Start learning with our library of video tutorials taught by experts. Get started
Viewed by members. in countries. members currently watching.
This weekly course covers the most common questions videographers encounter when shooting and editing with DSLR cameras, from choosing a frame size and frame rate to understanding moiré. Authors Rich Harrington and Robbie Carman will also help you understand the impacts of compression and the difference between cropped (or micro 4/3rds) and full-sized sensors in cameras, and much more. This continual FAQ guide is a handy way to find the answers to the questions that plague you the most.
Robbie: So Rich, earlier we covered sort of the basics of what's out there for memory cards, but as you get into shooting video with DSLRs, there are some specific recommendations that we have about the memory cards that we're going to use. Richard: Yeah, I think it's important to really think about what type of formats you're going to shoot. If you're shooting 720, that's not going to be as demanding as shooting 1080 unless of course you're doing 720, 60, then it's more demanding, and then some of the newer cameras coming out are actually supporting better codecs. So we've got new generation DSLRs, sort of the third generation DSLRs coming out, and they'll have options for what they call edit-friendly codecs that are less compressed and those are higher data rates, right? Robbie: Yeah, absolutely.
I mean as a rule of thumb for shooting video, if you know that you're going to be shooting video only, what I tell people is that, you don't need to spend that extra money on the biggest, the best card or memory card that's out there, because it's kind of overkill. If you look at sort of the data rate of most of these codecs, it's actually pretty low. You know you're talking about 300, 400, maybe 500 utmost megabytes per minute on this. So it's not all that bandwidth-intensive. I have found that as a baseline for video, a 133x card, or about 20 megabytes per second works very well.
If I am going to be shooting video and photos, I might go for a middle-of-the-road card, say like a 300x card or some printer around 60 megabytes per second. That typically is sort of a nice middle-of-the-road card that will get me the best of both worlds. Richard: Yeah, you don't want to go right up to the edge, but 133x or 20 megabytes a second is plenty when you're only recording 320 megabytes in a minute, right? Robbie: Right. Richard: That's more than double what you need. So you got safety there. You know the reason why you don't go right up to the edge is you don't want your system to sort of teeter, you don't want it to get close to the point, especially when cards start to get warm, that causes an issue.
Now, one of the things I will say is that it's going to vary by manufacturer. You know the data rates will compare. So if you're shopping for cards, don't go out and buy 20 133x cards. Robbie: Right. Richard: If that's what's affordable, and that's what you have, use it, but I typically will always start with my best cards first. Robbie: Yep. Richard: And then work my way down, and it makes a lot of sense. Now I think when you're out there looking, you are going to want to get cards organized. For example, I have different card wallets and one of the things I'll do is I'll keep my photo cards separate from my video cards, and it just makes it easier.
So you know the last thing you want to do, like in this case we've mixed them together, and we've got a 15 megabyte per second and mixed in with an 80x card, that ain't going to do video. Robbie: Right, right exactly. Richard: But you know, oh! Here is a UDMA one. So the last thing you want to do is be in the rush, in the field and pop out a card and go oh, this one is fine for JPEG shooting, but not video. So I recommend isolating those video cards into a wallet uniquely. Robbie: The other thing I will say, and that's a very good point. The other thing I'll say when you are looking at cards, obviously capacity is a big thing, right? Richard: Yeah. Robbie: And there is this argument of do I get smaller cards and more of them or do I by bigger cards and less of them, right? Richard: Well, let's put this in perspective for people that are photo shooters.
You're going to go through a gig about every three minutes so that 16 gig card is less than an hour of shooting. Robbie: Yeah. My personal feeling on it is that again, I like to go middle-of-the-road. I am not going to go for a--I don't want the 102 gigabytes cards, but I also don't want to put all my chickens in one basket-- or eggs in one basket rather. I want to have sort of split it up a little bit. So I am not going to have 64 gig cards. That kind of makes me a little nervous. My personal feeling is I like that currently that middle-of-the-road number, about 32 gigs, gives me a nice long shooting capacity, but without putting everything on one card, because God forbid, the card dies, well, guess what? It's all done.
Richard: Yeah. I'm with you there. For shooting video, I use 32 gig cards, and we'll talk more about time-lapse next, but that's where my 64 gig cards come in handy because if I'm shooting Raw time-lapse, I want that higher capacity so I could shoot longer. Robbie: Absolutely. Richard: And that does matter. You want to think about real-world things like, for example, if you're shooting a concert or an event and swapping out a card is going to mean, oh! That's going to take 30 seconds to get the card in. That's going to be a delay and maybe a gap in coverage that you don't want. So you got to think about the workflow. The other thing is is more cards, easier to lose.
So you want to make sure that you don't spread things out too far. Robbie: Yeah. And the last thing I'll bring up is that even though I have sort of made the argument for going in sort of middle-of-the-road, you know maybe a 32 gig card, 300x, that kind of stuff, there is a benefit of having a faster card, especially when you get to the post-production side of things, or the offloading side things. If you have a really slow card, and let's say you have 32 gigs of it full, and you're going to through a USB card reader, guess what, you're going to be waiting a long time to offload that card.
But if you go to say 400 or 600 times card, and you have a fast memory card reader like this, like this FireWire 800 one, goes pretty quick. Richard: Yeah. So you got to think about where you are paying the tax. A lot of people forget that time is money and so did you choose to save $30 on that card, but every time you go to offload it, it's going to take you 20 minutes longer? Robbie: Right. Richard: You know that adds it pretty quickly, at least to me. So, go with what you can afford, read those reviews, make sure you keep your video cards isolated from your photo cards. If you have got older cards that might really make that hit.
The last thing you want to do is like pop in a slow card, and you're rolling on the scene, and then you get right do that interviewing like, card error. What do you say to your subject? You are going to tell 'em, um, act of God? No, it doesn't really work. It's like no, human error. And I think that works pretty straightforward, and then I can't emphasize enough keeping things organized in a card wallet. They are going to keep those cards protected. They are going keep dust off the cards. In this particular case, an SD card, a little bit flimsy, pretty easy to crack. Robbie: Yep. Richard: But I put it here in this pelican case with nice rubber to isolate and protect the cards, I can, and I have rolled over this with a car.
Robbie: Oh, wow. Richard: No damage, I didn't do it on purpose. I don't recommend you try your case out that way. But this is a good way to keep stuff safe when you want that solid secure storage. Robbie: Yeah. And the things that I would emphasize are getting a card capacity that is going to be enough for you to get--or you know pretty lengthy recording on it, but not too big to where if you lost that card or got damaged or went corrupt that you're going to lose everything. And then the second thing, I would emphasize is sort of a middle-of-the-road sort of speed card. I'm not saying that you cake at the fastest, if you want to, if you have that money to do so, more power to you, but that middle-of-the-road type speed card is going to give you a nice benefit, it's going to be more than enough for shooting most DSLR video, and it's nice and comes in handy when you want to switch over and say shoot photos.
Richard: All right, great! And that's going to be our next topic. We're going to talk specifically about shooting time-lapse and how this puts higher demands on your cards.
Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about DSLR Video Tips.
Here are the FAQs that matched your search "":
Sorry, there are no matches for your search ""—to search again, type in another word or phrase and click search.
Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.
Search within course videos and transcripts, and jump right to the results.
Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.
Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.
Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.