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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Lights...camera...action! » » Need help with basic studio set up for film project (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Jonathanmc
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Las Vegas, NV
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I am preparing to make a documentary that I would like to market and sell. I will be doing this on my own dime and with my own skills. ie I will not be hiring lots of people to help (because I don't have lots of money to hire lots of people). And on the money side I have an unlimited budget for free and a slightly more limited budget when actual money is involved.

Please help me by framing your answer in terms of cheapest/easiest to most expensive/hardest vs. quality of end result.

I need to know about and get the following.

-What kind of digital camera to get.

-Editing software.

-DVD authoring software/burning equipment.



-Any other advice I might not even think of asking. Like "you can get away with this camera if you filter the results through this software". Or, "Use this camera but get a boom mic". That kind of thing.

I welcome all comers and even offers to give me (or sell me) equipment, software, etc.

Thanks for the help.
mrunge
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Charleston, SC
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What kind of documentary? Magic?

You'll want to get a camcorder that allows for a lapel, or handheld, mike. That way, the sound will be best.

As for software, try Studio V.11 from Pinnacle Systems. It's cheap to buy, easy to use and edits video really well. Then you can burn to disk and make copies to sell.

http://www.pinnaclesys.com/PublicSite/us......tudio+11

Get a color printer that allows one to print directly onto the DVD and you're all set for the labels.

This is REALLY basic...but it works!

Good luck. Mark.
TV Magic Pal
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Dogtown up in the 'Lou
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Buy an iMac. Get Final Cut Express and combine it with the Garageband (which is standard on the new systems) and you now probably have more functionality than you can handle and will be able to burn DVDs. If that is not powerful enough you can always upgrade to the Final Cut Pro Suite later. With this set up yo will even be able to make very basic rough cut DVDs with iMovie while you are learning the Final Cut stuff.

The camera and equipment question is not as easy. It really depends on what you are planning to shoot, where you are planning to shoot and the final format you envision. There's that budget thing, too. If you ultimately want to convert to film you will want different cameras than if video is your final goal.

No offense, but if you are asking questions this basic you probably need to not be jumping into something that you plan to sell. Take some time to learn to use your equipment; perhaps some courses at a local community college or at least some one on one training at an Apple Store with one of their instructors. Another option would be to dedicate yourself to one aspect of the documentary (say, shooting the footage or conducting the interviews necessary) and allow more experienced people to do the editing or vice versa.
Michael L.

Magic is a lie. It is our job to convince the audience to overlook the lie and our goal to make them embrace it.
illusionist987
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The best investment you will ever make in terms of video etc.. buy a book called $30 Film School by Michael W. Dean. It was worth the 30 bucks spent on it for me. It will tell you everything you need to know including items you need, methods of shooting, release forms and includes a dvd with a lot of extra great stuff. Trust me, get this book! I guarantee you wont regret it! I got this book for some insight for my business in which I'm making instructional DVDs. It covers EVERYTHING. The book also shows how to do it with LITTLE or NO BUDGET. So I definitly think this is what you need and are looking for. PM me if you have a question.

Bryan

Posted: Jul 16, 2007 11:57am
Trust me. My advice about the book in my last reply will most likely be more valuable to you than just about any of the other posts. You can make quality stuff with little or no budget. You can do whatever you set your mind to in the business world as long as you have the drive to go after it and the resolve and strength to keep going when you make mistakes and fail. don't worry about jumping in. Only you know whether or not your final product will be quality when you finish it. What's important is that instead of talking about doing what you want to do you should go out and actually do it. Find out what steps you need to take in order to do what you want and take it one step at a time. Trust me though about this book. You wont regret it.
New School Magic
"Where YOU are the master of reality!"
Jonathanmc
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Las Vegas, NV
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Without going into great detail I am going to document a project I am in the planning stages of. Las Vegas has some strange rules when it comes to certain kinds of entertainment. (No I'm not a dancer) I want to document the process.
ScottRSullivan
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Las Vegas also has some rules about recording, as does just about every city in the country. Be prepared for all kinds of paperwork (model releases, property releases, city permits, unions, etc.). One big one will be SAG.

I'd make sure to get all that cleared before rolling a single frame.

Scott
Jonathanmc
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Scott,

This is a documentary so we are under slightly different rules than if we were making an actual film. Also no actors, well except me. All the people we interview will of course sign releases. I've got all that covered.

