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I need a big camera!


Guest Ebrahim Saadawi

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Guest Ebrahim Saadawi

This might sound a bit strange to some, as it's always assumed smaller/lighter cameras are better, but in my specific case, my specific area of work, clients really really appreciate professional-looking big cameras, it's just an essential piece of kit in my market as a video company.

I've dumped the idea of big cameras long ago and have been using tiny DSLRs and mirrorless cameras to create beautiful looking images, even better than the larger ones, but unfortunately not every client appreciate that, I wish they would. 

Anyway, what are my options for a proper, large camcorder, a video camera? It's really a posing item in my kit rather than an actually day-to-day used one, so I would appreciate not paying too much for such a trivial item. BUT, there are these large-sensor camcorders that I can actually use and might find them better than DSLRs. What do you think about the FS100 now at 2500$ new (with a free metabones EF adapter), or a used one, or a used AF100, how much do these sell for, and where do I find them. 

If I do get an FS100, is there any point of using it instead of say a GH4. How does the image compare? 

Or should I sell my DSLRs/mirrorless and go for something like a C100/FS700/FS7 if my market requires that size of a camera? (Given that I myself have no actual need for camcorder features, I record sound externally, use external EVFs, etc, and find this actually more freeing)

What are your thoughts, should I just obey the market? 

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I agree with Inazuma - buy a nice pro cage to sit on top of your tripod, and mount lights, mics, and/or large external monitoring display. buy a really large "Cine" lens. but use the camera body that gives you the results you want and that you are familiar with.  I have used the GH4 for a while, I doubt you can find a camera that is sharper - it is simply amazing to my eye.

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Guest Ebrahim Saadawi

Not a single one suggested going with the FS100, so it must be a bad idea! Okay so I'll go with the forum advice,

I own a D5300 (my favourite image) and a 60D (my favourite dedign), 600D,1100D for backup. And as much as it is embarrassing to admit, I just preordered a 7D mk II. Don't ask.

So what it is the most impressive looking gear that I can use across these DSLRs without problems?

*Lenses: I do have a 24-105 canon covering that range so a 28-70 is not on my plans, I do get the idea though, perhaps I can order one of these chinese cinema primes I saw earlier, it was a 50mm 1.8 inside a big cinema plastic hosuing, looks legit :)

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let your work do the talking man.  if you show up with a small camera and deliver a result the client likes, you'll get booked again.  if you're not getting the bookings you want, use the money you;d waste on a heavy cumbersome show piece, and spend it instead on a nice personal showreel piece.  for example £2500 goes a long way in travel expenses to shoot something impressive.  or could be spent on living expenses while working on a no fee passion project for a good client, that boosts your showreel credibility. 

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£2500 also goes a long way when buying a matching set of contax zeiss.  A red t* on the front of a lens says a lot, and image looks like cinema too.  a red ring around your lens conversely oozes guy who went to argos and bought the most expensive canon lens they had on offer, and also makes footage look like the rest of these types:)  L stands for 'lack lusture' when used in moving picture IMO 

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Guest Ebrahim Saadawi

Cinegain: Lol. And thank you so much rich for the advice. I am 20 and already make an enormously successful business and dominate the entire half region of my country (7 cities and approx 40 million population) as the only video man, so I am 100% booked and even get to choose which jobs I want to take, I am really really lucky to have almost no competetion, (advice: anyone who wants to run a successful video business, come here, to a third-world country, you'll make 100x more money than working in Europe + US. People's quality standards are also MUCH lower. No competetion and low standards do have their disadvantages, it doesn't challenge you creatively, that's why I dedicate a big part of my time here on foreign boards/creative places to see others' work and be challenged, improve, but it's not a very good solution either.)

So it's not really about getting booked but about making the clients happy and proud during the shoots, and also especially in documentary shoots, my subjects seem to be MUCH more responsive and helpful and respectful when I use a big-professional looking camera, and it will also directly make me able to charge more. You have to understand's the Egyptian client personal mind to get what I am saying, which is impossible! :D

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Guest Ebrahim Saadawi

after looking it seems as fuzzy suggests a mattebox plays a very important role: so I looked foe the cheapest and found 

B9d8Kqd.jpg

Dirt cheap. The second one does seem to have two filter wheels so perhaps I would use that as I carry to many NDs for different sizes, would be helpful. But I don't know going for something so cheap would mean breaking upon first usage or not that far. No idea. Any suggestion for good ones for a relatively low price? Do they all work on DSLRs or are they at different sizes?

Second one seems to be a cage around the camera with a top handle with mounting points, these would actually be helpful too anyway.. 

this one looks very good. a bit pricey but looks very study. No actual idea though.

txxDKyz.jpg

I will attach a 5" monitor to the cage, and a zucoto loup on the camera screen. 

Is there anything else I can do more?

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Stick a big ol shotgun mic on the top too. That always looks good.

Interesting to hear perspectives from Egypt. This particular issue is familiar to me with some corporate clients...it's always a weird balance within those guys. They want to know that they're spending money on something special, and it's hard to quantify an intangible such as "creativity."

My sentiment is with Richg101, but reality seems to get in the way.

So, in those situations, big things impress. That part of the business is the same everywhere. Europe, Asia, Africa, etc.

