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    Best Digital Cinema Camera & Other Equiment Needed to Launch an Indie Production Co.
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    Hey all,

    It's been a while since I've posted here, so I hope everyone's projects an dreams are on track -- vision intact. So, anyways, speaking of visions, I am working on devising a plan to launch my own production company. Realistically, at first, I am looking to purchase as little as possible, but a necessity is a great camera. I'm also thinking about which lenses make most sense to purchase/ Frim what I've heard: Nifty-50mm; a zoom, which I need a suggestion (I heard that GET OUT was shot solely on zoom lenses.) Perhaps I need about one or two more suggestions, something longer and shorter.

    Something else I know I will also need is a good mic. We all know 50% of what you see is what you hear. Any suggestions?

    Lastly, I eventually want to get lights, etc.... So, for theoretical purpose and conversation, what else would WE need to start a production company?

    BEST & HAPPY HOLIDAYS,

    MJC 1


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    What you need to start a production company is... a roster of paying clients.

    Why spend money? You can buy a mediocre kit now, sure. That might get you through a couple of small projects, but you’ll be limping on sub-par gear. Or you can drop a huge wad of cash on some really good stuff, but what if the business doesn’t take off?

    Rent. Rent a camera body. Rent lenses. Rent lights. Hire a sound mixer. These are all costs that are passed on to the clients anyway (even if you own everything, your production bill includes rental on the gear).

    Once you have a client base and the work is coming in that justifies you owning your own kit, then you can look at making an educated purchase. But for now, you can rent all that stuff easily and affordably.
    Nobody notices audio... until it's not there.

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    #3
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    Merry Christmas!

    The equipment somewhat dependent on the type of thing you plan to shoot. Are you planning to shoot commercials, weddings, documentaries, etc.?

    I see that you've been a member for a long time, but based on your questions, I assume that you don't have a lot of experience in video production. There's nothing wrong with that, we all have to start somewhere, and hopefully I'm not reading too much into your post.

    I would recommend getting a basic kit to help you learn video production and hone the skills that you already have. It would also allow you to shoot fun personal projects and last minute paid gigs.

    Tripod: $140 Davis & Sanford. The head lacks counter balance, but it's good enough to start learning with.

    Microphone: AT875R Short Shotgun, good mic for the money, but it needs phantom power.

    Camera: There are a lot of decent budget camera options, but bear in mind that it can takes a lot of accessories to get them up and running. Here are some cameras that come to mind: Sony A6400, Fuji XT-3, Panasonic GH5, Blackmagic Pocket 4K. However, it might be simpler and cheaper to get a second-hand Canon C100 with DP AF, but you'll be limited to 1080P.

    Lenses: I can't really make a lens recommendation without knowing what types of things you plan to shoot and what camera you will be using. Different sensor sizes will yield different field of views, so a 50mm would be a bad choice with a MFT GH5.

    You'll need an audio preamp or recorder if you get a camera that lacks phantom power.

    For editing you can build a computer and use Davinci Resolve.


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    People can't make recommendations because you haven't provided any information about what type of production company you have. Documentaries, weddings, shorts, commercials, features, corporate, youtube POV, VLOG, talk show, what? What type of camera do you need? MFT, S35, APS, FF? What format do you need? 4k 10 bit, RAW, ?
    What is your camera, microphone, lighting budget?


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    #5
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    What kind of work do you want to do?
    If corporate, what sort of corporate?
    What clients or projects do you have or envision?

    What experience in professional prodution do you and your partners possess right now?
    Location audio? Camera? The biz side of producing? Script writing? Interviewing?

    I think the answers to those questions will help you figure out what equipment you need to own, and as Alex suggests, when it makes more sense to rent. Consider that for many of the corporate projects I work on, actual shooting may last one to three days, while prepro, post, and the rest can last for a month. So does it make sense to buy camera & lighting equipment that will sit around unused a lot? Of course, PLENTY of prodcos have a different balance of shoot vs pre/post days... But give that all a good think.

