster out --

http://cgi.ebay.com/SONY-DCR-TRV17-...rofessional_Video_Cameras&hash=item45f3e754ef

It's got everything I've mentioned. Yes, this cheap little camera has a focus ring. I've actually used this camera, and I think it'd be a good starter. And it's only $100!
 
I just picked that one because a buddy of mine has it and he loves it for just learning how to film for cheap and still get HD. The one we started with was the small handheld ones I think called "Gun style" with the flip out screen. It had zoom, white-balance, and was auto focus. That I think is the best way to begin learning how to direct and still get great shots, and be able to work on lighting and sound.

Now I'm a big fan of HD so thats why I would slightly disagree with that camera. I think either way you'd be able to learn and get better with every short you did.

P.S. Once you do a few shorts and put them up for everyone to see, you'll be addicted Adeimantus.
 
Hahaha.

You guys are a laugh a minute.

So...


I'm approaching my decision to buy the T2i. - $899

The affable and pimply-faced Best Buy salesperson recommended the following accessories:

*A rechargeable lithium-ion battery pak - $70 (extra - the kit comes with one)

*If I plan on HD video (I certainly AM, you dweeb): Two ScanDisk Extreme III 16GB Secure Digital High Capacity Memory Cards - $170 EACH - $340

*A 55-250 mm f/4-5.6 Telephoto Zoom Lens - $300

*A DigiPower Lens and LCD Screen Cleaning Cloth - $6

*A Geek Squad Black Tie Protection 4 Year plan for the camera - $200 (repair or replace)

*A 3 foot HDMI cable (I have no idea what the fuck that is for) - $9

Sony Vegas Pro 9 - $700

Gadget Bag kit for the Camera: $65

TOTAL: $2,600



*sigh*

Can I do without any of this?

-Charles
 
dont u get a kit lens?

u can do without the zoom lens if ur planning on filming shorts. instead u can get a couple of primes to begin with. although, they will end up costing near 300 anyway depending on where u get them from.

u dont need 2 cards if ur willing to transfer data onto ur pc every time it gets full.

it should come with a manufacturers warranty so perhaps u can do without the geek squad plan.

u can do without the extra battery as long as u know this means waiting time between setups while u recharge ur original battery.

and wat kind of nle do u have now?

the cable will connect u to a monitor or tv etc. u can do without if u dont plan on using a monitor. without a monitor, getting focus will be tedious.

when i say u can do without these things i mean to get u down to bare minimum. but that means more time and inconvenience while filming.
 

Uranium City

Pro Member
indiePRO
You can do way better on a lot of it. Sony Vegas Pro 9 direct from Sony is only $600. And you may even want to go Vegas Movie Studio, which is under $100.

SDHC cards can be had from a number of sources...I've gotten 16g ones for less than $40.

The HDMI cable is if you want to hook up your camera to an HD television or external monitor.
 
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