Top Tips for DSLR Video Beginners

April 26, 2012 | Mark Goldstein | Photography Techniques | 14 Comments | |
Top Tips for DSLR Video Beginners Image


This is where most of the work goes in. Like any project, the more preparation you put in at this stage the easier your job will be on the shoot, and there'll be much less likelihood of missing shots or making errors. At this stage we create a detailed storyboard of the whole film scene by scene, including specifics like placement of lighting, camera angles and positions etc. We try and get a good range of shots for each scene - wide angles, close ups etc. to give us more scope in editing to create something dynamic and engaging. It's also important at this stage to sort out locations and decide what you need to hire/buy in terms of equipment and lighting.


This is something that, as photographers. we've never had to consider before but in filmmaking it's half of the equation. You'll need to think about the audio you need to capture. If you're making a music video then the audio will be provided for you, but if you're recording audio then you'll need an external microphone as the one on your camera won't be high enough quality or close enough to your performers most of the time. You'll also need a high quality external recorder. All this equipment can be hired relatively cheaply.

Top Tips for DSLR  Video Beginners

The Shoot

If your pre production has been done well then the shoot will go smoothly. If you're working with a team of people it's always important to have a designated role for each of the team members such as director (who's responsible for keeping the shoot on track), cameraman or sound guy. Of course if you're a team of one you'll have to multi task, although disagreements between the crew will be minimal! We always download cards onto a laptop throughout the day and back it up onto two external hard drives - if you think stills take up lots of storage space wait till you fill your drives with video files!

Top Tips for DSLR  Video Beginners


The look, feel and pace of a film can be greatly enhanced by good editing. This is where all your hard work preparing and shooting comes together. Editing can be used to evoke emotion and create pace and drama. You can afford to use your creativity at this stage, but remember that most good editing isn't really noticeable, and tricksy jumps and cuts can look jarring. The final stage is putting a colouring/grading onto the video to create mood and atmosphere.

However the real beauty of DSLR filmmaking is that, as photographers, you can transfer your creativity to a new discipline and have fun experimenting with your camera.

Aspire has brand new one day Moving Capture taster workshops coming up on 11th July - more details soon at or call 01524 782200 to book your place.

Phil Barber and Rob Booker also run their own business - - which runs video capture workshops based in Leeds.

Entry Tags

hd, movie, camera, video, dslr, canon, eos, film, 5d, 1080, shoot, create, make, high deinition, record

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14 Comments | Newest Oldest First | Post a Comment

#1 Abhishek

I Like This Techniques

12:26 pm - Thursday, April 26, 2012

#2 jeff

I do apologize but come on! this article provides zero information just intro fluff.  In a time where photographers are being bombarded with “educational” opportunities for a “small” tuition would anyone really want to waste a weekend at a workshop where this type (lack of) info was presented. 

If I asked any layman off the street to write up an article on video they could guess and get all the info presented here.  It would be more informative to watch the extra behind the scenes material found on most DVDs.

2:05 pm - Thursday, April 26, 2012

#3 rob

This is, indeed, a bare-bones approach to an instructional article.

There’s lots of blogs and web sites dedicated to dSLR video shooting, such as,, -or- There’s many more, of course.

Then, there are user-fora at individual manufacturers’ sites, where you can find many valuable pieces of information, tips and advise. Just look around the web…

4:12 am - Sunday, May 6, 2012

#4 Photographers Melbourne

I went through your post and found it quite informative. I have recently bought an SLR and captured some videos. Those were really amazing. SLR’s took photography to a next level. Thanks for all these tips.

1:14 pm - Wednesday, May 9, 2012

#5 Asim jairajpuri

good read..

4:24 pm - Tuesday, June 19, 2012

#6 keng

Great article. I had chance to work with many photographers switching gears back and forth between video and photography in NYC area especially in the last 3-4 years. It seems like this is becoming “the fact” of the industry.  As a sound recordist I have to say that I’ll take a photographer to a videographer from film background any day. It always seems like photographers have patience towards creating better shots, or overall work on the set more vs. relying the work on the post. As a sound guy worked on films for many years, this helped me to find my new group of artists that I started to love to work with once again.

I absolutely support photographers who are also interested in video. Joy to work with. If you need any questions regarding sound on DSLR I’ll be happy to answer.
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4:47 pm - Monday, July 2, 2012

#7 james _

Great intro with cameras like the Canon 1DX, 5D MKIII and 1D MK 4 you can record video just under 30mins straight really useful, if you are in an interview situation where you don’t want to be stopping or missing dialogue due to 4GB or 12 min limitiation.

3:49 pm - Wednesday, September 26, 2012

#8 Jeff Turnbull

I’ve only just come across this post and I think it’s great.

I’m a believer in keeping things simple and the first time that I used the HD video on my Canon Mk2 (which was for an interview) I was blown away with the results.

3:37 pm - Thursday, November 1, 2012

#9 PhotoWalkPro

This is just a little nit picky but Canon was not the first to market with a DSLR that shoots video. Nikon introduced the World to DSLR video capture first when they introduced the D90. The 5D MkII came out shortly thereafter.

3:31 am - Monday, November 12, 2012

#10 Colorain

Useful article, Thanks

8:49 pm - Saturday, December 1, 2012

#11 The Video Man

Great intro article for DSLR filmmakers. There’s also some more technical tips that apply to all cameras when setting up a DSLR to shoot film like video. One of the most important, I think, is to set your picture profile with sharpness and contrast all the way down and somewhat decreased saturation. This will make a huge difference to get the best out your DSLR in terms of latitude. You’ll get images that will be easier to grade in post. Also, don’t forget to turn off your “Highlight Tone Priority”! Happy shooting

9:09 am - Thursday, March 21, 2013

#12 Nick Wood

This article is a fine introduction to video use on your DSLR.  Many guys especially those looking to get into weddings are starting to see the value of using the video feature and this article is a good place to start.

well done

5:03 pm - Monday, April 1, 2013

#13 Kerrie Wood

Any budding wedding photographers out there need to take note - using your DSLR for wedding photography is an increasingly important skill.  Dont underate it or ignore it.

9:38 am - Tuesday, June 25, 2013

#14 Marc

Great starters guidelines! Thanks for sharing!

8:15 pm - Sunday, August 23, 2015