View Full Version : If you had $20,000...
05-29-2007, 08:47 PM
If you had a $20,000 budget to buy equipment to start a prod company what would you buy?
My short list looks like:
-MacPro w/30'' Display
-Final Cut Studio 2
If you have any more ideas, leave em...
05-29-2007, 09:54 PM
Lights, Audio gear, tripod, dolly, jib arm, p2 cards, and more lights. Thats off the top of my head. What else guys?
05-30-2007, 08:22 AM
Depends on your business plan. Spending $20,000 and then hanging up a shingle that says "we do video" = a fast track to bankruptcy.
Do you already have clients? Clients enough that you can't afford to torch more money on renting, so it's time to buy? If so, then yes, buy. If not, you might want to spend your effort landing clients, without the burden of carrying a $20,000 debt load. You can always rent, or hire people who own that gear, until you get established and have enough of a revenue stream that you know you're going to be able to afford a $20k loan or whatever.
Be sure to check out Robert Starling's classic business post:
if youre just starting out a 30" display is insane. get what you NEED - not glamour gear. and $20k doesnt even get you started as a "prod company"
id suggest buying the few things you need to have on hand and need to be familiar with (computer, camera, p2 card and software and insurance) and rent the rest for the forseeable future.
here is what id suggest if you are just getting started.
macbook pro with an esata pcmcia card and a good esata raid.
(i suggest the laptop because portability could be a selling point for you)
dell 24" monitor
apple final cut studio
adobe cs3 (illustrator, photoshop, and after effects)
hvx200 and one 16 gig card
good set of powered audio monitors (like those from m-audio)
a good insurance policy (mine is $500 a year from the hartford)
then you can rent lights, tripods, decks, mics or anything else as you need it.
the only reason id suggest BUYING the camera as opposed to renting is 1. availability and 2. youre going to need to be super familiar with the camera and renting for a day here and there wont give you time to do that.
05-30-2007, 02:50 PM
audio gear is right! you win $20,000!
yes, obviously we would continue to rent items on an as needed basis, theres no way to anticipate your needs on every project, but we'd like to own some of the 'core' items if you will so that we can have tools at our fingertips for spec projects...
where are the best deals online for a mics n tings?
yo, ps, check this out (http://www.figureonthewall.com/1.mov)
05-31-2007, 06:08 AM
It really depends on what you are planning on doing / how you will make a career.
There is an entire forum for audio gear, so look there for specifics on audio.
Unless you are no where near a rental house, do not buy lights. Lights are rental items, either they work or they don't. The rental house won't let them leave if they don't. There are just too many different types to own. Figure out the project then determine your lighting package for that project. Rent them.
Own the more complicated devices that you must spend time with learning (Camera, Onboard Monitor, Computer) or that have a performance impact (Mics, Tripod). Spending $2000 can get you into a ground glass style lens adapter and a lens or two, do you want to go that route? It depends on your goals.
05-31-2007, 06:32 AM
I didnt buy my equipment till 5 years after starting my company..
Regular clients ...regular money
Now ive got everything i need ...paid cash...no finance Im a happy chappy.
06-02-2007, 02:37 PM
If I had $20,000 to start a production company, I would put $5,000 in marketing the company. $5,000 would go to legal advice and consulting (may not be enough). When I have marketed and created interest by potential clients I would then take $10,000 to set up a office, with basic but nice furniture (think Ikea) and set aside as much rent in advance for that office, so when the potential clients come to meet and discuss possible productions they know it's not just out of my home. When time comes and contracts have been met with a sizeable deposit, I can take that money to begin production and then get the rest of the money upon completetion.
I work for a production company and we shoot primarily on film. We own very basic video equipment that is used for corporate videos, including: a Sony HDV camera, HDV deck, 2 Sony clamshell miniDV decks, betcamsp player, quad G5, quad Mac Pro, 30" ACD, 2 20" Dell Monitors, eSata Raid. The key here is that the equipment is purchased when contracts have been signed and the purchases can be billed to the client.
For the commercials we do on film, everything is rented and the crew are all freelance. We don't do much post on the commercials we shoot, but if we do it is transferred at a post-house, edited off-line on our machines, selects are color corrected and then it is confromed in a on-line suite at a post-house.
Visit www.sbkpictures.com if anyone is interested in what we do. I haven't been there for a long time, but from being there I have learned that knowledge and being professional is more impressive to clients than having the latest equipment.
Then again, if I had $20,00 to invest in equipment just for fun I would go all out with a HVX and a new computer.
06-02-2007, 06:09 PM
Use the 20000 for operating capital towards marketing and then once you have clients, re asses your needs to see if buying equipment is more cost effective than renting. But I understand what you are saying. Buying stuff is fun. I'm surprised no one really touched on lighting equipment. It seems these days folks are relying on the camera and computer to do all the work. I have amassed a really good grip and lighting kit over the years, that's still relevant today. That stuff just doesn't become obsolete. I use to grip and gaff, so I bought an item here and there over the last 10-15 years to sweeten my freelance package. I still use the stuff. Let me make a blanket statement here and say...Lighting separates the men from the boys. There are too many lazy rich kids out there that sink all their money into tech gear, and put out some really awful stuff. Just check out youtube sometime. Of course I'm just talking about look. What really matters is content, and if you are smart and clever enough, you can succeed with VHSc and 2 VCRS. Just my 2 cents. Of course I like to buy stuff too, and my list would be this.
