Videojournalism on a budget

How cheaply can you build a multimedia tool kit? Does $10,000 sound about right? That’s what NBC’s Maria Schiavocampo says she carries around in her gear bag. How about $6,000? That’s what Andy Glynne says it costs to build a basic documentary kit.

Still too much? Consider the Adam Westbrook approach. Decide what you really need, then take your time looking for the lowest possible prices from EBay and other online sites. Here’s his list:

  • Camera: Panasonic NVDX100
  • Microphone: Audio Technica ATR25
  • Tripod: Camlink TP-2100
  • Edit hardware:  Dell Optiplex 745
  • Edit monitor: Acer 24” flatscreen
  • Edit software: Adobe Premiere Elements 7

Westbrook did his shopping in Europe where he works for Bauer Media. His bottom line in pounds translates to $825. Total. Amazing.

Westbrook promises to to share examples soon of what his bargain basement gear can do. If it’s decent, he’ll have proved that almost anyone can now afford to produce good quality video.


4 Responses

  1. David Dunkley Gyimah in the UK subscribes to a similar notion of cost effective gear. There’s a piece on him on Apple Pro – worth a read</a.. He always has his camera with him.

  2. It sounds like a luxury, but a good wireless microphone is worth the expense. One of the telltale signs of a really amateur production is when interview subjects are so off-mic that they’re hard to hear. When you’re shooting and interviewing at the same time, it helps to be able to place a mic and not have to worry about it.

  3. Arky is right: a wireless mic is NOT a luxury at all, and there are inexpensive solutions that work very well with today’s low-budget ENG packages. Azden and Sennheiser both make decent setups. I personally own the Sennheiser EW 100-ENG G2, a UHF wireless set. It has frequency diversity and a great range. For the money, it was a great bargain that has served me well.

    I agree with arky about the off-mic ambient pickup an on-camera mic gives you. This is especially true in closed areas with bare walls, where sound will bounce and sound very hollow. One needs to directly mic his/her interview subject if he/she does not have the luxury of having a soundman with a boom pole and directional shotgun.

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