Filmmaking was completely changed with the advent of DSLR cameras utilizing video features. The larger sensors, interchangeable lenses, and affordability made high quality filmmaking accessible to all. For anyone that wants to make the jump to DSLR filmmaking, there are some amazing and unique tools that you need to make truly amazing pieces. While there are a lot of top of the line products, there is no need to break the bank in order to make an amazing film. From lenses to stabilization, there are a lot of great ways to optimize your videos with your DSLR camera.
So of course, this is where most great videos and films start. No matter how great your camera is, if you are using bad lenses, you won’t get the best possible quality you can. While every camera manufacturer has their own line of best lenses, like the L series from Canon, there is no need to buy thousands of dollars worth of lenses. One of the best places to look for lenses is in older film lenses. One that really sticks out is buying old Nikkor non-AI, AI, and AIS primes lenses. These are still amazing quality, and look more like film quality that cheaper digital lenses. These lenses are all manual, but for video, you should shoot manually anyways. These lenses are extremely affordable in comparison to high end digital lenses, and they still carry their weight. With all the adapters that are sold, these lenses can be used on almost any camera.
One thing that makes video more difficult than photography is that camera movement is very important. Having a camera locked down on a tripod won’t translate to dynamic video. You need to have camera movement, and some can be achieved on a tripod. What makes great videos however are dolly shots, steadicams, etc. Most of these can get very expensive, but luckily there are great DIY solutions for these. You can perform any Google search for these, but I like sites like Life Hacker to find great solutions. This can lead to great end results and amazing cinematography.
The one thing that can make or break any film is bad audio. Most DSLR cameras don’t come with great audio inputs, so it is important to find audio solutions. You can find some great, moderately priced microphones from Rode that run directly into the camera. The one drawback to this is that you then have no control over the audio. It’s necessary to get external mixers, most of which you will need to synch in post production. Beachtek makes a great mixer than runs back into the camera, and give you full control over the audio levels without have to synch it later. This makes for great, polished videos.
So these are the essential tools for HDDSLR filmmakers. There is no need to break the bank on any of these tools, and you can get great quality. Older film prime lenses are cheaper than most top of the line digital, and you can get some great results. The most important thing is to do your research and buy the tools that will help you the best at your budget. So when you’re ready, get out there and shoot some great footage.