Digital SLR cameras are popular with photographers and filmmakers alike. Their affordability, high quality picture and general portability, makes them very attractive as a video camera – but is this a good choice for making your business videos?
The answer to this will depend on a number of factors. First of all, have you used a DSLR before? If you are familiar with the controls and happy with using manual mode then you will find this camera a good choice. The detachable lens offers good low light performance (depending on what lens you have attached) and controls such as the zoom focus and light meters can really help you get a great looking picture. The DSLR format also boasts a huge range of useful accessories with something for every budget.
If you have not used a DSLR before then you might find this camera less easy to use. It is designed to primarily take photos, so the controls are not as accessible as on dedicated video cameras. If you are not careful it is easy to take a photo instead or change a setting that is not right for using when taking video footage. It does of course have an automatic mode, although for video the results are often less than perfect with unexpected focus changes and image brightness adjustments potentially ruining your takes. If you want to use a DSLR for your video, then you really need to learn how to use it in manual mode. If you don’t fancy this, then maybe a DSLR is not for you.
The next consideration will be around budget, as previously mentioned you need a good lens to obtain good low light performance. This might not be an issue if you are filming outdoors or if you have an adequate lighting set-up, however if you need something a bit more versatile then the bundled medium spec lens will not be up to the job. Many DSLR buyers opt for a ‘body only’ purchase and invest in a better lens for this reason. Of course as with any other camera set-up, you will also need to allocate some of your budget for a decent tripod, maybe some lights, a background and audio equipment too. It is best not to think about the camera as being a single purchase but as part of a bundle of equipment that all works together.
The final point is not necessarily DSLR related but is an important consideration for any video set-up; sound. Although the camera has a built in microphone it is not going to be that much use to you. As with all built in microphones they just are usually too far away to pickup up good sound. This means you will need to consider an alternative, this could be a tie clip style microphone on a long lead or could be that you record sound separately and sync it up when you edit. Some DSLR’s have been noted to have poorer quality sound recording capabilities, possibly due to the basic fact that what you are using is a modified stills camera and somewhere there will have been some compromises.
So, is a DSLR right for making your videos? If you like cameras, and you want to get your hands on buttons and menus then yes, it will be. If you prefer a ‘point and shoot’ or maybe just want something that was originally designed for recording video then maybe you should consider another option.