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Camera for making training films in a factory?

Posted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 7:04 am
by Andy Gilbert
Hi All
I am a training co ordinator in a factory and we are looking at putting some of our training procedures on video instead of in print.
We are wondering what sort of camera to buy. We think it needs to be quite physically big and heavy as if it was too light and it were used near some of the machines it may pickup vibrations, it will need to be used on a tripod so portability isnt an issue. Due to noise around some of the machines the audio commentary will probably have to be overdubbed afterwards so that isnt particularly an issue either.
Whilst it is basically bright in the factory, around some of the machinery (extruders) it can be somewhat darker so a light will be necessary.
We do not need this to be professional equipment but by the same ruling it doesnt want to be poor quality. A budget of around £500 would be suitable.

Any advice appreciated


Re: Camera for making training films in a factory?

Posted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 12:15 pm
by Mike Shaw
My initial thoughts - on seeing the budget - are ...

You probably won't find a 'physically big and heavy' camera (plus accessories maybe) for that budget, unless you look for something second hand. Even then, the price is likely to be higher - Sony FX1s for example still sell for over £1000 - and they haven't been made for many years now.

Most of today's light 'HandyCams' incorporate 'optical stabilisation', which will help to reduce (but not eliminate) vibrations. You don't specify how the videos are to be edited (the editing programmes available cost from under £100 up to over £500), but most have a modicum of image stabilisation: in any event, there is a programme called 'Mercalli (V2)' which will remove all kinds of camera shake effectively and efficently. That too is around the £100 mark, but versions of it I believe come free with some of the editors.

As for make - I would go for a reputable name - Sony, Panasonic, Canon - and choose the model that has features you think will be invaluable. Most of today's Handycams have on-screen menu systems to adjust things like exposure: if you can find a camera with manual controls of the essential features (focus, exposure) then that would be an advantage.

Lights too vary considerably in price, but there are some small LED lamps - with 125 or 160 LED's that provide excellent flood or fill-in lighting over short distances - and they cost around just £35 each.

Another approach may be to ask a local video club to step in and make the films for you - for a donation to their club funds. That way you will have people with some experience - and the kind of equipment you're looking for. Clubs near you can be found on the IAC website - it would at least be worth asking the question!

I'm sure others will have a different take on this ... :-)

Re: Camera for making training films in a factory?

Posted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 2:17 pm
by tom hardwick
Mike's idea about getting the local video club involved is an excellent one, because buying cameras, lights, tripods and editing systems is easy-peasy vs using all this equipment properly.

If £500 is the money available for the camera alone, then a second hand Sony PD150 might well fit the bill.


Re: Camera for making training films in a factory?

Posted: Thu Sep 20, 2012 4:45 pm
by ned c
In a previous existence I ran an in plant film unit and I think Andy needs to review his objectives. There is more to movie making than a camera and lights and his budget is totally inadequate. As for asking the local video club to help be very careful since there are usually insurance requirements for shooting in a working plant. When I went freelance larger clients always wanted a copy of my third party insurance. Andy's best bet is to approach a local low budget production house and reach an agreement that they can use the result as promo. He can also increase financing by asking suppliers to his Company to help fund the movie in return for a credit.
ned c

Re: Camera for making training films in a factory?

Posted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 7:35 am
by Andy Gilbert
Hi Ned
Its only to replace our procedures for working on the machines and doing various maintenance procedures etc. Its all totally in-house. We currently have these on pictorial sheets at each machine. It doesnt need to be a big production but needs to not look like some amateur attempt if you get my drift.

I see where you are coming from re: insurance but we have a contractors induction procedure for any third party working on site. Admittedly this may still involve public liability insurance but I would have to look into that.

Personally I think that having someone else do it would be more financially viable but I was asked to cost up the necessary equipment (within a very small budget!)


Re: Camera for making training films in a factory?

Posted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 2:33 pm
by ned c
Hi Andy; some thoughts about working inside your budget;

Budget GBP350 for your camera to include an additional battery and 2 16 GB SDHC cards for recording. Sony; Canon and Panasonic all have cameras that fall into this price range. You will want to shoot “full HD” i.e. 1920 x 1080. There are limitations at this price level; there will probably not be very much manual control and probably no provision for headphones or an external microphone. If you plan to record a narration after the shoot then this should not be a problem. You will need a tripod that is reasonably steady; there are tripods at around GBP50 (e.g. Velbon) that will hold the camera still. These are not video tripods so smooth panning and tilting will be very difficult. But if you can avoid camera movement this will work fine. Lighting; I have recently shot using the low energy bulbs (use the 5600K type) in cheap reflectors and this has worked well; it has the advantage of not getting very hot. If you need a lot of light “work” lights are inexpensive but run very hot and give a hard light; best used with a white reflector and bounced on to the area to be filmed. Then on to the edit; you will need a computer with a reasonably high spec and assume you have these at work and then the edit software. If you use PCs then Sony Vegas Platinum; Pinnacle Studio or Corel all at around GBP60 will meet all your needs. If you are on Macs then iMovie will do the job. You can create DVDs from within these programs so your computer will need a DVD writer. You can use your camera as an audio recorder for narration. A quiet room; some tests and you will be able to use the sound track with your images. Remember; it all begins with the script.

A word of warning; once you start this it is very addictive looking back I realise that this is how I started.

Good luck ned c