Pho­tog­ra­phy and video are close­ly relat­ed, and for a pho­tog­ra­ph­er, the desire to try his hand at video shoot­ing is quite nat­ur­al.


Mod­ern DSLRs shoot good qual­i­ty video, and since you already know how to use a DSLR, the tran­si­tion to video shoot­ing is eas­i­er than if you start­ed from scratch.

But is it enough to under­stand the nuances of pho­tog­ra­phy and is your pho­to­graph­ic equip­ment suit­able for record­ing video?

You already have a good com­mand of the tech­niques of com­po­si­tion: you know how to frame the scene, cre­ate a strong focal point, high­light the sub­ject and add a sense of depth. Thus, pho­tog­ra­phy skills come in very handy when cre­at­ing videos.

How­ev­er, video images have two addi­tion­al char­ac­ter­is­tics to con­sid­er: motion and sound. And since your DSLR isn’t designed for those two uses, that’s where the extra gear will make the dif­fer­ence.

Equipment for shooting video on a DSLR camera

A dig­i­tal SLR cam­era is capa­ble of tak­ing high qual­i­ty pho­tos. You prob­a­bly use mul­ti­ple lens­es for more cre­ative free­dom, a sta­ble tri­pod to sta­bi­lize your cam­era, and plen­ty of fil­ters for spe­cial effects. You may even have some kind of light­ing equip­ment that you can also use for video shoot­ing.

How­ev­er, there will be sit­u­a­tions where you need some­thing else. To improve video qual­i­ty, we rec­om­mend the fol­low­ing equip­ment.

External microphones

Even though your cam­era has a built-in micro­phone that already records sound, this can often not be enough. There are two main advan­tages of an exter­nal micro­phone: bet­ter sound qual­i­ty and the pos­si­bil­i­ty of a greater dis­tance between the cam­era and the sub­ject.

DSLR cam­eras, espe­cial­ly old­er mod­els, have built-in monau­r­al micro­phones that work well for pick­ing up who is speak­ing next to the cam­era, but not much else. For bet­ter, noise-free sound, you’ll need a micro­phone that records stereo sound.

Anoth­er prob­lem with the built-in micro­phone is its fixed posi­tion on the cam­era body. It can­not be direct­ed towards the source of the sound, and if you are not care­ful, you can acci­den­tal­ly cov­er it with your hands or cre­ate inter­fer­ence. If you want to record sound that comes from the front of your cam­era, a direc­tion­al exter­nal micro­phone like the Rode VideoM­ic Pro is your best bet. It pro­vides high­er sen­si­tiv­i­ty and bet­ter sound qual­i­ty, as well as sup­press­es ambi­ent noise. To get even clos­er to the sub­ject, you can attach it to a pole and hold it above the per­son — point the micro­phone at the speak­er’s chest.


If the sound source is far away from the cam­era, you may need an exter­nal micro­phone with a long record­ing dis­tance, such as the Boya BY-M1 lava­lier with a 600 cm long cable. It is great for both blog­gers and jour­nal­ists.


Note. Make sure your DSLR has an exter­nal micro­phone input or can con­nect to one via Blue­tooth.

External monitors

It is not pos­si­ble to fol­low the scene through the viewfind­er when record­ing video on a DSLR. You can use the cam­er­a’s LCD, but it still won’t give you the clar­i­ty and flex­i­bil­i­ty you need. An exter­nal mon­i­tor allows you to see what you are shoot­ing and con­trol the focus. It also saves record­ings direct­ly to exter­nal stor­age and updates record­ed file for­mats.

Some, like the Black­mag­ic Design Video Assist 5″ 12G-SDI HDMI HDR Record­ing Mon­i­tor, include touch­screen con­trols and 3D LUTS — Video Pre­sets — for quick edit­ing.

A large and clear screen allows you to imme­di­ate­ly see the result­ing pic­ture, which in turn helps to direct the scene and change the nec­es­sary details on the spot: light­ing, inte­ri­or items, make­up of actors.

