December 5, 2012 at 12:00 PM #52274
I have to purchase some gear to shoot a travel documentary. My budget is under $10.000 (however, the more I save, the more I can rely on a safety net for any kind of unexpected expense/issue).
The situation is the following. I will be based for the most of the time on a sailing boat (rather big, quite enough storage space), but I will also spend some days travelling on the mainland.
Therefore, I am looking for something that can merge good quality and portability. I am aware of the fact that I will leave some of the gear on the boat permanently, so I can get also something quite heavy (eg a good tripod), provided that I also have to buy a monopod for any mainland experience.
Here is a list of things I thought I would need to buy:
– Pro/Prosumer camera (budget about $3000/$4000)
– good shotgun mike
– a couple of lavalier mikes
– a few lights for the boat indoors
– tripod + video head
– monopod + video head
– plenty of SD cards
– some filters (ND, polarized)
– batteries and miscellaneus
Is there anything I am forgetting? Any suggestions at all?
Thank you all!
December 5, 2012 at 12:15 PM #205151
Looks like you've thought this through pretty thoroughly.
When you refer to "lavalier mikes" I assume you mean wireless mics? These will need AA batteries and I suggest you invest in rechargeables and a charger.
You don't mention cables; it would probably be a good idea to have several backups necessary for connecting your various gear. It's awfully easy to misplace or lose an RCA or Firewire cable, especially when moving your base of operations from ship to shore and back.
I use a monopod quite a bit; it has severe limitations, especially for getting smooth pans and extreme closeups. It's also very difficult to shoot while walking. You might take a look at one of the many stabilizers for small cameras on the market — Glidecam, Steadycam Jr., etc. One of these would give you the opportunity to tape smoothly while moving through a site. You can use your monopod to do this but it's awkward and extremely tiring, especially if you have to move any great distance.
Finally, "plenty of SD cards." I would add a laptop and a couple of external harddrives, with the thought of downloading my SD cards to more permanent storage at the end of each day.
Sounds like you're in for an exciting trip.
December 5, 2012 at 12:41 PM #205153
Thank you for the quick reply.
I did not mention the laptop because I already have mine, supported by two 1TB Hard drives.
Thank you for the suggestion about the wireless mikes, I'll take note of that.
I have to say I've never shot anything while travelling that required a pro quality, so I am a bit worried (and unprepared). Therefore the suggestion about spare loose cables is very much appreciated.
I'll have a look to stabilizers. I had them in mind at the beginning instead of the monopod, but I thought they might prove to heavy. However, if it is worth it I will carry the weight.
Lastly, I'll ask you two more questions, if you don't mind.
1. I have a Canon 60D of my own already. I was thinking to use it as a support camera (I can shoot interviews with that, and also I need an emergency camera in case I face any problem with the main one: I'm not a technician and I would not be able to fix any camcorder by myself, or get any support on a sailing ship…). Since the documentary will eventually be broadcasted, do you think the 60D (with a proper lens) will provide enough video quality? I know is not the best of the Canon range, but that's what I have, and using it would not put any strains on my budget.
2. Have you got any suggestions regarding which Camcorder should I get for that budget? I am reading a lot online but I can't make my mind up…
Thank you very much.
December 5, 2012 at 1:42 PM #205154
Hey Gans, Since you are going to be around water a lot I suggest you also take a GoPro or a Contour waterproof camera. Not only will it alow some cool waterline type shots, but it's tiny size make it ideal for mounting in tight spots like up on the mast, on the side of a railing or in the bow of the spport dingy. Check out the new GoPro Hero 3 Black Edition with glass lens! Also, regardless of whatever camcorder you end up getting, make sure you give yourself plenty of time to get familiar with it. Nothing worse than trying to figure out a ne device at crunch time.
December 6, 2012 at 8:44 AM #205171
You're right about the camcorder – I NEED to get familiar with it.
Concerning the GoPro I have one of my own (no glass lens though), with all the trimmings. I'm definitely going to bring it with me!
December 9, 2012 at 3:40 AM #205206
Great! Thank you all for the advices. I think eventually I'm getting a Sony NX70E!
December 9, 2012 at 5:11 AM #205207
Another question. I need an ultralight pro tripod that can bear the Sony NX70E or the Canon 60D + lens and mike. Possibly for less than $1000.
December 22, 2012 at 6:03 PM #205340
I'm not sure if this is ultralight, but I travel a lot with a Manfrotto 701HDV head (a true fluid head) and a Manfrotto 190XB tripod. The specs say it's a little bit toolight, but it has worked well with my Canon 60D overseas and my larger Sony EX1r on travels in the U.S. I've packed the kit in a carry suitcase many times with no problems. I also have a Manfrotto 561BHDV that is a monopod with feet. It works very well and can be carried as a poor man's steadicam, too, with some practice.
I use Sennheiser G2 wireless lav systems and, as Jack said, they do use AA batteries. The good thing is that AA's can be found anythwere in the world. I use Lithium e2 batteries because they last a lot longer and are extremely lightweight. The catch is that they are much more expensive, but the weight savings when carrying quite a few on a trip is worth it to me.
The 60D is a great second camera. It's not made as a broadcast camera, but the chip is the same as in the 7D which has been used on broadcasts before.
December 6, 2012 at 11:00 AM #205175
The GoPro 3 Black is a good choice for picture quality (4K), if you don't mind going to a little larger camera, since you've set a budget of up to $4000.00 then take a look at the new Panasonic AG-AC90 at just over $2000.00 this is a great camera for the money or the Sony HDR-AX2000, both these cam's are 3 chip and have good picture quality, and give a lot more control of your shoot (peaking control & XLR inputs etc.) I use both of these with my Sony F3, and they do a great job ( for there Sensor size) You can see reviews of these on youtube.
MRP – HDMultimedia Productions
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