You may have used SLR cameras for years, and then moved on to the DSLR when things went digital. Now, you can use a DSLR to capture high quality video, so you don’t need to bother going out and purchasing a camcorder. Today’s DSLR cameras can capture full HD videos, with terrific sound quality, with or without an external microphone. If you have decided that your next camera will be a DSLR, here are some tips that will help you to shoot quality videos with DSLR.
Make a Plan
The first thing you need to do is plan out what you plan to shoot. Create a storyboard, and plan out exactly how you want your movie to be. You don’t need to create anything elaborate, but a good, solid plan will help you figure out exactly how to use your camera to make quality movies that people will actually want to watch.
Think Like a Photographer
Photography and videography are a lot alike, so when you are creating a video, it is a good idea to think like a photographer. Use the same rules that you would use in photography, including principles such as focusing, setting apertures, etc. In most cases, you will not be shooting RAW files, so you won’t have as much room to play with white balance and exposure.
Learn about Shutter Speeds
While you don’t have to worry about shutter speeds when you are using a traditional camcorder, it is something that needs to be considered when using a DSLR for videos. When you are just starting out with a DSLR, it is a good idea to experiment with shutter speeds. A good place to start is to use a shutter speed that is about twice the frame rate. If you use a slower shutter speed, you will start to experience blurring.
Learn about Frame Rates
Most DSLR cameras have a minimum of three frame rates. The one you will likely use the most is 24 frames per second, which gives movies a cinematic quality, which tends to be the most popular rate with most videographers. Moving up to 30 frames per second will give your movies a broadcast television quality. At 60 frames per second, movies can be viewed in slow motion.
Play Around with the Zoom
After a while you will likely have a lens preference, but for now, we suggest that you get to know your zoom lens. A zoom lens is a lot more versatile than a fixed lens, and it will let you go from tight to wide shots easily. There are a lot of neat things you can do with a zoom lens, including focus rolls, where you zoom in or out while adjusting the focus at the same time. Or, you might want to move toward the subject while zooming out for an interesting effect.
Stop Using Auto Focus
It is a good idea to get into the habit of using the manual focus rather than the auto focus. Even though auto focus is a handy feature to have, it is not nearly as reliable as doing it yourself. It may take a bit of practice, but you will find it well worth your while when you see the quality of your videos. An external monitor or an LCD magnifier will help you to see better in order to get a perfect focus every time. Another way that you can keep things in focus is to use a small aperture, which is going to give you more depth of field.
Practice Panning and Tilting
You want your camera movements to be as smooth as possible, so it is wise to start practicing moving a mounted camera. While your camera is on the tripod, practice panning it, or moving the camera from side to side. Also make sure that you practice tilting the camera up and down. The more you practice, the easier it will be to move the camera smoothly, and you will pick up speed, so you can switch from slow to quick pans throughout your movies.
Consider Your Audio
One of the biggest issues people have with using DSLR cameras for videos is the audio quality, which is not always the greatest. This issue can easily be overcome by using an external microphone, and it is advisable to get a good quality audio recorder. A shotgun microphone is good to have when you are shooting many different types of movies, and it can easily be attached to the hot shoe on the camera.
Obviously, there is a lot more involved to creating great movies with a DSLR camera. But, these tips can help to get you started and well on your way to becoming an expert videographer. Take the time to learn about your camera and what it can do, and don’t be afraid to play around and experiment with the various settings.