Today, shooting video is an obligatory standard of functionality for modern cameras. Almost all new DSLR cameras (“SLR”) are able to shoot video, and most semi-professional cameras work with HD quality video.
Although initially shooting a DSLR video was only a marketing “chip” for manufacturers of SLR cameras. But in a very short time, shooting video on DSLRs has gained immense popularity, both among amateurs and professionals.
How to shoot really interesting and beautiful videos? What you need to know about working with DSLR video to all novice operators?
Professional videographer Egor Nikolaev agreed to tell us about the basics of shooting video on SLR cameras.
1. LensesFor many photographers, shooting DSLR videos is just a “by-product”, and so they choose lenses like the Canon 24-70mm. After all, the temptation to buy a universal lens is always very great.

But autofocus lenses do not have critical functionality – a smooth, clear focus ring.

For the video, the main thing is glass, its essence, geometry of the picture, bokeh. When it is present, a different attitude to the picture is formed, the work itself, duplicates, shooting occurs differently. In many respects thanks to precisely high-quality optics, the picture with DSLR video looks more artistic and “cinematic”.

The problem is that the top optics and costs accordingly. But an expensive lens can always just be rented.

It is best to rent glasses from the Carl Zeiss line (18-28-85mm). They are all good, and if we talk about using them on the Canon 5D Mk II, then there will be nothing to complain about, except that there are minor differences in the transfer of colors.

For simpler surveys or video experiments, why not rummage around flea markets and in commissions in search of old Canon lenses and everything that can be screwed through an adapter with m42?

Video in the SLR has existed for only a few years, and Canon has already been in the bayonet for many decades.

Samyang lenses, which recently tested at FotoTips, are in my queue for a purchase. The picture is very decent, and the price is several times lower than that of Zeiss.

2. Camera Fixing

Cameras strongly twitch when shooting video. How to wear a camera?

I do not share the love of the majority of operators to the operators. Not everything is beautiful that flies.

Without a special vest, only a rare pro can work with him accurately, and with a vest all this joy weighs a lot of kilograms, and the operator looks like a transforming robot, which I consider unacceptable for a secular reception or even a corporate party.

Stedikam is a weapon for painstaking work on several takes, and if in the case of productions you can do a lot of duplicates, then this will definitely not work out on reports.

My choice – the camera on a tripod moderate. The tripod should be slightly heavier than what is on it.

Personally, I work with a Manfrotto 190XB tripod and a Manfrotto 391RC2 tripod head.

Why a tripod and not just a stick?

Most of the time, by moving the tripod legs, I use it as a stick – I can tilt the camera in different planes, control the focus and other things without vibrations, I can lift it upwards above the crowd on my hands, but I can also, with my legs apart, put the camera on the floor to register long plans, scrolling.

It can be hard, but the muscles in life will always come in handy .

3. Sound

For commercial surveys, the built-in microphone is not enough.

Its main disadvantage – you can hear all the clicks of the control and the rustling of fingers on the body.

A small stereo microphone with built-in power (the microphone input of the camera does not have phantom power) mounted on the shoe will solve the problem of recording audio from the air.

To use external microphones with more “older” characteristics, it is better to purchase an audio adapter that attaches to the bottom of the camera, for example, from Beachtek. It will allow you to connect a microphone via the XLR connector and monitor the sound level.

For remote recording, I use Sennheiser radio transmitters.

You should always remember that your options are limited by the type of audio input connector!

In video mirrors, this is mini jack, which is not a professional connector, and you should not expect a clear sound from it – it will always give a background simply because of the design features.

Therefore, for serious tasks it is better to use an external audio recorder, such as Edirol or Zoom, and always remember that the main and sometimes the only advantage of DSLRs over video cameras is the size and characteristics of the bundle matrix + processor.

4. Accessories

Numerous skirts from all sorts of Zacuto or incomprehensible Hindu firms – a thing, of course, is good, but only after you have acquired a fleet of normal optics.

In addition, much of what is offered is highly controversial and subjective. For example, I do not like the operator-reporter, hung with all this tinsel of screens, tapes, focus assistants and others.

In general, in the studio, on a tripod – yes, on the feet – no. Than spend thousands of dollars on all this, it is better to buy a full HD video camera with an adequate matrix, for example Panasonic with P2 cards, there will be everything in one!

5. Focusing
The sharpness on the built-in screen of the SLR camera is pretty lousy.

Many operators, even removing the report, screw a viewing monitor to the camera. Such a “bathyscaphe” looks rather inconspicuous, and in general, according to my subjective sensations, an additional screen smaller than 14 inches does not make life easier for eyes.

Monitors of this size with good resolution and contrast cost money, in the region of 50 thousand rubles. I never use them on reports and street shots.

For myself, I found a simple and effective way to accurately focus. With each lens, I spend training, where there will be sharpness at different positions of the diaphragm, over time you get used to it and start to feel the position of the focus ring.

6. Flash drives and transfer of material
Any flash drives, 200-speed and higher, are suitable.

If you are shooting a production video, it would be wiser not to spend money on gigabytes of aged CF memory, but use the WFT-E4A remote data transfer function using a canon transmitter or directly to a computer via Remote Live View.

Unfortunately, this does not remove the 4GB video file size limit. In addition, video, unlike a photo, cannot simultaneously be recorded both on the card and on external media.

7. Remote shooting

A magic box with a mirror camera needs a skilled magician. A large matrix in a relatively small and lightweight case has numerous technical findings for filming on the move.

Having carefully thought out depreciation, the camera can be installed on the platform of a radio-controlled vehicle, you can buy or construct a suspension for a radio-controlled helicopter from the components and get beautiful shots from the air.

It is better to find “maniacs” who have been working with such equipment for a long time and professionally. Fantasy is not limited by anything except talent and money =)

8. Computer and software for installation

Full HD material requires a computer with adequate power. According to my feelings, for comfortable work, this is no less than an 8-core computer and no less than a 23-inch screen.

The processor is the most important thing, the screen is in second place, then it’s good if the hard drive is solid-state and Mac is computer .

But in fact, it does not matter at all in which system to work, as long as it is optimized for work, not clogged and has all the necessary codecs and programs.

I like the way Mac works with video streams, I like the reliability of the system, the aesthetics of everything and everyone .

Final Cut Pro is an excellent package for working with video, it is a little less complicated than Premiere, but more focused on results and convenient interface.

The required Mac Pro configuration, 23-inch monitor and Final Cut Pro package will cost about 250 thousand rubles, and a PC with the same parameters and Premiere package is 2 times cheaper, and with a very efficient software package Sony Vegas is even cheaper. As a result, the PC is cheaper and more practical, and the Mac – if you love it.

9. Problems with DSLR video
There are several things that can cause problems when shooting video on a SLR camera.


  • Stroboscopes – gives incomplete shots
  • Panoramas – can come with offsets
  • Long use without pauses. Especially the matrix wears out in bright sunlight.
  • Dust! Be especially careful when changing optics.
  • 10. New clip thinking
  • With the video SLRs, Medynsky’s cherished words “the main skill of the operator is not to shoot” acquire a new life.

Indeed, shooting each plan, scene, due to the technical features of the camera, requires preparation and concentration.

The camera makes you choose the optics you need for the plot in advance, check and adjust the sharpness, the brightness of the scene and then shoot – all as in the times of early movie cameras.

Of course, for those who are naturally pedantic, this sounds trite, but I had to learn to think before pressing a button.

The better you think through the whole survey and prepare for each plan, the less unnecessary actions and mistakes you make.

It is always worth remembering that these are cameras for short candies in bright packages, and not for long refined reports.


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