HD DSLR Video – Have you made one yet?

It’s been more than two years now since the release of the Canon 5D Mark II and Vincent Laforet’s film Reverie, which really blew everyone’s doors off. Can you believe it’s been that long already? For some, the camera was the greatest thing to hit their lives and they ran with it. To say that it has revolutionized the film industry, is probably not much of a stretch. The 5D Mark II is not the only HD DSLR out there shooting great video these days, there are several. They are responsible for creating everything from music videos, to commercials; TV shows like House and 24, Indie films, documentaries and even full length movies.

But what about the rest of us who bought these cameras? Have we realized our dreams of incorporating video into our workflow? Have YOU done anything with it at all other than to post video of your cat running around on Vimeo? I know that I had all these grand ideas about what I would shoot when I just figured out how to use it. The more people I interviewed about it for the LensFlare 35 podcasts, the more daunting it became for me personally. I quickly found out that all the settings I had used to capture those first video segments were ‘wrong’. Then, I started hearing about all this extra gear I needed just to shoot video, THEN it was the fact that I needed assistants, had to change out the type of lighting I owned, had to ‘think’ like a film-maker and storyboard everything out first; I needed a more powerful computer AND expensive software to edit it and…did I mention audio? How important it is to have the correct gear, how to record it, how to sync, it, and on and on.

By now you are either shaking your head in agreement with me or trying to figure out why I haven’t jumped in and done a grand film as of yet. Well, part of it is the false belief that I have to have all of this ‘stuff’ first before I go out and do anything. Really? So, I’ve decided that my 2011 New Year’s Resolution – that’s right folks, I’m getting ahead of the curve – is that I’m going to tackle this darn video stuff and I’m going to figure it out. AND I’m NOT going to go to a VC (Venture Capitalist) to raise the money I need to do it!

Here’s the path I’m going to take, and I plan on bringing you with me. First, I’m going to find a way to REALLY educate myself about the basics. Then, I’m going to figure out a FEW of the must-have items and purchase those  – I’m going to figure out a way to use what I have and spend as LITTLE as possible. I’m also going to try and get items that have dual-use. If I get them, I can use them for stills AND video. I’m also going to go DIY on some of the gear. I’m going to figure out some of the items I need and build them myself and then tell you what I did. I’ll also convince some vendors to ‘lend’ some gear to me for testing, and then finally I’ll put it all together and share the final product with you. Along the way, I’m hoping that you learn from my mistakes and that you take WHATEVER camera you have and start shooting some video with it. I know that I’ve waited way too long to start doing this and I’m ready to start the new year – a bit early, but I’m ready.

So stay tuned… In the meantime, enjoy the film that got this thing going.

Dave WarnerDave Warner is a professional photographer based in the Southern Adirondacks of upstate New York with over 35 years of experience. He is the producer of the popular LensFlare35 podcast. Dave is also Chief Technology Officer for a publishing company that produces a daily newspaper, along with seven weeklies. Click the links below to find out more about him.

Phone: 315-628-1214
Email: dave@davidwarnerstudio.com
Website: www.davidwarnerstudio.com
Twitter: @lensflare35
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/LensFlare35-The-Weekly-Show-for-Canon-DSLR-Users/90017369890

Photo Credit: © 2010 David E. Warner

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  1. Hi Dave, I’ve started to use my dslr for video in the last few months and I’ve found it really rewarding. I think it’s easy to be put off by all the limitations surrounding the software/hardware/techniques you need to support it. Advice such as using a tripod, recording audio separately to high quality, etc is all useful and valid, but equally I’ve found it perfectly possible to begin without these.

    At work I’ve recorded single person talking heads just using the onboard sound (admittedly using a tripod!).

    Recently I’ve produced a couple of nice videos of events just handheld, adding free creative commons music and editing in iMovie. The results might not be spectacular – see the most recent videos on http://www.youtube.com/newfolderuk – but they are very rewarding and I certainly feel like I’ve learnt a lot from doing them.

    How about a first project where you just the camera, hand-held, without any extra gear?

  2. Greetings,
    I created a fusion video of motion and stills from a trip to Costa Rica this summer using the 5DII. The video was assembled and output using ProShow Producer. I transcode the video using MpegStreamClip into an MP4 AVC file at 1920 X 1080 but reduce the weight of the file by saving as a 3MB/s file.
    I love the options that this camera affords. I will be doing more video work soon.
    Best Regards,

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