You want to shoot videos and just bought a still camera. Are you nuts?
If you had bought an actual video camera you could roll into a video shoot and be able to record video with audio for about a solid hour with no problems. Unfortunately, this is not the case with your DSLR.
Here are some things you absolutely must have for your average video.
1. Audio Recorder
The inputs on the 5D and 7D are practically useless, so spend the $200-400 on a portable audio recorder with XLR inputs. Which leads to my next “must-have”.
Syncing audio = a pain in the rear. You either have to mark each time you stop and start with your DSLRs OR, you could not worry about it and buy Pluraleyes to do it for you. This handy program runs in Final Cut (and a few other NLEs), looks at your audio and video in a sequence and syncs them up automatically. Seriously, it’s awesome.
3. A Way To Check Focus
Not really a “thing” you can bring, but still a must-have. Whether you get a view-finder magnifier or a monitor, staying in focus is one of the hardest parts to get used to in DSLR shooting. It’s not a good feeling to finish a shoot, load the footage and find out your best take was soft.
Depending on your shoot you may need a lot of these. A “real” video camera battery lasts quite a while. DSLRs generally don’t (you’re lucky to get an hour of shooting). Have extras. Lots of them. Your average 16GB memory card will hold under 50 minutes of footage. You may find the best solution is to have someone on the shoot dumping and formatting the cards as you go.
5. A Selection of Lenses
Sorry folks, no zooming here. Well, not really. Even if you buy a zoom lens, it’s nearly impossible to get a smooth zoom with one. Get used to moving the camera around. The best option may be to have a wide, medium and close-up lens in your kit and a zoom for emergencies. Plus it will make you feel like a real Hollywood DP (almost all feature films are shot on sets of prime lenses).
If you ask me, even with all of the hassles of shooting DSLR, the image quality is totally worth it. What do you think?