Let me know when you're in the market for crew. Lots of my assignments have been in south east Asia, Europe and the Pacific rim, but yet, frustratingly, I've never been to Africa. Would love to go to work on something cool. Look me up if you need any help.

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When I get back to my home office I'll send a pic of a DSLR rig I built a few years ago to make a client feel better...and never used it for anything really practical, just some studio stuff.

It was highly entertaining to put it all together, but shooting with all those attachments was just kind of silly and just isn't my style.

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Curious... If you are making that much money, could you not afford something like a RED? Maybe even on finance? Reading the comments on this blog post http://danieljohnpeters.com/2014/05/14/gh4-2/ he says the clients know the RED brand and often would rather have him use that instead of his gh4 despite the benefits of working with the gh4

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Not a single one suggested going with the FS100, so it must be a bad idea! Okay so I'll go with the forum advice,

So what it is the most impressive looking gear that I can use across these DSLRs without problems?

 

It's not necessarily a bad idea per se, but it would be a bad idea for the reasons you mentioned.

I tend to agree with richg101, impress with your showreel rather than with your bling. 

 

I am 100% booked and even get to choose which jobs I want to take, I am really really lucky to have almost no competetion

 

So what's the problem, then? If you really are booked solid and can pick your jobs and clients, why not picking just those clients who are impressed with your work rather than with the size of your, er, gear? Surely that would be better for your 'soul' in the long run, as the most superficial (or even dumb) clients are often likely to be the most unrewarding and unchallenging to work with, too.

 

Suppose rigging up the existing gear would be a reasonable compromise. Until you know what kind of camera you want/need for artistic/technical reasons.

Just my 2c.

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Guest Ebrahim Saadawi

Fuzzy: Yes shtogun mic. Great forgot that as I record sound externally. It will also be helpful in syncing. PM me with any of you work please.

Inazuma: I do make money but not RED money! :D it would cost me about 50-60K US to get a running red kit, that equates to around half a million EG pounds, and relative to the salaries and economic state it does realistically and phychologically feel like half a million US dollars to a US citizin. Not an option. Plus, the level of knowledge is below the ground, all my clients would be more impressed with a huge digibeta more than a small RED, they have no idea what a red is. I do fancy the idea of finding a Sony F35 (which somehow produces the best looking film-like images I've seen from any camers to date, even reds and alexas, for a dirt cheap price, and it looks absolutely ridiculous, like a 35mm film cinema camera.

Quirky: I do agree with rich actually and you. Very much so. It's just as fuzzy said, reality gets in the way.

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Cinegain: Lol. And thank you so much rich for the advice. I am 20 and already make an enormously successful business and dominate the entire half region of my country (7 cities and approx 40 million population) as the only video man, so I am 100% booked and even get to choose which jobs I want to take, I am really really lucky to have almost no competetion, (advice: anyone who wants to run a successful video business, come here, to a third-world country, you'll make 100x more money than working in Europe + US. People's quality standards are also MUCH lower. No competetion and low standards do have their disadvantages, it doesn't challenge you creatively, that's why I dedicate a big part of my time here on foreign boards/creative places to see others' work and be challenged, improve, but it's not a very good solution either.)

So it's not really about getting booked but about making the clients happy and proud during the shoots, and also especially in documentary shoots, my subjects seem to be MUCH more responsive and helpful and respectful when I use a big-professional looking camera, and it will also directly make me able to charge more. You have to understand's the Egyptian client personal mind to get what I am saying, which is impossible! :D

 

If I had 40 million population market just for myself I for sure would be set for life long long time ago and for sure wouldn't be wasting my precious time thinking about cheapo cameras  ;). I'd just buy everything and threw away the ones I didn't like :D.

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Quirky: I do agree with rich actually and you. Very much so. It's just as fuzzy said, reality gets in the way.

 

Well, reality perceived depends on one's POV and attitude. Your reality is whatever you make of it. There are ways to manipulate the reality perceived. One of the popular ways to manipulate reality is marketing. Physical appearance is indeed a small part of that, for sure, but not the only one, and unless we're talking about sex, hardly the most effective part. Especially if/when we climb higher in the food chain.

 

If you indeed have more work than you can handle, you can choose your clients and turn some of them down, you're doing pretty well, and you've got a positive problem. Whatever you make of that situation is up to you.

 

What kind of message is your online presence sending? What is your marketing message like in the first place? Have you tried rising your prices, for example? That's one message that ought to make your clients pay more attention to your showreel and your service, rather than to the outer appearance of your gear. Which is mostly superficial.

 

Basic commodities tend to get picked by their size and appearance alone, with bigger often seen as better, whereas the higher end stuff need to offer more than just bling and bulk. It's up to you which market segment you wish to aim your services to, and what you want to do in general.

 

Most aspiring/starting filmmakers and photographers can only dream of the kind of 'problem' you're facing. If you like shooting with the kind of gear you already have, the work you get with it is good enough, and you've got more clients than you need, I'd say don't let some ignorant client tell you how to do your job. Just rig your gear up, or choose better clients. Based on your own comments above, that should not be too hard for you.

 

This may sound like an old cliché, and maybe it is, but that's because it's also based on proven facts of human behaviour. I don't think the Egyptians are that much different from the rest of the world. At least those I know aren't.

 

Just thinking out loud, not trying to tell you how to run your business. Carry on with your positive problem. I wish we all had that kind of problems only.   :)

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