Friday, August 26, 2011

Shooting Video with a DSLR Camera

I got the following email from a friend. I decided to re-post it, along with my response, since a few different people have wondered something similar.

A good friend wants me to shoot some video of a ceremony they are having tonight to make a fundraising video for the nonprofit.
DSLR’s can shoot video.  I can shoot the video with one of those?  Does it have enough resolution that it would look good on a TV or computer monitor?

Assuming your DSLR was made in the past 5 or 6 years, you’ll be fine as far as resolution goes. There are, however, three other issues that you might need to consider.

The first is memory. With HD video, the general rule of thumb is 3.5 minutes of video = 1 GB of memory used. Ask yourself how long this ceremony is and if you have enough memory. You might have to get a better memory card or dump the card to a hard drive in the middle of that ceremony.

Second, you have to consider stability. Even if you have the hands of a surgeon, if you are operating a handheld video camera then it’s going to look at least a little shaky. If you have a tripod, that’s perfect. If not, look for something solid (a table, chair, etc.) that you can steady the camera on.

The third issue is audio. A DSLR camera has great lens for the video, but it may or may not have a decent microphone for the audio. I don’t know the make or model that you’re using, but I recommend shooting a test clip first. Shoot something generic for 30 seconds, transfer it to a PC, and listen to the audio.

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