Motorized sliders

Although you can hold the cam­era in your hands while shoot­ing, some cam­era move­ments require spe­cial equip­ment.

The motor­ized slid­er ensures smooth and slow move­ment of the cam­era along a straight rail. As a result, your footage is clear and pro­fes­sion­al qual­i­ty. It will be more dif­fi­cult to get a sim­i­lar result with­out such a tool, since any move­ment brings trem­bling and shak­ing to the frame. Slid­ers are often used for shoot­ing com­mer­cial videos because they pro­vide pre­dictable move­ment and stan­dard fram­ing.

Rhi­no ROV PRO Everyday/Amazon.com

You can choose between a short, light­weight, ver­sa­tile motor­ized slid­er (like the Rhi­no ROV PRO Every­day) or a long stu­dio slid­er that gives you a wide pan­ning motion (like the Came-TV 80cm Motor­ized Par­al­lax Slid­er).

Came-TV 80cm Motor­ized Par­al­lax Slider/came-tv.com

Always make sure the equip­ment is appro­pri­ate for the type of video you want to shoot.

Studio lighting systems

A flash won’t help you shoot video in low light, you need a con­stant light source. The best option for stu­dio shoot­ing is a com­plex light­ing sys­tem that pro­vides a wide range of day­light bright­ness and col­or tem­per­a­ture. For exam­ple, the Godox SL-60 2x kit is a rel­a­tive­ly inex­pen­sive option. It includes two SL60 reflec­tors, two soft­box­es and two light stands. You can posi­tion them how­ev­er you like and use the wire­less remote con­trol to set them up.

Godox SL-60 2x/bhphotovideo.com

Also look out for DSLR cam­era mount lights like the Lume Cube Pan­el GO LED Light. This is an LED lamp that replaces the flash and illu­mi­nates the scene for up to 1.3 hours at max­i­mum bright­ness. The pan­el pro­vides a col­or tem­per­a­ture of 3200K to 5600K, dim­ma­ble and frost­ed lens for soft light dif­fu­sion.

Lume Cube Pan­el GO LED Light/bhphotovideo.com


If you are film­ing peo­ple read­ing script­ed text, you may need a teleprompter (a screen that dis­plays and scrolls text). It is often used in TV videos, adver­tise­ments, com­mer­cial videos, inter­views and video tuto­ri­als. You can mount the teleprompter on the cam­era or light stand for every­one on set to see.

Small­Rig TP10/smallrig.com

A portable teleprompter such as the Small­Rig TP10 is con­ve­nient to car­ry around. You can do every­thing from the remote con­trol: start, pause, adjust font size, etc. And since you’ll prob­a­bly be using oth­er equip­ment, the Small­Rig TP10 has two built-in mounts so you can attach lights or micro­phones.

tripod video head

Cam­era shake can be avoid­ed when tak­ing pho­tos, and not pos­si­ble when shoot­ing videos hand­held. You need a tri­pod for smooth shoot­ing. A con­ven­tion­al tri­pod head pro­vides image sta­bi­liza­tion, but does not allow you to smooth­ly fol­low a mov­ing sub­ject when pan­ning or tilt­ing. To do this, you’ll need a spe­cial tri­pod video head that pro­vides con­tin­u­ous 360-degree pan and tilt with at least 75-degree for­ward and back­ward move­ment.


When choos­ing a video head, make sure that the weight of your equip­ment is less than the pay­load of the tri­pod head. For exam­ple, Ben­ro S6PRO holds up to 6 kg. In addi­tion, it has two addi­tion­al mounts for mount­ing an exter­nal mon­i­tor or micro­phone.


A smart choice of gear will allow you to improve your video con­tent and save time in post-pro­cess­ing.

Base equip­ment use on your artis­tic vision and pur­pose. In addi­tion, it is impor­tant to note that the equip­ment is dif­fer­ent for long videos and short ones for com­mer­cials and fea­ture films. Focus on learn­ing how to con­trol the move­ment and smooth­ness of the cam­era move­ment and get high-qual­i­ty images and sound.

And don’t be afraid to exper­i­ment!