Making the Switch to dSLR Video
I am a video producer looking to switch over to dSLR video for all of my productions. I have been shooting SD for 7 years now so it will be a big transition for me. Hopefully, this isn't too big of a question. So I need help with:
1. Camera recommendations - I already own a Nikon so what would be a good Nikon camera to buy? (I was considering d7000)
2. Audio recommendations - What's the best way to record audio? What do I need to buy? (I currently own a shotgun mic that seems to be too large to fit on this small camera)
3. Editing - I use Final Cut Pro 5. What would be my workflow once I have shot everything?
Thanks for any input.
Keep in mind some things about switching over;
Focus. It is more challenging to focus a DSLR because of the large sensor and shallower depth of field. It's also easier to achieve an nice out-of-focus background.
Motion. The way the DSLR sensors capture images is different from traditional video cameras. You can easily get rolling shutter artifacts in your video if you move the camera too quickly. If you are shooting 1080i or 720p (60p), the artifacts are less obvious.
Record Time. Some DSLR's have record time/file format limitations. If you need to shoot really long takes, make sure you get a camera that can do that.
Audio. DSlR's have limited audio input's and control. (See answer to question #2)
Light. A big benefit of the DSLR is a high sensitivity to light. They allow you to shoot with only available light in some cases. When you do use additional lighting to enhance the image, you can get away with using smaller, less expensive fixtures.
Portability. Another obvious benefit of the DSLR.
[Melina Kolb] "3. Editing - I use Final Cut Pro 5. What would be my workflow once I have shot everything?"
Here is a great tutorial by Shane Ross that will put you on the right track: http://library.creativecow.net/ross_shane/tapeless-workflow_fcp-7/1
It's cheap to upgrade to Final Cut 7 and you gain access to the great ProRes codecs.
[Melina Kolb] "2. Audio recommendations - What's the best way to record audio? What do I need to buy? (I currently own a shotgun mic that seems to be too large to fit on this small camera)"
You'll need a dedicated audio recorder like the Tascam DR-100: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/599285-REG/Tascam_DR_100_DR_100_Profe...
You can feed your shotgun mic right into the Tascam.
You can feed your audio from the Tascam to your DSLR with this: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/287412-REG/Remote_Audio_CAFPTPAD_Ster... or sync your audio to your video in post.
[Melina Kolb] "1. Camera recommendations - I already own a Nikon so what would be a good Nikon camera to buy? (I was considering d7000)"
The Nikon might be a good choice. I don't have one so I can't comment on it. If you already have Nikon lenses, it would make it easy to use those for video.
Video production... with style!
You really need to upgrade to an Intel Mac, you are going to be doing a ton of transcoding with any camera you go with. I'm assume you are not on an Intel since you are using FCP5, I maybe wrong.
These cameras are NOT video cameras in there operation. While everyone loves the look and the pricing they are not for every situation. You need to tell us what type of shooting you are going.
Before asking questions it is always a good idea to read through what is already out there. Then ask specific questions that you still have. If you do you will fine this forum heavily weighted towards Canons but that seems to be changing. The D7000 and especially the Panasonic GH2 are getting a lot of focus now (and for good reason). There are also a ton of DSLR sites with active reviews of every camera out there. Check out http://philipbloom.net/blog/ he is a great resource and reviews a lot of cameras. He also links to a bunch of other people.
Thanks, I am currently on a 2GHz Intel Core 2 duo Mac. I shoot mostly hand-held, with the majority of content being interviews and events. I shoot documentaries and some journalism packages as well so being able to quickly get shots without too much setup is important.
I've been reading a lot of reviews on these cameras, but it seems not many people are focusing on just the video capabilities. I would love to be able to switch over not only because of the image quality, but for the convenience (size, price, need HD, can take photos too...).
[Melina Kolb] "so being able to quickly get shots without too much setup is important. " that is NOT what these cameras are know for. They tend to be slower movie style shots. But that is not to say they cannot be used for run and gun, there is just a lot to over come. You may want to look at the new Panasonic AF100 which will act more like a video camera but getting the right lenses can be tricky.
The are NOT convenient when compared to a video camera for video work, they are not cheap but the time you get all the stuff you need to make them work.
This is not to say that this cannot be done but you need to get the word easy out of your head, this is a lot of work to get it right but once you get it it is well worth the effort. I highly recommend Richards book also. That should be your first purchase. Since you have Nikon lens see about renting the D7000 and try it out for a weekend.
as for as reviews did you look on Phil's site, it is pretty much all video. Also google HDDSLR or HD DSLR and you should get more video hits.
[Melina Kolb] "I shoot mostly hand-held, with the majority of content being interviews and events. I shoot documentaries and some journalism packages as well so being able to quickly get shots without too much setup is important. "
IMHO you would be making a huge mistake to go with a DSLR camera for your video work.
Hand held = bad
They are not designed to "quickly get shots without much set up"
Thanks for the input everyone. I have found some other resources for anyone who is interested: http://nofilmschool.com/dslr/camera/ and http://www.dslrnewsshooter.com/. I also bought Richard Harrington's book so hopefully I can gain better insight.
I've spoken to other journalists and videographers who use DSLR video and while they do say it's not good for breaking news, it is very much possible to pursue documentary-style footage using these cameras. The main negatives I've found are figuring out how to stabilize your image if doing handheld (I've seen some shoulder rigs that people use, also invest in good tripod), dealing with the limited time you can do one shot (during interviews you can cut the shot while asking questions and/or record sound separate from camera and plan on using b-roll to cover the gap), and as mentioned before, the lack of audio controls (which can be remedied with separate audio recording and using sound sync software).
Though the downsides are annoying, I'd also like to point out the positives. For one, the ability of these cameras to shoot beautifully in low-light is unrivaled by any regular video camera. This will help me when I do events at night and I can avoid messing with additional lighting. Also, the small size helps detract attention and make it more portable, which is good when I am responsible for carrying my own equipment and need to do interviews in public without nosy people messing up my shots. And finally, I need a new still camera and HD video camera anyway so why not just pay to get 2-in-1? If I am on a scene and there happens to be a great photo op, or if something interesting is happening, I can pursue either medium, which is great for journalists these days who are expected to do everything multimedia.
So anyways, that's some food for thought.
May I kindly suggest you pick up a Copy of From Still to Motion which explores the entire workflow in 350 pages and 6 hours of video. Plus subscribe to the Cow podcast.
I will say the same advice I have given others... "You are suffering from not knowing what you don't know"
Any attempt to answer the questions you raised would be too little information and harmful
Richard M. Harrington, PMP
Author: From Still to Motion, Video Made on a Mac, Photoshop for Video, Understanding Adobe Photoshop, Final Cut Studio On the Spot and Motion Graphics with Adobe Creative Suite 5 Studio Techniques
Richard's quote"You are suffering from not knowing what you don't know" is what many of us in all fields of endeavor know as the dreaded UNK UNKS (unknown unknowns).
Those of us new to DSLR video do our homework (read reviews,forums,etc) before buying equipment, but it would be great if this forum's experience base could help us minimize UNK UNKS before we buy equipment. It would be very helpful if people already using DSLR video (shooting and editing also) could share the major UNK UNKS they discovered (both good and bad) once they were in field shooting.
In this regard would it be possible to start a thread titled UNK UNKS where people could post their major UNK UNKS once they began field use of DSLR video? To some extent these UNK UNKS are scattered throughout the forum, but I expect quite a few have not been mentioned due to focus on specific topics for each thread.