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Introduction to Shooting Video on a DSLR

Introduction to DSLR Video from Dave Dugdale on Vimeo.

Dave Dugdale from Learning DSLR Video put together this short video on using DSLRs for shooting video with some basic tips for getting started.

Read more from our Tips & Tutorials category.

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  • Richard Mays

    I believe one of the tips provided in this video is terribly wrong. My experience is that Image Stabilization will compromise the video quality when shooting with a DSLR. The slightest movements cause the video to jump and digitize. Use a tripod or other solid stability control for your Video shots and turn off the IS features. Even slight camera shake on a tripod will cause the video to stammer and jump if the IS remains on.

  • kevin

    hmm…this was definitely an introduction.
    and seemingly a very sly attempt at self promotion on a popular site.

    i also do not especially agree with the suggestion to stop move closer and resume shoot…
    not sure if you can do that during, lets say, a wedding? cant tell the bride to stop moving so you can get a better angle

  • Tyler

    He goes from talking about handholding it if you can’t use a tripod, and then a few seconds later is talking about jibs – quite a jump. You should never just hand hold a camera when shooting video its going to look shakey, which unless, you want it to look like that, never looks good. All the video that the pro’s take are shot using nice glass, so you’re never gunna get the same quality with the kit lens or other consumer level lenses.

  • http://www.studiospecialplace.de Michael Herzog

    @Richard Mays

    The usability of the IS varies from camera to camera. I only have experience with Canon HD-camcorders, not their Video-DSLRs, but usually their IS is very helpful because it is optical, not digital. An exception of the rule are vibrating surfaces, those can really confuse the IS.

  • http://www.learningdslrvideo.com Dave Dugdale

    Hi my name is Dave and I created this video. Judging from the first few comments I feel terrible if I provided Darren with an inaccurate video post – Darren if I did I am very sorry, that was not my intention at all.

    I think I said it in the video but perhaps I should repeat I have only had this camera for just a few months and these are my experiences of what I have learned so far. I did not provide Darren with a title for the video and perhaps I should have provided one that didn’t sound so authoritative. I am not an expert in DSLR video at all, I am just learning and trying to share what I have experienced so far.

    @Richard, again I am not an expert but I can tell you from my experience that using IS without a tripod works so much better for me than a lens without IS. The difference between having it on and off are just amazing.

    @Kevin the reason I gave that advice is because you can’t refocus while zooming in on your subject. If you do and have a non-constant aperture zoom lens like I do, you will see the odd effects as the aperture stops down during the zooming process. Perhaps if you have a constant aperture zoom lens this would work but those lens are too expensive for me.

    Please let me know if you feel anything else is wrong with this video so I can run more experiments and come back here and let you know what I have learned.

    Dave

  • Shaun Fisher

    Very interesting. A nice change to have a video rather than text & pictures too. Thanks.

  • 3afsa

    I own a D90 with video feature.
    Well even before buying it I always think that DSLR are not supposed to film video, and it’s true even after I try it. It’s very hard, complicated to have great results, also memory problem, focus and sound quality.
    Ok it’s fun to have it as a feature to take some small sequence just for souvenir, but not for serious or creative work, No.
    Besides I like the DOF, something that I can’t do with my handy video Camera :)

  • http://www.gracepointafterfive.com Conrad Chu

    If you’re looking for something a little more in-depth yet a rougher in quality, I made a DSLR video shooting tutorial for some of our church members to use our Canon 7D. Others on vimeo found it helpful so I’d thought I’d pass it along.

    It looks like crap cuz my son was just born, but alas, it’s the information that matters right? :)

    http://www.gracepointafterfive.com/shooting-video-on-the-canon-7d

  • Bob Raisler

    Use image stabilization (IS) while shooting DSLR video? My answer would be yes handheld, no on a tripod. For one thing the sounds produced by IS and autofocus will ruin an already bad sound track if you’re using the DSLR’s internal microphone.

    Interrupt shooting to move closer or zoom in and re-focus? Absolutely! Assuming that you will use a video editor on your footage, you aren’t going to use every bit of your video any more than you’d use every still shot. Even the bride would be bored watching uninterrupted footage from a fixed camera position.

    On a recent trip to the Galapagos, I made it a goal to capture each animal with stills and video. I am a total beginner at video, but the quality of some of the footage that came from my Canon 5D MkII was stunning (a lot was bad, too). The sound was almost all stunning, too, stunningly bad.

