Equipment Needs & Wants

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By Suzanne Cross

We’re getting in a film-business groove now and are ready to decide on the equipment we need.  Our first idea of using what was available fell by the wayside after our discussions about high definition (HD) verses standard definition (SD). 

The used camera that was available was an SD model.  Since we realized the final, edited film was many months away and the new technology was quickly encroaching, we decided the better choice was to use an HD camcorder. 

Rent or buy?  The answer is we were taking this camera to rural South Africa; we needed to be sure it would operate perfectly; so better to buy it new.  Both the San Francisco Film Society and our filmmaker, Alexis, recommended B&H, the super store of camera and video in New York City. 

Luckily, Alexis lives there and could go scout the best deals for our needs.  We settled in on a new Sony camcorder HVR Z5U model, a little more compact and less expensive than other pro camcorders. 

Is that all?  Of course not.  We added a good, used Sennheiser wireless microphone and a new RODE NTG shotgun mic. kit, a Manfrotto camera tripod and fluid head, two Dot Line DSLR LED light kits, three extra rechargeable lithium batteries for the camera (interchangeable with the batteries for the lights), polarizing filter, light stands, light diffusion screens, sound headphones, a sturdy backpack, and lots and lots of film stock.

We knew we could not replace anything in rural South Africa, so we planned our purchases carefully.  By now, the basic filming equipment for the single camera project was costing over $7,000.  This no-budget film was getting pretty expensive

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