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If I wanted to make a short film and spend as little money as possible on equipment, what would I need? Particularly, what type of camera would you recommend?

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How little are we talking about? $500 or $50? Because I've done short films for each, including the camera.

Dale

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Just a few general tips:

a) Go digital.

cool.gif Go MiniDV, rather than Digital8; the cameras are smaller and (generally) less expensive, and more festivals are willing to accept a MiniDV source than Digital8.

c) Make sure it has an external audio jack; otherwise, you're stuck with the audio you get out of the (no doubt) crappy internal microphone your camera will have, or you'll be stuck trying to sync the audio in post-.

d) Ignore the digital zoom numbers -- you can always do that in post-, anyway -- and pay a great deal of attention to the analog zoom numbers, especially if you are filming guerrilla-style.

e) I have no advice on what sort of microphone to attach to the audio jack, as I am not terribly fond of the one I purchased (although it was cheap -- $30).

f) Search eBay for a cheap copy of Adobe Premiere 5.1 or 6.0; really, it's worth the money over the other, less expensive editing programs.

g) Spend $20 and get a cheap tripod; my Wal-Mart one has worked fine for all my static purposes.

I'll think of more later, no doubt.

Dale

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Make this$14 steadycam

If you want a mic, depending on your camera, you will need an adapter to fit an 1/8" jack. Get a condenser mic and a boom with a windsock. Even if you camera has a windsock setting it is better to have one on the mic. This (a mic) is a piece of equipment that is worth the extra money especially if you are going to rely on dialogue.

There are other ways to record audio for your projects but it might go out of the $500 range - definitely if you still need a camera.

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Goodness. A really cheap way to do a film is just to cut out all of the dialogue. That seems like a good way to get used to working around a camera. I have heard horror stories from first and second short filmmakers about problems with environmental noise and synching dialogue.

That steadicam rig looks great.

And it seems like a mic is one of those things that "you get what you pay for."

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But some stories definitely rely on the dialogue and it doesn't hurt to start this way either. You will learn other techniques and resolving different issues. Background nosie comes from using the wrong type of mic, poor mic placement or poor settings. Syncing isn't too bad especially if you use a DAT machine with time code.

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