    I figure I didn’t learn photography without taking an awful lot of really bad photos and learning video isn’t going to be any easier or shorter, but the time is coming when I’ll have stills and video that complement each other in the story I’m trying to tell.

  • http://jonnionhd.blogspot.com jonni

    Dave, your videos are great, very interesting and really helpful. Thanks for doing this!

    I’m also a beginner to DSLR video and I try to share what I learn on my little site (jonnionhd.blogspot.com).

    My opinion: IS on when handheld, IS off in every other case – even with a steadycam. I think it’s better to notice some compression artefacts than have a shaky video. But has anybody experience with some deshaker software? Is it possible to shoot without IS and stabilize in post? Comments are very welcome.

    Cheers,
    jonni

  • http://dundermifflin.com Jim Halpert

    @3afsa: I totally agree with you. I was the same way when I bought my D90 and I’m still the same way. I rarely use the D-Movie mode anyways. And I’m also thinking of getting a D300S, but still not gonna use the video feature.

    However, you should check out this guy’s videos. He uses a D3S.
    http://vimeo.com/chazcurry

  • 3afsa

    Thanks for the link Jim, this man did a great work with his camera hope to achive this level some day, I must practice more :)

  • http://www.g1mp3r.com mark

    dave, awesome tip. i could sure use this

  • http://outsideshooter.blogspot.com Rich Collins

    Dave, to your article, I think it was immensely helpful. Thank you. I have a Canon 5DMII and have not yet pressed the video button. So now after watching your video I think this weekend or next for sure, I will. Your points are in agreement with everything I’ve read. Even your suggestion that once focused, moving to the next subject will help.

    Thank you and if you’d like to do a video for my blog sometime, let me know.

  • doreen pollock

    Thank you for the help videos. How can I use headphones on my canon 7d?
    doreen

  • http://www.learningdslrvideo.com Dave Dugdale

    @Rich, thanks and good luck with this weekend. I am camping this weekend and hope to get a lot of great footage.

  • Myles

    There’s a mass of expert information on using the 5Dm2 for video on a site called cinema5d.com.

  • PedroWilsoni

    I made a cool Steadycam using my Manfrotto monopod. It works pretty good and only cost A$20 to make plus you need a file and a hacksaw blade.

    Instructions are here: http://s906.photobucket.com/albums/ac264/PedroWilsoni/Photography%20and%20Movie%20Tips/?action=view&current=steadycam.jpg

  • http://www.kirpi.it/photo kirpi

    My first and main advice for shooting videos is placing the camera on a steady support. Be it a tripod, a beanbag, or any other device, having a properly levelled and firm camera avoids nasty seasick effects on viewers.
    Granted, dollies, steadycams and other wizardries are available, but that is a second step, definitely.

  • MJ

    One thing is for sure…The video shot for this was FANTASTIC! Usually, when you hit the “full screen” button, the expanded screen is not more than expanded. Certainly not good in most cases. But when I went full screen on Dave–POW! Very good, nice color, contrast, and professional. (Probably is?)

    Please tell me how a pauper like myself can get that black background.

    Thanks, And I’m gearing up ( $$$$) for the 5D Mk II.

    MJ Denver, CO

  • Deon

    Thanks Dave for the video!
    I always learn something from your videos – keep them coming.
    I have no problem with IS and my Canon 550D – works perfectly.
    Yes, pls. tell us how you got that black background.
    Deon

  • http://www.learningdslrvideo.com Dave Dugdale

    @MJ thanks for the comments. I’m not a pro I just got this camera a few months ago. I used to only use a point and shoot.

  • Robert Keet

    Tutorial is very informative and well shot.
    BUT!
    Good rule of thumb to follow:
    Never use IS when shooting video with a DSLR especially when on a tripod.
    The shot tries to lock down on a steady shot and creates a jumping affect that can’t be fixed in post.
    This problem occurs on a locked down and handheld shots as well.
    When at all possible use prime lenses without IS as they are generally faster and look better.

  • kerri

    Thanks to ALL for the tips. I am using a Canon 60d and this weekend I will be doing my first journalist shoot for the local paper. They are requesting a short video for their web pg. So this came at the perfect time. Wish me luck!

Some older comments

  • kerri

    July 5, 2013 10:46 am

    Thanks to ALL for the tips. I am using a Canon 60d and this weekend I will be doing my first journalist shoot for the local paper. They are requesting a short video for their web pg. So this came at the perfect time. Wish me luck!

