DSLR and mirrorless cameras are great for video production work. They are small, light, simple and can make good quality video files. Even if bigger video cameras are your thing, these little devices are a great substitute for almost any kind of work. But, there are of course some things that can’t be done without external add-ons. Also, you need more time to set them up for some shooting themes.
Every video DSLR/mirrorless camera has their own unique drawbacks. We can’t discuss every camera model, but we can give you some tips on what are their 5 very typical problems you’ll need to think about. Bigger professional video cameras don’t usually have problems with such things but yet again they are bulky and heavy for a reason.
5 Things You Need with DSLR/Mirrorless Camera
1. Get a cage or a handheld rig
Photo cameras are very clumsy to hold them as a video camera. You’ll need a cage or a rig to carry it around and to put around some accessories. There are many possibilities on the market, find a suitable for your camera. A lot of them are specifically made for selected camera models.
2. Use external audio recorder and shotgun microphone
All of the cameras don’t really record great audio quality, that is why it is better to get an external audio recorder (we use a Tascam DR-40)or if you are using an external video recorder will be great too. But still, you’ll need a good microphone. We really respect the Rode VideoMic, which is even more focused and sensitive than the shotgun microphone that comes along with Sony professional video cameras.
3. Limit outdoor light with good ND filters
Working with photo camera outside is a pain because it doesn’t have integrated ND filters. Using correct shutter speed and aperture depends on the filters we have. If there is too much light, you’ll need to close down the iris, making the image focus depth of field less and less shallow. That is why it is important to have many different ND filters to get the correct exposure without setting the shutter and aperture of the device. You’ll probably have many ND filters for different lenses because they have different size of threads. It depends on the lenses you have. We personally like the Hoya filters, because they are well priced for the quality they offer.
4. Upgrade with external video recorder
If your photo camera supports external video signal in full quality, it is recommended to use an external video recorder. Not only it gives you better video quality, but you can record in unlimited runs and have better focus and colors overview. There are also other reasons; using bigger media drives for storage, a client can overview the shooting real-time and external recorders can be attached anywhere we want. Best known recorders on the market are Convergent Design Odyssey 7Q or a bit cheaper and also great Atomos Shogun Inferno. There are also many varieties that offer different recording options depending on the camera capabilities. For example, if you are using Lumix GH5 and you want to record 4K 60fps, you’ll need to choose at least Atomos Ninja Inferno to record such framerate at that resolution.
5. Replace with bigger external battery
Unless you use a Canon 1Dx Mark II for video production, you’ll have a big problem with battery life. All DSLR’s and mirrorless cameras have a small battery, which doesn’t give you a long time of video shooting. The perfect solution would be some kinda V-lock external battery, but it is also very expensive. A good alternative is using the Sony NP-F batteries which are easy to get and have a lot of energy. There are a lot of adapters making this possible.
In the end, you’ll have a big camera mess, because of all the add-ons you’ll need to get work done. Interesting fact, even if you’ll calculate the money invested it won’t be far from the professional video camera equipment. Maybe it will even exceed the budget. But still, you have the standalone DSLR/mirrorless camera, which can fit in a pocket and carry around for less important projects. And take pictures.