October 15, 2014 at 1:21AM

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Completely new to filmmaking - Need to buy gear.

Hi, I'm sure this is a standard question but to be honest I did a search and didn't find any answers that really suited my criteria. I'm really just getting started out in film production. I have experience writing but I recently just started writing for screen and I'd like to shoot my own work because I've gotten the itch and want to tell my stories with my own personal touch.

As it stands, I have a very low budget to buy a camera, lenses, mounts, lighting, audio, etc. I'm primarily focused on the camera and the lenses on this question. I'm really trying not to exceed $1,500-2,000 while I start out but I'd like to make my purchases as efficient as possible when I choose to upgrade (slightly). I've been interested in the 5d Mark II, but as it stands, it might already be out of my price range as I'd like to have a decent selection of DSLR lenses. I guess my real question is; I had planned to go with a cheaper APS-C camera like the Canon t3i but purchase full framed lenses so that when I do get a mark II or even a mark III, I have supported lenses. Is this a bad idea?

I guess my camera/lens shopping list as of now is:

Canon t3i
Canon EF 24-105mm F/4
Canon EF 50mm F/1.4
Canon EF 28 mm F/1.8
Canon EF 85 mm F/1.8

Probably in that order if I don't buy it all at the same time. Does anything seem like a problem with my choices?

P.S. For anyone that would like to say "Just get any camera you can get you hands on and start shooting" I should say that currently I'm just running around with a Canon T3 (not "i") with the kit lens. I'd like an improvement from that.

Thanks.

10 Comments

In this page www.thecinecity.com have a good gear cheaper.

October 15, 2014 at 4:41PM

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Ragüel Cremades
Film producer and director
7147

October 16, 2014 at 2:50AM, Edited October 16, 2:50AM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
30637

I'm on the same boat you are on. I went with the T3i. I bought it as kit and came with a kit lens and a telescopic zoom lens for about $600. I bought the 50mm lens (love it) a tripod and I just started shooting. I don't know exactly what your goal is but shooting as much as you can is what I would suggest. I enter as many contests as I can (gives you a deadline). From entering a contest I ended up with a RODE Smart Lav, my audio has immensely improved. My next purchases will be lights and a rig, although I am looking for a wide angle lens. I write and direct so the story is more important then the camera. Of course I want to upgrade but for now it's doing its job.

October 16, 2014 at 9:48AM, Edited October 16, 9:48AM

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Franklin Carpio
Filmmaker/Director/Editor
360

Cinematographer David Kong has a nice take on the subject of picking cameras and good shooting practises. His barebones gear fits into two bags and can be managed with one man crew. His video tutorial is here below. Truly nice touch with the short servo-operated slider.
David Kong's Filmmaking Tutorial: Part 1, Working With Less
http://vimeo.com/71180315

With longer slider you may need a extra monopod for support.

Canadian site Snapsort may help you with comparing the cameras:
Canon EOS Kiss X70, Canon EOS Rebel T5 is same as Canon-EOS-1200D, a low level choice of mine. I would consider also Canon EOS M for stationary shooting, like interwiews.
http://snapsort.com/cameras/Canon-EOS-1200D

You are correct, cheaper basic camera body paired with good lenses is good choice. Lenses stay, bodies change. Don't get stuck to a single brand, check availlability of lens adapters for older manual lenses (like M42 lenses).

Lights and practical reflectors are must too. Ledlights are very light to carry but the quality of light could be kinda ashen or steely due to funny color spectrum. Experiment with some choices, ordinary bulbs are easy to adjust and they glow with warm light. Cheap adjustable ringlight could be made into old Kodak Carousel slide cassette. Or in frisbee.
http://nofilmschool.com/2014/09/make-your-own-diy-ring-light-led-light-s...

Also, be prepared to record good, crisp and noisefree sound on location. Choice of cameras largely depend on the subject, script and stylistic needs. Simple soundgear you are going to need all the time. Separate recorder, mike and boom is must. Acoustic dampening for nasty indoor echos is sometimes required. The best basstrap for room is large bookself full of books, albeit hard to manage. Couple of bags of house insulating mineral or glasswool in their original plastic bag placed in the corner of the room does the same trick. The trick is the bag has to remain unopened and the plastic wrap around the wool has to be on tension. Fluffy limp bags do not work. Big roll of cardboard can be used to limit the too large open space.

