Jump to content

Starter kit and advice for newbie


jnhitf
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hey folks,

 

New here, and pretty new to making videos as well. I have been trying to researching equipment to get up and running. Actually, I'd like to do more than get up and running, I'd like to put together a high-quality start-up kit, mainly for video, but some stills, also. I've enjoyed the EOSHD blog, forum, and info on the site, as well as the overall artistic, indie-filmmaking slant. I've found the short videos here inspiring, and would like to start learning how to do something along these lines. I also want a highly mobile, portable setup that I can manage on my own, at least initially. Obviously, there's a lot to learn, and a HUGE range of equipment options and price ranges. My budget is far from unlimited, but I'm willing to invest in good gear if it means good results. I'm particularly intrigued with the Panasonic GH3 for it's compact size, light weight, excellent image quality, and accessible pricetag. I'm largely sold on this as a camera body, and want to build a kit around it. So: some questions. Are the Panasonic 12-35 and 35-100 2.8 lenses (or other fancy lenses) worth the money for a relative beginner (I like to think I'm a quick leaner and worry that I might outgrow lesser glass). What are good recommendations for sound recording, e.g. the Panasonic shotgun mic, the Rode videomic pro, and the Zoom H4N? What about accessories for stabilization such as tripods, fluid heads, chest stabilizers and other grip-type devices. Also, should I get a small glider/dolly? When I piece out a good kit on Amazon/BH/etc., it climbs up to around $5K pretty quick. That's not a deal-breaker or anything, but if I'm spending that kind of money, I want to feel like it's going to the right things. The beginner guides out there just feel too generic, and I'm in search of more specific advice. Would be keen to hear any recommendations from the experienced crew in this forum.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

EOSHD Pro Color 5 for Sony cameras EOSHD Z LOG for Nikon CamerasEOSHD C-LOG and Film Profiles for All Canon DSLRs

MFT system lenses communicate with the camera through contacts. A member of the german Slashcam forum proved, that they correct wide angle distortion, but not alone: They override settings for contrast and sharpness. He put a strip of tape on the contacts and compared the images with and without digital correction. This could explain in part the moire problems the GH3 showed in the first published test shots, which were all done with system lenses.

 

I recommend you buy manual lenses (or also manual lenses, since of course without communication you can't have autofocus). Start with SLR magic 12mm and, perhaps, SLR magic 25mm (comparison between my beloved Voigtländer 25mm and the latter here). Why? Almost always the manual lenses look, well, better.

 

As for the audio, it's up to you if you want the sound to be in the file to facilitate the workflow or not. Four things to consider:

1. It's nice to own an audio recorder anyway. You can sample sounds, it's fun and teaches you to direct your attention to good audio.

2. You could be diverted by the double task, so an extra person who captures the audio would be best.

3. The problems of synching video and external audio without plural eyes (plugin for host-NLEs) or the automated synching of FCP X are not unsurmountable. And with them, it's not a problem at all.

4. It doesn't have to be either this or that. You can have a mic plugged in the camera for certain occasions and for others you use the external recorder.

 

Of course you should have a tripod. The difference between heaven and hell lies in the pan head. That is, if you love pans. Pans are in the language of film as problematic as zooms. A minority uses either of them for good reasons, the majority doesn't. If you don't need very good pans, you can buy a tripod for under 100 bucks, the GH3 is light.

 

You should buy a shoulder rig. Imho the best solution is a rig that works like a shoulder-camcorder, an ENG-camcorder. But that implies that you have a good viewfinder, and the viewfinder of the GH3 is not good. Two options: Either you buy a magnifying eyepiece you can attach to the GH3s OLCD (which is good). That costs around 100 bucks. Con: It prolonges the whole construction. Or you buy an external EVF, connected via HDMI. These used to be at least 700 bucks. Now there are chinese copies available, like the Seetec (~300 bucks). Reviews so far confirm that the functions and image quality are not worse than those of Zacuto, smallHD and the like. However, the built quality seems to leave a lot to be desired. This is typical for chinese products.

 

Without any doubt, Zacuto has not only quite expensive solutions, they are elegant and minimalistic. You can compare the difference in handling a setup with a 'loupe' (Z-Finder) and an EVF here:

http://vimeo.com/49470691

 

My advice is, you take this video and look for cheaper alternatives. But keep it as simple!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Jni-something,

I'm getting pretty serious about filming and doing interview style filming etc.
I also chosed the Panasonic GH3 because I have to go lightweight. Recently I invested 500 euro into a micro kit which contains three kind of microphones for different situations. Maybe my choice is also something for you.

- the senheiser MKE 400 because it's so small and has 300 hours of battery life on 1 AAA battery! -with deadcat
- A zoom H1 which doubles as a ambience recorder and a broadcaster together with a lavaliere microphone
- A Rode Lavalier Condenser Lapel Microphone which has a micro plug but also the bigger (forgot the name) stabilised plug for when you invest in a better audio recorder like I will.

And for the tripod - I'm using a manfroto tripod for years now which was about 100 euro's and doesn't weigh more then a kilo and can be fold into 45 cm's.

