Video Recording is the new in-thing in DSLR cameras. The feature has found many takers & its capable of producing some fantastic footage. If you’re one of the enthusiast film-maker who bought/will buy DSLR primarily for video recording then better know what else you’ll require to produce a captivating video apart from camera.
1) Storyline – It goes without saying. If you intend to create a short movie with your DSLR camera, a strong storyline is an absolute must. No matter how well you shoot, your actors enact as all these come secondary. Off-course the storyline doesn’t holds much importance for your casual family/friends videos. A storyline induces the viewer to watch your video. Nobody would like to watch a video/movie without a storyline.
2) Videography & Editing Skills – Shooting video on an DSLR is not a piece of cake. You have to know the limitations of shooting video with a DSLR Camera. With those limitations in mind you need to know the basic things of shooting video. The various types of shots – Wide, Closeup, Ultra Closeup etc, focus pulls, audio recording and other things. Once you understand these things your video should look a lot more professional. Further you also need to get a grasp on post-processing video on your computer. Adding video effects, adjusting exposure, mastering audio & other things are must to further refine your video. All can be learnt from Google or by communicating with videographers.
3) Equipment – Apart from storyline & skills, you will need the following equipments to make video shooting on your DSLR comfortable.
i) HD Capable DSLR – Any DSLR which records video at 720p or 1080p can be used provided it records at 24fps(frames per second). Anything lesser than 24fps & you’re better not shooting any video at all.
ii) Memory Card – Next you need a fast memory card of atleast 8GB as the minimum. A ‘Class 6’ memory card is often recommended by manufacturers for recording HD video. I recommend investing in Sandisk Extreme Class 4 series as the bare minimum. Offcourse, a Class 6 memory card would be better if you can afford. Cheaper memory cards(Class 2) will halt the video recording as they can’t keep up with rapid data transfers produced while shooting HD video.
iii) Lenses – For good quality photographs a high quality lens is a must. Similarly for shooting good quality video footage, a good lens is a must. My recommended lens for video shooting on DSLR is the 50mm f/1.8 a.k.a nifty fifty. For just about Rs.5000 INR you get a superb low light lens which produces great photos & videos. Further the shallow depth of field exhibited by this lens is indispensable. If you can manage with this prime lens then its the only lens you’ll ever need for most if not all your video needs. The 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens is decent for video recording. If you plan to use zoom lens for filming its better to invest in fast fixed aperture zoom lenses(70-200mm f/4 or f/2.8) than to shoot on cheaper variable aperture zoom lenses.
iv) Microphone – Sound is an important aspect of video which most tend to ignore. Unless you’re making a silent film you’ll need to concentrate on sound recording & monitoring. The inbuilt microphone on your DSLR is decent but then again not for professional applications. The inbuilt microphone cannot cut out wind & its most probably a single mic producing mono sound output. You’ll need to plugin an external video mic for recording good quality stereo sound. Not all DSLR camera allow you to plug an external mic so check before you purchase the camera. If you want to delve deep, then you can go in for amplifiers & wireless gear which provide you flexibility in audio mastering.
v) DSLR Rigs – A DSLR camera doesn’t offers the ergonomics of a traditional video camera. To counter this, many third parties have come out with rigs on which you can mount your DSLR & film. If you have ever tried recording videos with DSLR then you know how cumbersome it can get. To keep the camera steady & focus easily these DSLR rigs come in handy. They are not cheap but they are certainly worth investing if you can afford them.
With all the above, you will require some dedication & passion to create captivating movies on your DSLR camera leaving audience with all praise for you. Good Luck.