  • Robert Keet

    December 7, 2010 07:30 am

    Tutorial is very informative and well shot.
    BUT!
    Good rule of thumb to follow:
    Never use IS when shooting video with a DSLR especially when on a tripod.
    The shot tries to lock down on a steady shot and creates a jumping affect that can't be fixed in post.
    This problem occurs on a locked down and handheld shots as well.
    When at all possible use prime lenses without IS as they are generally faster and look better.

  • Dave Dugdale

    June 28, 2010 11:28 pm

    @MJ thanks for the comments. I'm not a pro I just got this camera a few months ago. I used to only use a point and shoot.

  • Deon

    June 28, 2010 07:32 pm

    Thanks Dave for the video!
    I always learn something from your videos - keep them coming.
    I have no problem with IS and my Canon 550D - works perfectly.
    Yes, pls. tell us how you got that black background.
    Deon

  • MJ

    June 28, 2010 11:51 am

    One thing is for sure...The video shot for this was FANTASTIC! Usually, when you hit the "full screen" button, the expanded screen is not more than expanded. Certainly not good in most cases. But when I went full screen on Dave--POW! Very good, nice color, contrast, and professional. (Probably is?)

    Please tell me how a pauper like myself can get that black background.

    Thanks, And I'm gearing up ( $$$$) for the 5D Mk II.

    MJ Denver, CO

  • kirpi

    June 26, 2010 02:58 am

    My first and main advice for shooting videos is placing the camera on a steady support. Be it a tripod, a beanbag, or any other device, having a properly levelled and firm camera avoids nasty seasick effects on viewers.
    Granted, dollies, steadycams and other wizardries are available, but that is a second step, definitely.

  • PedroWilsoni

    June 25, 2010 09:05 pm

    I made a cool Steadycam using my Manfrotto monopod. It works pretty good and only cost A$20 to make plus you need a file and a hacksaw blade.

    Instructions are here: http://s906.photobucket.com/albums/ac264/PedroWilsoni/Photography%20and%20Movie%20Tips/?action=view&current=steadycam.jpg

  • Myles

    June 25, 2010 05:25 pm

    There's a mass of expert information on using the 5Dm2 for video on a site called cinema5d.com.

  • Dave Dugdale

    June 25, 2010 02:20 pm

    @Rich, thanks and good luck with this weekend. I am camping this weekend and hope to get a lot of great footage.

  • doreen pollock

    June 25, 2010 11:28 am

    Thank you for the help videos. How can I use headphones on my canon 7d?
    doreen

  • Rich Collins

    June 25, 2010 10:12 am

    Dave, to your article, I think it was immensely helpful. Thank you. I have a Canon 5DMII and have not yet pressed the video button. So now after watching your video I think this weekend or next for sure, I will. Your points are in agreement with everything I've read. Even your suggestion that once focused, moving to the next subject will help.

    Thank you and if you'd like to do a video for my blog sometime, let me know.

  • mark

    June 25, 2010 07:44 am

    dave, awesome tip. i could sure use this

  • 3afsa

    June 24, 2010 09:15 pm

    Thanks for the link Jim, this man did a great work with his camera hope to achive this level some day, I must practice more :)

  • Jim Halpert

    June 23, 2010 01:10 am

    @3afsa: I totally agree with you. I was the same way when I bought my D90 and I'm still the same way. I rarely use the D-Movie mode anyways. And I'm also thinking of getting a D300S, but still not gonna use the video feature.

    However, you should check out this guy's videos. He uses a D3S.
    http://vimeo.com/chazcurry

  • jonni

    June 22, 2010 09:23 pm

    Dave, your videos are great, very interesting and really helpful. Thanks for doing this!

    I'm also a beginner to DSLR video and I try to share what I learn on my little site (jonnionhd.blogspot.com).

    My opinion: IS on when handheld, IS off in every other case - even with a steadycam. I think it's better to notice some compression artefacts than have a shaky video. But has anybody experience with some deshaker software? Is it possible to shoot without IS and stabilize in post? Comments are very welcome.

    Cheers,
    jonni

  • Bob Raisler

    June 22, 2010 08:35 am

    Use image stabilization (IS) while shooting DSLR video? My answer would be yes handheld, no on a tripod. For one thing the sounds produced by IS and autofocus will ruin an already bad sound track if you're using the DSLR's internal microphone.

