How to Shoot Great Video With a DSLR

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Using DSLR Controls for Video

DSLRs are primarily built for shooting still images, which is one of the drawbacks to using one for video. Because of a DSLR's relatively compact size and ergonomic design, a lot of controls need to be incorporated into a small product. In most cases camera controls are easy to locate, but for fine controls such as color setup, ISO settings, and other adjustments, you have to dive into the camera's menus. This makes things awkward if you want to change your settings while you're on location.

From the camera-controls perspective, consider the following items when shopping for a DSLR.

1. Again, try before you buy.

After you work out what kind of shooting you will do on a regular basis and use this info to figure out what kind of camera you need, play with your selected camera models. Look at the menu controls, determine which ones you'd access most often, and decide whether you'd be able to adjust them quickly on location.

2. Choose a camera with custom modes for video.

Many DSLRs have user-defined settings on their mode dial that you can employ to access saved in-camera settings on the fly. Ideally, you want a camera that lets you save custom settings for video; some of them offer this functionality only for still images. The cameras I'm familiar with allow a lot of customization, but the settings do require time to set up. Changing setups on the go isn't always the most efficient thing to do, so the key is to plan beforehand and have your controls ready at the click of a button, if possible.

3. Consult the crowd.

You can find many online forums that will talk you through the best color settings and other variables in different shooting environments. A solid, dependable forum is an invaluable resource for any videographer, and enthusiast forums such as the ones you'll find in the realm of videography usually produce accurate responses quickly.

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