Sam's Recommendations for

PRODUCTION GEAR

Updated 8/10/2020

CAMERAS

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NOVICE

Smart Phone

Many smart phones (like the iPhone) include fantastic HD cameras that can absolutely be used to create films.

PROS:

-Easy to use

-Small, Compact, Versatile

CONS:

-Poor Audio Recording Capabilities

-Best paired with a specialized tripod

-Lacks customizable settings

-Storage Limitations

From:

$100+

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INTERMEDIATE

Panasonic AG-AC30

A solid, all in one, full HD video camera with XLR inputs for recording professional audio, touch screen LCD and LED headlamp!

Similar to the SONY HXR-NX100

PROS:

-XLR inputs for professional microphones

-External Zoom, Focus and Iris rings

-Easy external access to most settings

-Full HD image quality

-Built in LED lights on handle

-Price is very reasonable!
 

CONS:

-Smaller image sensor (no 4k)

From:

$1300+

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DIGITAL CINEMA

Canon XC10

A compact professional cinema camera, styled after the DSLR design, with exceptional image quality. However, this camera offers limited support for HD audio recording.

 

Similar to the Blackmagic 4k Pocket Cam

PROS:

-Cinema Grade Image Quality (4K)

-Large Image Sensor

-Small, Compact and Solid

-External Zoom and Focus Rings

 

CONS:

-No XLR support for audio recording

-Lens is not interchangeable

From:

$1400+

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NOVICE

Panasonic HC-VX981K

Much like the smart phone, this little camera is easy to use and very compact. It also shoots in 4k for a higher image quality.

Similar to the Canon VIXIA HF R80 (non-4k)

PROS:

-Easy to Use

-Small, Compact, Versatile

CONS:

-Poor Audio Recording Capabilities

-Limited user control over settings

From:

$600+

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PROFESSIONAL

Panasonic HC-X1000

This solid, all in one, 4K video camera has everything an independent filmmaker would need to capture high quality image and sound. Great for narrative filmmaking as well as commercial work.

Similar to the Panasonic AG-UX90

PROS:

-High 4K Image Quality

-XLR inputs for professional microphones

-External Zoom, Focus and Iris rings

-Easy external access to most settings
 

CONS:

-Price is slightly high comparatively

From:

$1900+

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DIGITAL CINEMA

Blackmagic URSA Mini 4K

The URSA Mini is a reasonably priced cinema "brain" with a Super 35 sensor and many customizable features. However, the base price of $3000 will increase as you purchase required add-ons like lenses, monitors, batteries, etc.

 

PROS:

-Huge Super 35mm Image Sensor

-Easy external access to most settings

-XLR inputs on attachable handle

-Supports Interchangeable lenses

CONS:

-Requires a lot of additional attachments

-Very large and heavy camera

From:

$3000

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INTERMEDIATE

Canon Rebel T7i

DSLR cameras (like the Rebel T7i) are a good option for photo-journalists who also want to shoot HD video.

PROS:

-Strong image quality

-Interchangeable lenses

-Small, Compact, Versatile
 

CONS:

-Poor Audio Recording Capabilities

-Better suited for photography, not film

-Slight learning curve

From:

$800+

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PROFESSIONAL

Canon C100 Mk II

This full frame HD video cameras has everything an independent filmmaker needs to make professional quality films.

PROS:

-Excellent Image Quality

-Full Frame Image Sensor

-Easy external access to most settings

-Very customizable

-XLR inputs on attachable handle

-Supports Interchangeable Lenses

-Incredibly hardy camera

-Price is very reasonable!
 

CONS:

-Does not shoot in 4K (like the C200)

From:

$3400+

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DIGITAL CINEMA

Canon C200

The Canon C200 has a Super 35mm cinema sensor and includes all the necessary components to capture cinema quality image and sound at a reasonable price.

Similar to the Sony PXW-FS5M2

PROS:

-Huge Super 35mm Image Sensor

-Easy external access to most settings

-XLR inputs on attachable handle

-Supports Interchangeable lenses

-Very hardy camera

 

CONS:

-Requires some additional attachments

From:

$5500

TRIPODS

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NOVICE

Smart Phone Tripod / Selfie Stick

Definitely a MUST if you plan to use your smart phone to make videos.

PROS:

-Easy to use

-Small, Compact, Versatile

CONS:

-Only supports mobile phones

From:

$25+

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INTERMEDIATE

Magnus VT-100 Tripod

A durable lightweight tripod with fluid head for smaller cameras (DSLRs, camcorders, etc.)

PROS:

-Quick Release Plate

-Easy to Use

-Lightweight

CONS:

-Only supports smaller cameras

From:

$50+

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PROFESSIONAL

Davis & Sanford ProVista Tripod

A very durable tripod with a fluid head that supports cameras up to 18lbs!

PROS:

-Quick Release Plate

-Very fluid movement

-Strong, Stable, Durable

 

CONS:

-Somewhat heavy

From:

$180+

MICROPHONES

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NOVICE

Rode smartLav+ Lavalier

Plug and Play Lavalier microphone for cameras with 1/8 mini audio jacks (DSLRs, Camcorders, Smartphones, etc.

PROS:

-Easy to Use

-Great options for interviewing with phone

CONS:

-Audio quality is just okay

-Will need to purchase extension cable

From:

$80+

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INTERMEDIATE

Vidpro XM-55 Shotgun Kit

This decent shotgun microphone kit is a good started package for a camera with XLR inputs.

PROS:

-Good Starter Kit for beginners

-Professional XLR Connection

-Great price!

 

CONS:

-Must record in low noise areas

-Off-Brand Microphone

From:

$80+

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NOVICE

Rode VideoMicro Ultracompact

Small shotgun mic with shock mount for cameras with 1/8 mini audio jacks (DSLRs, Camcorders, Smartphones, etc.)

PROS:

-Easy to use

-Small, Compact, Versatile

CONS:

-Smaller pickup range

From:

$60+

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PROFESSIONAL

Tascam DR-60DmkII Field Recorder

This field recorder mounts on the bottom of DSLRs and converts XLR signals to 1/8 mini. A must have for professionals working with DSLR camers to record high quality audio.

PROS:

-Compact and Very Adjustable

-Records great audio

-Can also be used alone to record!

 

CONS:

-Nothing, great product for filmmaking!

From:

$200+

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INTERMEDIATE

Rode VideoMic GO Shotgun/Boom Kit

An easy to use shotgun microphone kit with boom pole for cameras with 1/8 mini audio jacks (DSLRS, Smartphones, Camcorders, etc)

PROS:

-Easy to Use

-Includes boom pole

-Price is good!

 

CONS:

-Smaller pick up range

From:

$150+

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PROFESSIONAL

Rode NTG1 Shotgun Field Kit

Very good shotgun microphone recording kit including everything needed for recording high quality audio.

PROS:

-Records great audio

-Professional XLR Connection

-Phantom Powered Mic!

-Kit includes XLR rigged Boom Pole

 

CONS:

-Must have a camera with Phantom Power

From:

$500+