Camera, Light, Projector and Sound Rental in Milwaukee & Chicago

            Renting cameras, audio, lighting & grip for Milwaukee, Chicago, and the surrounding area.




Tag Archive: video

  1. HD Video Projector 1080p 4000 lumen

    hd-projector-1080p-4000lumen

    Rent this HD video projector for movies, presentations, and more.  Designed for large screens and rooms with ambient light, this HD extra bright video projector supports 16:9 1080p, making Blu-ray, DVD, and online video pop.  A high contrast ratio (5000:1) and fantastic color rendering are possible with the projector’s DLP technology. This projector is a great choice for 10-12 foot screens with some lights on, and screens up to 18 feet in near darkness.

    You can connect nearly anything, including Display Port, dual HDMI, VGA, component, composite, and S-video.  You can even control the projector over the network using the ethernet LAN port.  And at under seven pounds, it’s the only 4000+ lumen projector rental we’d call portable. We include a remote for easy setup.

    If you are looking for a projector for a backyard movie night, we include this projector in a rental kit that includes everything you need.

    We’re certain nobody in Milwaukee has a brighter projector rental for less!  And if you combine your rental with a screen or soundsystem, we’ll give you a discount so you can save even more!

    Rental Prices

    $129 for 1 day
    $268 for up to 5 days
    Call or email for availability.

    Suggested accessories:

    Projector Screen

    Sound System

  2. Backyard Movie Night Package

    movie-night-milwaukee

    We include everything you need in our backyard movie night package: a super-bright HD projector, a huge 120″ screen that’s easy to set up, two powered speakers, a DVD/Bluray player or TV tuner with Antenna, and all the cables you’ll need to make it work, indoors or outside. All you need to bring is the disc and the popcorn.

    If you’ll be setting up indoors, we recommend a room with ceilings at least 10′ high. Outdoor areas should be clear of branches and overhead wires.

    While you are welcome to connect our equipment to your own devices, we strongly suggest bringing a DVD or Blu-ray as a backup. We can’t guarantee your devices will work with ours, or the quality of your internet connection.

    A backyard movie night is a great way to have a memorable night. We suggest inviting the neighbors, so you can turn up the volume! Here’s some more information about  Preparing for Your Movie Night.

     

    Rental Prices

    $315 for 1 day
    $630 for up to 3 days
    Call or email for availability.
     backyard-movie-night
  3. Equipment to Make an Awesome Kickstarter Video

    kickstarter-indiegogo-300x225Some of the most popular questions we get are from people who are setting out to make their first Kickstarter, IndieGoGO or other crowdfunding video.  There are lots of tutorials out there about what to say, but not a lot about how to make them.  I’ve worked on multiple Kickstarter videos, both successful and unsuccessful.  In terms of the technical stuff, the key is to make something that is easy to watch and easy to listen to.  You also want to make something that is representative of the quality of your finished product.  If your finished product is a video or film, that can put a lot of pressure on your fundraising video.  My suggestion is to keep the production simple.   A good portion of your video should be a direct appeal, with one or more people talking directly to the camera.

    What kind of camera should we shoot it on?

    To make this work, you’ll obviously need a camera.  For most productions, the quality of a camera doesn’t matter a great deal.  If you’re running a 4-digit campaign, any HD camera you can put on a tripod will do.  You just want to be sure the audience can see you.  If you’re comfortable shooting on a DSLR, you can rent a budget DSLR camera kit.  If you’d rather set-it-and-forget-it with autoexposure and autofocus, you can use a camcorder that can do that for you.

    As long as you’ve got enough light, an affordable camera shouldn’t hold you back.  Most productions don’t need to rent a second camera.  If your appeal is completely scripted, you can easily edit single-camera footage.  If your appeal is not scripted, you may appreciate having an alternate angle to cut to when things get weird and need to be edited out.

    What audio equipment do we need?

