Shooting with DSLR

DSLRs as we know great cameras for young filmmakers, not only for the price but they are perfect for beginners to really learn how to shoot with professional equipment, after all the DSLRs are the camera of choice for web video production by many video production companies.

I recommend reading the previous blogs of this series before learning how to shoot on a DSLR. . .

Introduction to DSLR

Setting up a DSLR

We explained exactly what ISO is the the introduction to DSLRs, so here's how to use it. . .

The general rule is to keep it as low as possible for the cleanest looking image, in some low lighting situations you may have to go fairly high to compensate with the compromise of grain. Certain ISOs should be avoided, they are - 125, 250, 500, 1000 (multiplications of 125). 125 and 500 may seem low but they are noisy ISOs.

The recommended ISOs are in denomination of 160 (160, 320, 640, 1250)

Shutter Speed
The rule with shutter speed is that is must be in sync with your frame rate. . .

- Shooting in 24p/25p - Shutter = 50
- Shooting in 30p - Shutter = 60
- Shooting in 50p/60p - Shutter = 100

White Balance
The most rookie mistake one can make is unnatural colours, when balancing for DSLR its best to use the pre sets (cloudy, daylight, tungsten etc) now as these pre sets may not be the exact kelvin you need, remember that it is always better for a shot to be too slightly too warm than slightly cold. The last thing you want to do is take away what the sun is giving you.

Focusing with a DSLR is different to focusing with an ordinary video camera mainly because it does not maintain focus when zooming. This means that the classic zoom in, focus, zoom out technique is ruled out. With such a small LCD, DSLRs are equipped with a digital zoom feature (x5 & x10)

Depth of Field
This is what gives DSLRs the distinctive look. The deeper the depth of field the more distance there is of the in focus areas, the narrower/smaller the depth of field the less amount of distance there is for what is in focus.

Thing that effect the depth of field are. . .

1- Appatuer
2- Focal length
3- The distant between the camera and the subject

Stable shots
Unless "handheld" is the desired look, always use a form of camera support! A tripod is the obvious bit of kit but also monopods are great for a balance between stability and maneuverability, the only negative with a mono pod is that you cant just let go of things to do something else whilst filming.

Controlled movement
Because DSLRs have a rolling shutter, panning shots are not the best, any quick motion can confuse the camera and cause "steps" which looks terrible! Slow, controlled movement is essential, rigs such as the Redrock Micro is the  key to steady movement. Or if you're looking for extra control whilst been able to move around then take a look at the Glidecam.


When shooting a promotional video, any "general view" shots or "cut aways" that involve a simple left to right pan should be shot as follows. . . Pick your starting shot, and record for 5-10 seconds before panning, after the motion, stay recording for 5-10 seconds. This gives the editor 3 potential shots, the 2 stills and the pan itself.

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