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My little media (video & hybrid) business is starting to take off! Choices taken regarding gear for

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by Ramirez, Apr 24, 2014.

  1. Ramirez

    Ramirez Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 26, 2011
    In a short while (just a couple of weeks) I´ve recorded and edited 4 concerts for rock/pop/blues bands.
    These are smaller bands that doesn't have the money to take in "the big" video guys. These smaller bands is also my target; to make affordable video recordings and editing to help promote these smaller bands.

    My gear for the jobs that´s coming in (on the recording scene):

    For video: Panasonic GH3 and Panasonic G6 (my b-cam)
    All my current lenses that is in my signature

    External mics on the cameras and headphones for GH3 (next gig that´s coming up is going (sound) on external device. (Although the live sound from the external mics did a pretty good job too). In the future if income is growing; maybe a GH4 with the external unit that can connect to XLR.

    For photo:
    Olympus OM-D E-M5 (people shots) with my current lenses & Fuji X-E1 for stationary object (like instruments etc)

    My editing software:

    Final Cut Pro (editing video), Aperture (photos) and Compressor when transcoding to different formats (DVD:s, YouTube uploads etc)

    My experience with my gear so far:

    When recording bands in night clubs etc. The best way according to my experience now is working with tripods for both cameras. The first gig I did; I had one tripod and my Sevenoak shoulder rig. But I learned that two tripods is preferred. Cameras set on different places and angles.

    The problem for me with this setup is that my faster, better lenses are all primes. This is not ideal when working with tripods in dark places. I cannot zoom in because the cameras are mounted on place; and my zoom are slow which means ISO 2500-3200. I had to use my slow zoom on GH3 for the last couple of gigs.

    To get better quality video I need a fast standard zoom. One of the cameras will only take one angle (G6); but GH3 is the one that I use to zoom in with.

    Solution for my next gig:

    I am going to record a higher profiled band than the previous ones next week. I have talked with the band and I am going to get the sound from the mixer board to external device; to sync with the video later.

    If I succeed I am going to get more gigs because this band is connected. So; if I really want this I have no choice - I need the Panasonic 12-35 f2.8 lens to use with my GH3. The G6 can manage with one of my primes; maybe the Lumix 14 f2.5.

    I took the plunge and ordered the Panasonic Lumix 12-35 today. I see that I need this lens as a workhorse lens!

    Final words:

    This little "media" business of mine is starting to take shape.
    My customers are mostly smaller bands, events (children parties etc.). People that cannot pay a lot of money. Which also means that I don´t need to be "super-pro".
    If I succeed to create beautiful videos with good sound and with good planning and customer service - I have my business.

    I already learned a lot with these project that I´ve worked on.

    Also this direction in my video- photo/graphic life has pushed me into making clear choices:

    - The Panasonic GH line need to be my workhorse tools (maybe a simpler camera like G6 and it successors for b-cams)
    - I need to focus on expanding my hybrid gear - means that I have to invest in system around my Panasonics mainly
    - Focus set! This means that in order to make way for the tools I need, I also need to sell off the things that I don't need for this direction
    (this means that I can´t support two systems - the Fuji system is going - I´ll keep my Fuji X100s only)

    It feels like I´ve "matured" in my photo-/videographic life a lot through these last couple of weeks. These gigs gave e a clue of what I need (and what I just want but don´t need). I am also going to start working on my documentary movie about motorcycling during this whole summer (interviews of motorcycle riders, places that they visit etc.) - I am going to follow a motorcycle club around - and they are the main customers for the movie!

    My purpose for my hobby is crystal clear now! I just wanted to share.
    • Like Like x 13
  2. Steven

    Steven Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 25, 2012
    That's awesome. I do casual videos from one camera and obviously some snaps that I later post on bands' Facebook. I've been getting some good response and I think I could round up some business if I really tried, but I don't think I am anywhere near that good yet. Good luck to you. Can you post any of the videos on youtube or somewhere?
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Ramirez

    Ramirez Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 26, 2011
    It really is all about finding the clients that you can deliver to. I wouldn't take on the really high profiled bands; I would need a lot more gear wise then. And then I would need to charge a lot more and the expectation from those bands would be a lot more. It would make me sweat a lot.

