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  1. #1

    Very, very new at this

    I want to start a very small production company. I would like professional looking/sounding videos but I don't have a very large budget at all- maybe $2,000. I have realized the cameras etc are very expensive even on Ebay.

    Does anyone have any suggestions regarding equipment and software for someone starting out on my budget? Is it even possible or am I just kidding myself?

    Any feedback would be appreciated. Thanks

  2. #2
    Hi
    Well, you have to start somewhere but it does really depend on what you are planning to do!! If you intend to supply major TV networks with your material then $2000 won't even be the tip of the iceberg!!! Start doing fairly simple stuff like maybe events (parties, functions etc etc) and then you can slowly upgrade!!
    I began with a $120 used Panasonic DS30 camcorder off eBay and did some bits and pieces and slowly upgraded as and when I could. Once you have a camera, you can then use it, sell it, add a little to the proceeds and get something a little better.

    To do anything you WILL need at the least, a MiniDV camera, your computer with a firewire card, an external microphone and some cheap lights ...all quite achieveable within $2000

    If you give us an idea of which market you want to tackle first then we can probably give you some ideas to look at to buy.

    Chris

  3. #3
    Senior Member SC358's Avatar
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    Welcome ShanennDarks-
    It's really difficult to be a one-man team. One person cannot do it all - you can certainly try. Maybe there are others who would disagree with my pov. What's the possibility of you finding others, that you'd be willing to do business with (and visa versa)? Someone else who can also come to the table and risk their $2000 (more or less?).

    Another idea is find all the possible technical resources who may have some old equipment that is in good shape but is not being used. Maybe they'd be willing to trade for some honorable mentions, which is only fair. You never know who may have something. This will give you a chance to learn the value of communication, trust, respect when you have nothing else to give. Networking doesn't hurt but certainly expands your potential for things to happen.

    Best wishes to your endeavor!
    Last edited by SC358; 25th Jun 2008 at 02:56. Reason: Grammatical error
    SC358
    Relationships are based on compromises - behavior accepted is behavior repeated.

  4. #4
    Hi SC358
    Sometimes economics force us to do the solo act. I have done quite a few shoots solo and it's amazing how eager onlookers are to help "Wow,I'm now part of a TV production team..wait until I tell my friends!!"
    Just getting someone to hold something for you usually gets a flood of offers.
    I do weddings on my own with twin cams but one is on a tripod and the other is a roving camera for cutins and cutaways and I handle that OK. In fact I thought I was a star until I spoke to a guy in St Augustine (FLA) who did weddings ALL on his own using SIX cameras. (Still dunno how he managed it!!!)
    There is always the wife, mate or girlfriend who can help with setting up one cam while you are using the other.

    Chris

  5. #5
    Senior Member SC358's Avatar
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    Hey Chris -
    Having people offering their help when they see you shooting solo is something I have never encountered, let alone someone doing a solo six-cam shoot. Economics always plays a factor and people will get what they pay for. I hope to read a blog of your efforts as a soloist in this forum one day.
    SC358
    Relationships are based on compromises - behavior accepted is behavior repeated.

  6. #6
    Hi SC358
    Believe me I only do it if I have to!! and maximum of 2 cams!!! I would never attempt to try and control more than that!!
    Luckily my better-half usually watches the static cam at weddings for me while I do the cutins on the other camera.
    It WOULD be nice to sit and order around a bunch of cameramen but that doesn't happen to me!!! Hmmm a blog?? more than likely be a comedy blog!!!

    Chris

  7. #7
    Administrator Dave's Avatar
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    I think it's good that you're asking the question "Am I kidding myself?" It shows that you are open-minded about your situation. Although I don't think you are kidding yourself, you do need to be realistic about what you can achieve on that budget. I couldn't imagine trying to start a business for a few thousand bucks now, but in fact that's sort of what I did. My first video business was a sideline operation to an audio business - it started very small and slowly built up to become the main earner. The key is not to be too ambitious and don't over-sell yourself. You'll obviously need to target your business at the lower end of the market, then learn learn learn.

    Hiring staff vs using free labor is a tricky issue. Sometimes it's unavoidable but you do need to have some quality assurance. As others have said, some people are willing to work for free in return for experience and fun. If you can make that work while maintaining standards, that's fine. Just don't do what a a producer acquaintance of mine does and use under-qualified staff (he hires schoolkids as sound assistants and they constantly stuff it up).
    Dave Owen
    MediaCollege.com

  8. #8

    I appreciate it.

    Thanks for the replies guys. I do plan to start out small doing family members and friends birthday parties, mabe family reunions things like that, until I have a grasp and more finances to move onto bigger things.

    I have a HP AMD Athlon 64 processor
    2.39 GHz, 960 MB of Ram

    Microsoft Windows XP Media Center Edition.

    Will I be ok with this for now?

  9. #9
    For Standard Definition your computer is more than adequate!!
    I use a P4 1.7GB Intel with a mere 512mb ram and it breezes thru video without a glitch so yours will handle it easily!
    If you decide to go to HD one day, just remember that things will change a lot. In fact if you use the Card based AVCHD systems then you need at LEAST a quad core machine with a huge amount of ram and a massive video card!!!
    For now you have no problems and yes, starting off with events is definately the way to go. Parties, then bigger bashes then weddings and special events and you will be able to add to your gear too!!!

    Chris

  10. #10
    Hi there ShanennDarks. Just a minor point to add. Have enough HDD space to keep various projects with an external HDD for backup if you are able.

    I found myself in a few situations handling shoots alone... and while it's no easy job, it is possible. Having a lean team with (usually) a few projects at hand, sometimes it is just unavoidable. I train younger volunteers to help me, although it takes a while and can be frustrating at times, I tell myself that this individual is unique and has different styles/ideas from me, and sometimes it might just work. But those are mostly done during the trainings. Just a disclaimer that I work in a non-profit organization, so the applications might be different from money-making businesses, but I think the principle is the same.

    It's good to see more entrepreneurs here. Start small, but keep the creative quality going! Looking forward to hearing from you or your contributions.
    There's no bad camera, just a bad user
    Loong . Singapore

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