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  1. Hello Forum,

    Newbie here and hopefully this post is ok or this forum.

    I have a new project that I am way over my head on, and am seeking some purchasing advice on the following topics for my situation. There are the high level details, and I will explain the situation more in depth after:


    High end camera
     Must be portable (air travel very often)
     Must be compatible with some kind of Tri-Pod or other attachments
     Still pictures and video (is it safe to assume that all digital cameras do this now?)
     Will mainly be shooting in-doors in good light. But may need to go outside 10% of the time.

    Required accessories for camera that I may not be thinking about

    Video Editing Software

     I haven’t edited video since I messed around with free software about 12 years ago. I’m 30 and consider myself tech savy in terms of picking things up fast.
     Must be able to overlay items on to the video that are interactive (mouse over pop up)

    Additional Video software needed (conversion? compressing?)

    High performance laptop for video editing

     Again, must be as portable as possible without sacrificing performance. Lot of air travel. Ideally would like to be able to carry the laptop, camera, and any additional equipment in an under the seat carry on bag.
    Microphone
     Is one needed for what I described below or is the imbedded microphone on the camera enough?

    Anti-virus software
     Small business anti-virus software.

    In general, we will be shooting “How-To” videos or Standard Operating Procedures.

    The basic idea is that we will need to edit the raw video for online sharing later. We want to incorporate layover/animations of key items being used in the “How-To video” with some kind of tracking/status bar/timer at the bottom.

    We would also like to be able to have those items be interactive and provide additional information when hovered over.

    There is some flexibility on price, but here is the general budget:

    Camera – Up to $600
    Software – Up to $200
    Laptop – Up to $2000
    Anti-Virus – Up to $60
    Accessories – Varied

    Thank you in advance for any time spent pointing us in the right direction!

    Thank you
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  2. First, welcome to the forum! And congrads on your new gig.

    At first blush, your priorities seem a little mixed up. I would spend $2000 on a "camera system" and $600 or less on the laptop. Garbage in = Garbage out. But then again, you have said very little on what your requirements are. For example, do you need SD, HD, 4K video? Are you shooting green screen? These probably figure more into determining your needs than whether it will fit underneath a plane seat. Also, what is primary purpose of the project? Allocating $2000 to a high end business ultrabook makes me feel like you will be using it for a lot more than just video editing. Also, you have not budgeted anything for storage. You will almost without question need external hard drives to store the video you shoot. But how much you need is a function of how many hours of video you plan to shoot and the bit rate.

    But you are looking for advice, so here is my two cents. Get a Panasonic GH4 and decent lens or two for $2000. This is a mirrorless camera that should fit under your seat. The GH4 will also give you gorgeous 4K video that you can do HD crops on and other effects. That will be remembered a lot longer than how much money you spent on a laptop. Buy a refurb laptop to save money. Skip the anti-virus (what is this the 90s??? srsly, get a decent browser other than IE and install some script/ad blockers and stop downloading). Software is tougher. It sounds like you need a compositing program like After Effects. There is basically nothing that can't be done using After Effects. I suppose you could get Adobe Creative Cloud. That is an "affordable" $50/month, but you won't be able to access your files once the subscription lapses. Maybe Sony Vegas has some compositing features. Otherwise, $200 keeps you in consumer land for video editors and I can't seriously recommend a decent low cost competitor to After Effects.

    As for microphones, rarely are the built in mics on cameras good enough. I would budget maybe $150 for a decent mic.

    Good luck!
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  3. Thanks for the detailed advice!

    You were right to call out the confusion in priorities. I probably could have been more clear on what I am trying to accomplish.

    4k is not a requirement, but more of a nice to have. For the most part we will be taking indoor, static position videos used internally among business users. While not for public consumption, it still needs to look professional.

    In googling around, I was thinking that the GoPro Hero4 Black or Silver could fit what we are looking to do. What are your thoughts on that?

    I had not come across After Effects yet, but I did find Premiere Elements, Sony Vegas, and Cyberlink Power Director. All seem to do what I need, but I don't know what I don't know. My needs are basically combining files, adding layovers of templates/text, adding audio files/naration, and adding basic effects to highlight key things happening in the video (think training tutorials).

    Are any of those 3 avoid at all costs? I'm hoping to avoid a subscription. One time cost preferred.

    Great call out on the external storage. Had not thought of that.

    As far as the laptop costs. This is also going to replace my personal laptop thats about 5 years old at this point (was top of the line at it's time so it's held up). So I'm looking for higher end with battery live, longevity, and power.
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  4. You don't want to use a GoPro as your primary camera -- fixed ultra-wide lens -- terrible audio -- it's fine as a B-camera. You don't mention lights at all, which are essential to looking professional. Low cost LED panels can do wonders.

    Camcorders in the $1200 - 2000 range by Sony, Canon or Panasonic should do a creditable job. I would stay away from a DSLR if you are doing more video than stills. While DSLRs have great lenses and can take awesome images the mechanics of actually using them gets clunky and can require a lot of add-ons. DSLRs also have a 20-30 min time limit for continuous recording which may or may not be an issue for you.
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  5. Originally Posted by smrpix View Post
    You don't want to use a GoPro as your primary camera -- fixed ultra-wide lens -- terrible audio -- it's fine as a B-camera. You don't mention lights at all, which are essential to looking professional. Low cost LED panels can do wonders.