Another cheap and good way to stabilize is using a viewfinder. I bought the 2/3 LCDVF from Kinotechnic. Philip Bloom is also sweet about it. It's only 80 euro's and watch out for the fake looka likes on the market which sell for half the price. One pint you can't close your screen with the glass side inside anymore. But when you're handy like my husband, you can create a frame which is half the hight of the real one and it closes just fine.

Only thing left to buy for me now is a rig - but I heard my personal handy man about making one himself. So probably another good audio recorder, a follow focus and a nokton voightlander will be next to finish my kit.

Good luck!
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Only thing left to buy for me now is a rig - but I heard my personal handy man about making one himself. So probably another good audio recorder, a follow focus and a nokton voightlander will be next to finish my kit.

 

A follow focus is the one item you don't need. I know a few people who own one, and I own one myself. It's only useful if your rig gets veeery long, and you can't reach the lenses' focus ring easily with your left hand anymore. Without focus ring and without matte box, there is no need for rails also, the rig by your 'personal handy man' can be less complicated. You can use aluminum bars (as rack blends they are even available in black, just make sure they are the 4mm quality) and bend the shoulder support in a vice. The most critical part is the exact height, so allow for height adjustment. You could buy two quick release units, one for the rig and one for the tripod. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The  SLR Magic 12mm is a very cinematic, awesome lens. You will need something around the 25mm range as well.. The canon FD 1.4 50mm is an awesome lens too, very good look too it. I have a gh2 and use these lenses and they work great.. I highly recommend them. Andrew Reid's book on the gh2 is great for lenses and stuff.

 

I got a 15mm rail- rig with a follow focus for like $150 from amazon but its not stable enough... Thats one thing I still need to invest more into. I have been looking at steadicams like the glidecam hd 2000 and blackbird CMR. They are around the $450 range but look really smooth. Only thing is they are heavy to hold...

 

Any suggestions for a good rig with a lightweight camera like the gh2/gh3? I'm talking smooth, floating camera shots.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One rig for all tasks?

It's rather various rigs, and in different variations too:

Pistol grip.
Monopod (can serve as a prolonged grip)
Gorillapod (can serve as a simple shoulder rig)
Tripod. In many variations.
Lightweight stabilyzer.
Stabilyzer with vest.
Basic shoulder rig.
Terminator style shoulder rig (with follow focus, monitor, mattebox).
Picodolly.
Slider.
Jib(s).
To be continued.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I bought a 50 dollar pistol grip from eBay but it almost makes my camera more shaky when I have it on then holding it handheld.is there a way to fix this? Maybe more weight? my other stabilizer is a 15 mm rod set up with a follow focus from eBay but it's too wobbly. Do you have any suggestions axle to make the shot more steady? II know adding weight will do this but I still get movement when I move my feet or walk. I have been looking at Steadicams for this reason,would you recommend 1 of those for a floating camera shot?
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I bought a 50 dollar pistol grip from eBay but it almost makes my camera more shaky when I have it on then holding it handheld.is there a way to fix this?

 

It's called 3-point-stabilization, and it's valid for classic SLRs (with grip on the side) as well as classic Super 8 cameras (with pistol grip).

 

1. Right hand takes the grip 

2. Right eye is pressed to eyepiece (hurts with the small and flat eyepiece of the GH2, I admit)

3. Bottom of camera body (in case of a pistol grip the lens itself) rests on left palm underneath. Left thumb and forefinger operate focus.

 

body-stance-can-reduce-camera-shake.jpg

 

my other stabilizer is a 15 mm rod set up with a follow focus from eBay but it's too wobbly. Do you have any suggestions axle to make the shot more steady? II know adding weight will do this but I still get movement when I move my feet or walk. I have been looking at Steadicams for this reason,would you recommend 1 of those for a floating camera shot?

 

In the Star Trek series they often lament about the "structural integrity" of their spaceship. This is the first thing your shoulder rig must be: As tightly screwed together (with camera and everything) as if milled out of one solid block of metal ...

 

And move your feet? Well, you can practice to walk like for 'the ministry of silly walks'. You can absorb quite a lot of instability by keeping your gluteus maximus under tension. No joke.

 

But generally neither a pistol grip nor a shoulder rig are meant to walk with them.

 

Use a glidecam or s.th. like that for stabilized handheld shots. If they are to look like dolly shots, you have to exercise A LOT.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If, for example, you have such a cheap rig:

41Wg4EXlr5L._SY300_.jpg

that otherwise has some usable features like the very important option to change the height (the viewfinder has to be ab-so-lu-tely exactly in front of your right eye), you can resell follow focus and useless mattebox and add these items: 

Rig-for-craig.jpg

 

If you buy everything new, it costs you under 10 bucks, even if you have the aluminum bar in black (tip: before putting it in the vice, cover it with tape, otherwise you will have ugly scratches).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Axel. Right on.

 

Instead of building my own because I don't  think I have the materials, is there something out there that you can buy like this alu bar as a whole?(i.e with the rubber foam and counterweight and screws all together?)...

