Video 101: 5 Tips For Better Videos While Shooting On Your DSLR

Filming video with your DSLR can be an easy and cost effective way to incorporate a different type of original content to your blog. Most photography-based DSLRs are equipped with a function capable of shooting professional level footage. (Hey, professionals use HD DLSRs all the time, like the Canon 5D Mark II, even when shooting commercials!)

While shooting moving image with your DSLR can be fairly easy, here are simple some tips to get better quality video.

Use a tripod. DSLRs are actually quite light compared to other video cameras, so having something to stabilize it is extremely helpful when trying to get a steady shot. Also, having your hands free makes adjusting the focus, etc. easier. If you don't have a tripod, you can find a flat surface to rest the camera on.

Don't zoom while you're recording, as it can be distracting and jarring to the audience. If you need to get a closer shot, it's better to pause recording and change positions, or change positions while recording if you're subject cannot pause. Zooming too much can also cause graininess in your image.

Test your audio before you begin recording. If you are planning on recording audio with your video, make sure you test the microphone, person, and environment before you begin. Some settings may have an echo, some people speak very softly, sometimes your microphone isn't plugged in properly — the possibilities are endless. Fixing a visual glitch is much easier than fixing an audio one — trust me on this one, it's better to be safe than sorry.

Check your lighting. How does it look through the lens? Like photography, be wary if spaces that are too dark or bright, shadows, etc. Again, using the camera's white balance and testing the settings out before your actual shoot.

Framing your subject. When filming a subject, it's possible you may be moving around. Be careful you aren't chopping off the top of someone's head or only framing your subject in the center. Think about how you want the end product to look ahead of time and apply it as the action is happening.


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6 Responses

  1. snowblackblog

    Thanks for the tips! I am planning on starting a Youtube channel this fall but want to get a good video camera that is not expensive. Does anyone have any recomendations. My camera is a Canon 50D but does not film, and I want something automatic so that when I film myself I won’t need someone to control it for me. Any suggestions welcome 😉

  2. Jennie

    Hey guys,
    Thanks for the article.
    I am concerned about how to get the best sound when filming outside. The wind is always a big problem in Manhattan 😉
    If anyone has some advice, I will gladly read them.
    Also, when editing your video, what software do you use?
    Thanks a lot.

  3. Ling

    Great tips. I recently bought the Canon 650D and it has an automatic focus feature which is actually a nightmare because it actually jerks a lot. Manual focus is difficult too because you can’t really tell if you are in focus until you watch the video back on the computer. Perhaps it was the lens I was using… Also, the autofocus makes a lot of noise feedback so investing in a mic was a costly option – I haven’t bought one yet so I had to do voiceovers. I am a DSLR noob! 😛 (the DSLR vid is

    Saying that, I had much better results in terms of focusing and mic with my canon predecessor which is a Canon G12. And you can see vids I recorded on my other YT channel which is LipStalkerTV on YT. (Won’t link it up because I don’t want to be a link bomber :P)

  4. Tara

    @Jenne – thanks for the suggestion cause I’m looking for something like that too… I have plenty of microphones but the video is the part that I have to worry about.

    Can’t wait to start!