How to Use a DSLR to Shoot High Quality Videos

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If you are like many professional photographers, you may be finding that more and more clients are asking if you can also do video for them when you’re on-site doing a photo shoot. Video can be a “strange new world” and you may be passing up some good opportunities. Most modern DSLRs are quite competent in shooting video, and you can use them to create industrial and commercial productions that are ideally suited for use at corporate functions, in sales presentations, as training aids, and as promotional spots on YouTube…so there is a great opportunity to expand your service offering by including video.

Without a doubt, shooting video with a DSLR can be more complicated than shooting stills, but you can achieve beautiful, creative results by following a few, simple guidelines. And, while you may add more video-related gear over time, you can make some initial, fairly modest investments and get into video production without having to break the bank. If you are a consumer reading this article and you are considering buying a DSLR thinking you can replace your camcorder to shoot family events, don’t bother – a camcorder is much better suited for “family memories” type videos. While I concentrate on shooting video with a Nikon DSLR (since I shoot Nikon), the below article applies to shooting video with any brand DSLR.

Nikon D800 Video Setup

My D800 rigged up with Rode VideoMic Pro and iDC System Zero follow focus. The 327RC2 Manfrotto pistol grip is attached to a Cinevate FLT camera slider.

1) Is your DSLR the right tool for the proposed video assignment?

This is the very first question that you need to ask yourself before accepting any video assignment. Generally speaking any assignment where you would be shooting people moving around in a scene (like a wedding for example), especially if autofocus needs to be maintained on specific individuals as they move towards or away from the camera, it is not well suited for DSLR use, and would be best shot with a professional video camera. This is because the auto focus on most DSLRs is slow, somewhat jerky, often hunts a lot, and is noisy. The audible noise from the focusing motor in your camera body and/or lens will transmit readily onto your footage…and it can be a pain to try and filter out. Also, the lenses used on DSLRs do not have power zoom functions so they are cumbersome to use if a lot of in/out zooms are required in the footage. Any assignment that requires the recording of long (30+ minutes), uninterrupted video clips is not suited to DSLR use as your camera is often limited to less than 30 minutes of single clip recording time.

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The Film Show by Framed Network

Generally, we try as much as possible not to re-publish stuff and provide our readers with original content. It does mean a lot of work needs to be done to write thorough articles and it takes equally as much time. But in the end, it proves to be more rewarding as well. However, every now and then we find something so spectacular, not sharing it with our readers would be a crime. The amazing century-old color photographs fell into that category. And so does Framed Network’s project.

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Oben CTM-2400 Carbon Fiber Monopod Review

This is a review of the Oben CTM-2400 4-Section Carbon Fiber Monopod. I have often thought a monopod would be useful to have in low-light situations such as wedding receptions. There are times when there’s almost enough light to get the shot, but my shutter speed is low enough that I’m worried about motion blur. A tripod can be cumbersome, especially at a wedding reception, so a monopod seems like the ideal compromise between having a stable camera and not taking up a lot of floor space with a tripod.

Oben CTM-2400 Monopod

1) Product Specifications

Maximum Height – 59.2″ (149.8 cm)
Folded Length – 18.3″ (45.7 cm)
Load Capacity – 22 lb (10 kg)
Leg Sections – 4
Leg Lock Type – Twist lock
Male Thread Size – 1/4″-20 & 3/8″-16
Operating Temperature – -22 to 140°F (-30 to 60°C)
Weight – 0.85 lb (0.38 kg)

Other Features
Supports Up to 11 lb
Collapses to 20.9″
6x Carbon Fiber Construction
Retractable Spike in Foot
Twist Locks & Anti-Rotation Shaft
Wrist Strap with Belt Clip
Lightweight – Just over 1 lb
RP-20 Quick-Release Plate Included

2) Packaging and Field Use

The Oben 4-Section Monopod comes packaged separately from the VH-R2 head. Both are packaged very well in attractive retail packaging. Included with the monopod are a carrying bag and an allen wrench. The head includes a quick release plate.

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Getting Yourself Out There

I have met a lot of great people. Many of them, while being truly brilliant at something, have a hard time understanding their potential. It is sad to see them just drift away wherever life takes them and not take a step of their own. Are you like that? Do you ever stop yourself from going out, meeting people, starting photography or videography projects? While no one can change that but you, I think a little bit of inspiration can go a long way.

This is a short film by three student, who, as they say, did not care about nature, and then decided to do something about it. And they did. While the attention this project received is quite amazing – their website has been visited by over 900 thousand people already – it’s not even the idea that I found most inspiring. This film was made by three students, and while I am quite certain they did not have a million dollar budget, they sure found a way to unleash their creativity, something we all have an unlimited amount of. Do you still think there is something you cannot do?

Get out there. Take your camera and shoot. Make a film. Stop drifting, stop wasting your time. Stop thinking you can’t. Not tomorrow, not in a year – now, whatever it is, whatever you dream about.

There is no better way of doing what you love than simply doing what you love.

Click here for official “WE MISS YOU” project website.

What is the Future of DSLR Video?

The video recording capabilities in DSLRs have been the subject of lively discussions ever since video-capable DSLRs have been introduced (with Nikon D90 being the first). At first, some thought it was unnecessary and too cumbersome to be of any practical use, while others embraced the new possibilities and the small (in comparison to high-end video cameras) price they came with. Regardless, the first full-frame camera to do video (and Full HD, at that) – the Canon 5D Mark II – quickly became very popular among amateur cinematographers that could not afford high-end RED cameras. A compromise, but not a too painful one. Both the D90 and, slightly more so, the 5D Mark II offered a very broad lens selection, good to great low-light capabilities and, more importantly, brought aesthetics and shallow depth of field of modern photography into the world of videography.

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Nikon D4 – How and Why

You might have already seen this video by Corey Rich on the Nikon D4 when the camera was announced. It profiles some of the best athletes such as Alex Honnold (the guy that “free solo” climbed the Half Dome with his bare hands), showing them in action. Here is the video if you have not seen it:

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Paul Nicklen: TED Video

One of our readers just shared an amazing video of Paul Nicklen, a National Geographic photographer, about his journey to the Antarctic. Paul gave an amazing presentation at TED about his adventures and encounters with bears, seals and other wildlife. Just wanted to share this video with you, because it brought tears to my eyes. You can see how passionate Paul is about his work and the health of our planet.

Thank you for the link Amit!