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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.
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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