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Super Secret Project - Shooting Video

In this day and age where most new DSLR’s have the ability to shoot VIdeo many people are trying to now figure out how to make it work. After so many questions have come in about how do I shoot video, where do I set my camera how do I do this and that, I thought it was time to start another Super Secret Project.

In this video I hit 5 things that you will want to think about when just starting out shooting video. (in no particular order)

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One of the first questions that comes in not just for photography but for video is what memory card make and class should I buy. There are many manufactures out there such as Sandisk, Lexar, Kingston and tons of others. I personally stay with Sandisk and Lexar cards for my personal cameras as they have been around a long time and are very reputable.

Now when it comes to speeds or classes of SD cards they offer Class 2-4-6-10 in SDXC SDHC and SD. This may sound confusing but just look at the speeds and we can go from there. The higher the number class the faster the card will write and transfer data as well as the higher the price.

I own a class 2 for my D3000 because it doesn’t do video and didn’t need a very fast card. In my D7000 I have both class 6 and 10 because that camera can shoot still images fast but also captures video in full 1080 hd. I have no run into any issues while using my class 6 cards while filming for extended times. (my cards are 8 gig, 16gig and 32 gig)

My recommendation would to not go with an SD card any lower than a class 6 in any of todays HDSLR’s. One thing to keep in mind that when transferring the files to your computer the higher the class the faster your offload speed will be.

Another major consideration is what are you going to do with the audio from your shoot. Are you going to use the built in microphone that will pick up all zooming, focusing and noise near the camera? Are you going to use external microphones to record the audio and than sync it up later in the computer? Are you going to bypass audio all together and use music or some other recording with your video. Or lastly are you going to used wired microphones to give you better sound.

With cameras like the Nikon D3100 you do not have a built in microphone jack. That means you have no way of connecting and getting audio right into the camera. There are external options like the Zoom H1 which you could record the audio separate and than sync it in the computer later.

For all cameras with a microphone jack external and wireless microphones will take your videos to the next level. Not only will you have much cleaner sounding audio but it will be synced up in the camera with your video. That is going to save you a ton of time in post and almost guarantee that your video and audio will be synced up.

Some of the options you have are microphones from Canon and Nikon that will sit in your hot shoe and pick up your audio in stereo. These are slightly better than the built in microphones and are good for picking up ambient noise but not ideal for capturing conversations at anything further than a few feet.

If you are capturing a person speaking to the camera like I am doing in this video you can use a wired or wireless lavaliere microphone which is going to give you clean and crisp audio. The microphone packs I am using will run you $450 for each kit. There are less expensive unites that are both wired and wireless that will get the job done.

It may sound funny but audio is what many times makes your video have more impact.

Another major concern for people just starting out with video is how do you focus and stay focused. Some of todays DSLR camera have auto focus video options. These options are very very new and do work sometimes but many times they can not keep up with the action.

The majority of the video that you shoot will be captured in manual focus. If you are hand holding you are going to than want to have one hand on the focus ring gradually moving it to lock onto your subject. You may want to look into something like the hoodman hood loupe which will allow you to see your LCD screen much easier which will help you focus. It is going to take some time to get used to manually focus during video but you will get very good at it.

Another option is to get onto a tripod and lock your focus in on a subject than switch the camera over to manual so the focus will not change. This is going to be great for interviews for example the video above. I pre focus on where I will be sitting and than switch the camera to manual so my focus will not slip. As long as your subject stays on the same plane your focus will stay where you set it.

Focus is going to be something that will take time to get used to doing but when your focus is locked and tight your video is going to look amazing.

Now that you are shooting video you have to ask yourself what am I going to do with this video, how am I going to edit it? Video editing is very time consuming and requires a lot of computer power to edit and render.

If you own a Mac your computer would have been pre installed with Imovie which is a very powerful but simple program to learn. It is gong to allow you to add effects, text, photos even picture in picture.

If you are on a PC there are many options out there for third party editing programs. I owned a program from a company called Pinnacle that gives you almost the same features that you would find in Imovie. Really all you need in a program is the ability to edit on your time line drop clips where you want them and export them into a format you desire.

I will have much more on editing as the Super Secret Project for video continues.

The last thing to think about when starting to shoot video is how are you going to store these huge files. If you are shooting 20 min worth of video you are going to be left with gigs and gigs of video data that you will be editing from. Just like we don’t toss out the raw files you probably will want to keep the original video files stored somewhere so you have the ability to go back and edit in the future.

A recommendation could be to have a separate external drive just to store your videos and one just for your photos. Now that will only give you one place to store your video its not exactly a backup. You may want to invest in multiple storage options and you start to create more video.

Storage will always be an issue but as time goes on the drives get bigger and bigger and the prices well they usually stay about the same.

Video is here to stay and there is no better time to start educating yourself in how it works. Learning this now will allow you to to be at the forefront of the shift that is occurring and save you time and money in the future. Your clients are going to ask you if you can record video for them and its going to feel really good personally and finically to say yes.

Good luck and please let me know if you have any questions. I plan on going into more detail about capturing DSLR video, editing, composing and more.