Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Using DSLR For Video

In this first edition of filming with dslrs I will discuss using the dslr for video. The main aspects when using a dslr for video, what to look for when choosing your dslr and what the advantages and disadvantages when becoming a dslr video shooter.

In later editions we will dive more into the complex film settings and techniques. 

DSLR For Video
DSLR for Video rig 1

DSLR For Video
DSLR for Video rig 2
Advantages of DSLR for Video

  • light weight
  • cheaper the cinema camera, MUCH cheaper
  • a lot of online documentation & user experience
  • widely available
  • easy to operate
  • small, so can be used in tight areas
  • High quality (some even used in hollywood blockbusters)

Disadvantages of DSLR for Video
  • light weight (yes, this is also a disadvantage, camera is less stable)
  • cropped sensor for most of them (the higher end models are full frame)
  • compressed recording (needs additional video recorder to record uncompressed)
  • very bad in low light conditions (you need to spend extra attention to your light setup)
  • less detail than cinema cameras

Dslr for video has many wonderful aspect, however you should be aware of its limitations if you want to create high quality films and go for that signature "hollywood" look.

DSLR For Video Lenses
The first thing you need when using your dslr for video are lenses. These are usually spilt up into two categories, namely the standard (or low end) and the high end. For Canon this means choosing between the "L" lenses and the standard one without the nice red line and for Nikon the high end lenses are marked with a golden "N".

The main difference between these high end lenses is the quality of the glass that determines the amount of light that reaches the sensor. Especially when using your dslr for video, where you never have enough light, this really comes in handy. Unfortunately this also comes with a hefty price tag so chose your lens wisely. 

The other form of differentiation is between zoom and prime lenses. The zooms tend to be more expensive, however this is not always the case these days. I would advice to always go for prime lenses unless you really need a zoom lens, because you are for instance a wild life filmmaker. The reason to go for prime is that with prime lenses you will be forced to think more about your shots and camera movement. Next to this prime lenses also tend to let in more light to the sensor. This will result in better picture quality when using your dslr for video and will reduce the amateur look that you normally get when using zoom during filming. 


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