Getting professional results when shooting
video on DSLRs can take quite a bit of work. One thing you can do to make
things easier and give yourself a better chance of producing great quality
material is to ensure you have the right tools for the right job. With this in
mind, I’m going to give you some ideas of good DSLR/lens combos for a variety
of different DSLR video situations you’re likely to encounter.
Wedding shooters need to be fast on their
feet. Often there’s no time to change lenses in the heat of a fast-paced
ceremony, so prime lenses, despite their sharpness and low-light ability,
aren’t going to be suitable in a lot of cases. You’re going to need a good
quality, fast lens which covers all of the focal lengths you’ll need.
shooters need to be fast on their feet.
Most wedding photographers (and pro
photographers generally for that matter) have the Canon 24-70mm f/2,8 in their
arsenal as their go-to lens, so it’s no surprise that this is my recommendation
for wedding videography too. It covers a wide variety of focal lengths, from a
wide establisher of the chapel to a close-up of the kiss from afar, and
importantly for video work has a fast constant aperture of f/2,8 (the minimum
I’d recommend for any video work). It also helps that the image quality is
astounding, and the recently updated Mark II is said to be even better in that
regard, and is a bit lighter too, A good pairing with this would be the Canon
5D Mark III, Its fantastic low-light ability means that a poorly-lit chapel or
dance floor won’t hold you back from getting some great images. Also important
is its 29 minute 59 second record time versus the 12 minute record time of
older DSLRs, which will allow you to record the whole ceremony in one take
without having to cut halfway through,
Producing a broad range of corporate
content constitutes the vast majority of my professional work. Every job is
different, so I like to use a variety of lenses to cover different
eventualities, I like to keep a good 50mm prime on hand as it makes a great
lens to cover different eventualities. I like to keep a good 50mm prime on hand
as it makes a great Lens for beautiful interviews and b-roll footage alike.
My favorite is a slightly esoteric vintage
1988 Zeiss Prime Iens which I I-iad speciaUy adapted to fit a Canon EF mount.
Apart from being sharper than a razor (especially useful considering the
relative lack of resolution DSLRs have) its dampened manual focus and aperture
with hard stops makes it ideal for filmmaking. Unlike modern stills photography
lenses, which continue to rotate past maximum and minimum focus, the hard stops
makes pulling focus manually much easier. Therefore, if your budget stretches
I’d definitely recommend checking out Zeiss’ ZF and ZE mount lenses for Nikon
and Canon, These will be similarly sharp and beautiful, and the Nikon mount
models also have manual aperture, and for that reason are often used on Canon
bodies with an adaptor. Canon’s 50mm f/1,2 L is also a great choice.
Another good option for corporate work (and
filmmaking in general) is the Canon 17-55mm f/2,8 IS, Despite the lack of L
designation, it’s as sharp as other L series lenses (only the EF-S designation
holding it back from that status, apparently). Its secret weapon, other than
its sharpness, fast constant aperture and good focal range, is its image
stabilization capabilities, smoothing out handheld shots and making it great
for b-roll shots for a variety of corporate shoots. Pair this with a good APS-C
camera, like the Canon 7D or 60D, for a powerful corporate combo,
I’ve shot a number of music videos with
DSLRs in my time as a professional videographer. They afford a brilliant chance
to stretch your creative muscles and try out a variety of different techniques.
Both of these videos: www.youtube.com/watch?v=RslTQty_Wcs and www. Youtube.com/watch?v=2p9NB4UixSA
were shot mostly with a 50mm prime and a Tokina ll-16mm f/2,8. This is one of
my favourite lenses as its well-built, sharp, and again has that all-important
constant aperture throughout the zoom range. It’s a wide-angle lens which
allows you to produce some breathtaking shots, and add a cinematic widescreen
aesthetic to your work.
I’d also recommend Samyang’s series of cine
primes. They’re keenly priced, and their performance is close to that of the
Canon L series, with the advantage of manual focus and aperture rings. I'd pair
these with an APS-C DSLR, like a 60D, as that sensor size more closely matches
that of Super 35mm motion picture film for an accurate cinematic look.
make the most of this awesome Iens, I’d pair it with either of Canon’s flagship
DSLRs: the 1D X with its fantastic video quality, or for ultimate in image
quality (and expense!) Canon’s new 1DC
Wildlife filmmaking, like photography, is
all about big zoom lenses to enable you to get up close and personal with your
often faraway subject. One of the best I’ve had the pleasure of using (albeit
briefly) is the Canon 70-200mm f/2,8 L IS II.
You’ll notice a trend appearing, as this
lens, like many others has a very fast constant aperture across its wide focal
range. Like all Canon L series lenses, it’s also sharp and incredibly well
built, as you’d expect for its asking price of around $2880! Also notable is
its in-built image stabilisation, allowing smooth tracking shots even at the
far end of its focal range.
competition featured a category dedicated to nature and wildlife.
To make the most of this awesome lens, I’d
pair it with either of Canon’s flagship DSLRs: the ID X with its fantastic
video quality, or for ultimate in image quality (and expense!) Canon’s new 1DC,
which allows you to film your furry friends in hard drive chomping 4K
resolution for maximum quality,
Action filmmaking favours cameras which are
small and lightweight, allowing quick and dynamic camera moves and for the
cameras to be attached to things (like the bonnet of your car!) to achieve some
In this situation I’d recommend the Sony
NEX-5N, It shoots great quality 1080p HD video despite its size, and also
shoots 60 frames per second at 1080p, allowing you to slow the footage down in
post-production for some amazing quality slow motion action shots. Its compact
size (it looks like a lens cap on all but the smallest of lenses!) also means
that it can be rigged to almost anything with ease.
Another advantage is that when fitted with
the Metabones EF-E mount adaptor, it’ll accept all Canon mount lenses natively,
including those with IS, So you could pair this with the Canon 17-55mm f/2,8 IS
I mentioned earlier, or even one of Canon’s new image stabilized 24 or 28mm
prime lenses for super smooth action shots,
Sound is an incredibly important
consideration when aiming to produce high quality professional video. This is
one area where DSLRs aren’t particularly well equipped however there are a
number of work-around which will enable you to record great quality sound when
using DSLRs, Here are three solutions:
1. Pair a relatively inexpensive external recorder (A Zoom HI) with a
good quality lavalier microphone (The Rode Lavalierat around $240 is amazingly
good value for money). This combo is great for use at weddings; mic up the
groom discreetly and pop the recorder in his top pocket. You’ll get great
quality sound for the vows, and with the help of some clever post-synching
software (PluralEyes 3 is a great choice) you’ll be able to sync the audio in
post with the low quality scratch track recorded on your DSLR.
2. For improving the general quality of the audio your DSLR can record,
try adding a Rode VideoMic Pro to your DSLR’s hotshoe. It will massively
improve the quality of the internally recorded audio,
3. For interviews where great audio quality is paramount, combine a
more expensive external recorder with professional XLR connectors (a Zoom H4n
is my current favourite) with an XLR lavalier microphone like the Rode or an
XLR shotgun mic like the Rode NTG-2, Again, use syncing software in post to
sync the audio and video.