Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Need to know about modern shooting

So many times I get questions about how to use DSLR cameras such as the 5D, 7D, or T2i. I don't mind them but people think I have taken courses on them or something. To be honest I got my 7D in the beginning of the whole Hdslr awakening. I'd taken cinematography one, which was of absolutely no help to me in regards to camera, but other than that I was still in camera virgin land other than using cameras with dv tape. I just got into the whole letus adapter thing right before it became obsolete.

So how do you go about learning how to use a dslr? Basically, you have to learn about cinematography. That's going to be your main asset when using any camera. I had my 7D for a couple of months and everything was extremely overwhelming. I didn't find a book that spelled everything out for me but basically you need to know these things like the back of your hand:

Focal lengths
Shutter speed
Frames per second
White Balance

and the most important thing...
Post Production workflow. You can shoot the next Inglorious Basterds but have nothing to show for it if you don't get this down.

Also DSLRs have MANY hidden costs.
Harddrive for storing footage. $100+
Lenses $300-$2000
Want to shoot hand held? HH rig $250-$800
Follow Focus? $150-$450
Outside during the day? ND Filters $100

And thats just off the top of my head. These are all estimates by the way. So the nitty gritty. Where to obtain the knowledge of how to actually use your investment. I say investment because thats what it is. If you are just buying one to take cool pictures or cool video then save your money. But the source of all dslr information is...

the internet.

The one thing that is free with a dslr is knowledge. That's if you know where to look. I know that Philip Bloom gets a lot of flack because he's not the best filmmaker but man has this guy championed the age of DSLRs. He's made it mainstream and he has even put together a thing called Vimeo Video School. I wish these videos were out when I was starting out. Would have helped me lots.

The other guy I follow really closely is Robin Schmidt, AKA, El Skid

This guy is really in the same boat as all of us right now. He has done numerous music videos and things but still finds himself without a job. He wants to do narrative dramas and he understands how hard it is to break into that. He is currently embarking on a youtube angle to gain a crowd following. He also regularly posts problems and solutions he runs into along with reviews of products and of course some guides to dslrs.

And lastly everyone should sign up for the weekly email from
They have saved me when I was in a bind and didn't have time to set up a steadicam for a pushin type shot. Luckily I learned a magic trick from these guys that let me pull it off and ultimately turned out to be the best shot of the movie.

Ultimately, to get better at what you want to do, go out there and do it. You can get into intellectual arguments about frame rates and exposures and what not but to be honest nobody gives a damn. They care if it looks good, not if your frame rate was 30 or 24. (NEVER do 30). But in all seriousness go and test it and you will see what problems come up.

And don't ask me for help when I've given you everything you need to get started here. Lol. Thanks for reading.



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