Top Tips for DSLR Video Beginners

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

Since 2008 when Canon introduced their groundbreaking EOS 5D MkII camera with video capabilities, other manufacturers have followed their lead and now there's a host of high quality cameras out there able to capture high definition video with DSLR picture quality.

The big problem is, how many photographers actually use this feature? Or even know where to begin?

We caught up with Phil Barber, who alongside Rob Booker, are the key ‘moving capture' trainers at Aspire Photography Training in the Lake District, UK, owned and run by photo industry guru Catherine Connor.

Aspire's ‘moving capture' courses aim to give photographers an understanding of getting started in DSLR filmmaking.

As a photographer who has embraced the world of DSLR video Phil's given us lots of great tips on getting started on releasing the potential of your camera.

Top Tips for DSLR  Video Beginners

Understand your camera

It may sound obvious but you can't start making movies until you understand how to set up your camera. Individual camera models will vary. However, as with stills there are settings common to all of them.

Aperture should be treated as you would with stills, so a wide aperture gives a shallow depth of field - a lovely effect that lots old old school video cameras aren't able to achieve.

Set your shutter speed at anything faster than 1/30th sec. Our preferred setting is 1/50th. ISO should be treated the same as with stills photography, so adjust this according to your aperture and shutter speed settings.

White balance should be adjusted manually between shots to ensure consistency.

Frame rate - this is the number of frames per second and is not to be confused with shutter speed. The UK standard is 25 FPS, but we sometimes use a higher frame rate for slow motion shots.


For us, storytelling is the main focus. If the story is strong and told well it shouldn't matter what it is filmed on. Whether you're filming a wedding, a music video, a documentary or a feature film (it's important to have big dreams!) then the story is the key.

Entry Tags

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

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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