4/21/11 – Denny

So we are officially dropping some ends for a field kit to take to Hawaii and since I am the one that will be using it I have to come up with the list of what we will need to get the job done. We have some money available to invest, but we also have a lot of other expenses that we need to take into consideration including travel costs to Hawaii and other equipment necessities like a new editing bay, production software, lighting equipment and funding a few of our “zero budget” projects that we have on the horizon.

So this the list of equipment that I compiled in order to set myself up as a 1-man run-n-gun interview and B-roll machine. I also added some audio equipment that will not really be compatible for a single shooter, but I know we will need for a couple projects that we already have on the schedule. Amazon is the source for everything, I compared prices directly from manufacturers and these are still the cheapest that I have found. After shipping and taxes, this entire list excluding the wishlist totals at just below $4,000.00 cold hard cash.

Camera Kit

Canon 7D w/ 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 Zoom lens $1,899.00
Canon EW78BII Lens Hood $29.69
Canon Ef 24-70mm F/2.8 close up Macro Filter Kit $29.99
BG-E7 Battery Grip for Canon 7D $34.96
Maxtek Rechargeable Replacement Battery For Canon $26.95
Transcend 32 GB Compact Flash Card 400X $74.99

So this camera set-up is certainly short a few prime lenses, a shoulder mount/follow focus rig and series of lens filters, but we have to prioritize and live within a certain budget, which for right now is under $4,000.00 to cover camera and sound. The reason I went with this set-up boils down to cost. At a very reasonable price I have increased the amount of video I can shoot without doing a data dump, and set-up a contingency plan so I never get stuck without power. Not only do I have a couple cheap back-up batteries, but the Battery grip lets you use AA batteries to power the camera.

Fancier WF717 tripod $138.95
Manfrotto 701HDV Pro Fluid Video Mini Head $122.72

Some of you might think that I splurged and others will think that I am a cheapskate. I feel that this rig is about the best tripod setup that I can get without spending more than $300, but it will also allow me to do clean fluid movements on the first try. What I like about the Fancier is that it 1) has a spreader-bar, which significantly improves stability and 2) that it is in the middle of the legs which allows you to set up on uneven ground, stairs, etc. without losing that stability and 3) it has a ball mount which allows very quick adjustments to horizon and makes it compatible with better heads than what comes standard with the sticks.
I chose the head because, again I am on a budget and I have used this head before and it is very smooth especially for it’s size.
Audio Kit

Zoom h4n Kit $309.95
Rode Dead Kitten Windscreen $24.99
Audio Technica PRO88W-R35 VHF Wireless Mic System $124.99
Audio-Technica ATR-35S Lavalier Microphone $23.95
Rode Boom Pole (33″ – 10′) $149.00
Rode Microphone Shock Mount $49.95
Azden Barrell Shotgun Mic With XLR Outputs $148.39
Rode Deadcat Microphone Wind Muff $39.00

This set-up had to be highly portable, capable of being operated by the shooter, good enough for interviews and include the option for situations when we would have a boom operator. I already know that we will be recording several scenes outdoors so I had to include wind suppression devices and I think that for the time being and the budget available, these are our best choices.
Storage & Travel

Pelican 0940 Compact Flash Memory Card Protective Case $21.94
Pelican 1500 Case $104.64

Why invest any money on such expensive equipment and not protect it. You might as well have it shipped straight to landfill. The 1500 has enough room for all of the sensitive electronic equipment and leaves some space for adding a couple filters and accessories strictly for convenience.

Varizoom swivelhead shoe mount $19.95
Cool-lux Dual Mount Bracket $28.19
Pedco UltraClamp Assembly $22.99

Since there will be many situations where I will need to be super portable, especially when shooting life as it happens, I need to set my rig up as one manageable device. Here are a couple of very inexpensive devices that will help keep my rig prepped for any move and still get a great shot and allow me to monitor the audio.
Wish List

Tamron AF 17-50mm F/2.8 Zoom Lens $649.00
Tamron AF 70-200mm f/2.8 Lens $769.00
Rokinon FE8M-C 8mm F3.5 Fisheye Lens $291.87
Redrock handheld Cinema Delux Bundle $1,926.00

So here are a few items that did not fall within the budget, but that I think will exponentially improve our options for shooting and the quality of the shots we will be able to get. The fact is this wish list could go on for miles, but I think that our next investment should be focused on increasing our variety of focal lengths, the quality of our lenses and improving the shooters mobility. Meaning a stable handheld rig that lets the shooter smoothly pull focus.
Well I think that this shopping list is about as good as you can get under $4,000.00 without buying used. Although it does have its limitations we can still use this gear to shoot very high quality projects for a very low price and still leave room for significant improvement.  I hope this might help anyone out there that might be looking for a reliable and versatile rig for a reasonable price.
P.S. these links and prices are good today, but changes are always happening on Amazon, so if you notice that a link has gone bad please let me know and I will try to update it.

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  • http://twitter.com/ckukahiko Chad Kukahiko

    dude, that photo at the top is hilarious.

  • Kaka

    For all of these items on Amazon, you need to create an Amazon Wish List.
    I was going to buy a cheap something, less then $50. However i am to lazy to look up your items, and figure out how get it sent to you. Yet, not to lazy to write this comment.

    Encourage people to buy your crap for you with ease! After the list is created, update your post.

    Amazon – Creating a Wish List

    • http://superfreako.com denny


      Mahalo for the idea and I hope I get a chance to meet you while I am there. I am shooting a lot of interviews while I am there and I wouldn’t mind getting one from you. If you are interested please let me know. We can continue our discussion offline though. My email is denny@superfreako.com

    • http://twitter.com/ckukahiko Chad Kukahiko

      i only JUST now understood your comment! i’m a dope. well, thanks a ton for your advice. here’s the link to our list – we can only hope you’re still feeling generous! =D

  • TeaLeaf

    Ditto what Kaka said.
    IF I felt generous one day and bought something where would it go? You MFers have been MIA for so long…I’m supposed to drive to LA and look for some pu$$y in a window….and know that’s the place?

    • http://twitter.com/ckukahiko Chad Kukahiko

      that might work.

      • TeaLeaf

        I keep laughing at my comment. butt seriously tho. I didn’t win the lottery, but I just got paid. It’s not Friday night yet, so I have a little coin. Harmonize the effort and I could hook some brothers up.

        • http://twitter.com/ckukahiko Chad Kukahiko

          well snap, girl! i’ll put together that dang wish list for him! =D

          and come up for a visit sometime! i’ll hang the cats out the winders so you’ll know where to find us.

        • http://twitter.com/ckukahiko Chad Kukahiko

          aaaaaaand here it is! it’s still evolving and there’s a lot of crap on it that’s a bit pie in the sky, but … whatevs! our amazon wish list: http://amzn.com/w/3QU4LYDU9SJYZ
          =D =D =D

          • TeaLeaf

            And there you go. Hope it’s not too all over the place with what I selected. Luv to you and the rest of the kooks!

          • http://twitter.com/ckukahiko Chad Kukahiko

            OMG, T! you rock!!! thank you! =D

          • TeaLeaf

            Put me in the credits baby. What’s the person called that raises funds for projects, besides dork? I can do that for you guys.

          • http://twitter.com/ckukahiko Chad Kukahiko

            you got it, girl. it’s Executive Dork, btw. =P

          • http://superfreako.com denny

            I have been too busy to get on a computer until now, but I have been wanting to say it all day. You are the best! And you actually got me the thing that I value the most. I love a good head. It sounds funny, but that’s not a joke. Thank you, thank you, thank you and tell the boy I said hi.

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