3 common camera packages & budgets used by industry professionals in today's market

Sep 28, 2015 6:00:00 AM

Ambient Skies Productions Blog

Posted by John Schaus

Sometimes basic math skills are no help at all. The difference between something labeled “2K” and another thing labeled “4K” is not 2K. Today’s video production means knowing a lot more than the difference between 2K and 4K when selecting camera packages. As with most things in life, the conversation begins with money.


Budgets and Cameras

The three most common camera packages (and budget tiers) break down roughly like this, with, perhaps, some local variations on their names:

  1. ENG—Electronic News Gathering (ENG) is budgetary shorthand for the sort of quick set-up, low-cost video shoots you might see from a local news organization. Interviews, static shooting, B-roll collection and only the most basic effects are hallmarks of ENG, or standard, camera packages.
  2. Indie Project—Also called advanced, this level uses a higher quality camera capable of capturing quality even on the move. It delivers a cinematic look and a generally higher production value than ENG-level work.
  3. Hollywood—Multiple cameras, special effects, specialty camera operators and at least 4K video are typically seen at this, the highest budget level.

2K versus 4K

2K is Digital Cinema Initiatives’ (DCI) attempt to standardize video production across platforms (internet, television, movies) so that audiences can expect the same quality viewing experience in all settings. 2K means a screen resolution of 2048 x 1080 in a 17:9 screen ratio (width to height). A 4K video means an image four times the resolution of 2K; much crisper, richer in color, and able to convey a lot more information in the smallest detail.

Choosing 2K or 4K resolution is not just about the money in your wallet; it is about the gleam in your eye. You can envision a slow-motion shot of talent diving into an azure pool, for example, but in 2K it might look like ice cubes plopping into a glass of lemonade. If you have a cinematic vision of your video, you need 4K resolution.

Camera Packages

The ENG-level camera package will provide you with solid, professional-looking footage. You can expect a camera operator thoroughly conversant with the stock-in-trade 2K cameras familiar to television stations and live event coverage:

  • Black Magic Cinema
  • Canon 5D Mark III
  • Canon C100
  • Canon C300
  • Sony FS7
  • Sony FS700

Along with a skilled camera operator and the ENG-style 2K camera, expect some basic lighting and audio equipment.

“Indie Project” work steps up to 4K resolution, a more experienced camera operator, and a higher quality of camera, such as:

  • Arri Alexa
  • Phantom Flex 4k
  • Sony F55
  • Red Dragon/Weapon

Hollywood-level video production will bring you multiple cameras and setups for realizing every shot you imagine. You can get steadicam, aerial shots, jib work and more. To avoid budget nightmares, every shot should be storyboarded so production time is used efficiently.

Unsure about camera packages? Talk to a production company, explain your needs, and listen to their advice. A professional firm will give you a realistic idea of what to expect from the camera package you select.

Additional Resources:

eBook Download:  When there are so many different tiers of video production along with so many different tiers of cameras, are you sure what camera package will be best for your next shoot? This eBook will discuss different equipment tiers and what style of video production they are most commonly used for.  


Topics: Corporate Video Production, Music Video Production, motion picture production, company video production, Video Pre Production, Video Production Phoenix, Post Production, video production services


Topics: Corporate Video Production, Video Production Equipment, motion picture production, Camera crew, Video Pre Production, Camera Packages, video production services