February 22, 2015 at 12:20PM


A7S must haves


This is my first post on NFS and I am new to filmmaking in general.
I am looking to buy my first camera to start filming a short. I have a budget of around 5k for everything, including the camera.
I've looked at gimbals, cages, the Atomos Shogun, cinema lenses, filters, batteries, tripods... I'm a little overwhelmed. I'd like to get the most out of the camera as I can for my shoot, but I'm not sure exactly what I need (and for the best price). I've seen some very nice footage out there with anamorphic used on the A7S but I'm still confused by how many components make up anamorphic and what's needed in post.
Should I just go with a couple samyang cine lenses?

I guess my question to the experts out there is what you advise someone like me just starting out but wanting to get the best footage possible should get to do that as a package within 5k.

Thanks very much.


Did you ever make any video?
Go play around with your phone or a camera you can borrow from a friend to see you really like to do it.
If you like it: get a camera and tripod first plus a good mic to start with.
Play around some more, make little short stuff to find out what you actually need, before spending everything at once.

And don't forget to have fun, because filmmaking is fun :-)

Good luck!

February 23, 2015 at 5:45AM

Director, DOP, Writer, Editor, Producer

Thanks for the reply. I guess I should have clarified more...
Yes, I have done video before, shot and edited. I'm a writer with an MFA, I want to do narrative shorts. I've done small things using DSLRs and would now like to get in with a bigger commitment and invest in some proper equipment. Since I'll be getting all these things myself, and since this is my first time with digital filmmaking, I was wondering what experienced folks might have to say about what I will need to get a good start.


February 23, 2015 at 6:58PM

In that case the last part of my reply still stands:
get the camera, a good tripod and mic.
Keep the rest in your pocket for now and make a narrative short. This can be 1 or 2 minutes. You can rent a few lenses to see what lenses you really need.
You'll discover soon enough what else you really need and what is nice to have, but not that essential now.

Talking about gimbals: I got a MoVI M5.
But it doesn't stop there: you need a good monitor (or recorder/monitor like Shogun or Odessey7Q+), a good flightcase makes life easier, extra batteries, rod and follow focus can be nice, but remote follow focus makes you need another monitor, maybe a video transmitter as well, etc.
So you need a lot more than just a gimbal. Of course a lot can be rented.
I'm just saying: you need to arrange the wishlist in order of priority :-)

February 24, 2015 at 1:36AM

Director, DOP, Writer, Editor, Producer

I would definitely rent! I try to rent anything before I think of purchasing. Maybe even a couple times or for a couple days. Certain cameras you might think you'd love turn out to be quite the hassle to work with, or files are too large, or not enough DR for any post adjustments, or etc. etc.
Other hand, some that seem just "ok" turn out to be lovely cameras that are very efficient!
I must say I haven't heard many bad things about the A7s, but I don't know if the look is right for narrative work. Then again, that always depends more on who is behind the camera ;).
Tripod, good lens (I recommend the Sigma 1.8 18-35!!!!! Beautiful zoom, like buying 3-4 lenses in one), AUDIO AUDIO!!!! Def. good audio.
Anamorphic is a different beast and definitely depends on what you're shooting. Wonderful look, anamorphic. Ebay is great for digging through different used anamorphic lenses, but it's a science. I would buy Andrew Reid's "Anamorphic Shooters Guide" on eoshd.com. He knows his stuff. Only certain anamorphic lens adapters work with certain lenses, focusing is harder and you need diopters, probably need rails and lens support mount because it can get a little big. SLR Magic and Panasonic make two very popular anamorphic lens adapters. An actual anamorphic cinema lens can run you like, geeze I'm not even sure anymore, 10 grand or much more, so lens adapter is the way to go. Also make sure it's the right squeeze. If you're shooting 16:9 you want a 1.33x anamorphic adapter, and 2x if you're shooting 4:3. Both those arrangements will put you nicely at about 2.39 cinema aspect ratio with that signature anamorphic look.
I'm rambling, hope any of this helps lol. Good luck!

February 24, 2015 at 5:54PM

Ben Meredith

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