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$500 to spend....

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Brock Burwell
$500 to spend....
on Feb 18, 2014 at 4:46:11 pm

If you hadn't figured this out from my last few posts, I am pretty new to this whole thing, but I have a pretty good start in regards to equipment. I am going to be a DSLR shooter and I currently haveā€¦.

Canon T3i
kit lens
nifty fifty
3 soft box lights
2 tripods (1 with a decent fluid head)
3 or 4 light stands
2 sets of wireless mics (Azden)
mini (tabletop) tripod
camera backpack

I'm looking to get into corporate work, but I am currently shooting just about anything currently just to get better.

I got my tax refund back and my wife is letting me (yea yea I know) spend $500 on my new "hobby." I know it's not much in regards to good equipment, but I just want to spend money as best as I can and be smart with it.

I was wondering what advice you would have on what I should purchase with the money. I have considered on here purchasing a steadicam which some have said was a bad idea for me currently.

I would like to jump up and get a 60D, which I know I can't get for that money, but it could be an option used.

I also want a slider, which would be a great purchase I believe.

A new lens could be a smart purchase for me.

I am considering a Rode shotgun mic

Or do you guys think I should simply purchase a lot of the little things that are imporant (new SD cards, straps, cases, etc).

Any advice you can give would be VERY much appreciated. Thanks!!!

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Chris Evans
Re: $500 to spend....
on Feb 18, 2014 at 6:15:25 pm

I'd go for a mic. If you ever shoot an event, or some run-and-gun stuff, you'll want a mic that picks up good audio without a primary speaker.

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Steve Crow
Re: $500 to spend....
on Feb 18, 2014 at 8:03:31 pm

Yes I'd agree with Chris that you should invest in sound gear - perhaps an external recorder like the Zoom H4N or H6N. Do you had a Fader style ND filter that gives you multiple stops of light reduction (as much as 8-10 on some models)? That's very important for the shallow depth of field look in bright situations.

Lenses are always a good investment too, at $500 perhaps the 50mm 1.4 from Canon which is much easier to work with than the 1.8 you currently have. But overall I'd invest in sound.

Steve Crow

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Bill Bruner
Re: $500 to spend....
on Feb 19, 2014 at 1:46:58 pm
Last Edited By Bill Bruner on Feb 19, 2014 at 1:48:09 pm

Another vote for sound. I'd get a real mic such as the $330 Sennheiser MKE600, a $6.50 XLR cable, an $18 boom/hot shoe ready shock mount and a $200 Tascam DR-60D recorder. You can screw this recorder into the tripod socket below your camera - no need for external rigs, brackets or cages to mount it.

You can then plug the recorder into your camera with a $27 Sescom LN2MIC-TASDR100 cable for a backup "scratch" track.

You should also get a decent set of monitoring headphones - I recommend the $90 Senal SMH-1000s

With this setup, especially if you can get the mic on a boom and get it closer to your subjects, you will significantly improve your audio over in-camera sound.

And yes, this would take you over $500, but you can sell the Rode to make up the difference.

Hope this is helpful!

Hybrid Camera Revolution

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Cody Walters
Re: $500 to spend....
on Feb 20, 2014 at 4:35:12 pm

Here are my recommendations:

  • Like others have said, you need an external audio recorder. I love the Tascam DR 40

  • Wide Angle lens. I first started with a Tamrom 17-50. Great affordable lens

  • Get an on-camera led light panel. Great for run and gun interview, and it runs on batteries

  • I highly recommend the manfrotto fluid head monopod

  • Get the right equipment and make sure you can pack light. You need to be mobile. That is very attractive to corporate clients. Be light and fast and produce great quality.

    Cody Walters
    Houston Video Production
    Houston Wedding Videographer

    Final Cut Studio 3
    Adobe CS6 Master Suite
    Panasonic HVX-200
    Canon 7D, 60D

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    Matt Townley
    Re: $500 to spend....
    on Feb 21, 2014 at 5:40:32 am

    Everything people have mentioned are all good suggestions, and I second the investment in good audio gear. That's an area where a lot of beginning filmmakers and videographers skimp and it can make or break a film.

    The other thing that hasn't been mentioned is a good external monitor. I have kicked myself too many times because I thought I had good focus when I didn't. It's great shooting at 1.4 or 2.8 with a fast lens, but the tiny display on most DSLRs make things look sharp even when they really aren't. At apertures that high, the difference between having a subject's nose in focus is a fine hair away from having their closest eye in focus and it makes a world of difference when it gets on a big display. For $500 you could get a smallHD DP4, which has focus assist modes to help with focusing, false color for exposure (no waveforms at this price point, but that's ok for now) and can also help with off angle viewing instead up going to the 60D.

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    Jason Jenkins
    Re: $500 to spend....
    on Feb 25, 2014 at 5:47:55 am

    [Matt Townley] "The other thing that hasn't been mentioned is a good external monitor."

    I agree. You will never find me without my SmallHD monitor on a shoot. Absolutely essential!

    Jason Jenkins
    Flowmotion Media
    Video production... with style!

    Check out my profile.

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    David Rehm
    Re: $500 to spend....
    on Feb 24, 2014 at 7:46:50 am

    Yes, I agree with others - get some sound equipment.

    Many recommended the Zoom H4n - which is a great unit but the Tascam DR-40 is much less and delivers just as well with tons of features. I would purchase a filed recorder and a shotgun mic (Rode). You'll have a little bit left over - maybe buy your wife some flowers/candy. If you've already done that buy some extra cards and a good card case that is waterproof. We just got our income tax and, like yourself, my wife is "letting" me spend $400. I was content with that until my editing machine started giving me problems that wasn't worth fixing. My wife just "let" me order a whole new build (YEAH!!!). Now I will finally be able to play HD footage in Premiere without everything looking like a robot.

    About cards - for video work you don't need to buy these fast cards. Photos are more demanding than video. Save your money and buy the 20MB/sec cards - which is more than enough. You can't beat this deal here for a PNY 32GB card for 14.99 (and free shipping). I bought 5 of them.

    I have a Nikon D7000 and the only cards I have used are PNY. I have 2 better cards and the rest are the 20MB/sec cards. I have never had a fail in 2 years. I shoot extensive video. A few weeks ago I shot all day (almost 4 hours of sermons/lectures with no problems.

    The reason to get the higher-end cards are for shooting photos and to have a water-proof and shock-proof card - which the lower end are not.


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    Scott Simpson
    Re: $500 to spend....
    on Mar 17, 2014 at 2:22:11 pm

    I'm late to the game in replying, but I'll join the chorus of people recommending some sound gear. Even a used Zoom recorder would be a game-changer for you.

    An external monitor would be great, but I'd go for the sound stuff first.

    Radio guy in a TV world.

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    David Rehm
    Re: $500 to spend....
    on Mar 17, 2014 at 3:21:41 pm

    Agreed. The monitor can wait because you can always get a cheap loupe that works for $20 or $30.


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