3 DSLR video tips you should never forget
[image courtesy of urbanfox]
I have seen many hobbyists and even some professionals get hold of a DSLR camera all ready to shoot video and then they start to ask questions. Questions like “What lenses are the best for this camera?” Or “Why is my video not as sharp as the video that guy made on youtube?”
I’m fine with people asking questions. It’s good to ask questions. We ask because we wanna learn. What annoys me is the people who buy/rent a DSLR thinking that its a magical HD device which they can achieve wonderous sharp colourful images from it. No people, no. That’s wrong. Here’s a list of things you should definitely look through before starting to shoot videos with your DSLR. Or even before buying a DSLR for video work. So here’s some DSLR video tips for you.
WHAT are you shooting with your DSLR video
First up, it is very important to know why you are shooting the video. Yes it seems like a no brainer, but the answer to this question actually helps to answer the questions you might have about your DSLR.
An example would be like if you are shooting it for a corporate video, then obviously you would want to impress your clients with some nifty gadgets to look more professional. And also, one dslr video tip I suggest is that you would want to be looking at getting sharper lenses, and not lenses that give a dreamy soft feel like the canon L primes. For more info on getting lenses to shoot your video with, you can check out shane hurlburt. I absolutely love the information and advice he gives regarding lenses. Let’s say you’re using your DSLR to shoot weddings. This is where those dreamy softer lenses might shine better depending on your preference. Research a little bit more regarding lenses for your DSLR and you should be able to answer questions like “Why isn’t your DSLR shooting sharp videos like guy A”.
WHY are you shooting the video with your DSLR
Are you shooting the video to be uploaded online? Or are is the video to be compiled into a DVD to be sold? Maybe its to be broadcast on national television? Or maybe its just for personal archives, shooting your relatives birthday party?
The answers to questions like these would help to tell you how much of HD magic you would need to squeeze out of your nifty DSLR. Does the video have to come out really sharp because it will be broadcast on a big projector? Then you might probably want to shoot at lower ISO or a higher aperture, giving you more natural image sharpness than compared to the compression put in place by your DSLR firmware.
It is also important to research on the post production (read : editing) part of using a DSLR. You have to be adept at the possibilities you have in post production before you can know how much you can push your DSLR when shooting. For example, if using a sharpness filter in post can get you a certain sharpness from shooting with a particular ISO and aperture, then you know how much you can push your DSLR camera when shooting. Dave Dugdale gave a very helpful review on how much sharpness you can fake in post.
HOW you are shooting your video with your DSLR
What do I mean by how is the budget you have to shoot your video. Also not to forget, the equipments you’re having. For example, if you’re shooting in a dark alleyway at night with only the natural lights around you, I really hope you are not expecting to get any amount of good quality with a DSLR such as a Canon T2i or 550d. If such a need really arises, a good dslr video tip I would suggest is getting hold of at least a 5D mark II or a nikon D3S or later. Any models lower than them wouldn’t be able to handle lowlight as exceptionally well.
However, if you’re shooting in bright daylight, where light is not of an issue, then using a GH1 would even be able to churn out comparable quality images when shot on a lower ISO.
At the end of the day, before you just grab hold of a DSLR camera from a friend or buy one, I would really suggest looking into abit of research into the limitations and possiblities of the DSLR. No doubt its a game changing camera, but no camera is perfect, and you have to know your equipments well to make the best use out of it.
If you have the Canon 550d, 600d, or 60d, I recommend installing the Magic Lantern. Its a 3rd party hack that really turns your camera into a machine. Don’t worry, its not gonna damage your camera. Or maybe it will. And then you’d be left with black, heavy paperweight to decorate your desk. POWER! No, seriously. It doesn’t. Its been tested a lot of times and there’s been no reports of heavy paperweights being thrown out the window. If the information there somehow scares you, don’t worry, you can check up tutorials on installing the Magic Lantern on your camera. I’ll be posting up a tutorial on that, but you probably won’t wanna wait. Or you might. Whatever.
Anyway, if you’re lazy to read, here’s a nice video by Art of the Image giving some tips about shooting video with a DSLR. Remember, ask yourself the above questions before asking someone else.
If you feel confused by anything, feel free to comment. Or if the need arises to tell me I’m flat out wrong and I should just shut up, go ahead.