    Camcorders in the $1200 - 2000 range by Sony, Canon or Panasonic should do a creditable job. I would stay away from a DSLR if you are doing more video than stills. While DSLRs have great lenses and can take awesome images the mechanics of actually using them gets clunky and can require a lot of add-ons. DSLRs also have a 20-30 min time limit for continuous recording which may or may not be an issue for you.
    Unfortunately my price cap for the camera is going to be around $600. What are my options in that range?

    We are definitely going to be doing more video than stills. And the time limit will be an issue at some point is it can't last more than 30min.

    I'm not married to the GoPro by any means, but not sure where to even start for better options.

    It's worth noting that we may do a number of 1st person view type videos, which is why we liked the idea of a GoPro and a headstrap etc... But we can always pick one up down the road for that purpose if needed if it will suffer as a primary camera for static videos.

    Thank you again for the help.
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  6. You stated in your original post that you were looking for a "High End Camera". To put it bluntly, $600 is not going to be a high end camera unless it is a 5 year old used model. It sounds like you are married to the GoPro brand. I don't think you will find anyone on this site endorsing a GoPro unless you are heli-skiing. But you are not doing that.

    TBH, your requirements sound very different from a serious videographer. I am not a professional videographer, but I have shot enough video to know if someone asked me to do what you are doing for only $600, I would walk away. If you think a $2000 laptop will somehow make your GoPro footage look great, think again. However, if someone said I could have $2000 in camera gear and a clunker laptop, I would jump at the chance. This is the best advice me or anyone else on this forum can offer.
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  7. aBigMeanie aedipuss's Avatar
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    you can get a lot of serious laptops for 1000 or so. maybe split the cam/laptop money in half. for 1300 you can get low end pro camcorders. but for stills they aren't very good so a still cam would also be required. a versatile yet affordable dslr is the canon 70d, great video and excellent stills. negative would be external mic needed. http://www.starkinsider.com/2015/03/top-5-best-dslr-cameras-for-shooting-video.html
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  8. Originally Posted by aedipuss View Post
    you can get a lot of serious laptops for 1000 or so.
    You can do even better if you're willing to go the refurbished route. Newegg often has good deals.
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  9. Thanks for the suggestions everyone.

    SameSelf- I respectfully disagree. In a previous post I mentioned I'm not married to the GoPro almost verbatim. Not sure where the confusion is. I am out of my element here so yes I was unaware of what high end was.

    That being said...

    With Xmas coming up, I have folks looking for gift ideas for me. The range of $600 is normally what one person and I usually spend on eachother.

    I didn't think that was necessary to share but realize now that it is in order to explain why I can't take money our of the laptop budget into the camera budget.

    What are my best options in the 600 to 1000 range for cameras?

    Here are some use cases that may help. I certainly wouldn't consider what were doing as needing to be high quality videographer. It just needs to look better than an 8 year old snapping video on their smart phone.

    1) A fixed position 5 minute video of a pilot over his shoulder going through the motions of preparing for take off. We will voice over audio in the editor as well as have effects that explain the current step. Must be crisp enough to clearly see the buttons/screens.

    2) A 4k time lapse of a close up of a hard to dust area. Showing dust accumulation over 24 hours when your air filter is dirty.

    Thank you again for your help. Sorry if I was unclear earlier.
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  10. Ahh, I see now where the $600 is coming from. I completely mis-read the source of your budget. It sounded to me like it was some sort of corporate funded gig. I agree. It's a whole lot easier asking for a GoPro for Christmas due to the brand awareness.

    For $600, I would stay away from DSLR's, since you cite portability as a requirement, and go mirrorless. They are considerably more compact, almost like a P&S. The Panasonic GH4 is clearly out of your price range. But you might want to consider its little cousin, the Panasonic G7 with a lens kit, or even the older G6 model, if budget is a real concern. Maybe even the Sony A6000. These small, mirrorless cameras are good bang for the buck and should all be within the $600 budget.
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  11. aBigMeanie aedipuss's Avatar
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    if 4k is really needed at that price point you're pretty much stuck with the gopro or an even worse sony. i know the sony can't focus under 20 inches, and the gopro 4k has a fixed focus lens (at inifnity). crappy lenses and distorted images from both. they make nice toys but...
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  12. Yea I apologize for the confusion. Its ultimately a small business I am starting on the side so in my mind I probably typed it out a little corporate-y.

    I will definitely look up the suggestions you mentioned above.

    Is there anything at the $1000 price point that gives me a significant boost in quality? I spent $600 on him but he would go higher if needed. Or I could exchange and add my own money on top if it makes a difference.
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  13. Unless you are willing to step up to the GH4, I would just stick with something like the G7 and put the extra money into an extra lens. Good glass is just as important as the camera.
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  14. aBigMeanie aedipuss's Avatar
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    you could ask for a camera body and buy your own lenses. but still 1080p60 is about all you can expect to achieve with a limited budget. i'd look at the sony a6000 and a couple lenses. go to around 2000 and a canon 70d with a couple lenses is doable but still in 1080p.
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