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5k$ for camera budget, so confused...

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Alexander Peri
5k$ for camera budget, so confused...
on Jun 14, 2016 at 2:41:14 pm

Hi guys!

I will try to explain this simple and quick. My english is not the sharpest but you'll get the picture hopefully.

Please tell me about your experience and what you think i should do.

So basicly i've done some directing jobs in between my regular job the last 2-3 years where i am offerd budgets between 2-4k$. This means i always had the space to put out 1k$ for renting an operator with cinemacamera (RED/Alexa). Lately i've seen a big demand where they ask me to do more lowbudget jobs where there is no space in the budget for renting RED/Alexa etc.. This puts me often in a position where i am forced to decline the offers since i dont have any own equipment.

Me getting in to directing film was kind of causal at the begining, so i never thought about obtaining own film equipment. While directing i really loved to work close to the camera operator and we often ended up shooting together where we gave each other the camera between every shot. This means i have learned a lot lately about operating a camera.

Today i am looking to buy own equipment. Im looking for something decent thats is good enought for "run and gun". Im looking for a setup that can deliver "up to date" footage that is almost comparable to RED/Alexa in decent light, with great space for grading etc.

So basicly i need a camera to shoot interviews, shorts and recap videos for commercial usage. I have a 5k$ budget and looking in to 3 options. What is your opinion? (I am aware that the options have different sensors and thats why i am confused).

Here it goes:

Black Magic Ursa Mini 4k with 500$ lens and the compulsory accessories (1k over budget), probably perfect in this scenario but i will start of with (no mic, no tripod). Will be forced to start of working handheld and rent mic/tripod if its mandatory.


GH4 with cage, Atomos monitor, 500$ lense, mic and a tripod (or) some kind of steadicam instead of tripod. (This fits budget)


Black magic micro cinema camera with black magic external recorder, cage, mic, tripod and steadicam + 2 lenses. (fits in budget)

What is your opinion?

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Blaise Douros
Re: 5k$ for camera budget, so confused...
on Jun 16, 2016 at 3:32:04 pm

Consider the A7SII. It doesn't have as much grading latitude in the codec as the Black Magic cameras, but has more than the GH4. You also won't be stuck using MFT lenses (or severe crops on 35mm lenses); you can fit almost any lens on it, and the full frame sensor gives you a nice wide picture.

If you or your camera operator have any 35mm lenses, you can easily get an adaptor that will allow them to work on this camera. It's lightweight and has incredible low-light performance.

The others are fine choices, but in terms of flexibility of lens choice, and a wider FOV with 35mm glass, that's the direction I'd go.

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Gary Huff
Re: 5k$ for camera budget, so confused...
on Jun 17, 2016 at 4:42:33 am

[Alexander Peri] "footage that is almost comparable to RED/Alexa in decent light"

By "decent" light do you mean outside and primarily lit by the sun? Indoors with a typical Kino Flo package? Arri/Mole Fresnels?

[Alexander Peri] "with great space for grading etc. "

What do you mean by grading? Do you grade your own work? Where does the footage go? Is it done in Resolve? Premiere? FCPX? Are you shooting LogC with the Alexa primarily? Have you ever graded LogC footage?

[Alexander Peri] "Black Magic Ursa Mini 4k "

I would absolutely not consider this camera in your position.

[Alexander Peri] "GH4 with cage, Atomos monitor,"

Scrap the cage, and the use of the Atomos is rather dependent on what your description of your grading process is.

[Alexander Peri] "Black magic micro cinema camera with black magic external recorder, cage, mic, tripod and steadicam + 2 lenses. (fits in budget)"

This would be okay, scrap the Steadicam idea. Learn to walk before you start to flight. Forget the cage. What kind of mics are you considering? Shotgun? Lav? Wired? Wireless? What is your typical use of mics in your experience on set? Walk and talk? Sit down talking head?

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Alexander Peri
Re: 5k$ for camera budget, so confused...
on Jun 17, 2016 at 7:11:04 am

Hi Gary!

Thank you for your answer.

Yes, by decent lighting i mean mostly by the sun and if necessary some extra led-lighting.

I always grade my footage in resolve and have no problem working with log. The content will only be for online-usage.

Regarding the mics, to be honest i have not been working that much with sound. The best solution would probably be something i can mount on the camera and something wireless? What do you think?

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