English
Powered by Google Translate

What is in the Camera Bag for HDSLR Video?

What is in the Camera Bag for HDSLR Video?What is inside your camera bag for a video shoot? Here is a peek inside my camera bag before I head out to do some lens testing (Takumar vs. Canon) on a cold day. I am traveling on foot and thought you may find it interesting what I chose to include in my bag for this outing.

What is in your bag when you are headed out to do video? Share your recommended gear in the comments area below.

For anyone who is interested, items in the video are linked below:

If you found this post informative, please be sure to spread the word using one of the “Share this page” links below.

DSLR Shoulder Rig: A brief history of the shoulder-mounted video camera

The face of professional video cameras has changed a lot over the last several years, bringing ever more capable cameras like the Canon’s 5D Mark II, Mark III 6D & 70D and Panasonic’s GH2 & GH3 and Nikon D600 & D800 into the hands of the amateur and professional alike. What used to be two distinct markets, video camera, and movie camera, have now nearly merged into one.

Shoulder mounted camera - Camcorder - DSLR Comparison

I remember when I first heard about DSLR cameras getting video capabilities. At the time, I owned a Panasonic DVX100 and I was not sure why anyone would want to capture video with a DSLR when they lacked the much-needed features only available on professional video cameras. Well, times have changed rather quickly and thanks to tools like Magic Lantern, the DSLR can now compete with many of the professional video cameras. In fact, many DSLRs like the Canon 5D Mark III are being considered professional video cameras in their own right.

Betacam SP Camcorder by KMJ - WikipediaEven now, some electronic news gathering (ENG) organizations are choosing the DSLR for its portability and the robust capabilities housed in such a small form factor. As sensors have gotten better, and most recording mechanisms have moved to solid state, the need for these large cameras is shrinking along with the cameras themselves. However, many news gathering cameramen and camerawomen love the stability a large shoulder mounted camera provides, but many of them also have related back problems brought on by lugging around such a large camera.

In the early 80’s the Betacam was introduced and it was one of the first, and most successful video cameras with on board recording. Before that, these types of ENG cameras consisted of a shoulder-mounted camera with a separate backpack or shoulder pack that held the recorder portion, which was then connected to the camera by cable. At least the two-unit system provided for some weight on the other shoulder helping equalize the pressure on the spine a little.

Ikegami Electronics HL-33 Camera by Fletcher6 - Wikipedia

Fortunately technology has progressed and we no longer have to haul around huge weights on our shoulders to achieve great video results… or do we?

From the looks of many of the recent DSLR camera rigs on the market, you would think we are moving backwards. I am quite perplexed as to why so many camera support manufacturers think that placing everything back on the shoulder, creating offset plates, and even adding counter weights is such a great idea. Fatigue is a huge factor when hauling around so much stuff and it eventually affects the resulting video and the health of the operator. Ergonomics seems to take a back seat as designers reach to the past rather than reaching forward for new, more innovative designs.

Manfrotto Fig RigA few manufacturers have created small shoulder braces. Unfortunately, they sacrifice stability for portability in hopes of providing a lighter option for those operators not wanting to haul around so much weight.

Occasionally a new idea will come to market such as the Fig Rig, which puts the camera on a hoop that is supported with both hands. This design ended the myth that stability and good video results could only be achieved with large shoulder-mounted DSLR camera rigs. I am truly surprised that more manufacturers are not thinking outside the 1980s era shoulder-mounted Betacam box.

This is where the new DSLR Solutions Camera Rig comes in. The new camera rig design provides up to three stabilization points per arm giving you really stable video results without having to put additional weight on your shoulder and rig. It also gives the user many ways to comfortably grip the camera rig without needing to adjust a single handle.

DSLR Camera Rig - User

On top of that the design puts the camera in front of the operator (no electronic view finder (EVF) or offset plate required) and gives the ability to rest the rig on the waist between shots, which even allows for hands-free operation when shooting from the hip. Lastly, the DSLR Solutions Camera Rig opens up even more creative options with easy high- and low-angle capabilities.

It is an exciting time to be a videographer or filmmaker. New camera capabilities are continually being developed with increased resolution at lower cost in smaller form factors. I am personally looking forward to seeing even more simple and innovative designs brought to market.

More information about the DSLR Solutions Camera Rig can be found here: http://www.dslrsolutions.net

A. Spence
President/CEO
DSLR Solutions

P.S. Why do we carry such heavy burdens on our shoulders? Here’s a bit of humor from Neumann Films to lighten things up: http://youtu.be/ixVjpvrn7n4

Canon 50mm f/1.8 Follow Focus – Nifty Fifty Follow Focus – Version 2.0

Canon 50mm F/1.8 LensOne of the first lenses a DSLR video shooter usually purchases is the Canon 50mm f/1.8 lens. The main reason is price as the 50mm f/1.8 lens is around $200 less than its closest relative the Canon 50mm f/1.4 lens. However, do not let the low price fool you, the Canon 50mm f/1.8 lens (aka “Nifty Fifty”) is a solid performer, has great optics and provides excellent results for video. The main problem with the lens is the small focus ring. Not only is the focus ring very small, it is also tapers toward the front making it nearly impossible to attach any follow focus. Notice I said nearly impossible.

