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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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!