    But my clients for now is the ones that are used to looking a shaky videos, video clips that aren't edited, mostly smartphone videos operated handheld. When they see my edited and stable videos they go "wow".

    When I get more practice and more gear that I need, then I'll go to a little harder clients.

    There are a lot of people that pay a little for good video (doesn't need to be super professional).

    You just need to find your group of clients.

    A friend of mine helped me to get the first gig, the singer in that band gave me 3 other bands to film the next weekend. This band that I am going to film now; I saw a poster of their concert, I called the band and said: "Hello, would you want to get your concert recorded for a good price?" - I got the gig!

    I have quite a low price in the beginning - just to get out there. But I think that I gradually can raise the prize point as I get better and more known.

    I am soon going to put up the videos on my business website. I'll give you the link in this thread when all is up.

    Go for it - you can always make better videos than shaky handheld smartphone videos! Find your clients :smile:
    • Like Like x 1
  4. Darren Bonner

    Darren Bonner Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 1, 2013
    Poole UK
    Best of luck, look forward to seeing your results and hearing your experiences.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Timmy

    Timmy Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 3, 2013
    Wiltshire - UK
    Thanks look forward to seeing the videos!

    in regards to your zoom experiences - I'm no expert on this stuff but enjoy watching the videos produced on EOSHD using the metabones speedbooster and lenses like the Sigma 18-35mm F1.8. It seems this combination is awesome for video on M43.
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Ramirez

    Ramirez Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 26, 2011
    The GH3 AF in video mode is quite good, so when filming bands it works really good. I wouldn't want to be limited to only manual focus as long recording sessions (2 hours or more) is quite demanding on the eyes; I cannot trust my eyes regarding focus after I get tired after a long session.

    I find the Panasonic 12-35 to be my best bet. On GH3 I need the OIS as I sometime need to film with my shoulder rig (the Oly 12-40 could have been a nice lens but no OIS on Panny body).
    I also thought about the Panny 35-100 f2.8 but the bands I filmed where playing in tight places; I need the wide end. Then when in video mode there is the possibility of the teleconverter on the GH3; twice the reach with no IQ loss. So in fact I have a 24-70 and a 48-140 lens in video mode!
    These are some of the reasons why I´ve chosen to go with the Panasonic 12-35.
  7. Ramirez

    Ramirez Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 26, 2011
    Continued... choices taken

    Today my Panasonic Lumix G X 12-35 f2.8 arrived. I was in a hurry as my next filming gig is on Wednesday, I took the fastest shipping metod possible.

    My first impressions are:

    - It´s an awesome lens! Not to big but it feels sturdy, some heft in it.
    - Sharp images straight off; I´ve only seen them on my GH3 display but it seems promising
    - Enough bokeh; at 35(75)mm at f2.8 you get some blurry backgrounds and 3D-pop. Enough for me - I can leave my primes at home when traveling for instance.

    I was anxious at first as this is a pricey lens but I´m all calm now :smile:

    This means:

    1. That I can let go of my X-E1 and my Fujinon lenses (18-55 & 35)
    a) the Lumix X 12-35 is at least not worse that the Fujinon XF18-55, and I can bring my 12-35 with me in bad weather :smile:
    b) I´ll miss the Fujinon XF35 f1.4 but the Oly 45 f1.8 can cover my bokeh needs for the time being

    2. I´ll still have my Fujifilm X100s (I´ll never get rid of this beauty!)

    a) I´ll still get my "Fuji"-fix when needed with my X100s
    b) It´ll alway serve as my "tie"-camera, always on me - ready to shoot :smile:

    In order to pay some of the cost for the 12-35:

    - Fuji X-E1 and two lenses are going
    - Sigma 30 and 60 f2.8 are going (don't need Sigma 30 anymore due to 12-35 and f2.8 / I have the Oly 45 f1.8 - don't need Sigma 60)
    - m.Zuiko 12-50, Panasonic 14-45 are going

    This will pay some of the expenditure for this awesome zoom lens!

