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Joshua Evans

Hardware and Software Recommendations for the Very New

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I know essentially nothing about cinematography or film making - I'm just making a youtube series to satisfy my overblown ego and placate my own sense of inadequacy expand on my satirical blog. I'm running on a shoestring budget, I have next to no experience, and I have no equipment. So what kind of camera, microphone, and software could I get for very little money that would still allow me to make tolerable-quality little videos? Thanks!

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I know essentially nothing about cinematography or film making - I'm just making a youtube series to satisfy my overblown ego and placate my own sense of inadequacy expand on my satirical blog. I'm running on a shoestring budget, I have next to no experience, and I have no equipment. So what kind of camera, microphone, and software could I get for very little money that would still allow me to make tolerable-quality little videos? Thanks!

 

I'd recommend looking at the Panasonic Lumix GH-1 and GH-3. The GH-1 is pretty 'old' so you may be able to get one cheaply. The GH-3 is 'last years' version, and so will be cheaper than this years, GH-4... That and the 14-140mm zoom lens that often is sold as part of the kit with the GH series cameras.

 

It can take reasonable moving pictures, as well as reasonable stills for the money.

 

For microphones, I'd recommend looking at the Oktava MK-012 with at least the hypercardioid capsule.

 

For a recorder, Tascam DR-100.

 

This may be about 1000-1500 when all is said and done.

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I'm sorry, I think I miscommunicated - my bad. When I said "shoestring budget", I meant something less than a quarter of what you're referring to, and when I said "tolerable-quality", I meant "impressive to someone who had never seen a moving picture before. I think I may have come to the wrong place - this website is for serious semi-professionals. I want the best bang for my buck, bearing in mind that my buck is essentially loose change and the bang I'd be looking for is the film equivalent of pop caps.

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Well you know a lot depends on how you want things to look; you know? The veritable gopro is an interesting little camera, cheap, durable, and you can put it anywhere-- and depending on what you're doing now or later will last a long long time.

 

Truth be told though-- it'll be the audio equipment that'll cost you. Maybe a Zoom H4N and some kind of cheap mic (or even the built ins if you're in a pinch).

 

There is also an adage that the best camera is the one you have with you--I am betting you have an iPhone and I am sure there are audio solutions out there for such cameras; though personally I've never used one sync (i have used them in this rather insane feature I shot once, but we did double system for that)

 

Software wise-- Adobe Creative Cloud is the way to go; but costly. I am sure there are other low cost options out there (lightworks maybe?) but i am unfamiliar with most.

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Lightworks has two versions a Free and the Pro, the former is limited to a 720p Youtube export, however, you can take out a one month Pro license which allows you to export your film in any of the export options. That means you can edit your film for a long as you want using the free version and then take out the one month Pro license for the export. It's not hugely demanding in computer power, although with highly compressed codecs you may need to transcode if editing with a lower powered machine. A number of users are using Lightworks in combination with Resolve.

 

One issue with phones is the variable frame rate that they commonly use, which can cause problems in post unless you convert to a constant frame rate using suitable software.

Edited by Brian Drysdale

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Just one point with Lightworks, as with other professional NLEs, you do need to take the time to learn, it's not like consumer programs such as Window Movie Maker.

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Dont be afraid to use iMovie or Windows Movie Maker. If it can assemble the clips and render out an uploadable movie then it's good enough. If you dont like the titles that come with the software... then make them in a paint program or physically make them and photograph them.

Keep your thoughts on having Lighting, Camera, and Audio. Your cell phone has Camera and Audio so then you just need lighting... then just read tutorials (and instruction manuals) and slowly improve. Learn to realize when what you are doing can be better... and what you _really_ need to make it better. Dont buy things unless you know what problem the equipment is going to solve and how it will do so.

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I'm sorry, I think I miscommunicated - my bad. When I said "shoestring budget", I meant something less than a quarter of what you're referring to, and when I said "tolerable-quality", I meant "impressive to someone who had never seen a moving picture before. I think I may have come to the wrong place - this website is for serious semi-professionals. I want the best bang for my buck, bearing in mind that my buck is essentially loose change and the bang I'd be looking for is the film equivalent of pop caps.

 

Yeah, I had presumed with your request, that you had been making your clips with something like a phone camera or internet camera and wanted to move 'up' from there...

 

The list I gave is from my own experience 'moving up', and others may have differences, the 'price' would be about the same to move beyond iPhones or Web Cams. The only better 'deal' would be slewthing out ebay for the best rock bottom deal... but that takes time...

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Just one point with Lightworks, as with other professional NLEs, you do need to take the time to learn, it's not like consumer programs such as Window Movie Maker.

 

 

I would mention "Blender", which is a free opensource 3-d modeling program, and apparently now it includes general editing. But .... the learning curve is pretty steep...

 

There's also Davinci Resolve Lite, which is also free, but that requires particular hardware...

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For about ~$400 you can get a Sony NEX 5T with the kit lens...maybe cheaper if you go used from a reputable place. The NEX shoots nice quality video in my opinion and the quality of Sony is pretty good.

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I recommend Blender too. It's absolutely free and I had just a little problem learning to use it. But there are lots of great tutorials for learning to use Blender. I think its greatest plus is that it's free :)

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