The starter rig for a complete noob

Getting started with a Blackmagic product? Ask questions here about setup and installation.
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JapaneseSerow

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  • Joined: Mon Oct 05, 2020 1:41 pm
  • Real Name: Juha Kutvonen

The starter rig for a complete noob

PostMon Oct 05, 2020 2:25 pm

Hi everyone!

I recently started a small production company in Japan and after some research, BlackMagic seems to be the best rig for my needs (love the modularity). I'm relatively new to cameras as the only camera I have owned (and currently do) is the Canon PowerShot [G7 X Mark II] .

After some research into the gear this is the set-up I'm planning to buy from scratch. I would be grateful to hear your opinions on the set-up.

【BODY】 Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K - $1,519
【Lens】 Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm f/2.8 Asph (used) - $473
【RIG】 TILTA Camera Cage for BMPCC 4K – Basic Kit (Tactical Grey) - $328
【POWER】 HEDBOX | Unix-DC | | V-Mount/Adapter Plate、USB 5V/2.1A + 3X D-Tap - $254
【POWER】 CAMVATE Multi-Purpose Mounting Cheese Plate for V Lock Mount Power Splitter - $72
【POWER】 SOONWELL Camera V Mount Battery 95Wh Li-ion Rechargeable 14.8V 6.6Ah Battery - $180
【MEMORY】 Samsung T5 Portable SSD 1TB - $180
【AUDIO】 Azden SGM 250 Shotgun - $322
【AUDIO】 Gotor Mini XLR(Male) ⇔ XLR(Female) $12
【CASE】 Apache Weatherproof Protective Case -IP65 Rated 4800 Series X-Large - $206

Total - $3,547 (Converted from JPY so not 100% accurate)

Did I forget to add some adapters or cheeseplates, or should I be good to go with this set-up?

Thanks for taking the time to read!
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jbeech

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  • Joined: Sun Nov 19, 2017 12:47 pm
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  • Real Name: John Beech

Re: The starter rig for a complete noob

PostTue Oct 13, 2020 2:33 pm

Random thoughts from an old guy farting away his morning due to back pain . . .

Good price on the used lens. Add some ND filters if you're shooting outside, e.g. 1/64, 1/8, perhaps 1/4 (it depends). Think of these as sunglasses, so when you need sunglasses, so does the camera! Note; if you're ever in a production environment then the speed of using a matte box will be helpful but carrying that weight on the front of a lens all the time gets old. Screw on lenses will be good enough until you reach that point in time. Of course, it was different when I was new to the business and thought my equipment impressed people. In any case, what matte boxes will do is get you laid, so until you learn better about mass, and why it's usually better to blend in, a matte box certainly looks trick!

Why the Azden mic? Why a shotgun . . . what do you plan to record? An ME66 is a good all-arounder and because it has an AA-cell inside, this means you don't need to depend on internal amps for phantom power. Anyway, I would consider adding a Lav to your kit, an ECM77 is well regarded. And you will discover there are times when you need to capture more than one track of audio so begin to think about multiple mics and recording same. Also, consider a stick-mic like an RE50B. And remember, the 3.5mm input is actually for time code but can record another track. Also, make provisions for shielding the shotgun from wind noise (many offer what is sometimes referred to as dead cat to help with wind noise - get one). Also, and this is very important, add headphones (and use them every time you're recording - no exceptions). Honestly, audio is more important than video. Yes, this seems sacrilegious in a video-centric forum - but - believe me, it's true. Note; regarding field headphone, they don't have to be some fancy unit because they're for confidence, primarily. I see people spending quite a bit for expensive headphones without regard to the facts this makes zero difference to a beginner and they get stepped on, etc. so you'll replace them occasionally. And of course, it's not the tool but the craftsman holds just as true with filmmaker as carpenters. Less is more.

Hmmm, why spend money on a cage? Are you handy working with wood? Often you can mock up something plenty good enough using 12mmx24mm hardwood, then add 1/4-20 brass inserts for threads, and spend nearly nothing to hold a shotgun!

Battery-wise, I am making the same decisions for a field use camera. However, I have about decided to use a small handful of the stock LP-E6 batteries instead, because I can simply replace the one in the grip with a charged one each time I'm ready to film. The reason is 'I' want to avoid the excess mass of a battery suitable for two hours of use. Then again, I am experienced and instead of wild-camera I am gathering footage for a specific purpose. The real point being I usually work from a shot list - or - I am filming something that won't exceed 5-6 minutes and thus, 15-minutes duration from a battery is plenty (I see lots of folks complaining about battery life and wonder if they actually know what they're doing). Anyway, because shots are known in advance and are usually of only 3-5 seconds duration, then what's the point of wielding excess battery-mass all the time? A heavy camera just serves to tire me out. Honestly, I believe I can usually film anything I need with one or two batteries and return to the studio. surely you see the wisdom of keeping the mass of the rig to a minimum, right? Then again, I am old and don't feel any need to impress anybody watching me work by having a fancy looking rig. It was different when I was young.

Finally, stick to it and remember, 40 years from now the only difference between those who will say, "You're so lucky to be rich!" is this; you actually started whilst they sat on their butts wishing. As usual, regardless of the length of your journey, it begins with that first step. Congratulations for taking it.
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John Beech

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