    For a Kickstarter video, audio is more important than video.  Your audience needs to hear and understand you clearly, or the whole point of the video will be lost.  The easiest way to get great audio is to use good audio equipment.  If you shoot on a $5,000 camera, you probably have a great audio system built in.  For budget cameras, it’s easy to use a separate audio recorder kit.  You can use a shotgun mic on a boom, or a lav mic, depending on what is easiest for your production and crew.  A basic sound recording kit includes everything you need for clear audio recording.

    Do we need to use lighting?

    In a word, yes.  Good lighting is the difference between looking shifty and looking trustworthy.  Remember, most of the people who will watch this video have never met you.  This is your first impression, and you want to be in your best light.  That doesn’t mean you need to rent a huge lighting package, but you at least need to be conscious of how the available light is affecting your shots.  Shooting indoors is usually easier for sound, but it can be too dark for some cameras to look their best.  That means you probably want to be near windows, and not directly under any lighting fixtures that can cast weird shadows or leave eyes looking dark.

    Adding one flattering, soft light over the camera (working as a key light or eye light) can help make people look their best.  The Kino Flo Diva is my favorite fixture to use for this, but budget filmmakers often get creative.  For under $30, buy a 500-1000 watt painters’ light and sheet of white foamcore.  Bounce the light into the foamcore near your camera and onto your subjects’ faces.

    When you’re mixing light sources, you have to be aware of the different colors from the different types of light.  Pro fluorescent and LED fixtures can match a variety of lighting conditions, but mixing budget lighting with daylight is much more challenging.

    How much should we spend?

    Never spend more than 10% of your fundraising target on your appeal video.  Most of the budget will probably be equipment, but it’s a good idea to borrow what you can from friends and family.  If you have to rent everything, you should still be able to get all equipment in under $250/day for most productions.  Crew time should be donated.  If you do need to rent, we list all our rental rates on our product pages to make budgeting as easy as possible.

    Posted by Jon Kline

  4. The Top 5 Still Photo Lenses for Video

    lenses

    I get asked all the time, “what’s the best lens to shoot video on my camera?” Once you’ve shot for awhile, you’ll realize this is a silly question. Most projects are much better with a collection of a few lenses, whether they are zooms or primes.

    Every time I choose a lens, it’s based on what’s appropriate for the project, the shot, the camera, and the budget. But since there are thousands of reviews for photo lenses, and almost none of them talk about shooting video, I thought I’d make my personal top five list of still photo lenses for Canon video shooters. For those projects where cinema lenses just aren’t affordable, finding the right photo lens can still get you amazing results.  This list isn’t scientific, and it’s not comprehensive, but these lenses should definitely be on your radar, especially if you’re shooting on a Canon 5D mark III or Canon 6D.

    5. Canon 50mm f/1.4

    Canon EF 50mm 1-4

    Canon makes four 50mm prime still photo lenses, and this one strives to strike a balance between good and affordable.

    Why it’s great for video

    The shallow-depth-of-field look is why DSLRs really exploded for video around 2010.  While f/2.8 usually looks just fine, shooting at f/1.4 could make an interview in front of a trash pile look beautiful.  Perhaps more importantly, the two extra stops of light mean you can realistically expose in places you otherwise wouldn’t dream of shooting.  Wide open around 1600-3200 ISO, you can expose for faces watching a projection screen or people lit only by candles.  It’s tiny and lightweight, and not intimidating for the shooter or the subject.  The 50mm focal length is natural, elegant, and cuts with anything.  It also beats the sharpness of any of Canon’s zoom lenses.  It’s a useful length on a crop factor camera, too, especially as an interview/portrait lens.  At a little over $300 new, it’s the most affordable lens on this list.

    What’s not so great

    It’s not a do-everything lens, so you’ll need at least one lens on either side of the 50mm focal length for just about every shoot.

    4. Canon 100mm f/2.8L IS macro

    Canon-100mmf-2-8-macroThis prime lens is found most often in wedding photographer’s bags, but  I’ve seen it on more than one video set, as well.

