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Dazed and confuzed......

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Martin SlidderDazed and confuzed......
by on Mar 12, 2009 at 8:52:36 pm

Hello guys I need help!

I'm based in London and in the earliest of stages of setting up my own production company as have recently been made redundant. I have worked in production for a couple of years but always in sales/marketing/new business positions so my knowledge of the finer points of production is not what it could be (but am trying to learn as much as poss!)

I'm trying to start off on a small scale (size wise) whilst hopefully future proofing my equipment so on edit suite and 2 camera's. My main area will be live events and after building up a showreelhopefully moving into corporate/promo work (with one day moving into commercials but that is a pipe dream at the moment).

Camera wise I'm liking the sound of the Sony PMW EX-3.
Reasons being...
1. affordable (ish)
2. full 1080p
3. multiple lenses
4. has shoulder mount for attachment and hence steadier and more pro look for clients

What do you guys think???? Will this camera work well without lighting as alot could be shot under normal lighting conditions?

Edit wise I'm thinking the new 8-core mac pro with a decent graphics card (ati radeon hd 4870 512MB) and upgrding the memory to 8GB. Also due to the size of HD files will it be better to upgrade the internal hard drives or use external hard drives?? Will I need any extra equipment to do that, i.e. link together multiple hard-drives to the mac?

As for monitors I think 2 monitors always add to the professional look of an edit suite but 2 apple 24" monitors will be very expensive. Like I said earlier to future proof is really important so are the apple monitors worth the extra money and can I use these to colour grade or do I need a specialist monitor for this??

Also as I'm planning on burning dvd's for final delivery especially for live events like weddings will I need to buy a Blu-ray burner to get all the data of full HD onto disk or will the mac have a blu-ray burner built in??

As you guys can tell I've alot to learn so was thinking of going to NAB in April. Have found a source code from a retailers website to get in free but I still have to factor in flights and hotel etc.

As I'm not a broadcaster but want to learn about camera's, sound equipment etc will it be worthwhile me going???

This is the first time I'm posting anything and apologies for the length of this but your help will be invaluable for me....

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Rick WiseRe: Dazed and confuzed......
by on Mar 13, 2009 at 6:22:17 pm

Well you are certainly jumping off into very deep waters. I presume you have a stash of cash to tide you over. I presume you already know how to edit (FCP?) well and can handle a camera well. If that's not the case, I would not go ahead with your plans unless you can hire experienced people to perform the work. If you do that, you do not want to be investing in any gear at all.

Indeed, your experience seems to be in sales. So why not build up a stable of shooters and sound guys and editors you can call upon when you land the jobs?

As for your specific gear questions:

--The EX3 is a dandy camera, and works well in low light. Some people prefer one of the newer Panasonics. It is, however, not a shoulder-mount camera. Almost all the weight goes on the arms. There are various shoulder braces you can use with it.

--I edit on a Mac operating in Windows mode, and use Sony Vegas, which I consider a more friendly NLE than FCP and every bit as powerful. (Also half the price.) For Vegas, it's important to have the camera files on a hard drive that is different from the one where the program itself resides. I imagine FCP also works better that way, so you need either 2 or more internal hard drives of large capacity, or external ones. Remember you also need to be able to backup all your data and edits to yet another drive, or else risk having to start all over again if the drive you've been using crashes. They all crash some day, just like us.

--In the US, Blue-Ray is still not widespread. If you see yourself needing that format, contact your Mac retailer. They can tell you instantly if any Macs come with it. If not, there's another expense you may or may not want to take on.

--Sound is crucial. Good mics, a boom person, good audio in post all can ruin or make a video. If you are green here, hire a pro. (Again.)

--As to the value of NAB, if you can afford it, go and enjoy. But you can get all the important information later from free industry magazines which fall all over each other to report on the latest hot camera, etc.

Rick Wise
director of photography
and custom lighting design
Oakland, CA

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Mark SuszkoRe: Dazed and confuzed......
by on Mar 13, 2009 at 7:24:52 pm

Unless something new is announced next week, the Apple macs don't yet offer BluRay AFAIK, and you can't edit or author it in Final Cut or Apple DVD StudioPro yet, you'd need an external BD drive and a copy of Adobe Uncore to make simple Blue Ray disks.

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George BurbanoRe: Dazed and confuzed......
by on Mar 15, 2009 at 12:36:43 am

Wow if you are dazed and confused now, wait till you start getting all the equipment, and putting everything in play.

First start with what is your budget...From what you mentioned I estimate it is about $20,000 US Dollars.

The EX3 alone $8300 take or add, a couple of cards about $2000 (ok maybe 4, but you need at least this) Depending on the event, you may need to be able to record at least several hours of footage.

Then you need a good light set. Good portable lighting, batteries about $500. Location lighting can be more depending on what you are going to shoot.

Wirelss mic system, both lavs and handheld, Sennheiser about $600-$2000 depending on the system you get.

Extra batteries , a couple $500

Now for the computer:

If you are going with Mac 8 core, (which by the way is a bit of overkill, but if you have the money,....) An upgraded computer with memory, about $4000, a good monitor, $1200 a second broadcast monitor, HD, $1500, A Kona or blackmagic HD card, $1000, Software FCP around $1300, am audio interface, a mixer, and good studio speakers, $1000.

Like I said about $20,000 take or add.

So why am I listing this to you, well to give you an idea about the money you are going to invest. You can cut this by starting slow...

This isnt including, actually editing, or being able to edit. Some guys farm out editing to people who that is all they do.

Well, I have been taping events for almost 22 years now. We always purchase equipment that we need as we go along, but the basics you cant help. Remember that you do need to have a spare camera, when shooting events. You never know, and there is no redoing it... You pretty much need 2 of the important stuff. Mikes, lights, cables, cards (for tapeless) etc...

We shoot all type of events and do very well doing it. But we are well equipped and have expanded our equipment as time goes.

Good luck to you and I hope it works out. Do alot of research, and purchase equipment based on what will work for you. Keep in mind ease of use, portability if you are shooting events... And make sure that you know every little detail and shoot and experiment alot before taking on an assignment. Especially with new equipment. Our policy is no new equipment is used as primary on a job, until we use it as as second on several jobs. I hope this helps..


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