$6,000 Budget for gear...

attentionfish wrote on 6/2/2014, 7:30 PM
You already have the computer and Vegas Pro 13 Suite. Editing is taken care of.
You have $6,000 left and have to get what you want with that.
I have been researching new gear for a month and I'm not gonna tell you how I'm leaning. I want to know how any of you would approach it. 4K? DSLR? Camcorder? Lens? What would you do? You are starting your camera gear from scratch (out with the old, in with the new).

Include accessories (field recorders, mics, manual crane, lighting, green screen, etc.)

Applications in order of priority:

1. Regional Auto Dealer commercials
2. Product advertisements for local businesses
3. Documentary film of artisans and musicians
4. Live music- Day and Night (video will be mixed with other DSLR 1080p footage) Remember stage lighting, lasers, etc. will be prevalent.

I have made most of my decisions, but they are all in pencil. I am making my purchases probably the first of next week. I am always willing to listen and learn from people who have done it far longer than me (been filming with cheap cameras for 5 years now). I feel the debate between DSLR's and Camcorder's could become strong here and that's okay. I wanna hear what y'all think.


Serena Steuart wrote on 6/2/2014, 7:48 PM
I think this question is essentially unanswerable. My first thought is "what is the quality of your work?" Knowing that, one could start to assess equipment needs. It might be more productive for you to request comments on your "penciled" decisions.
OldSmoke wrote on 6/2/2014, 7:49 PM
I just recently bought a FDR-AX100. Great camera! Great in 4K and also in full HD but it does not have as many pro features one would like. No histogram, no time code menu at all. I had the pleasure of working with a HXR-NX3 and was surprised how good it is. It is a HXR-NX5U but with full size 1920x1080 3CMOS. Very good in low light and has all the pro features I'd like to have on my FDR-AX100. Anyhow, such a camera would be already half of your budget. The HXr-NX3 would, IMHO, be well suited for your needs.

Proud owner of Sony Vegas Pro 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 & 13 and now Magix VP15&16.

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winrockpost wrote on 6/2/2014, 7:54 PM
agreed.... 6k not going to set you up as a production company...sorry but true, blow that on lights or cam/tripod real quick
VMP wrote on 6/2/2014, 9:04 PM
Posted by: attentionfish
I feel the debate between DSLR's and Camcorder's could become strong here and that's okay. I wanna hear what y'all think.

Why choose if you can have both: Canon C100.
While you are ahead Ninja Blade goes well with it.

Laurence wrote on 6/2/2014, 9:34 PM
I'd buy a GH4, some good lenses, a couple of LED lights, a Beachtek, a good short shotgun mic, a decent tripod, a Sony RX100iii and some sort of small Steadicam, and maybe one or two of those new Sony action cams.
ushere wrote on 6/2/2014, 10:40 PM
+1 serena's comment.

a good bottle is going to cost you $3k>, a half decent set of sticks $2K>, etc., etc.,

and it's not necessarily the camera that makes a good video; lights, sound, and of course, a decent script - even if it is for a music clip ;-)

attentionfish wrote on 6/3/2014, 12:11 AM
The GH4 is what I'm leaning towards with the LUMIX® G X VARIO 35-100mm / F2.8 ASPH. Lens.

After that camera and lens there's about $2,800 left for accessories. I know it's not much and I'm gonna struggle to get many accessories of quality, but that's what it is. Sucks, I know.
Laurence wrote on 6/3/2014, 7:51 AM
A GH4 with that lens plus a couple of thousand dollars worth of accessories is hardly struggling. I would say that is a world class rig. Make sure that your accessories include a tripod, some good LED lights (Z96s are fine), a Beachtek (or something similar) and a decent mic.
dlion wrote on 6/3/2014, 8:10 AM
i'd get a zoom h6 to record audio, a good shotgun mic, wireless lavs...
Laurence wrote on 6/3/2014, 8:38 AM
Unlike the Canons and the Nikons, the Panasonic records pristine audio. You won't get any better audio using a Zoom. All you need is some sort of input preamp with XLR inputs and phantom power. I use a Beachtek but there are several good options.
fldave wrote on 6/3/2014, 8:45 AM
If you have some older good SLR lenses available be sure to get some M 4/3 adapters for them, it opens up lots of new possibilities. Glad I went with this format, I love my GH2, just scored a new GF3 body for $120, and am setting my sites on a GH4 within the next year. While I won't hack the GH2, I may have fun with the GF3 hack, I've seen some beautiful footage come out of that.
larry-peter wrote on 6/3/2014, 9:05 AM
I would second the GH4. I'd like to have one. For me, the 4/3 format is a great compromise between shallow depth-of-field and solo operator useability (i.e. no focus puller). Plus, 4/3>Nikon adapters are very cheap and you can get some great used glass quite inexpensively.

The only downside I've seen for the format is that good quality/fast wide angle lenses are pricey because of the crop factor involved. Scary expensive.
Editguy43 wrote on 6/3/2014, 10:21 AM

What kind of tripod cost 2k and is only half decent, I understand perhaps one for major motion pictures that holds a 60k camera but for a small production company how could you justify that cost for a camera that is 3k or less.

Just wondering cause I am looking for a new tripod for my NX5 and have around $500 or so.

Paul B
VMP wrote on 6/3/2014, 2:17 PM

I have the VariZoom VZ-TK75A which works great with my HXR NX5.

It is not too heavy and has a great smooth fluid ball head.
Looks nice too.

It is worth $1000+ in my opinion.

When I purchased it it was around $500 here in Europe. I see now that it is much cheaper in the US.