    Same with skills. I have excellent location audio skills, as well as production (ie- budgeting and cajoling, etc) and journalism skills (writing, interviewing, etc). My camera skills are pretty good, my lighting & editing skills passable for very simple stuff... But with paying clients, I know craftspeople who are great at the things I'm not great at. (And I got to know lots of those people through jobs I've worked as a location-sound mixer).

    So for most corporate jobs, I hire camera people, gaffers, and when it's a complex project where I'm plenty busy producing and/or directing, I'll hire sound. Same for post; I love working with (and depending upon) skilled editors and audio posties.

    But that's all for professional production (for me that's corporate, some public-affairs broadcast segments and docs, etc). If you want to DIY the whole thing, which can be quite fun but difficult to bill clients, Ima provides a decent starting point. Read the rest of dvxuser for more.

    But again, it all comes down to the work you're thinking of doing. So what are you thinking?
    Last edited by Jim Feeley; 12-25-2019 at 02:54 PM.
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    Jim Feeley
    POV Media


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    #6
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    Like any enterprise, start with a business plan, use any of the free templates on line, you'll increase your chance of success if you let the plan drive your equipment choices rather than the other way around.


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    #7
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    Without knowing anything about you your level f expertise positioning in the business etc. and without telling you that just by buying some gear you are not closer to paid work than before I can advise you this:

    Camera: GH5 (Used $1000)
    Lens: Olympus 12-60mm 2.8 (Used 500.-)
    Mic: Rode video Micro ($50)
    a 3 in one reflector ($30)

    Then stop buying things screw around with it until you get a handle on it then slowly just get must have items as you reach the end of what your gear can do for you.
    Don't get lost in the detail remember these are all just tools films happen in your mind first or not at all.


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    #8
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    +1

    icarusfilm's set is better but also good quality for the buck is: (Panasonic G7 with 14-45 and Rode videomicpro, extra battery and reflector you are ready for 500,= ) very decent set for Youtube and good as a B-cam.

    This camera is the best investment in gear I ever did in terms of ROI.


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    #9
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    Totally. I was just suggesting the gh5 because of ibis and because you can get "specs" (10bit 422) without upgrading and also it will resell well if you decide to get rid of it in the next 6 months. The good news there are very few cameras out these days in the 400-1000 $ range that will not be able to kick the 5DII of years past to the curb in video quality and ergonomics- while at the same time the "deliverables" for a lot of jobs haven't really changed much over the last 8 years.

    Also if you are treading along and suddenly land a job that vastly exceeds your expertise and needs more specialized gear (better lighting, gimbal or a specific camera) def. don't go out and buy it- consider if the budget allows to hire people who own and know the pieces you need - your bottom line will drop but you will invest in your track record and will be able to learn from the people you hire (eg. an gaffer with lights, gimbal op etc.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Publimix View Post
    +1

    icarusfilm's set is better but also good quality for the buck is: (Panasonic G7 with 14-45 and Rode videomicpro, extra battery and reflector you are ready for 500,= ) very decent set for Youtube and good as a B-cam.

    This camera is the best investment in gear I ever did in terms of ROI.


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    #10
    Senior Member Jaime Valles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by icarusfilm View Post
    Also if you are treading along and suddenly land a job that vastly exceeds your expertise and needs more specialized gear (better lighting, gimbal or a specific camera) def. don't go out and buy it- consider if the budget allows to hire people who own and know the pieces you need - your bottom line will drop but you will invest in your track record and will be able to learn from the people you hire (eg. an gaffer with lights, gimbal op etc.)
    THAT IS ABSOLUTELY CORRECT.

    Also, regardless of what you want your production company to focus on, I do recommend owning a camera and a couple of lenses to get out there shooting non-stop. That's the easiest way of figuring out what you want out of camera, sound and lighting gear. Keep it under $1000 for the camera and lenses combined. I keep saying this, but few people here believe me: If you can't get AMAZING looking footage with a GH2, you can't get amazing looking footage with ANY camera.
    Jaime VallÚs
    AJV Media
    Video, Photography & Graphic Design: www.ajvmedia.com


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