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Thread: gearing up, needs and wants for maximum control over my footage while filming

  1. #1

    Default gearing up, needs and wants for maximum control over my footage while filming

    Hi all, it's been a few weeks since last time I posted here.

    anyway, here we are, I got my DSLR, a couple of tripods, few cheapo lights (gonna upgrade the bulbs but the hardware's there), a short slider/rail on the way and a couple dozens of lenses. My filming buddy also got himself a nice D800 (he's more of a photographer, I'm more the video guy but he's helping me out filming and we'll definitely take advantage of the D800 here).

    On my "to buy" list, there's also a stabilizer (gonna go for cheap, but not too cheap, was thinking of getting one of those entry level glidecam, looking for a used one rather than a new "made in china" one)

    now I look around and I'm wondering a few things

    - I see those shoulder rigs, but I kinda fail to see the point, they don't seem stabilized or anything, I really fail to understand in what situation they come in handy, but I see people getting them and using them. If any of you could explain to me what's the point of those?

    - matte box, since I got many different lenses, most of which without hoods, and several filter sizes, the matte box seems to be the way to go for polyvalent filter use. what's the main difference between the cheap and most expensive ones?

    - I definitely need some standalone lighting system, something that I can take with me and that would be better than those battery powered small led lights (they're cool tho, great bang for the buck, but still limited)

    - is there some focusing help that I could get, especially for using with that slider? or it's supposed to be focused "on the fly" by hand?

    - flags & reflectors - necessary or not?

  2. #2

    Default

    On my DSLR journey I've found a few essentials. One is a LCD Viewfinder or loupe. I went for (waiting for delivery) a mid priced but seems good LCDVF mainly because it is the only one that was made to fit my camera. This is very important for sunny days when you can't see the screen because of the sun glare. I am still looking for a reasonably priced plate and rod system so I can mount a focus wheel. This is an issue for me as I do tend to do focus pulls or rack focus during my shoots. The other thing which is essential is a variable ND filter again I'm still looking for one which won't break the bank but won't affect image quality.

    The shoulder systems you mentioned are useful if you do a lot of hand held shots as they make the shots more stable than than holding the camera in your hand and you can shoot for longer without arm ache. This isn't an issue for me as I shoot 99.9% of all my work on a tripod the other 0.01 is on a bean bag on the floor for really low shots. Having said that I saw THIS on Amazon and couldn't resist it for just 15. I haven't tried it yet because it only arrived yesterday but does feel comfortable to wear. As I'm the worst hand hold shooter in the world it can only help.

    One of the things lower down on my list is a Ninja recorder so I can record at a higher bit rate than the crappy AVCHD 24mbps of the camera and it also has a reasonable monitoring screen to help with focusing. You may find an external monitor to be of use but I can't recommend a particular one.

    I can see how you will need a mat box but don't fall into thinking you have to spend lots of money on one. It's basically a sunshade that can hold filters so shouldn't cost you more than you paid for the camera. Have you thought of getting something like the cokin filter system, my wife has used it for stills and found they work great. The only thing with that is you can't use a hood with it. BUT you could just hold a bit of card or even your hand over the end of the lens to block the sun I've done that many times with cameras to stop unwanted lens flare. Having seen your work, I wouldn't think lens flare would be an issue for you anyway as it adds to the contemporary feel of your videos.

  3. #3

    Default

    thanks for the quick reply. I'll pass on the viewfinder as the orientable LCD screen from the 600D is bright enough and very useful as it is. I wouldn't like to lose that orientable thing.

    ND filter, and filters in general are on the list. I like using gradient filters, ND as well as polarizing filters, they'll probably go with the matte box. I'll try and find a cheap one, see how it turns out.

    that ninja recorder thing looks interesting, but pricey.

    I'll definitely pass on the shoulder rig as I also use tripod and will be using the sliding rails and later on, the stabilizer.

    All in all, it looks to me that once I get the stabilizer, I'll be as set as my means would allow me to, and in general, I'll have more than enough gear to do virtually whatever I want. except maybe for more elaborate lighting and more efficient lighting setups

  4. #4

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    I forgot to mention if you're looking at things like flags and reflectors you'll need some stands and clips. I bought a great set of clips from the big DIY store for 5.00 these are extremely useful. Look out for cheap C stands on E-bay. Grip is often forgotten about until you're on set finding unusual solutions to hold things like reflectors and flags.

    Lighting is a whole other issue which I don't really feel qualified to comment on.

  5. #5
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    Default

    Hi hadoq, DSLR rigs aren't really my area, but ...
    Quote Originally Posted by hadoq View Post
    - I see those shoulder rigs, but I kinda fail to see the point, they don't seem stabilized or anything, I really fail to understand in what situation they come in handy, but I see people getting them and using them. If any of you could explain to me what's the point of those?
    if you've ever felt the difference between a hand held camera and a shoulder mount, you'll understand the difference.
    In a run & gun situation shoulder mount beats hand held for stability and stabilizer for flexibility.
    Tim

  6. #6

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    well, my philosophy is, if I can do it with personal work and no money, why spend money on it? (except for the DIY stuff, can't make anything with my hands)

    Lighting is something I want to learn and master. I really like dark videos and light is a good way to create darkness

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