    Why it’s great for video

    Shoot without a macro lens for long enough, and you’ll get to the point where you realize you absolutely, positively, must have one in your kit for certain situations.  While Canon’s 50mm f/2.5 macro can work in a pinch, the 100mm focal length of this lens lets you put a little more distance between the camera and the subject, making lighting much easier.  The 50mm also doesn’t look great beyond a few feet, but the 100mm f/2.8L IS makes a great lens for portrait-style work, interviews, and events.  The stabilization means you can even shoulder-mount the camera in a pinch, although I suggest a monopod or tripod for extended shooting.  This lens, like almost all Canon prime lenses, has simply fantastic optics and sharpness.

    What’s not so great

    I find 100mm a less desirable focal length than 85mm and 135mm, usually.  The price seems a bit steep when compared to non-L-series primes.  It’s probably Canon’s slowest prime lens over $1000.  If you decide to go with a prime kit instead of zooms, you’ll have more lenses in your bag, although the rest of them will probably be smaller and much more affordable.

    3. Canon 24-105mm f/4L

    canon-24-105mmThis lens is basically the kit lens of Canon’s fullframe lineup. While many shooters will trade the zoom range for the extra stop of light in the 24-70 f/2.8 IS, the 24-105 is the most popular Canon fullframe lens currently in production.

    Why it’s great for video

    DSLR video is strongest in scripted narrative and music videos.  Documentary work really pushes the DSLR farther than it might want to go.  This lens makes it possible to actually follow around a subject, get in the car, get out of the car, and keep rolling the whole time.   Image stabilization and a perfect zoom range for “walking around” make it incredibly popular, and bundle prices have pushed the white box version of a new lens under $700.   The L on the barrel might even make you feel a little better when you’re trying to justify shooting your whole movie on a single $700 lens.

    What’s not so great

    Jack of all trades, master of none.  The range is practical, but doesn’t go as far on either end as you might want.  The f/4 aperture is too slow for dark interiors.  Sharpness is acceptable, but color fringes and softness creep into the image corners on the longer end of the zoom range.  It also doesn’t maintain a continuous exposure level through zooming.  Even though the readout stays at f/4, I find that zooming from 24mm to 105mm effects my exposure by a stop or more.

    2. Tokina 11-16 f/2.8

    Tokina-11-16If you’re a still photographer who wants to dabble in video, this will be a frustrating lens.  Not as sharp as most wides, and relatively slow focusing compared to other lenses.  But for video shooters, it’s one of my top recommendations.

    Why it’s great for video

    The focal length range is fantastic.  It looks almost identical at 11mm on a crop factor camera as at 16mm on a full-frame camera.  The perspective is exaggerated, but distortion is kept to a minimum (this is no fisheye).  This lens loves to be moved around, and I often put it on a jib or slider for really engaging camera moves.  The f/2.8 speed means you can use it indoors, even in low light if you don’t mind pushing the ISO a bit.  This is a hugely popular lens for indie music videos.  There is no image stabilization, but that’s forgivable on a lens this wide.  The sharpness issues that bother me at 22 megapixels don’t even factor in to 1080p video.  It’s also the first “affordable” lens you should buy for a micro 4/3rds-size sensor with an EF mount, like the Blackmagic Cinema Camera.  I nearly put the Sigma 20mm f/1.8 on this list instead, but I think the added usability of the Tokina on crop-factor cameras earns it a spot on my top five list.

    What’s not so great

    On fullframe cameras, the imaging area of the lens doesn’t reach the edge of the sensor past 16mm.  The focal flange distance varies from copy to copy, and some of them don’t properly focus to infinity on all camera bodies (see the Blackmagic Cinema Camera).

    1. Canon 70-200 f/2.8L IS

    Canon-70-200-2-8-isCanon has always excelled at making long zoom lenses.  It’s what helped Canon win market share back from Nikon as the world shifted to digital.  The current version of the 70-200 f/2.8 IS is basically the pinnacle of human engineering, and a likely contender for eighth wonder of the world.

