February 23, 2015 at 9:27AM


Next stage of gear investment (£1500/$2300 to spend...)

Hey guys,

I'm looking for some advice on what gear to invest in next. My local enterprise centre have a grant scheme of £1500 (about $2300) for young people starting a company. I shoot mostly promotional videos for businesses, but have a passion for film making too.

I have a few different ideas on how to invest this, but could do with some help!

Here are the main things I have:
- Panasonic GH4 with 12-35 f/2.8 Lumix G lens.
- Rode VideoMic Pro and a cardioid lavalier mic. No external audio recorder.
- a 528 LED light, with reflector.
- A decent computer (doesn't need upgraded).

Here are some things I'm thinking of investing in:
- Metabones Speedbooster with a couple Samyang cine lenses.
- More lighting gear
- a decent rig with follow-focus, matte box etc.
- Better audio gear i.e external recorder/pre-amp, wireless lav, better shotgun mic etc.
- A second camera? My current B-cam is a Canon 60D.

Or roughly broken down into; lenses, lighting, audio, rig and camera!

Obviously, I can't get all of this stuff, but would appreciate some advice on what would be the best investment for both corporate and personal work.



First I would sort out audio, as good audio is as important as your visual image.
- Tascam DR-70 pre-amp/recorder ( $300 )
- Shotgun mic ( Sennheiser MKE600 or Rode NTG-4 : $400 )
- Boom-pole ( $100 - $250 )
- Shock-mount for mic ( $50 - 100 )
- Wind protection if you shoot outside ( $100 - 250 )

Next I would add more lights. Good lighting will make or break the image you shoot.
- Compact LED lights ( CRI 90+ if possible )
- Flourescent lights ( bright, good color, but bulkier to pack )

Next, a good field monitor if you don't already own one. Make sure it's fairly high resolution ( 1280x800 pixels ) so that focusing is easy. ( 4K footage looks bad when the focus is off )

Lastly, what's left of your budget I would spend on camera batteries, memory cards, and maybe a Metabones SpeedBooster. ( I don't know of any places that will rent the SpeedBooster so it's good to own one )

February 23, 2015 at 12:50PM

Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer

Thanks for the great advice!

February 24, 2015 at 3:13AM


All good recommendations. I would add one good "walk around lens". Something that has the focal range of say 24-70 and an f2.8.

March 4, 2015 at 6:44AM

Dan Q.

Guy, which compact LEDs would you recommend?

March 4, 2015 at 6:46AM

Dan Q.

>>>Guy, which compact LEDs would you recommend?

Take a look at this post...

Aputure also make a small compact $60 LED light that also has a CRI 95+ rating, that's good to use on camera with diffusion as front fill or to create catch-lights, or as a kicker light from the side or behind, or even as a hair-light just out of frame.


March 4, 2015 at 3:39PM

Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer

Absolutely first thing I would get would be the tutorial course by Dave Dugdale learningdslr.com I think is the website. Invest in yourself first. The only real upgrade is you. If you suck on your last camera, you will suck on the GH4 and every other camera you buy. Look at all the 10 min film school by Robert Rodrequez on youtube.
Shoot everyday, even a couple of min and edit it. Set challenges for yourself in shooting and editing, learn them so well that it is second nature.
There is nothing you can purchase that can substitute for knowledge and experience.

Having said that, I think a monopod is more than a tripod. I agree about the sound a good Tascam recorder is always a good choices, there are other choices of course, but most of them will have serious consequences in ergonomics and robust enclosures (Zoom recorders are especially noted for poor housing and ergonomics). To the financially challenged, the irig pre mod is good and the irig costs $35 and you use your camera as a recorder. If you think that a shotgun mic is the only mic to use in all instances, you should get some knowledge and experience in audio. To me the sign of an ignorant filmmaker is to use shotgun mic exclusively in all situations.
I would get a slider over a steadycam device with the latter taking alot of practice.
The biggest thing is thinking that equipment will make you a filmmaker, there are lots of creative. Often it seems the majority of posting are people who are interested in equipment and scorn craft. Same with editing, they use all the cheesy transitions and call it creative. If I had that money and was shooting and editing daily getting all the experience and knowledge possible I would purchase the Shane Hurlbut Illumination Tour dvd which will put you back $1000.00 but could change your life and will work with any gear, expensive pro stuff or cheap improvised stuff, but your videos will be stunning. In the end it is all about the audience experience.

March 5, 2015 at 7:41AM, Edited March 5, 7:41AM


Thanks for that. I realise how important it is too learn and to get experience. There's not a day that goes by where I don't try and learn something about film making!

However, I'm sure you realise that for corporate work there are some things that are necessary, like good audio and lighting. Unfortunately clients like to see impressive looking gear too, even though it doesn't always mean that much.

Thanks again! :)

March 12, 2015 at 3:30AM


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