A friend of mine living in Brazil contacted me asking advice on creating a DSLR gear set up for the purpose of producing training videos. He’s done his homework, but was just asking my advice. He works for a non-profit, and they have close to $20k to spend on equipment. From my experience this is a nice budget!
So here’s what I recommended to him. This of course is just my opinion, which I base on my own experience. I have experience with most of this gear, but not all. I’ll add on my reasons behind what I suggest.
I too work of a non-profit and have to make every cent count when it comes to purchasing gear. I also have my own small business which allows me purchase my own gear as well.
Camera – Canon 5D Mark III – $3,500
Personally I use the 7D, but I want the 5D Mark III because of it’s improved qualities such as anti aliasing and the ability to monitor and control sound in camera.
Note that this list is not necessarily in the order of importance.
2nd Camera – Canon EOS 6D – $2,099
I would strongly suggest getting two of the same camera if you are looking for a two camera set up. It makes life easier and saves time. I’m listing the 6D as a cost saver, or even as an option of getting two of them as opposed to the 5D to save money.
Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM Zoom – $2,299
Most of my lenses are Zeiss or Nikon manual focus primes. I’ve saved a great deal of money going this route and buying used. However, a quality zoom can save money and time. I also recommend auto focus zooms over primes if you are going to shoot stills.
Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Zoom – $1,179
Thanks to Daniel’s comment I’ve had to change the lens recommendation of the 17-55mm. I forgot it will not work on a full frame camera! Since the 24-70mm covers the wide to medium range I’d recommend the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 to cover the telephoto range. $2,099
Camera Mic – (2) Rode Video Mic Pro – $229 ($598)
Just upgraded to the pro and I love the size. You also get a free copy of Pluraleyes if you purchase before the end of the year. That’s a great deal!
External Audio Recorder – Tascam DR-100mkII -$295
I have a Zoom 4N, but recommend the Tascam because I’ve heard it has more gain.
Lav Mic – Sennheiser ew 112 G3 – $629
I use these regularly and love them. Great quality for the price.
Boom Mic Kit – Rode NTG-2 Shotgun HDSLR Kit – $619
This is the mic I want. I rent a much higher end boom mic from time to time, but will be purchasing this set up soon. Philip Bloom loves them. Must be good, right;-)
Case – Pelican 1510SC – $250
I’ve had this case for about a year and love it. I’m getting ready to purchase a second one to house my Zacuto gear.
Headphones – Sennheiser HD 280 Pro – $99.95
I use this for audio mixing and all of the local sound engineers have these. Great price, comfort and quality.
Tripod – Vinten Vision Blue – $1,164
I’ve had this tripod for a couple of years. I really like how smoothly it works. Here’s my video review of the Blue.
Vinten Vision Blue Review from Chris Weatherly on Vimeo.
Hand held rig – Zacuto Strker – $789
I have several Zacuto rigs, but he Striker is my go to run and gun set up. Zacuto makes quality gear and backs it up with a lifetime warranty. Here’s my video review of the Striker and Crossfire.
Zacuto Striker/Crossfire Review from Chris Weatherly on Vimeo.
Viewfinder – (2) Zacuto Z-Finder – $375 ($750)
A must have for any DSLR, and the best one on the market. Don’t compromise on a viewfinder.
Batteries – (6) Canon LP-E6 $58 ($348)
Memory Cards – (4) SanDisk Extreme Pro – $130 ($520)
(4) SanDisk 32 GB SDHC $64.26 ($256)
Card Reader – Lexar Dual Slot – $36.95
ND Filters – Genus Variable ND Filter 77mm $116.95 and 82mm $148.75
If my calculations are correct so far $15,322.60 has been accounted for out of $20k. So the next few things I’m going to list are dependant on need.
Lighting – Kino Flo Diva Lite 401 – $1,089
I’ve only used this kit for one project, but loved the light quality. It’s a bit expensive, but worth the cost. A more affordable option is a three point Flofight kit, which is $550.
Slider – Kessler Crane Philip Bloom Signature Slider – $1,095.95
I admit this is a bit of a luxury item for most folks, but I love this tool. It’s amazing how much effect you can get out of a small amount of tracking. I’ve used the PB slider a lot and can’t recommend more. If you ever see a tracking shot in any of my stuff 95% of the time it’s this slider. Here’s my review.
Kessler Crane Philip Bloom Pocket Dolly Review from Chris Weatherly on Vimeo.
Monitor – (2) IKAN V5600 – $550 ($1,100)
I use a 7″ Marshall monitor, but that’s what I have access to, but with a tighter budget I would get the smaller and lighter Ikan 5.6″ monitor.
Quick Release System – (2) Kessler Kwik Release – $139 ($278)
I use a Manfrotto 357 Pro Quick Release system, but honestly I don’t like it. The release lever often jams on me and I’d much rather have the Kellser release design. It also works with the Really Right Stuff & Wimberley (Arca-Type) QR systems.
A Closer Look: The Kessler Crane Kwik Release Plate from Preston Kanak on Vimeo.
So this puts the total at $18,884.60. Instead of listing more gear I would go back and add a second tripod so documenting interviews. $1,164. That makes the total $20,048.60. So I’m just a bit over. Of couse adjustments can be made by finding cheaper gear.
This has been a fun exercise, but took a bit of time to research. If you have suggestions or recommendations feel free to chime in. My opinion is just that…an opinion. You have to make the final decision on what your organization needs.