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Video for Photographers: Shooting with a DSLR

Comparing DSLRs with traditional camcorders


From:

Video for Photographers: Shooting with a DSLR

with Rob Sheppard

Video: Comparing DSLRs with traditional camcorders

Are you starting to get a feel for what video is all about, especially how video is different than the still photography that you may be used to? In order to shoot video, you obviously need some gear that's going to help you get better video. In this movie, we're going to be talking about the camera part of that gear. We'll look at some of the important features of your camera, as well as differences that you can expect to see with cameras and how that might affect your approach to shooting video. You can get quality HD video from any DSLR on the market today that captures HD video.
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  1. 2m 43s
    1. Welcome
      1m 16s
    2. What video can do for you
      1m 27s
  2. 23m 13s
    1. Stopping time in photography vs. recording over time with video
      4m 14s
    2. Shooting for movement over time
      3m 58s
    3. Composing for constantly changing visuals
      4m 42s
    4. Adjusting to shooting for a non-RAW medium
      3m 26s
    5. Understanding resolution for video
      3m 36s
    6. Choosing a video frame rate
      3m 17s
  3. 37m 21s
    1. Comparing DSLRs with traditional camcorders
      6m 18s
    2. Comparing sensor sizes among DSLR cameras
      5m 26s
    3. Considering noise when comparing sensor sizes
      3m 8s
    4. Choosing memory cards and batteries
      3m 33s
    5. Understanding video tripods
      6m 10s
    6. Working with other camera supports
      3m 19s
    7. Using focusing aids for shooting video
      5m 29s
    8. Choosing lighting gear
      3m 58s
  4. 26m 23s
    1. Adjusting how you shoot
      6m 11s
    2. Limited "fixing" of images
      3m 42s
    3. Understanding the challenge of shutter speed
      3m 56s
    4. Getting the right exposure
      6m 59s
    5. Setting the right white balance
      5m 35s
  5. 19m 39s
    1. Understanding the importance of audio
      4m 5s
    2. Learning to work with sound
      4m 54s
    3. Gearing up for audio
      7m 19s
    4. Recording with external audio gear
      3m 21s
  6. 33m 56s
    1. Basic shooting
      6m 12s
    2. Shooting video to tell a story
      7m 27s
    3. Shooting for coverage
      4m 52s
    4. Understanding how to shoot movement
      4m 10s
    5. Shooting the moving subject
      4m 17s
    6. Creating movement
      6m 58s
  7. 6m 57s
    1. Preparing for the edit
      6m 57s
  8. 1m 47s
    1. Stay focused
      1m 47s

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Video for Photographers: Shooting with a DSLR
2h 31m Intermediate Mar 21, 2011

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In Video for Photographers: Shooting with a DSLR, photographer and videographer Rob Sheppard provides the essential foundation that photographers need to make the leap from still pictures to moving ones. From technical considerations, such as audio and frame rates, to aesthetic issues, such as composition and story development, this course presents concepts and techniques photographers need to get the best results from their gear and learn the art of video-based storytelling. Exercise files are included with the course.

Topics include:
  • Understanding video resolution and frame rates
  • Comparing DSLRs and camcorders
  • Choosing equipment, from tripods to memory cards to lights
  • Achieving the right exposure
  • Working with shutter speed limitations
  • Setting white balance
  • Recording better audio with an external microphone
  • Incorporating movement and storytelling into video
  • Preparing for video editing
Subjects:
Photography Cameras + Gear Video DSLR Video
Author:
Rob Sheppard

Comparing DSLRs with traditional camcorders

Are you starting to get a feel for what video is all about, especially how video is different than the still photography that you may be used to? In order to shoot video, you obviously need some gear that's going to help you get better video. In this movie, we're going to be talking about the camera part of that gear. We'll look at some of the important features of your camera, as well as differences that you can expect to see with cameras and how that might affect your approach to shooting video. You can get quality HD video from any DSLR on the market today that captures HD video.

