Like so many normal people, if I can get a bargain, I will. Yet in videography and film-making, so many “pro’s” frown on this and so many “amateurs” obsess over this. Surely good equipment is good equipment, regardless of the cost. However, when you are on a budget, it’s important to make your money go a long way, but, in the interest of longevity, shouldn’t this also include making your equipment go a long way.
When I first started videography 1 year ago, I bought a Velbon tripod for £80, it was probably the worst bit of kit I ever bought, it was light and easy to use, but it produced such an unsteady final image, it may as well have been handheld at times. 2 months later I decided to upgrade to a Weifeng tripod, which only cost £120. Most people probably think I was being cheap there as well,but nearly a year later, and it’s still in great condition, easy to use, easy to set up and not so expensive that you’d care if you lost it. Now, that was a wise investment I felt, but I should have just spent the £40 extra in the first place and researched it properly. The Weifeng has a 75mm ball head and great fluid drag movement. If I’d have spent the £120 in the first place, then I would have saved £80 and had a better bit of kit that I didn’t just give away.
Sometimes though, paying the premium is just the only way to go. Quality products cost a lot for a reason, they’re quality products. Rubbish products don’t cost a lot because they’re usually, well…rubbish. That’s not entirely true though. The first desktop mac I bought was a iMac quad core i5 for my video editing, but a year later, given the workload I currently have and the technological improvements in video, I’ve had to upgrade to a Mac Pro 8 core, both are quality products, but it’s just about forward planning, of course, it’s always a bit of a gamble, you don’t know if your business is going to take-off and no-one wants to take a huge dive. I personally love my cheap gear, my Super Takumar 50mm f1.4 only £80, but a great lens and my Samyang 85mm f1.4 was only £250 but looks amazing, very cinematic.
So, I guess it’s all about choices and making the right choices with equipment. I try to buy quality where I can, but obviously I need to live as well, so it’s getting the right equipment for the job and remember, you can always rent equipment that’s out of your price-range, but necessary for what a client wants.