|Photo courtesy of Slavik Boyechko|
By Slavik Boyechko, Alaska Public Media Digital Media Director
When the DSLR revolution hit a few years ago, the world of cinema-like videos was finally accessible to the masses, and with it came a massive DSLR gear industry. Thousands of blog posts, product reviews, and unboxing videos later…the beginning filmmaker now faces the daunting task of "what to get?"
So while I thoroughly recommend spending all your evenings and weekends dedicating your life to reading gear reviews, here is an essential summary of the DSLR essentials…so your station can fast-forward to the actual point of all this, making cinematic videos!
|Canon 550D/ Laney / CC BY 2.0|
- Its recent updated version, the 70D, still doesn't have Magic Lantern
- Its swivel LCD screen is essential for low and high shots, which is not an option in the 5D Mark II and III or the 7D
- The lower-end Rebel cameras have short battery lives and clunky ISO, aperture, and White Balance adjustments
- You can actually monitor audio with your headphones, with this cable.
|Radioactive lenses--group shot/ S58Y / CC BY 2.0|
But once we could afford them, we've saved ourselves many headaches with lens changes and shaky video by moving to Image Stabilized ("IS") zoom lenses.
- Canon 17-55mm f/8 IS is on our cameras 90% of the time for Indie Alaska videos.
- Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 IS is what we use for our interviews and telephoto. It's expensive and heavy, so if your budget doesn't allow for it, you can sacrifice some low-light sensitivity by going for the Canon 70-200mm f/4 IS.
- Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 for wide angle, walking shots, in car, small space, slider shots, steadicam, and generally cool wide shots.
- As an alternative, the Canon 24-105 f/4 IS can serve as one all-around lens for just about any shot, as well as interviews. But it's not ideal in low light, unless you move into the higher-end DSLRs (like the 5D or new Canon Cinema cameras) which can record high ISO video without much noise.
- We also have a couple Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 non-IS lenses that are great for interviews locked down on tripods, but lack of IS keeps it out of our bag anytime we go out to shoot in the field.
- Because it's small and relatively cheap, I recommend keeping a Canon 50mm f/1.4 (or the super cheap f/1.8) in your bag anytime you have really low light or want that razor thin cinematic depth-of-field effect.
This is the first post in a three-part series outlining the necessary equipment for a day of shooting beautiful, high-quality video for the web. Check back next week to learn about audio, rigs, and lights.