Arri Softbank II Tungsten 4 Light Kit - consists of: 3 Fresnel 650, 1 Arrilite 1000 Open Face Light, Barndoors, Scrims, Filter Frames, Stands, Bulbs, 24x32" Softbox, Heavy Duty Case - 2950 Total Watts (220V AC) $2800
4 C-Stands $720
RoadRags II Kit - includes: Single, Double Scrim, Diffuser, Flag, 2- 24x36" Frames, Bag $320
HVX200 $5500 (in the process of getting one myself)
Final Cut Pro Studio $1200
Mac Pro What you can build smartly with $5000
A: Camera and lighting accesories or software to make your life easier
B: The rest in one dollar bills to persuade sleazy ad guys to hire you by taking them to strip clubs.
06-05-2007, 10:54 AM
I'd borrow another $2000 and get one of these.
you'll need it
You didn't say what you plan on producing. I would imagine that would have a huge impact on what you need or don't need.
06-08-2007, 06:22 PM
hahah that last one is the best response....
06-09-2007, 07:10 PM
Wow, I was in this same exact position and we just got our equipment yesterday. Here's what we bought...
2 Sony HVR-V1Us
2 Sennheiser EW122P lavaliers
Edirol R-4 Pro
Sony HVR-M15U DV Deck
Glidecam Smoother Shooter w/4000 Pro
Mac Pro (Dual 2.66GHz, 4GB, ATI X1900XT, 1.5TB)
4 camera batteries, 4 chargers
BESCOR battery belt
We bought this for a nature documentary.
06-09-2007, 09:13 PM
If I ever had the ability to hold that much money to my name, I'd first:
Find a very good writer and screenplay and get the rights to make it a film.
One more HVX200
2 lighting kits
Four 16GB P2 cards
Dolly and new tripod
Pretty much the basic needs. I dont need 30 inch monitors or a new computer. My PC running on Intel pentium 4 3.06ghz 1 GB RAM with Vegas 7 is all i need.
06-12-2007, 04:42 PM
I work for a small office in a larger company, so I was already ahead of the game with a mac pro, nearly all the software I needed and some other equipment, here's some of what we ended up getting.
1 MEK66 shotgun setup
1 Sennheisser ew112-p lav
a nice little 4 light lightkit with a redhead softbox
a good tripod
2 SD255 decks
We ended up getting the decks for two reasons, we're shooing to tape right now (which sucks) but we do things like 2 week shoots in Africa which right now isn't practical to do on P2 for us, plus this way for smaller projects we can finish on DVCPro50.
06-13-2007, 07:05 AM
Hmmm...I'm going to be posting a little different...because while I love filmmaking and want to do it some day soon, I'm working on an animated short right now, and here's how my list would go:
A good black and white laser printer for script revisions/printing storyboard template sheets out
Couple of hundred dollars worth of prismacolor markers/pencils
2 really nice microphones for voice acting
A really nice preamp/filter
A nice portable recorder + portable mic for foley/sound effects
Audio Interface for my existing PC (Probably Pro Tools)
About 200$ in materials to build a ghetto sound booth
MONEY TO PAY THE VOICE ACTORS (I'd do some voices also + a friend is pretty good at VA work)
A 22" widescreen Samsung 266BWS (would be awesome to work on my 3D with...also rendering it to 1080p @ 30fps probably) In additon to my 19" CRT
3d Studio Max 9 (for creation of the film)
Photoshop 7 (cause it's light and fast on older machines, I don't need new features to matte/texture paint, also cheaper)
AE 7.0 (for compositing/effects)
55MM Film Tools Plugins for AE
Vegas 7 Pro (for final editing and DVD authoring)
I think this would add up to right at around 15,000$, probably less if I went and priced everything else out. The other 5000$ would be duplication of DVD's and to get started on distribution.
06-13-2007, 07:43 AM
You know what, I wouldn't have said this up till a couple of months ago but try and add in a 35mm lens adapter and plenty of lights. Why? Because after using one on a couple of jobs we've managed to bag two more clients after they saw our work at presentation events.
They say... "It looks more like a film than a corporate, can you do ours like that." :beer:
06-14-2007, 06:11 AM
Well, I think it also depends on age.
20,000$ is less than 1 year tuition at some film schools. If you're 35 and up and decide to get into movies and beg borrow and steal to get an HVX200, then no it doesn't make sense.
But when I DVX100 came out, I was in college, not feeling very well about it, and in the middle I got the opportunity to do a documentary. Funding was limited and I spent a little out of pocket to get it, but whatever money was spent was justified by the fact that I was getting far more experience by DOING. (That said, for some college does make sense; I had a very unusual history of education due to illness.)
At any rate, years late, I'm making a bit of money, but I bought the hvx because the future is HD, and with projects ready or not, I need to learn by doing.
Buying an HVX200, learning everything you possibly can, and spending at least 8 hours a day reading about your craft is time and money well spent, if you plan on video/film for a living. But only by the essentials for learning. If you have clients, than cater to that, but essentially spend for the lowest common denominator. I just think education should fit in the 'LCD.'
Unless you have no talent. I'm actually against the addage, "believe in yourself and you can achieve anything!"
I disagree, my philosophy is to go to the smartest, most successful people you know (and if you don't know enough: FIND SOME), show them your work and ask them point blank: am I wasting my time or should I follow this as my future. I think this applies to any work, and it's just my opinion, but it's worked for me and I trust the opinions of those better than just myself. That's the point. I talk to as many people about my plans as possible to learn and make sure I'm doing the right thing, weighted against your own intention, I just think that makes sense.