Just when you thought it was safe to ask for a lens, a camera bag, or maybe a speedlight for the holidays, along comes the multimedia explosion.
The choices out there for capturing multi media content are massive, but you knew that.
The gear suggestions we are putting on the list are relatively affordable, and will get you on your way in the world of multimedia.
All items have been vetted, and are listed only after our extensive research.
Just remember that overall, you, or the gifter, are spending some real dough on a full set-up, even if itâ€™s a start up.
As in the stills only portion of the list, we have added Why We Like It to most items to let you know some quick reasons fro it’s inclusion on the list. It is abbreviated to WWLI, so hopefully it will help.
Strap on in, because it’s going to be a bumpy night. This motion and sound world can get very, very, expensive quickly.
Here we go:
Redrock Micro system: A full line of mounts, braces, follow focus, and all kinds of accessories to make your video life better
WWLI: with it’s modular system , you can custom design the setup you like, or need.
Because we use a few different cameras systems for video and sound, a combo of the deluxe shoulder mount, Microbrace, and 3 micro mounts, allowed us to build 2 supports to be use depending on camera and use. More on that in an upcoming review. Shown here is the DSLR shoulder brace set-up.
Also check into Cavision,andCinevate, both companies make excellent products. Be sure to check into follow focus units from all companies.
Manfrotto 503HDV Video Tripod Kit with 503HDV Pro Fluid Video Head and 351MVB2 Tripod with Spreader
WWLI: Good fluid head, solid tripods, sold with a great case. You can go with your current stills tripod. but adding fluid head will insure a smooth pans and tilts.
Manfrotto 561BHDV Video Fluid Monopod with Head Replaces 561B
WWLI: When you need to move fast and have not a ton of space, this unit is what you need. Get the steady support with fluid movements for non-shaky cam video.
Rode Stereo VideoMic On-Camera Microphone
For your lavalier, we prefer:
WWLI: Rich, warm, tone; great sensitivity even when place inside clothing. comes with full up attachment kit. Must be ordered with specific jack, depending on where you will be inputting it: XLR, Lectrosonic, Sennheiser,etc.
Sennheiser EW100ENGG3A Wireless System
for wireless rec/transmitter.
WWLI: It works every time and has for years, for us. Adjustable freq, 4 presets, easy to use. Yes, we know that there is a lavalier mic in this setup, but the Tram is better. The included lav can be your back-up.
Plus the system can handle pro-XLR output. You can find the G2 system on Ebay for less, but remember to stay with the “A” or “B” freq.
The “C” will not be legal soon.
The Shotgun mic choice is very subjective, and if you can, check out the mics in person before you buy.
Or have a listen here.
Rode NGT-2 or the Sennheiser ME66 shotgun mics, are 2 of the most popular.
We usually prefer to record directly to the camera. Saves time syncing later.
The DSLR solutions on board, are not great. You must go through a pre-amp/mixer first, if you are recording directly to the camera. Otherwise, you may be disappointed with the quality. Since audio is 50% of the final, don’t scrimp here.
Juicedlink is our preferred choice, but the Beachtech has a headphone output to monitor the sound. You can still do it with the Juicedlink, but you need to add a $5. splitter. No biggie. Better pre-amps so better sound, in our opinion.
Best bet on the DSLR video sound recording, is an outboard digital recorder.
Zoom H4n Handy Portable Digital Recorder
â€“ About $300.
4 track recorder with 2 XLR inputs: Affordable and a multitude of features to grow with you.
WWLI: Best starter unit out there for the price. You can also plug 1/4″ plugs in direct for guitars and leave an XLR input for a mic. Versatile, and the new one has better pre amps than the previous model.
However when you grow, you may desire a higher end recorder such as
Fostex FR2LE CF Recorder or Marantz PMD661 Portable SD Recorder
All of these record to both an internal hard dive and removable media.
After these options, the price goes way up.
Headphones- Sony Pro MDR-7506 Headphones
or ear buds
For interviews, wild sound, and sound exfx sample we like the Olympus LS-10 Linear PCM Recorder
WWLI: Because it is so small, we always have it with us. You can always get the sound/interview , even shoot some stills, and not lose the moment. Comes with all accessories, records pro level files.
Litepanels, or Chimera Video Pro Plus 1 Light Bank, Small 24 x 32
with an Arri Lighting Kit
or a Lowel Tota-light
The Lowelâ€™s are reasonably priced and versatile.
If you are working with hot lights always remember extra bulbs in the kit and some heat resistant gloves, and loooong extension cords.
Your reflector from your still work will do the same jobs, so no need to duplicate.
Forget focusing in the tiny LCD on the camera. Really watch what you are doing and make those focus choices.
SmallHD is our #1 choice.
WWLI: Actual 1280 HD, slim design, solid construction. HDMI input. Excellent customer service. The package with monitor, sunshade, 2 batts, neoprene case, plus extras is only about (gulp) $950 including free shipping.
Also look at Marshall (real pro stuff-a bit pricier), and Ikan V8000 HDMI 8 (prosumer, lower cost)
Portable Hard Drives:
Make sure you are using a 72000 rpm speed drive and firewire or ESata for in/out transfers. Speed is of the essence for video work.
Our first choice is 500GB G-raid Mini 7200
WWLI: built in fan (the 7200 drives can heat up fast), 7200 speed, leather case, industry standard
Also like the LaCie-1TB in a tiny space, no fan, but heat sinks. After a 8 hour working test, still pretty cool to the touch.
No matter what brand you chose, remember that it is never a matter of if a drive will fail, but when. Always back it up. We travel with 3 external drives on the road. Or you can burn to Archicval DVD”s as you go.
We like Matthews or Manfrotto, and your still photo stands will do just fine.
WWLI: solid, donâ€™t fail, Matthews is a standard in the film industry, especially with their “C” stand. Manfrotto also has some great tiny stands for travel.
Multimedia bags from ThinkTank for your DSLR
WWLI: Designed with the still photographer in mind, this modular bag system will help make your multimedia life more organized. Check out the video.
Tenba cases for grip gear stands, soft boxes.
WWLI: We use the Tripak for ENG type work and it is just the right size. That’s all.
Pelican for storage and shipping.
WWLI: Easy to customize foam inserts, stackable, airtight seals, and ability to lock securely with cables.
Final Cut Studio
WWLI: It is the standard. Everyone uses it, and therefore, there is a huge amount of support for you, including training DVD’s and books.
iMovie and Adobe Premiere will also do what you need, depending on complexity of project. We have used it on the road and it’s fine for the simple stuff.
FYI: Check out the Frank Rohmer: Final Cut Pro for Photographers DVD.
The best training DVD weâ€™ve seen.
So there you have it.
A fast sampling of things you may need in the multi media world. All quality goods, but of, course you can go so much higher in price and sophistication.
Only you know if you’ve been naughty or nice this year. Hopefully extra nice.
Whomever is bringing the presents,though, hopefully has a solid credit limit.
Remember, there is probably a great deal of items in your still gear set-up that can work for your new multimedia life.
Here are a coupla videos on Chris Weeks, who walked us through his gear choices on the subject.
Hope it all helps!