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You've been given $5,000 for a corporate client to buy equipment...

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Tim Robinson
You've been given $5,000 for a corporate client to buy equipment...
on Apr 14, 2015 at 5:38:32 pm

You've been given $5,000 for a mid-range corporate client to buy equipment.

They want to the foundation of an in-house video production studio to shoot short web/social media videos, trade show videos, and maybe a few commercials.

What do you buy RIGHT now, today, knowing what you know?

Budget friendly items, but not afraid to buy what you need and spend where it counts.

(Not including the computer.)

-Camera (DSLR? 4k DSLR?)
-Lenses (Must haves)
-Accessories
-Tripods
-Glidetrack? Which one?
-Toys (Crane? Drone?)

GO!!


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Mark Suszko
Re: You've been given $5,000 for a corporate client to buy equipment...
on Apr 14, 2015 at 6:46:16 pm

Five grand don't actually buy much for such a setup.
You'll drop half of that just on lighting and audio gear, and a quality tripod with fluid head.

"Not counting the computer"? I'm going to guess you mean the computer is paid for out of another budget line, like the IT budget, but really, you kinda should know what that system is going to be, to tailor the rest of the gear purchases. And what about the computer peripherals, like high volume RAID drives and a Storage Area Network? Five grand easily can be spent JUST on the computer and related stuff.

As to the DSLR, I don't get the fascination for shooting with them when they still have practical limitations, compared to purpose-made standard form factor video cameras that have, you know, actual XLR inputs for audio, and the ability to run for more than an hour without needing to stop or cool down, etc. And these days, they can come with the same sensors and lenses as the DSLR, and get the same "look". When you fully equip the DSLR to match the features and functionality of a purpose-made video camera, you've spent about the same amount of money.

Toys like jibs and sliders, or Farnsworth forbid, drones, you should rent when you need them, and not tie up working capital on stuff that depreciates if it isn't used every week. Your job is hard enough, just composing a well-lit and framed shot with good sound.

I will say that for a small corporate studio it usually makes sense to build a green screen cove and a few key props in the same color, like some cubes and a door frame or arch. And a teleprompter with a real beam-splitting mirror head in front of the lens will be very valuable.


The way corporate studios are run is very different today than from even ten years ago. Today, outside of the NLE suite, operations are mostly virtualized; that is, you don't keep a full-time staff except for a supervisor/producer and editor. You have a small studio and NLE workstation but Everything else, you hire out only as and when needed. The only reason not to do it that way is if you expect the sheer volume of product you're making every week to justify the full time expenses and capital investment. Otherwise, a contact database in your iphone of contract shooters, writers, and performers, and a bare bones location with basic light and sound is all you really "need".

The best money you spend will actually not be on gear at all, but on a WRITER who can create great scripts and visualize audience-grabbing scenes, while keeping the budget in mind. A bad script, shot on a RED Dragon, and edited on the most hot-rodded Avid or Premiere system, is still a bad script.

Figure out exactly what you mean to do. The appropriate purchases will follow from that. Be ready to justify every expense in terms of return on investment: how much money it brings the company, not how "cool" it is.


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Martin Curtis
Re: You've been given $5,000 for a corporate client to buy equipment...
on May 18, 2015 at 12:40:33 am

Just buying some gear now. Two cameras with basic accessories (batteries and cards) with Manfrotto tripods = A$15000. The Sony NX3 costs $4000.

If I had a budget of $5000 I'd buy a Canon XA20, extra batteries, Rode NT-G1, a lavalier mic (wireless would be excellent - Rode make one of them too), a Manfrotto tripod and head (e.g. MVH500AH Fluid Head & 755XB Tripod with Carrying Bag). I'd skip the DSLR for exactly the same reasons Mark gives.

An iPad teleprompter will be handy. No-one can ad-lib worth a damn. No-one.

Lights are expensive. Good luck.

[Mark Suszko] "The best money you spend will actually not be on gear at all, but on a WRITER who can create great scripts and visualize audience-grabbing scenes, while keeping the budget in mind. A bad script, shot on a RED Dragon, and edited on the most hot-rodded Avid or Premiere system, is still a bad script."

Just had someone record a Camtasia video exhorting staff to complete a survey. It goes for nearly 5 minutes. It's written like a research project, which it is, but people don't want to hear all the stuff in the background. It's painful. And now she's emailed me to tell me she wants it re-recorded. With me doing the VO. I think we'll have the talk about whether or not a 5 minute video is the right approach for her campaign.

For some of the "inspirational" videos I shoot for internal viewing, I always tell people "Talk to my boss, see if you can get her to sit in on this" because she is just brilliant at getting the right sound bites out of people, just brilliant. Great interviewer.

I think I've said what Mark said. With brand names :-)


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Eric Buist
Re: You've been given $5,000 for a corporate client to buy equipment...
on Oct 22, 2015 at 3:43:15 pm

I've just gone through a similar situation. The other comments about not needing a DSLR or similar are fine, but it depends on the look you want and the variety of videos you see producing. 5k is not a big budget, but it is doable. I would do some heavy research into the camera and audio equipment. I walked into a Sony A7, so I had to stay in that ecosystem with my purchases. 4K would be nice, but then you need to consider hard drives and computer for working with it, which will balloon you up. A lens will be pretty important, get a 24-70 (good for 90% of your needs) in your ecosystem with a cheaper camera body. Audio - We run with a Rode NTG-4 on a mic stand to a Tascam 60D, which is pretty solid audio. I don't do anything with Lavs because we are in a downtown area and wireless could get a pile of interference. Lights - I decided to get some bi-color LED panels, we do a lot of on location interviews, so battery power and low heat output were key. Read reviews to figure out what might work for you. Tripod - They had a pair of sticks, so I purchased a cheaper manfrotto fluid head, with a DSLR you don't need something huge. And, since I am used to using a monopod for b-roll shooting, that was my one "toy" purchase. Since they had some gear, I didn't hit 5k, but it was around 3k and a camera + tripod legs would probably hit your budget. Look for camera models that are a couple years old or used to save a few bucks up front.


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grinner hester
Re: You've been given $5,000 for a corporate client to buy equipment...
on Apr 9, 2016 at 7:15:19 pm

I buy a beer and 6 for them so I can take the time to explain this to them without laughing.



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