Good luck!

PS. Christmas is coming, so check netted outdoor ledlights, they could be spread against a reflector.

October 17, 2014 at 4:07AM

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Juha Antti-Poika
Soundman, editor
81

Buying lenses for full frame cameras does "future proof" your setup, if you decide to go full frame.

I would recommend an emphasis on lenses, over camera, since lenses can last through multiple camera bodies. All those EF lenses you listed are lovely, but you can get some really nice manual Nikkor AIS glass on ebay for pretty cheap, if you look for it.

Lighting and audio are very important, don't forget that.

October 17, 2014 at 9:47AM

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Matt Bastos
Filmmaker/Writer
852

Terrible idea to get a Canon T3i if you want to film short films, as in 2015 we have so many much much better options! For similar, or even less money.

A few options:
Sony A5100, Nikon D5200, or Panasonic GX7 / G6. Any of these are as good as a Canon 5Dmk3 or better, and way better than a T3i. I myself own a A5100 and D5200

Or for second hand check out the Panasonic GH1 (or for a bit more, GH2) or Sony NEX-5N, which can be found for around US$200ish or even less without much trouble second hand and even these two (GH1&NEX-5N) are much better than a T3i.

I started out on a GH1 myself (and still use it to this day! When I need it for multi cam shoots, such as weddings), a still fantastic camera which goes for next to nothing these days.

Then after that, pick up a few vintage primes to shoot with, I purchased 4 pre-AI Nikkors this week from KEH for only $200. Some very fine lenses, for next to nothing! :-D

You can get "better", but they're a great starting point for your first lens collection. I already have a set of Rokinon Cine DS lenses. But I wanted a second matched set of lenses, so gone for pre-AI Nikkors. Additionally they will give a very different look to my Rokinons, so they'll be an even better for certain projects over the Rokinons where that look is required.

February 12, 2015 at 8:07AM

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David Peterson
Wedding Cinematographer
2391

You're on the right track with the T3i, but I would also suggest looking at a nice used 7D. Should be around $500. I've had mine for five years and it still works awesome and gets more action than my C300 because I can bring it anywhere. It's a lot more robust and has a better control scheme than the rebel. As a side note, don't listen to people who will inevitably start telling you your camera choice doesn't have enough bits, pixels etc. You are just starting out, don't get bogged down in the gear arms race, just get something with an acceptable image that is the easiest to produce content with. I hate to say it, but your first efforts will feel like strokes of genius to you when you make them, and upon reviewing them a few years later will be a mix of bittersweet nostalgia and puke-inducing stupid mistakes that you will have learned how to correct during the time between. If you make a lot of content you will improve so much that your early work will not be acceptable for your reel, it's part of growing up. The last thing you need is a complicated camera setup. Cheap canon DSLR's are where most of us started and are better off for it.

April 30, 2015 at 3:14PM

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Derek Olson
Directomatographeditor
616

I have the T3i, save your money and wait till you can go for an GH4 or A7s preferably. I've used the A7s and its 10000000x better than the T3i.

October 1, 2015 at 5:59PM, Edited October 1, 5:59PM

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Clark McCauley
Spaceman
2040

"For anyone that would like to say "Just get any camera you can get you hands on and start shooting" I should say that currently I'm just running around with a Canon T3 (not "i") with the kit lens. I'd like an improvement from that."

Well I admit I am one of these guys, what I hear in this post is that I don't know how to shoot and I want to buy a camera to compensate for my lack of skills.

It tells me several things, The Canon T3 is not being used to capacity and you don't know how to compensate for perceived shortcomings.

If your skills suck now, they will suck with every expensive camera you will ever buy. If you have mastered the T3, then those skills will work with every camera you will ever buy. Buying a more expensive camera will not make you a better DP. My suggestion invest in yourself to the point that you don't ask this question on this forum, but know what you want? No one here knows your goals, your style of shooting and skill level and that includes me.
But if you insist on buying a camera over learning to shoot, at least get a camera with a "film look" button.

July 16, 2016 at 11:37AM, Edited July 16, 11:37AM

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