 

Also, why dont you think its necessary to have a follow focus? Mine seems to work pretty well and helps the shaking, but I may look into selling mine like you said.

 

Thanks again!

 

EDIT: something like this but not $200 bucks...

 

http://www.amazon.com/Shoulder-Pad-Dslr-Camera-Rig/dp/B006CAMCFS/ref=sr_1_16?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1363370065&sr=1-16&keywords=shoulder+rig+pad

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Instead of building my own because I don't think I have the materials, is there something out there that you can buy like this alu bar as a whole?(i.e with the rubber foam and counterweight and screws all together?)...

It really is very easy. It takes fifteen minutes. The link you provided still has no counter weight, and I think it's too expensive for such a plastic. Besides that, you won't find a shoulder pad for one rod, which is a weak point of your rig anyway.

Also, why dont you think its necessary to have a follow focus? Mine seems to work pretty well and helps the shaking, but I may look into selling mine like you said.

Do what you like.

Did you actually watch the Zacuto film?
Zacuto-demo.jpg

Now remember: This is the GH3. It doesn't have this very good EVF like the GH2. The position of the left hand here would be much more natural and relaxed with the GH2.

How can a follow focus help you here? Also, I doubt if your rig is built well enough to provide the said sturdyness. Much more expansive follow focuses add problems, I bet a lot of shakes you wrote about are caused by the bad quality of the construction.

Make it simple.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't know if the one rod is a problem, you must know.

I have a lot of tools and I don't throw away metal parts, so usually have everything I need in the boxes in my cellar. If I miss something, I don't go to the department store but to the ___ (no dictionary at hand, guy who recycles metal waste). If you are no handyman by nature, you can find parts there that already fit more or less. You just need to screw them together. Then all you need is an accu driver (is that correct?).

I assure you: This is no high-tech. The dimensions of the parts don't need to be exact, and neither the weight of the metal rings, bars, blocks or whatever that work as counterweights. Elegance costs more time and effort, you can also buy additional rods and connectors, but you will not find a perfect rig from the industry under 1000 bucks. I vote for DIY when it comes to the shoulder rig.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for all the info... Seems doable but I will need a bunch of parts and tools...

 

As I do appeciate the DYI, I did stumble upon this for a mere $35

 

http://www.amazon.com/ePhoto-Counter-Shoulder-SHOULDER-Mounting/dp/B009ZG5VQS/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1363407405&sr=1-1&keywords=counterweight+shoulder+rig

 

Has counterweight

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You could also buy a viewfinder to stabilize which magnifies your view 3 times - the LCDVF for around 80 euro's.

With the GH 3 you can't close the screen anymore because the package plate is a wee bit too thick. But if you're handy you build a thinner plate for the screen yourself and your screen also closes perfectly  ;-)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I just got my 40 dollar counterweight shoulder pad from Amazon and it makes my rig hell oof a lot more stable.I have it rigged up so I can useit like the zacuto video with the pistol grip but then I have two other handles which feel more stable.. I'm thinking about getting a viewfinder, your tho ughts?

and as far as a " floating camera shot", which Steadicam on a budget would you recommend? Glidecam , blackbird, or something for a smooth walking shot.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

For the GH3, Blanches viewfinder solution is okay, but imho not for the GH2, because it's display is not good enough to find focus. You'd just collect more useless gadgets (like your toy mattebox, which even doesn't seem to take filters). Yesterday I read a review in a german cinematographers magazine of a bunch of the 'best' DSLR rigs (Chrosziel DV Studio, 2200 €, Vocas DSLR pro, 3500 €, Redrock eyespy deluxe, 1400 €, Kinomatik Movietube, 4000 €), and the verdict was, they all had to be rebuilt to work ergonomically with the particular DSLR and for the camera operator. Only the Movietube had the counterweight right. Even the pro admitted that he would rather buy parts and build an own rig according to his needs.

I promised to post a DIY big comfortable eyepiece, and I will. I've been testing materials and improving my prototypes, and in a few days I will present a photo tutorial with detailed instructions.
 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

[quote name="Blanche" post="29388" timestamp="1363468399"]You could also buy a viewfinder to stabilize which magnifies your view 3 times - the LCDVF for around 80 euro's. With the GH 3 you can't close the screen anymore because the package plate is a wee bit too thick. But if you're handy you build a thinner plate for the screen yourself and your screen also closes perfectly  ;-)[/quote] Blanche, could you please upload a photo of your viewfinder modification? Thanks.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Blanche, could you please upload a photo of your viewfinder modification? Thanks.

 

 

Yeah of course Tombaja.

 

Basically it's a thinner version than the one in the package - so the LCD screen will close. We made it out of a thinner sheet of iron. We'll painting it black and attach it to the LCD screen with double sides sticking tape. Just like the original version. 

 

p.s. What ever happened to the poster of tis thread jnhitf?   ^_^

 

 

 

732a8fb6964c11e294a422000a1f9874_6.jpg

 

 

854f64e6964c11e2b7ea22000a1f9366_6.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...