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Thread: Help..Starting out advice please

  1. #1

    Default Help..Starting out advice please

    Hello everybody

    I work in graphic design/photography for a small family business (artist materials and brushes) and they have asked me to start doing some short film promotions for the business.
    I am totally new to video/film and I have been dropped in the deep end, hence me coming here. I know I am out of my depth on this forum, but I would be very grateful for any advice. I don't really have a choice.

    I currently use a Canon 5d2 and 6d2 and have several lenses,etc.. (50mm, 24-105mm, 100mm, 70-300mm) My question is.... is this kit suitable to shoot basic short basic films?
    I am trying to make do with the kit we have, but I have been given a budget to buy some extra equipment. Ideally it would be nice to use the same camera's for both photos and film, then I can use all the lenses and buy other kit I may need like sound, lighting gear, gimbal, etc..

    What gear would you recommend to go with the 6d2? In terms of sound, gimbal, lenses, lighting gear..etc. The promo films will be indoor and outdoors and my budget is £2K

    I was looking at the Dracast LED500 S-Series Bi-Color 3-Light Kit for lighting? Would this be any good? advice on LED or tungsten etc?

    If the 6d2 is not suitable what entry range film cameras would you advise?

    Also does anybody know that offers onsite film/video training in the North of England?

    Any recommended reading?

    I use Adobe creative suit, so software is not a problem.

    I know this sounds a bit mental, but I've been dropped in it here.

    Thanks for your time.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Surrey, UK
    Blog Entries


    Hi Chris, not mental at all. You're already over the first hurdle in that you accept you know little about the subject and recognise you will need to undergo some training.

    If you're aim is to produce business promos and you will be able to take time to set up each shot then the 5D and 6D will certainly be good enough and you are right to look at supplementing this with good audio equipment and good lighting.

    A good tripod and fluid head is essential.

    If you have money left then consider a slider, gimbal etc.

    Good mics will last a lifetime (unlike cameras which we seem to need to upgrade every month) so don't skimp and I'd suggest playing boringly safe and going for well known brand names (Rode, Sennheisser) and models which have become established (unless you want to do a LOT of research and testing). All microphones record sound in the same way that all cameras/lenses record light. You will already be aware of how different cameras/lenses can dramatically affect how that light is captured. Different mics do the same with sound, but even more dramatically. So, you really need to know what type of audio you want to capture and the options for capturing it.

    Digital recorders all pretty much do the same thing and increased price tends to bring reduced background noise, better usability and sturdiness -you get what you pay for.

    LED lighting brings many benefits - not least of which are significantly lower heat than tungsten and reduced draw. However, be careful as producing LEDs which produce even lighting across the spectrum is an expensive business and cheaper panels. Having said that, this info is from a few years back and things may well have changed. I don't know, I use tungsten and CFL!

  3. #3


    Thanks for the advice Tim :

  4. #4


    A few loose ideas that might help:

    Canon 5Dmk2
    Should shoot decent video. More modern cameras have better details in processing, like better aliasing control and better dynamic range, etc, but you should still get very good footage out of it as long as you aim to put it in the best conditions.

    Lighting will be critical. Coming from still photography you may not have too much experience with continuous lighting, so start doing a ton of research there because your Canons are going to need the best lighting conditions you can provide in order to get to that great footage.

    Your lenses are fine. Even if you can always spot the difference between 50mm 1.8 vs a 50mm 1.2 when shooting stills, video is far less resolution, and the video most people are accustomed to is shot using sensors much smaller than your full frame. So in practice even the nifty fifty is more than enough quality for video needs. I wouldn’t even worry about using the 70-300, but I might avoid going for it if something else will do. In video most of the time you want to be close to things to create a sense of more intimate movement, so you are likely to stick to the 24-105.

    Mics as Tim said. I would get a backup too (even a cheap one as a backup). It never hurts to have 2 audio sources, and the camera’s built-in mic is useless.

    Lights: I would go with high-CRI LEDs, something portable but big enough. Just as reference my favorite kit is 20+” softboxes. It can’t be hot because the talent will be abused by it. It can’t be too small because it won’t be enough light – remember you don’t get to use longer exposure to allow more light in. So it has to be something reasonably large, powerful, portable and cool. I avoid tungsten as much as possible because of the heat and high use of electricity.

    Recommended watching:
    Tons of Youtube videos. Look for people using your camera. Look for advice for photographers starting on video. And definitely watch behind the scenes tutorials for stuff similar to what you plan to do.

    Also, keep the first few videos simple. Honestly, if the first few promo videos are going online, there’s no need to do anything too complicated. You’ll get the hang of things quickly enough, but start by setting yourself up for success with simpler productions.

  5. #5


    I forgot to say, I still use CFLs for my softboxes. I use 4 100 watt-equivalent for each softbox, which basically lets me shoot at iso 400ish with a 1/30 shutter. 2 things to worry about with CFLs are (1) lighting quality may be subpar so try to get good bulbs and/or check for accuracy of colors before production, and (2) they flicker at around 60hz which means you won't be able to use a shutter around 1/60. 1/50 and 1/70 are usually fine (for me), but experiment plenty.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Surrey, UK
    Blog Entries


    Quote Originally Posted by jochicago View Post
    2 things to worry about with CFLs are ..... (2) they flicker at around 60hz which means you won't be able to use a shutter around 1/60. 1/50 and 1/70 are usually fine (for me), but experiment plenty.
    That's interesting. Chris, like me, is in the UK so I would have imagined CFLs would flicker at 50Hz rather than 60Hz. Yet I have not experienced any issues with using 1/50 shutter speed (using camcorders myself or fellow club members using DSLRs)

  7. #7

    Default re

    Hello Jo

    Thanks for the advice. Appreciated.



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