    I am not regretting it!

    This is my first f2.8 constant zoom ever (even first constant aperture zoom)!
    I am already enjoying the freedom of not changing lenses all the time!
    This lens is sharp (at least my first impression looking in the GH3 display)!
    It is almost like having 12, 14, 17, 20, 25, 30 primes at once, and using them all without changing lens!

    Pardon me for being almost overly ecstatic - but it is my first f2.8 constant zoom ever!

    The real reason for not regretting the swapping of gear:

    My little video/hybrid business demands versatility of a zoom and a bit faster then the standard zooms (f3.5-5.6) in one lens!
    You cannot change lenses in the middle of a song and you sometime want to zoom in at the person playing the guitar solo!

    This is going to be my workhorse.
  8. tosvus

    tosvus Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 4, 2014
    I take it you have a good vantage point and little camera-movement? If not, I would think AF can be really annoying for the viewer. Even on family home movies, I find it necessary to do MF at times, as the AF just annoys me when it picks up something else or someone inadvertently walks between me and the subject..
  9. spatulaboy

    spatulaboy I'm not really here Subscribing Member

    Jul 13, 2011
    North Carolina
    I'm very happy to hear about your growing business and thanks for sharing your experiences with us Ramirez! Keep shooting and build up your portfolio. The more you do it, the better you get, the better your portfolio of work gets. And that translates to bigger clients.
    I am interested in getting into video myself but I never seem to have time!
    • Like Like x 1
  10. Ramirez

    Ramirez Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 26, 2011
    Off course I do a lot of manual focus but I wouldn't want to only rely on MF. For instance when I'm shooting my motorcycle movie, it isn't easy to always manual focus when following a moving motorcycle.
    I've found AF on GH3 quite good in video mode but I also use MF. I want both options :smile:
    And my 12-35 lens isn't only for video.
  11. Ramirez

    Ramirez Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 26, 2011
    You are so right! I can even see on my first 4 band movies a big difference from the first to the last one. I made some mistakes on the first one that I quickly learned to avoid.

    These mistakes made me to make the choices I've now made:

    - Investing in a better b-cam for video (Panasonic G6 instead of X-E1)
    - Investing in the Panasonic Lumix G X 12-35 for lowlight and zoom capability on tripod (to avoid using shoulder rig for bands and have some lowlight capability instead of primes or a slow zoom)
    - Learning more of video editing (especially grading) in Final Cut Pro - there are tons of interesting things to learn! / And "makeup" for "ugly parts" like missed focus - use some suitable effect and nobody will notice it (maybe pros and enthusiasts but they are not my customers now)!
    - Learning how to deliver the movies to customers
    - Learning to get more customers (the last one I just called after reading a poster - the one that I'm going to record this Wednesday)

    This Wednesday I'm going to have my 12-35 f2.8 with me so hopefully this "movie" will get a lot better than the last one.

    And the most important thing I've learned so far - have fun with it and avoid being "too serious". The customers enjoy an "easygoing" style more the "technical" style :smile:

    Added info:

    One more thing I've learned now - business thinking instead of "GAS" thinking:

    I'm not going to buy the GH4 as long as the GH3 delivers what my customers now want, if one customer is asking for 4K video then I probably have a "bigger" client and can charge more.
    I'm now trying to put emphasis on what I need for the job and what the job pays.
    Well, at first you put some private money into the business but it is important to let the business run by itself as soon as possible - and after awhile actually not spend the income on gear only. You need to have some left after you paid for all the gear :smile:
  12. tosvus

    tosvus Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 4, 2014
    Makes sense - I prefer the AF to be an option on my lenses too, so no disagreements from me there - just wondered if you saw any irritating AF "adjustments" in your takes :) 
    • Like Like x 1
  13. Steven

    Steven Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 25, 2012
    Can 12-35mm lens be zoomed smoothly for video? Do you ever take advantage of the Panasonic ETC mode to double the reach? What are your thoughts on that?
  14. Ramirez