But why are DSLRs good for video? It isn't about megapixels. In an earlier movie, we talked about how megapixels really don't have a big effect on video. Trying to get more and more megapixels in a camera won't help you get better video. DSLR design does not make them optimum for shooting video. Camcorders are designed from scratch for video. They are designed to be held in convenient ways for video as well. DSLRs are designed for still photography and not for video, meaning they are not always the most comfortable cameras to use for video.

OK, again then why do we shoot video with the DSLRs other than they are something new that camera manufacturers can market? Because you get some features not readily available with traditional camcorders. First is interchangeable lenses. This is a big deal. It is now easy to shoot wide angle, super telephoto, fisheye, macro, and so on, capabilities that are not available for a camcorder user.

These lenses include single focal length lenses that are not available for camcorders. Zoom lenses, as you kno, are the most commonly used DSLR lenses. Single focal length or prime lenses were the only way to use lenses before zooms. The big advantage of a prime lens is lens speed. These lenses can be made to allow a lot more light through the optics with a wider, faster, maximum f-stop. On a zoom, you might have a maximum f-stop of F-4. But with a prime lens, you could have an f-stop of F-2 or even wider such as F-1.4, or like on this lens, F-1.2.

Such lenses let in 4 to 10 times the light of the slower zoom. In addition vamcorders typically use very small sensors, sensors that are smaller than any used on any DSLR. That means a severe limitation on wide-angle capabilities. Most Camcorders cannot shoot very wide at all. All DSLRs offer a far greater range of wide-angle possibilities than anything the traditional camcorders have had.

Small sensors also mean very short focal lengths that have to be used for even normal shooting, which means that traditional video camcorders always have a lot of depth of field. You can see that here. There is a shot with a camcorder, lot of depth of field, the background shows up really well. The dancers are about equal in sharpness. And this one shot with the DSLR. We now have limited the depth of field to the front dancer and the back row starts falling off out of focus. Any DSLR will allow you to control depth of field better than most camcorders.

Camcorders typically have a LCD that flips out from the camera. And that makes it very easy to see what's being recorded and for when you're shooting. Most DSLRs don't have that. Viewing video while shooting was designed into the camcorder, yet this was not meant to be part of the design of a DSLR, and that is a weakness of this type of camera. Now some DSLRs such as this one are getting flip-out rotating LCDs, which are a big help, though most cameras do not have this feature and you can miss that when you're shooting video.

Camcorders have been designed to get the best from audio recording. They have rather large and specialized microphones that are built into the camera as well as microphone jacks for plugging an external microphone in. DSLRs have not done as well with audio. Some cameras do not even have a plug for an external mic. That's a big disadvantage for audio recording. In addition, no DSLR has what could be called a quality microphone for recording audio.

The little dots that are right here and there are just 4 little dots, that's it for getting any sound into that microphone and it's a little tiny microphone anyway. So if you're looking to purchase a DSLR for video, makes sure that it has a microphone jack. That will do as much as anything to allow you to get better audio. Better audio starts by having an external microphone. Most camcorders give you a range of possibilities for how to change your exposure and focus controls. While you always have a lot of control over exposure and focus when shooting still photos, many DSLRs do not have the same capability when you're shooting video.

It is helpful to at least have manual exposure possibilities with a DSLR and video because that allows you to control important aspects of shooting, such as changing your depth of field. All in all, a camcorder was designed from scratch to do the job of shooting video. A DSLR never was. Yet we are all going over to shooting with DSLRs. I love shooting video with a DSLR. Why? Back to interchangeable lenses. Camcorders have traditionally not allowed you to change lenses.

For example, macro shooting is really important to me. It was not easy to do that with a camcorder. But now I can get some amazing shots of little critters that truly come to life by using my DSLR and a macro lens. In addition, you gain flexibility in shooting very high-quality video with a DSLR and at a very reasonable price. You cannot match the look that you get with a DSLR shooting video without spending a lot more money for a camcorder.

Shooting video that has a very distinctive look at a very reasonable cost, these are the big reasons why so many photographers and videographers are using DSLRs for shooting video today.

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