One of the toughest things to decide these days is 'What camera should I get'. There are so many options, but I am not afraid to choose one for you. A DSLR! For the modern day videographer that is all you need (unless you plan on shooting a live event - but I will get to that another day). So here are my choices:
My choice - Canon 7D. I'm not sure I would want to film with anything but a DSLR these days. For quick set-up and incredible quality, it really is the best way to go. Tapes are long gone, and it is all about CF/SD cards. If you have the extra money to spare, then I would recommend getting the 5D MKIII but remember that you will be paying extra for specific lenses too. That's why I am incredibly happy with the 7D. There are plenty of Nikon choices out there too but Canon is what I am used to.
My choice - Kingston CF 133x card. When I was getting a CF card online I wasn't entirely sure what speed to get to work with the Canon 7D. Obviously, a high speed will make a difference somewhere along the way, but you will not notice it. The HD quality from this camera is so great that it won't make a noticeable difference in the end. Don't fall for the high price tags.
My choice - Zoom H4n recorder. Everyone loves this recorder. Easy to use. Get it. Need I say more? Yes. Get yourself a shotgun microphone too. Not the cheapest one you can find, but the next one up. You will use it more than you can imagine.
My choice - I'm not telling you. Not because I don't want to, but because this truly depends on what you intend to do. Here are a few use cases:
- Interviews - Three point lighting. We all know that term, but if you want an interview to look good, its important to cover all angles with this three light set-up.
- Music videos - Ring lights are very useful for these. They are also useful for interviews but look especially good when shooting a music video. Use with caution - sometimes they can make people look a little creepy around the eyes.
- Weddings - Get at least one light on a stand. Especially for later in the day and the first dance. I give you that advice as I do not want you to learn the hard way (like I did).
- Live events - If you are filming a play, musical or some sort of live show, you likely won't need any lights at all. Money = saved.
- Others? - Comment below with your event type and I will give you some advice one what type of lighting I think you should use. Or even tell me what you currently own!
My choice - Anything with a fluid head. Honestly, something with a fluid head is what you want to get. You can invest later in sliders, jibs and shoulder mounts, but to get started you should get a fluid head tripod. It really does make a big difference.
My choice - iMac/Macbook Pro. I am a Final Cut Pro 7 user so it's a Mac for me (and I wouldn't have it any other way). I look forward to one day getting a Mac Pro, but until I can afford it, my current choice is working perfectly.
My choice - Final Cut Pro. Notice that I said FCP and not FCP7. This is because I am ready to make the move from FCP7 to FCPX but I really want to put more thought into it before I move. FCPX is a really powerful program however I am just not quite ready to change.
So that is about all you will need to get cracking as a videographer. Obviously, whatever project you are working on will call for a few changes to the above, but I am hoping it will give you a sense of what you should think about getting.
What do you use and why? Tell me in the comments below!