Laurence wrote on 6/3/2014, 2:32 PM
Keep in mind that cameras like the Epic Red don't have small sensors for economic reasons. They have optimal sized sensors for shooting video. A video sensor should be smaller than a still camera sensor. While the eyes being in focus and the ears slightly out can look stunning on a still photograph, with video, this shallow a depth of field will just look soft unless you have a focus puller and are shooting things that don't move. I can see buying a speedbooster for shooting stills, but I can't see much practical use for it for video.
attentionfish wrote on 6/3/2014, 4:50 PM
Just wanna thank everyone! Yes, I feel I can create a great production for the budget I have. It's what I have, so I have to right? I'm checking out that http://www.varizoom.com/product-p/vztk75a.htm tripod right now and I'm interested in a great slider, shoulder mount, etc. Is the Rhino slider the way to go? They've got full rigs too. http://rhinocameragear.com/

Also, I don't have any old DSLR lenses. This is my first "real" camera and I feel I HAVE to get it right. I'm not gonna have this budget over and over again unless everything takes off and of course that's the plan, but I have to stay realistic in my expectations. It's just an expensive hobby until it pays for itself and I can make a living at it.
attentionfish wrote on 6/3/2014, 4:55 PM
For the audio, Laurence, thanks for the Beachtek example. I am still in my early stages of decision making with that, but I'm leaning towards this unit... http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1015347-REG/tascam_tascam_dr_60d_hdslr_camera.html

The GH4 also comes with an optional AV base that costs more than the camera does. http://shop.panasonic.com/shop/model/DMW-YAGH
ushere wrote on 6/3/2014, 6:40 PM
@ editguy

a decent satchler starts at around $1.5k, but a great one around $2K incl decent carry bag/case

not only will a good tripod well outlive your camera('s), but the difference, once you've used a 'serious' set of sticks is the difference between night and day....
(and i have used nearly every other make during my 40+ years in the industry).

i'm using my z5 on:


GeeBax wrote on 6/3/2014, 6:46 PM
The Tascam DR-60D is a good recorder unit, but it is a little on the bulky side. AFAIK, the GH4 does not have any decent audio input capability unless you buy the YAGH base, and that thing is very expensive. Without the base unit, you only have a single microphone input, via a 3.5mm connector to the camera, not a really good idea. My assessment of the YAGH base was that it is not worth the extra investment.

It would be cheaper to use the Tascam, or perhaps consider a Zoom H4N.

As far as tripod and head are concerned, do a search for the 'Fancier' brand. I bought a really nice fluid head and sticks from them.
Rainer wrote on 6/3/2014, 7:06 PM
Might as well add my few cents worth. The Zoom H5 (released today) uses the same preamps as the H6 at half the price (poor preamps were the main criticism of the H4n but I'm happy enough with mine). The DR-60D eat batteries. Fancier, Weifeng, Varizoom are all different brands of the same tripod. I bought the 6ft Weifeng 717 as a backup to my other tripods just so that I had something which could get over wedding guests heads and I'm amazed at the value. It's ideal for slow pans, i.e. weddings, not so great for fast action, very stable with only two extensions out and strong enough for a small crane, you can always get a Vinten when the money rolls in. My suggestion is work out what you're going to do, have a look at some people's work that are doing it well, find out what they're using, the rest is experience.
attentionfish wrote on 6/3/2014, 7:50 PM
Great ideas! I was asking a taper about the Zoom H6 today and he was talking about pre-amps with Zooms. Maybe he's unaware about their better quality in later models. I just watched a great video on a Fancier after watching about the Weifeng. Something I'm certainly going to learn more about and follow up on. My shopping cart at B&H Photo and Amazon keeps getting updated. As I start to feel more comfortable with my list, I'll start posting everything I am serious about getting and will continue to learn from anyone who wants to help me with this monumental (in my mind) decision of how to best spend my money.

Here are the links to the videos of the Fancier and the Weifeng I watched just now... (I've successfully embedded before, but it's not going so well this time. The links will have to do, sorry. I followed the instructions.)


GeeBax wrote on 6/3/2014, 8:07 PM
I did not know about the Zoom H5, but it looks the dogs nuts, I would go for that over the Tascam. As said, the Tascam does eat batteries, although I power mine via a USB connection from my V-Mount battery and plate.

I would recommend the Fancier FC-470A if you can stretch to it, the head is nicer, handles it bit more weight and the A suffix means you get the better quality legs to go with it.
Editguy43 wrote on 6/3/2014, 11:49 PM
Ushere and VMP

Thank you for the information and the links. Ushere I understand now the quality and the need to spend some extra $$$ to get it.
The tripod I use now I thought was a good one at the time several years ago at the time its price seemed allot to me $250 but since it has lost its fluidity and the legs are getting weak, I am always leery of putting my camera on it and will never leave it alone.

Now I know where to look and the signs of a good set. I probably cannot afford the satchler’s at this point but I will be on the lookout for those that are similar.

This forum is always great I always learn from all you guys that have so much to teach

Paul B
ushere wrote on 6/4/2014, 1:12 AM
@ editguy - i appreciate the ever present constraints budgets impose, but believe me - get the BEST tripod you can afford, i'd even drop or re-evaluate the seemingly more important items on your shopping list.

a good tripod is a thing of joy and with care will certainly outlast any number of cameras (though in this day and age that could be a couple of years), i know people with 20 year old satchlers whose stability and fluidness of motion are as good as they were on the day the day they bought them.

sometimes there is NOTHING worse, even using the best of glass, than a pan / tilt that displays even mild judder, or perhaps worse, over or under shoot.