Guide: Start Shooting Video With DSLR

July 26, 2010 · 0 comments

in Gear

My dream came true when Canon and Nikon released their DSLR cameras with HD video possibility. For people whose lives consist mostly of perceiving life through visual contact this option allows to look outside of the borders of still image. But there are some things that you should know if you want to make good video shots.

1. Choosing a camera

Of course depends on your requirements for the end result. But for start, look at these cameras:Canon EOS 550D (Rebel T2i) and Nikon D90. There’s really no big difference between choosing the right brand, if we still speak about the picture. They both have features that provide a leap forward into these things.

Here is a comparing: Nikon D90 vs Canon T2i HD Video by syberfilm

As an alternative you can choose Canon EOS 7D. Although it’s more expensive and not giving anything much more than his young brother 550D. One of the cheapest choices right now Nikon D5000 which is very good starting DSLR camera. Check out also Olympus E620.

2. Lenses

Starting with the Canon’s and Nikon’s kit lens 18-55mm is enough. But look forward for buying telephoto lens somewhere in the range between 50-300mm – it will add a huge difference to your videos when doing close-up shots by blurring the background. For example: Canon EF 75-300mm or Sigma 70-300mm, if you can afford than I would advise to take lenses with image stabilazing function. And lenses as Canon EF 50 MM F1.4 will give some extra variety to the overall images.

3. Image stabilization


Very important thing when shooting a video is to make your shot stable, unless you want the opposite. So a tripod will become your close friend. There is one interesting tripod, it’s called Gorillapod. It’s a cool thing with a lot of good reviews about it.


This is something for your moving shots. It does amazing job for stabilizing your image. You can run, you can jump and the shot will stay pretty smooth anyway. Here is an example how to make them without spending a fortune. I already built two such things and each cost me around 15$. Keep in mind only the concept, because there are a lot of ways to build it. In one case I used polished aluminium tubes for wardrobes (i.e. the one for hangers), in another one – a metal leg of a table and then added the needed weight to it. Don’t forget you will need to add more weight if you use a telephoto lens.

Here is an example of my friend, Arnolds Soms, using steadicam.

Dance from Arnolds Soms on Vimeo.


Another area that you will need to think about is sounds. Camera records sound but of course it’s not enough. So most probably you will need to buy or use some separate sound recording device. There is a wide range of external microphones on the market. But for a start you can use some music it will ease all things.

5.Hardware & Software

PC or Mac

To work with this kind of quality videos you will have to have a good machine. I have Intel Core2 with 2Ghz and 2GB RAM for a PC and I would choose latest iMacs or MacBook Pro for a Mac – it could be not enough so be ready to upgrade your computer as you start working with video more seriously.


Shooting videos and images with these cameras requires a lot of disk space. So average file size could be:1 still image ~ 24mb, 1min video shot ~ 300mb. I would recommend choosing your hard disc with height RPM (starting from 7200 RPM).


Making, editing and post-processing requires a lot of new knowledge in addition to what you might already know about still image processing. I will tell you in further articles about software, editing and processing techniques I use. I will touch such softwares as Sony Vegas Pro, Adobe Premiere Pro, After Effects, Sony Acid Pro, Photoshop and some other.


If you are an enthusiastic photographer you have to try this because you might love it! Start with simplest option and just hit the road. Have a lot of fun experimenting and doing crazy things.

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Julians has written 10 awesome articles for us at Photoble

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