Thanks.

Posted: Jul 17, 2007 2:31pm
Illusionist987,

I took your advice and ordered the book ($20) on Amazon.
TV Magic Pal
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Dogtown up in the 'Lou
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There are a lot of books like that on the market; all with the standard legal form bonuses and such. Videouniversity.com tends to have a little better stuff than average.
Michael L.

Magic is a lie. It is our job to convince the audience to overlook the lie and our goal to make them embrace it.
illusionist987
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Jonathan, trust me. You wont regret it. With the business I started I honestly believe besides investing the years of learning magic as a hobby, that that book was the other best investment I ever made. Let me know how you like it!

Bryan
New School Magic
"Where YOU are the master of reality!"
Jonathanmc
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Las Vegas, NV
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Tv magic pal,

I never really responded to your post. I agree with you, I should take some classes etc.

Here is the reality. I have been thinking about getting into the film making world for several years now. I have downloaded class lists, and all kinds of other things but have never had the time or the money to 'start up'. And you know what, I never will.

So when I came up with this project, and really its the project that's important, I decided to document the whole process. And then I thought that it might be interesting to others.

If everything is a disaster film wise I have still started the business. But if I learn a lot and come up with something fairly decent then I have killed two birds with one stone. Believe me this is the first of what I hope are many steps into the world of film making.
ScottRSullivan
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Jonathan,

This really can't be answered without a true business plan / marketing plan. Once you have this studio, to whom are you selling your services? What will be your main income and secondary incomes?

Are you talking about making films (aka movies and documentaries) only or venture down other paths? Did you know that for the most part, every feature film made rents all the equipment? They don't own it. More cost effective given the amount of days per year the cameras get used.

Regarding the studio, I know you said cheap. However, what you plan on doing with this future studio depends on how much you NEED to invest.

For example, do you need a large physical studio with greenscreen cyc? Do you just need a camera and a laptop editing system? Do you need an editing suite for clients to come in and review footage? This means spending money of a nice couch, plants and "nice" things. Sad, but true. Especially in this business, image, literally is everything (both on screen and otherwise).

Regarding cameras, will you be shooting in darker areas? If so, there are many cameras that hold up MUCH better in low light than others.

Are you going to need this to be shot on HD? Since this is a docu, how long do you plan on this taking? If you capture in HD, you'll be prolonging the life of your footage.

How many hours will you be shooting? It might be best, at least in the short term to buy a camera, sell it when you are done shooting and use that money to buy an editing station.

Or if you are not shooting for extended periods of time, rent a camera. It may shock many that it is often cheaper to rent a camera than own it. I know too many people that NEED to own their camera and it sits in the bag in a closet for 99% of the year.

So you can see, there is a LOT that needs to be asked, answered and pondered before buying your first piece of equipment.

Of course, if you are on an extreme time frame, just start recording with ANYTHING so you at least have footage.

Scott
Spellbinder
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The Holy City of East Orange, NJ
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I also recommend that you rent a good quality camera that is capable of getting high definition results. Don't forget the tripod (or stabilizer or monopod) and lights. Get the footage and watch it, taking notes as you watch and jotting down frame numbers for editing.

If you send the notes and a copy of the footage to Fred Goode, of Digital Production Studios ( http://dpstudios.biz/video_magic.htm ), he will give you a good price on editing the video for you and sending it back in DVD format (or any format you want).

If you really want to learn to edit and convert to DVD, Fred can also advise you based on your computer platform and what you already have, but that will almost always not only be more expensive in terms of time and equipment, but also in lost time when you have to go back and do it over many times while you are learning. If the focus of your project is "Make a Documentary" then getting someone to do the tough stuff makes sense. If your focus is "I want to learn how to do this on my own," then the expense is worth it because you will acquire skills you intend to use in future projects.
Professor Spellbinder

Professor Emeritus at the Turkey Buzzard Academy of Magik, Witchcraft and Wizardry

http://www.magicnook.com

Publisher of The Wizards' Journals
BryanDreyfus
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To save you from set design headaches I would suggest a green screen for compositing a background in. In the long run it will save you loads of money building and upkeep on sets.

I bought a 11 foot by 9 foot (considered small) for about $60 shipping included.

http://www.chroma-key.com/chroma_key_special.html

Bryan
Oh sure, I can spell "Antidisestablishmentarianism", but I can't type t-h-e.
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