Awhile back we developed a follow focus solution for Canon 50mm f/1.8 lens, and while it works pretty well, I was never quite satisfied with the way marking focus points worked out. With that in mind, we went back to the drawing board and came up with a new Main Focus Arrow that is specifically designed to clip over the stainless steel handle and step up to the focus marker strap on the 50mm f/1.8 lens.

Here is a video detailing how Version 2.0 of the Canon 50mm f/1.8 Follow Focus works.

For our friends viewing this post via Feedburner, click here to view the video.

Order Your Follow Focus Here!

Focus Handles, Lens Handles and Zoom Handles: Not just for DSLRs

Many video shooters still do not realize the benefits of having a handle to help with focusing and zooming while recording video. Our premier product, the DSLR Follow Focus was initially developed to give DSLR video professionals an inexpensive on-the-go follow focus and rack focus option. However, over the past year, users are discovering just how nice it is to have a focus handle or zoom handle in their camera bag and are reaching for the DSLR Follow Focus time and again.

Focus Handles, Lens Handles, Zoom Handles: Four sizes

Well, the secret is out! We now offer the DSLR Focus Handle separately from the other accessories and video professionals from all over the world are using our handles on many different cameras and lenses to assist with focusing and zooming. Whether it is on a Sony PMW-EX3, Sony PMW-F3, Canon C-300 or Canon 5d Mark III using lenses such as Fujinon zoom, Zeiss Super Speeds, Canon L lenses, or Nikon Nikkor lenses, the DSLR Focus Handle is a fantastic option for a multitude of professionals.

Order Your Focus Handle Today!


Photo credit: Kelly McClure, Creative Monkey Photo

Many electronic news gathering (ENG) organizations find the DSLR Follow Focus especially useful for field work when traveling light is an absolute necessity. In addition, documentary filmmakers have told us how much they appreciate our product, noting that the best follow focus is one you have with you.



Photo credits: Joseph Friedman, Director of Photography

Starting at just $30 the DSLR Focus Handle is available now in four different sizes with custom sizes available by request. Check out the list of lenses the DSLR Focus Handle fits or measure your lens to determine what size you need.

Order Your Focus Handle Today!

Drop us an email
if you are using the DSLR Focus Handle and would like to send us a picture of it in action. We always enjoy hearing from our customers!

Magic Lantern: The Ultimate Canon DSLR Camera Tool

I often have the pleasure of speaking with customers directly and I am always surprised at how many Canon DSLR video shooters do not know about, or simply do not use Magic Lantern’s free Canon firmware enhancement for their DSLR video work. All I can figure is that people see the “Use this software at your own risk.” statement on the download page and decide that it is not for them. Let me just say that I will not shoot video on my DSLR without Magic Lantern. It is on every SD card I own and has turned my Canon 60d into a truly amazing tool.

The Magic Lantern Canon firmware enhancement provides so many of those missing features I had become accustomed to on more professional cameras such as my older Panasonic DVX-100. It even does some things the DVX-100 only dreamed of doing. Magic Lantern is not only for video work, but has loads of great features for any avid photographer.

Here are a list of features to help give you an idea of the power of Magic Lantern (my favorites noted in bold):

  • Audio: disable AGC, audio meters, manual audio controls, selectable input source (internal, internal+external, external stereo, balanced), audio monitoring via A/V cable.
  • Exposure helpers: zebras, false color, histogram, waveform, spotmeter, vectorscope.
  • Focus tools: focus peaking, zoom while recording, trap focus, rack focus, follow focus, focus stacking.
  • Movie helpers: Bitrate control, movie logging (Exif-like metadata), auto-restart after buffer overflow or 4 GB limit, HDR video, advanced FPS control.
  • LiveView adjustments: contrast, saturation, display gain for using LiveView in darkness.
  • Cropmark images: user-editable overlays to assist framing and composition.
  • Fine control for ISO, Shutter, Kelvin white balance and other image settings.
  • Bracketing: advanced exposure bracketing, focus stacking.
  • Remote release with LCD face sensor and audio trigger, without extra hardware.
  • Timelapse: intervalometer (for photos and movies), bulb ramping (manual and automatic), recording at very low FPS (down to 0.2 FPS), silent pictures without shutter actuation.
  • Astro- and night photography: bulb timer for very long exposures (up to 8h).
  • Info displays: focus and DOF info, CMOS temperature, shutter count, clock.
  • For strobists: flash exposure compensation, range up to -10 to +3 EV (depends on the camera).
  • Power saving: Turn off display or reduce backlight in LiveView during idle times.
  • Handy features: Quick zoom in PLAY mode, key shortcuts for commonly-used features, customizable menus.

If any of the above features sound interesting, head over to the Magic Lantern website and get more information on this amazing free upgrade to your Canon DSLR camera. Version 2.3 release note can be found here.

Version 2.3 works on camera/firmware
: 5Dmk2/2.1.2, 50D/1.0.9, 60D/1.1.1, 500D/1.1.1, 550D/1.0.9, 600D/1.0.2 — Installation instructions

Lastly, if you use Magic Lantern and like it, please consider dropping Alex and the team a few dollars for all their excellent work.

If you enjoyed this article, be sure to “Like” us on Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/DSLRSolutionsUSA

I hope you found this information helpful.

-Aric Spence
DSLR Solutions