    Why it’s great for video

    Still photographers have the luxury of shooting at faster shutter speeds to control shake and blur.  Video shooters don’t.  The image stabilization is critical for handheld, but I’ve even seen it help on tripod shots.  Combine that with amazing lens speed, a very convienient zoom range, and industry-leading sharpness for a near-perfect lens.  If you’re shooting DSLRs in a studio setup, you’ll want two!

    What’s not so great

    The price.  The newest version is upwards of $2,300, and you’ll still need a lens or two in the middle of the zoom range.  It’s also not particularly portable.  At least it will keep almost all of its retail value, if you take good care of it.  The 70-200 f/2.8L IS original can be found for a very good price, and for video shooters, the upgrade to the II model is probably not necessary.

    What lens is on your must-have list for video shooting?  Leave your thoughts in the comments.

    Posted by Jon Kline

  5. Choosing a Lens 101

    If you’ve never used a detachable-lens camera like a DSLR or mirrorless camera before, the prospect of choosing lenses can be a bit intimidating.  There are some alright guides online for still shooters, but we felt we needed to write something specifically for people shooting video.  Here’s the quick-and-dirty overview of what you need to know before you pick a lens or set of lenses, whether it’s to rent, borrow, or buy.

    Lens Mounts

    The camera and the lens need to make a physical connection and an optical one.  If you use a lens and a camera that share the same mount, this is usually pretty easy.  The three most common categories of lens mounts in the video world are EF (Canon), F (Nikon) and PL (cinema cameras), but you’ll see others like Sony’s Alpha/NEX/E-mount, micro 4/3 (MFT) mounts, and more, too.  Frequently, you can use an adapter to connect one type of mount to another, but it can be kludgy and often you’ll lose any electronic features built into the lens, like autofocus or vignette correction.  And often, adapters will only work in one direction.  This is because of the imaging area of the lens.

    Each lens creates a circle of the image it is capturing inside the camera.  Some lenses have a very large image circle.  These are usually more expensive and heavier.  They can be adapted more easily to almost any mount.  Some lenses have a smaller imaging area.  These are usually more affordable and lightweight, but can’t be used on a larger image sensor.  This is the reason EF lenses (approx. 43mm imaging area diameter) can be used on crop-factor cameras like the T5i (approx. 30mm sensor diagonal), but EF-S lenses can’t be used on fullframe cameras like the Canon 5D mark III.  This holds true for Nikon lenses (called DX) and some other third-party lens manufacturers, too.

    If all your cameras have the same imaging area, it’s a non-issue.  If you have different sensor sizes, it may make sense to buy for the biggest sensor, since you may be able to adapt your lenses to fit the smaller sensor.  Or buy a separate set of lenses for each of your different camera mounts, if you don’t mind carrying around all that extra glass.  For beginners, definitely start with a mount that matches your camera.  You’ll have plenty of time to experiment with odd mountings later in your career!

    vintage-lens-ad

    Not all vintage lenses are great lenses. This Tamron would be pretty slow by today’s standards.

    Lens Length

    Wide lens.  Long lens.  Normal lens.  Telephoto lens.  These all have meanings, and they all depend not just on the lens itself, but on the camera and imaging sensor they are designed to be paired with.  A “normal” lens is one that gives a field-of-view similar to what we see with our eyes.  We measure lens focal length in millimeters.  What tends to look normal is a focal length approximately the same as the diameter of the imaging area (the diagonal measurement of the camera sensor).  Fullframe cameras like the Canon 5D and 6D are often paired with a 50mm lens when the shooter wants a natural sense of depth and dimension.  Crop factor cameras have a smaller sensor, so the measurement of “normal” will be smaller, too.  On a APS-C sized sensor as found in lots of DSLRs (T2i, T3i, T4i, T5i, T6s, 7D, just to name a few) a 35mm lens will look about normal in most cases.

