What Equipment Should I Buy?

6 replies [Last post]
Joined: Sep 8 2006

Hello friends!

I want to make movies, movies that look and sound as good something you would see on the big screen, maybe even something directed by James Cameron. And I have some money to invest in my equipment. The problem is, it’s not very much money.

I have £1450 to spend on everything I need.

As I say, the priority is to have that filmic look, or as close as I can get to it (although I appreciate the fact may be I can’t get anywhere near, on my budget)

My feelings are, I need to buy:

A Camera.
A Tripod.
A Case.
And Some Tapes.
(Price must include delivery)

It’s very hard to know what advice to take and from where online. I read one review of a Cam that said there was no motor noise picked up at all by the built-in mic, another review of the same camera said that the motor noise was its only fault, and was almost unacceptable!

Things such as additional batteries can wait till I have more money. Is there anything you think I’m missing to get started on the basics?

I’ve been looking for so long online, I hope you will give me some guidance!


Joined: Sep 8 2006

Hello Again.

After watching footage from Marc Peters shot on the Canon DM-XM2 I'm thinking perhaps that would suit my needs.


I can get one for £1,315.20 from Amazon UK.


Perhaps I can achieve a more cinematic look during editing, using filters etc.

Also, this website is going crazy for a High Def Sony Camera,


But it doesn't have 3CCD, which I tend to think is an important feature (no doubt that's a debate)

I could pick a Sony HDR-HC for less than £1000!

- Still very interested to hear your thoughts, this is one, I’m not rushing into.



Joined: Jun 2 1999

With your budget, I would definitely go the second hand route. The XM2 is 'yesterdays' camera, so why buy new? HD wouldn't be the route to a 'filmic' look IMO. (standing by to get flamed :) ) Keep an eye to the classified section here, and check out e-bay. ONLY buy from sources that have a good feedback! I've bought 2 cameras, a tripod, and a mic from here and e-bay. Plus other bits n bobs. Been delighted with them. ;)

Alan Roberts
Alan Roberts's picture
Joined: May 3 1999

HD certainly isn't the route to a film look. What you need is a camera that shoots genuinely in prgressive mode, and has a gamma curve that approaches a film curve. I specialise in, and earn considerable sums of money from, advising professionals on how to do this, and although HD cameras are generally the ones I work with, there's nothing intrinsic about that.

But, if you want to get near to Cameron's "look", you'll need to add at least two more zeroes to your budget.

Get my test cards document, and cards for 625, 525, 720 and 1080. Thanks to Gavin Gration for hosting them.
Camera settings documents are held by Daniel Browning and at the EBU
My book, 'Circles of Confusion' is available here.
Also EBU Tech.3335 tells how to test cameras, and R.118 tells how to use the results.

Joined: Jun 2 1999

I might also add that there are filters in many NLEs that will get you closer to a filmic look. The downside of course is the rendering times. But if you have the latest superfast okeycokey PC, worth a thought.

Joined: Apr 2 2005

If you're after a film look on a budget then you'd well to seek out a 2nd hand Panasonic DVX100. Problem being that would eat up most of your budget I'm afraid.

Aurther is right about acheiving the film look in post as well. It can be done but as mentioned lengthy render times await thee.

To add to your woes, I didn't see a mic in your budget. An external mic will be essential to get decent sound. The onboard mics supplied with cams are generally poor and will exhibit some of the problems you mentioned such as motor noise. A Rode NTG2 is an excellent mic on a budget.

Decent tripod will set you back at least 300 as well.

I would try and scour the 2nd hand market. Learn your trade on some cheaper gear and if you feel it it is the way forward, take a step up gear wise. Bear in mind that a decent tripod and mic can last you a lifetime if cared for properly.

It looks as though Sony will be releasing an HDV cam with 25P which might be your way forward when you have some extra cash lying around.

Hope this helps


Joined: Sep 8 2006
The Plot Thickens…Come With Me and Let The Discussion Continue

Firstly, I’d like to say thank-you so much for your productive and insiteful postings!

I’m so excited about this whole thing.

I’ve moved this post to the A/V Hardware part of the forum, as it seems a more apt home for it.

I’d love to continue over there,
I have some more thoughts…