Just an enthousiast
If you are not including mics, I'm looking forward to owning the money to buy a Sound Devices Mix-Pre 6. It's about €1000,- (inc. taxes) in the Netherlands, has an extremely simple design, 4 XLR/TRS inputs and a noise floor of -145 db.
A passive mixer doesn't have preamps. They are cheap and mostly meant for using on stage to mix various effects. Field mixers can't record, but do have pre-amps. These need to be routed to a recorder or directly to camera. The mix-pre 6 is a field recorder. It has pre-amps and records straight to SD-card. It can also be routed to a different recorder and camera, giving the possibility for back-up/sync-sound.
If you do have to buy mics, the Mix-Pre 6 is on the expensive side. Then a Tascam DR-701D is a nice choice. It's about half the price of the Mix-Pre 6, also has 4 XLR/TRS inputs and can be routed to a camera or recorder. Only the noise-floor is higher and the design is slightly less intuitve. Then there's the Zoom H6, which is another €200,- cheaper than the Tascam. It also has 4 XLR/TRS inputs and can be routed to the camera. This recorder I've used myself. Very versatile, but kinda hard to operate whilst holding a boompole. Then there's the old faithfull Zoom H4n, which is another rough €200,- cheaper. Very reliable, but has a pretty high noise-floor, (only) 2 XLR/TRS inputs and can NOT be routed to another recorder or the camera.The noise-floor is so high that it's important to record pretty close to 0 db, making it harder to keep it from clipping. I hope this info helps ;)
This is an impossible question to answer. The cheapest successful film I know is Primer, which was shot for around $7,000.- on 35mm film over 2 days (don't qoute me on the days). The director (Shane Carruth) did everything he could to mitigate costs. He shot with a ratio of about 1:1.5. The movie is about 80 minutes, meaning he had about 120 minutes of footage. All the footage that was left are starts and ends of shots. If digital camera's were the quality they were now, he would have shot digitally (as he did 9 years later with Upstream Color on the GH2). He wrote, produced, directed, lensed, acted, edited and scored the entire thing.
He wrote the script in such a way that everything could be shot for free. He used his and his friends house; the building of the job he left to shoot the film, Asked permission from a storage facility to do a couple of shots, same for a library and an airport. There was only one actor who was a legitimate actor, the rest were family, friends and colleagues. Probably no one on set was payed.
Before he started shooting he made sure he knew everything of everything he needed to know. For instance he locally followed courses on filmmaking, also feverishly reading whatever he could find online. He had never shot anything before he shot this film; he wrote short novels.
The people on set were friends who were just as inexperienced as he was. The boom-operator was probably someone who didn't have to hold anything at that point. Catering was done by his loving family.
Here's the point. If you want to and really push it, you can shoot a film for free, but know exactly what you are going into. Shane Carruth was a computer engineer. He planned everything out to the dot. That's what you need to do if you want to shoot your film for little money.
Though the more money you get, the more responsibility you have to bare, the less risks you can take. In the end it's all guess work. I suggest you read Low to no budget filmmaking. A book about producing indie films.
Interesting read. Thanks for posting.
"...the Hometown Heroes contest challenges filmmakers from all over the United States..."
Well, it's better than the on-board mic.
There's no link XD