    Ramirez Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 26, 2011
    Well, I got the 12-35 today so I've just taken some photos with it. I'm gonna practice some today (Tuesday, it is night here) before the filming starts on Wednesday. One thing I also learned - when you got new gear - alway try them out before important jobs!
    But I can tell you the the zoom ring feels great; much better than the standard kit zooms. I believe that I will be able to operate it smoothly on Wednesday :smile:

    I bought the 12-35 instead of the 35-100 because of the ETC mode; you can never get a video clip wider in post but always from wide to tele. The ETC is great in video mode as it doesn't lower the IQ quality at all like in photo mode. I found that I always need a wide lens and with the ETC it is like having a 24-70 and a 48-140 lens (in 35mm language) in one (at least in video mode).

    The ETC makes the 12-35 to a very versatile lens in video mode!

    And yes, I have used ETC a lot in video mode - it is great to have that possibility!
    • Like Like x 1
  15. Ramirez

    Ramirez Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 26, 2011
    I am not regretting getting the Lumix 12-35 f2.8!! This is a great photo lens too!

    I read somewhere, some reviewer I can´t remember the name of, that you don´t get shallow dof with this lens. This was one of my concerns when getting this lens.
    Today, I was on a test run with it. I don´t know if the reviewer actually tried out this lens or not... but you absolutely get shallow dof, bokeh, 3D-pop...
    And I find this lens sharp too.
    I can absolutely leave primes behind when for example traveling. I get the feeling that this lens will be permanently fixed on my GH3 :smile:

    Here are some pics of today, all shot at f2.8 and 35mm (70):

    Attached Files:

    • Like Like x 1
  16. Darren Bonner

    Darren Bonner Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 1, 2013
    Poole UK
    That lens is sharp, I'm liking your approach towards this venture.
    • Like Like x 1
  17. Ramirez

    Ramirez Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 26, 2011
    All set for tonights filming!

    This band is more known than the previous ones. The band leader owns a little music studio business, so this gig will take some more effort into it.
    The good thing is, if I succeed the music studio man will recommend me to a lot of other bands, he knows a lot of bands!

    I will get the sound from the mixer board on external device (one of his) and I am going to mix it later with the sound from my cameras (external mics) to get some applauds etc from the audience.

    My setup for tonight:

    Panasonic GH3 with 12-35 f2.8 lens and external mic on tripod (main video cam), headphones to monitor the sound thats coming into the GH3
    Panasonic G6 with 14 f2.5 lens and external mic on tripod (b-cam for video)
    Olympus OM-D E-M5 with 45 f1.8 lens for photos
    Fujifilm X100s and the wide conversion lens for wider photos
    Memory cards etc.


    A friend of mine is going to attend the G6, it will record from an angle a little towards the audience (to mix with my main video from GH3), no zooming.
    The GH3 will be used to zoom in etc. Main video from this cam. I am also going to use ETC to get closer.
    And my two photo cams will be hanging from my neck to take occasional photos to mix with the video.


    The setting: an old cinema theater. The video cams will be on opposite sides.
    The band is a very good country band.
    This will maybe take 2-3 hours.


    Later on the hard work will begin with editing in Final Cut Pro.
    I´ve set the Panasonics on STANDARD photo style as I will grade the videoclips later.


    Wish me luck :smile:
    • Like Like x 2
  18. TheRenaissanceMan

    TheRenaissanceMan Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 11, 2013
    Have you tried the other picture styles on the GH3? If so, any particular reason you prefer Standard over Portrait/Natural?

    Sent from my SCH-I535 using Mu-43 mobile app
  19. GFFPhoto

    GFFPhoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2013
    Man... That sounds like a lot of fun! Good luck and keep us posted!
    • Like Like x 1
  20. Ramirez

    Ramirez Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 26, 2011
    I'm trying to get a "flat" style so I can edit the video the way I want later in Final Cut Pro. But maybe Natural is better? Just working on my workflow process.
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