    Normal lenses, because they are doing “normal” things with light, tend to be the easiest to engineer.  This is why the $300 50mm Canon f/1.4 lens can look amazing, but nobody makes a 300mm f/1.4 at any price.

    Usually a photographer’s first lens is a zoom lens, this means it has variable focal length.  A lens that does not zoom is called a prime lens.  Prime lenses are easier to engineer than zoom lenses, so they tend to be less expensive, smaller, lighter, and of significantly higher image quality.  If you have time to switch lenses, or a team of people to help you, you’ll almost always want primes.  If you need to compose your shots on-the-fly, and don’t have time to dig through a set of 5 different lenses for the right one, a zoom might be the best choice.  Historically, zooms have been favored for 35mm photo and television, while primes have been used more for motion pictures and large-format photography.

    A wide lens is a lens that has a smaller focal length than whatever “normal” is, depending on the camera.  So on my Canon 6D, a 35mm lens is a wide lens, but on my Canon T5i, it’s a normal lens.  A wide lens tends to exaggerate space and perspective.

    A long lens (also called telephoto lens) has a focal length greater than normal.  Some lenses go much beyond normal, and are called super-telephoto lenses.  A long lens tends to compress space and minimize distance.

    A perfect bag of lenses would have all your focal lengths covered.  When I shoot with the Canon 5DmkII, I usually have a 20mm, 28mm, 35mm, 50mm, 85mm, and 105mm in my bag.  That way I know I can get just about any shot I want.  I usually only shoot with a zoom lens if I know I need to cover a lot of different kinds of action at the same time.

    Lens Speed

    If you don’t know the difference between stops and f-stops, take a moment to read our guide.  Once you have an understanding of how f-stops work, you can start to compare lenses.

    As far as we’re concerned, any lens with a maximum aperture of about f/2.0 or faster is a fast lens.  f/2.8 is right in the middle.  Anything slower is a pretty slow lens.  All other things being equal, faster is better.  But there are plenty of times when we’re shooting with an f/4 lens, too.  It’s just a question of what lens is right for the job.

    If you’re shooting outside during the day, you won’t need a fast lens.  Fast lenses really pay off at night, or in interiors.  They are also great for interviews, and any time we want that “background-out-of-focus” look we call shallow depth of field.  I find I can usually shoot people by streetlight with a f/1.4 lens on a fullframe camera.  Even campfire shots are a possibility.

    Lens speed is one of the places where prime and zoom lenses really start to diverge.  As an example, Canon’s 24-105mm f/4L zoom lens is top-of-the-line, and costs about $1000.  But Canon’s 50mm f/1.4 prime lens is less than half the price, and three stops faster!  If you’re shooting indoors, that extra light can be a huge help.

    Image Stabilization

    Image stabilization is an option on some lenses made for DSLRs.  It tends to be used by people shooting in the style of television as opposed to the style of film, since video cameras have supported some kind of image stabilization for more than a decade.  Canon’s lenses that support it are marked IS, Nikon’s are marked VR (for Vibration Reduction), and others are marked VC (for Vibration Compensation).  As a video shooter, you’ll only want to turn it on if you’re shooting handheld or shoulder-mounted.  Almost all image-stabilizing lenses are zoom lenses, with notable exception.  There are different kinds of image stabilization, and some very high-end lenses will support two or more different IS modes.

    If you do a lot of run-and-gun shooting, a zoom lens with image stabilization might be a good choice for you.  But if you tend to do most of your work on a tripod, you’re better off taking something with extra speed or other features you might need.

    These are the four easy-to-compare differences between lenses.  Of course, we haven’t even touched on image quality, build quality, close-focus ability, or other important factors.   We also didn’t mention autofocus at all, but that’s because for video shooters on DSLRs, manual focus is pretty much the only way to shoot, for now.  How do you choose a lens?  Let us know in the comments below.

    Posted by Jon Kline


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