    Interrupt shooting to move closer or zoom in and re-focus? Absolutely! Assuming that you will use a video editor on your footage, you aren't going to use every bit of your video any more than you'd use every still shot. Even the bride would be bored watching uninterrupted footage from a fixed camera position.

    On a recent trip to the Galapagos, I made it a goal to capture each animal with stills and video. I am a total beginner at video, but the quality of some of the footage that came from my Canon 5D MkII was stunning (a lot was bad, too). The sound was almost all stunning, too, stunningly bad.

    I figure I didn't learn photography without taking an awful lot of really bad photos and learning video isn't going to be any easier or shorter, but the time is coming when I'll have stills and video that complement each other in the story I'm trying to tell.

  • Conrad Chu

    June 22, 2010 05:16 am

    If you're looking for something a little more in-depth yet a rougher in quality, I made a DSLR video shooting tutorial for some of our church members to use our Canon 7D. Others on vimeo found it helpful so I'd thought I'd pass it along.

    It looks like crap cuz my son was just born, but alas, it's the information that matters right? :)

    http://www.gracepointafterfive.com/shooting-video-on-the-canon-7d

  • 3afsa

    June 22, 2010 02:36 am

    I own a D90 with video feature.
    Well even before buying it I always think that DSLR are not supposed to film video, and it's true even after I try it. It's very hard, complicated to have great results, also memory problem, focus and sound quality.
    Ok it's fun to have it as a feature to take some small sequence just for souvenir, but not for serious or creative work, No.
    Besides I like the DOF, something that I can't do with my handy video Camera :)

  • Shaun Fisher

    June 22, 2010 02:16 am

    Very interesting. A nice change to have a video rather than text & pictures too. Thanks.

  • Dave Dugdale

    June 21, 2010 11:22 pm

    Hi my name is Dave and I created this video. Judging from the first few comments I feel terrible if I provided Darren with an inaccurate video post - Darren if I did I am very sorry, that was not my intention at all.

    I think I said it in the video but perhaps I should repeat I have only had this camera for just a few months and these are my experiences of what I have learned so far. I did not provide Darren with a title for the video and perhaps I should have provided one that didn't sound so authoritative. I am not an expert in DSLR video at all, I am just learning and trying to share what I have experienced so far.

    @Richard, again I am not an expert but I can tell you from my experience that using IS without a tripod works so much better for me than a lens without IS. The difference between having it on and off are just amazing.

    @Kevin the reason I gave that advice is because you can't refocus while zooming in on your subject. If you do and have a non-constant aperture zoom lens like I do, you will see the odd effects as the aperture stops down during the zooming process. Perhaps if you have a constant aperture zoom lens this would work but those lens are too expensive for me.

    Please let me know if you feel anything else is wrong with this video so I can run more experiments and come back here and let you know what I have learned.

    Dave

  • Michael Herzog

    June 21, 2010 10:57 pm

    @Richard Mays

    The usability of the IS varies from camera to camera. I only have experience with Canon HD-camcorders, not their Video-DSLRs, but usually their IS is very helpful because it is optical, not digital. An exception of the rule are vibrating surfaces, those can really confuse the IS.

  • Tyler

    June 21, 2010 06:15 pm

    He goes from talking about handholding it if you can't use a tripod, and then a few seconds later is talking about jibs - quite a jump. You should never just hand hold a camera when shooting video its going to look shakey, which unless, you want it to look like that, never looks good. All the video that the pro's take are shot using nice glass, so you're never gunna get the same quality with the kit lens or other consumer level lenses.

  • kevin

    June 21, 2010 03:20 pm

    hmm...this was definitely an introduction.
    and seemingly a very sly attempt at self promotion on a popular site.

    i also do not especially agree with the suggestion to stop move closer and resume shoot...
    not sure if you can do that during, lets say, a wedding? cant tell the bride to stop moving so you can get a better angle

  • Richard Mays

    June 21, 2010 09:19 am

    I believe one of the tips provided in this video is terribly wrong. My experience is that Image Stabilization will compromise the video quality when shooting with a DSLR. The slightest movements cause the video to jump and digitize. Use a tripod or other solid stability control for your Video shots and turn off the IS features. Even slight camera shake on a tripod will cause the video to stammer and jump if the IS remains on.

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