March 19, 2017 at 2:38PM

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Help with kit list for corporate film

Hi, I do a lot of very basic film and photography for my company and have finally talked them into providing me a budget for decent equipment. I am far from a professional videographer but I have the basics down and really need more of a steer on equipment. Camera wise, I've settled on the Canon 5D MIII, having used Canon before and several of my film maker friends recommending it. If anyone has some advice on lenses and audio recording though, I need it!

Lenses
One friend suggested getting the 24-70mm lens as my standard which is really pricey at about £1350, along with a 50mm lens which won't break the bank. I'm not entirely convinced I need to get such an expensive lens though and wanted some recommendations if anyone has them? I want my work to look crisp and have a dynamic lens I can play with, but something a bit more modest in price.

Audio
The majority of what I will be filming will be interviews. I will be getting a shotgun mic and will probably mount this on a boom as close to the subject as I can. My dilemma, do I really need to go through an audio recorder? I can see the benefits but I think I will often have to be speedy when filming high profile figures within my company so I want to set up, shoot and go asap. Does equipment like the H4N really warrant investing in when I could just run a mic directly into my camera? Is the quality going to be that different? And yes I am aware that the 5D only has a 3.5mm mic input, which leads me on to my next question...

Can I use some sort of XLR to 3.5mm jack converter rather than using an audio recorder or pricey adapter?

Thanks all.

6 Comments

Sad to say, but there's a reason expensive gear is more expensive. I use a Tamron 24-70 as one of my base lenses, which is similar, but a bit cheaper. Those lenses are so much more expensive, because they're faster (usually f2.8) and made of higher quality glass, which gives better images. Using a good camera body with a cheap lens is the same as putting donut tires on a Ferrari: you're holding it back. You can use cheap lenses, but the images usually lose their punch. (also, lenses rarely lose their value, especially canon glass, so you can use the same lenses for decades, and sell them for near full price if you take care of them)
For audio, don't record right into the camera!!! Please! One thing DSLR's have, are terrible pre-amps, and when working with XLR mics, they need extra help when amplifying. The H4n was my first recorder, and I still break it out here and there, but it's a workhorse. As far as speed, recording on both the recorder and camera won't add too much time. If someone's not willing to wait an extra 30 seconds, you're going to have a hard shoot anyways. Another thing to consider might be a lav mic, to hook right up to the speaker, depending on what kind of location you're in. Involving the speaker by letting you mic them up often warms them up to the environment. If you're forced to make a decision, don't skimp out on audio. Bad video can be forgiven, but there's no forgiveness from an audience for bad audio.

March 22, 2017 at 10:50PM, Edited March 22, 10:50PM

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Craig Douglas
Writer/ Director/ Editor/ Videographer
1598

When I shoot corporate interviews I use a lav mic.
Since you're not shooting drama, people often don't mind you see a mic. This way you will get great sound for an interview.
Audiorecorders are not my expertise: I leave that to the audio guys.

When I need to work fast: I record on camera, but I never use DSLRs. I use cameras with XLR inputs like Canon C100, Sony FS-5/FS-7.
Saves me time since I don't have to sync anything.

March 23, 2017 at 8:12AM

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WalterBrokx
Director, DOP, Writer, Editor, Producer
8638

1) My personal preference is to always invest in lenses first. These will retain their resale value better and will often outlive cameras. That being said many 3rd party manufacturers make acceptable lenses for CANON bodies (http://www.the-digital-picture.com/News/News-Post.aspx?News=19056).

2) While it is true that DSLR/Mirrorless Cameras are not optimized for audio recording, recording on-camera can still acceptable within reasonable expectations. For one it does eliminate the need to sync sound later in POST. That being said, I have always run the mic through a preamp of some sort before recording on-camera. Something like a H4N can do that and have the added benefit of having a secondary file just in case. If you just want to have a preamp, there are many options. Here are a few budget options I've used and liked, the Saramonic SmartRig+ and Saramonic MixMic.

https://acinematographersjournal.wordpress.com

March 23, 2017 at 8:54AM, Edited March 23, 8:55AM

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John Dimalanta
Freelance Photographer/Cinematographer
487

I would not suggest a 5D primarily for interviews. If you feel you need a Canon DSLR, get an 80D or other crop frame camera. It has video autofocus and the lenses are cheaper since you can get ef-s lenses.

Also, if you already have a photo camera, I would suggest getting a C100 rather than a DSLR. The C100 will have much better video and you can record audio directly to the camera without a mixer or noticeable less in quality. C100's are also relatively cheap right now.

March 25, 2017 at 12:41PM

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Casey Preston
Videographer
177

I second the C100 and go for a Canon 24-105 F4 L, its quite a bit cheaper and has a little extra reach than the 24-70 F2.8. Its not as fast but that should generally be ok, Pair it with a nifty 50 and you should be set.

The C100 is light enough to work with any of your DSLR gear and and the batteries last much much longer and for interviews this cannot be underestimated. Also XLR audio will save you on buying a recorder. If you find a MK1 even if its second hand you can pick them up quite cheap

Isaac Elliott

March 26, 2017 at 2:26AM

Thanks Casey. I need a DSLR as I will need to take corporate photos as well as producing film content. I have been looking at the 80D quite a bit and also the GH4 which looks like an amazing bit of kit.

Why would you rate a crop frame camera over a full frame camera? Just due to cost?

Sam

April 20, 2017 at 3:36PM

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