**** UPDATED: 2/29/2012 ***
Shooting video professionally has it's perks. I have access to a lot of equipment and have free reign of it's use.
My rig for work looks very similar to this (I use a different loupe for work)
However, I thought I would make a thread for film making on the cheaper side of things. The goal here is to be able to shoot videos on a budget, but have the same versatility of the rig pictured above.
Let's start with cameras, sure you can go with the Canon t3i, but canon lenses can be expensive and where's the fun in going the direct easy route?
I started having this idea after playing with my Olympus Pen E-PL2. It's a mirrorless Micro Four-Thirds camera with the capability of changing lenses.
I bought mine for $600 out the door (right before the model change to the EPL3). Camera, kit lens, an 8GB SD card in addtion to the kit 1GB SD card, a lens filter kit, an extra battery, an a camera bag.
The kit lens is "OK" nothing special, and not really suitable for shooting cinema type movies. We'll get to that later, first lets move onto the other equipment.
Let's talk sound. With the advancements of consumer cameras, it's easy to get a good looking HD image on the cheap. What really kills the look and feel of a movie can fall onto the shoulders of the audio quality.
Again we will sort this out with a limited budget in mind. First things first, the microphone.
The Rode shotgun mic has become a pretty standard sight in the indie scene lately. It's cheap (it can be had for $150) and has good sound quality and comes with some built in gain controls and runs off a 9-volt battery. It outputs to 3.5mm stereo and not XLR, which should help make things a bit cheaper when it comes to options for where to record our sound.
Now the problem with my EPL2 is that it does not take audio-in. Which means that we have to record the audio into something else. Not a huge problem, because the mic will probably not be mounted to the camera for the most part.
The Zoom H2 recorder is a great little audio recorder that falls into the small budget scale (can be found for ~$100-$150), runs on AA batteries. With some extension cable for our Rode Shotgun, this combo makes for a compact and easy to use recording setup. The H2 has gain control, built in mic, and the ability to record from the input mic and the built-in mic together (note: this will give you 2 mono tracks), or just from the shotgun.
Now that we have our base equipment needs (a way to video, and a way to record audio) lets move onto modifying them to work together...on the cheap.
First let's tackle that lens issue with the EPL2. Olympus M43 lenses can be pretty damn expensive, but luckily the camera is capable of mounting OM lenses with the assistance of an adapter ring.
Fotodiox makes a really nice OM to M43 adapter (can be had for $25). It looks OEM and feels solid.
Now that we have a way of mounting lenses...
Everyone one loves shooting 50mm, so why not us? I got this OM 50mm 1.8 lens for $30 on ebay. Near perfect glass (some dust inside, nothing noticeable).
Ok so the camera is ready to shoot... ok... maybe not ready ready... not yet. What about audio? Pro boom poles can be expensive.
A quick trip to the hardware store...
An aluminum painter pole with PLASTIC end, 3/8" by 2" HANGER bolt, two 3/8" - 16 (or coarse thread) hex nuts. (~$15)
Use a drill to tap a small hole into the plastic end. Thread one of the nuts onto the bolt side of the hanger bolt. Use that nut to tap and embed the hanger bolt into the plastic using the guide hole.
Use the second nut for adjustment and tightening so the Mic doesn't flop around.
Just run some extension cable from the mic down to your H2 recorder and you're all set.
Now back to the camera. The Oly EP2 is a very small, compact, and light camera. All these things mean that your video is going to be shaky. Sure you can mount it to a tripod, that works great. But you might want to add some dynamic handheld shots to your video.
This is a fold-up 3x LCD hood loupe, it's on sale right now at amazon.com for $52.50 shipped. This will help stabilize your shots and take some strain off of your eyes since you'll be squinting at that 3" lcd otherwise.
The camera is still small though, and you'll want to really have a good grip on it to stabilize and feel at one with the camera.
P&C Pistol Grip for DSLR cameras. Makes holding your camera a bit more intuitive like an old school super8 camcorder. (About $20)
*** UPDATE ***
*** UPDATE ***
*** UPDATE ***
Just got my camera goodies from Amazon.
The setup feels really good. The handle has a nice soft rubber feel to the finish. And the loupe is great.
Now that we have our rig coming along nicely, we need to worry about memory and file storage.
Centon 64GB Class 10 SDXC card, I got a good deal at Woot.com. $60 shipped, that's less than $1 per GB.
I'll shoot some test footage this weekend with the rig so there will be some examples of the stabilization.
Approx cost of set up: $1,075
Note: I approximated on the expensive side to account for sale prices ending and varying costs etc.
*** END of UPDATE ***