Posted on by Tycho Smith

What Makes a Good DSLR Video Kit? Part #2


Last week, we shared with you the essential tools to build a basic video kit for your DSLR camera. Those kits are great for stationary production and entry-level practices. However, you will likely need additional tools if yo want to improve the visual results and/or shoot with movement.

Upgrade Your Visual: Lenses + Adapters + Filters

Lenses – When it comes to imagery, lenses are as important as your DSLR cameras. If you plan to shoot a video at many different focal lengths, understanding the focal lengths you’ll need is critical. This will help determine whether you need a wide lens, a telephoto lens, or something else. There are no shortage of great lenses on the market – so make sure you find the lens (or lenses) that will best serve your project.

Adapters – The lens choice doesn’t just depend on your project – it relies on what brand your DSLR is as well. However, there are also ways to use adapters to adjust the size of the lens to fit specific cameras. For example, if you have a variety of lenses, but your new DSLR doesn’t fit with those lens, an adapter could save your life.

Filters – Filters offer additional control over the quality of your imagery. This is a creative trick of the trade to help achieve sophisticated cinematic images. The most popular filter types are UV filters and ND filters.

UV Filters like its name suggested, filter excess UV light. Not only does it adjust the colors and temperature of the visual, it is particularly good protection for your lens.

ND Filters (for Neutral Density) help control the exposure of your visual. If you have never used ND filters before, just think of them as additional sunglasses for your lens. By reducing the amount of light entering your lens, without effecting color, these filters let you use different shutter speeds, smaller f-stop or lower ISOs, to make otherwise ordinary shots lively and eye-catching.

Upgrade Movement: Gimbal Stablizers vs. Steady Cams

Smooth movement is crucial for making a compelling video and is also one of the most difficult results to achieve. While a tripod provides basic stabilization when shooting still, you will need a steady cam, a rail, or a gimbal tripod when you start to add camera movements to the static scenes.

GIMBAL STABILIZER: Gimbal stabilizers are really popular nowadays. They are the hand-held stabilizers that are relatively small compared with the other stabilizing options.

A great gimbal is light-weight, perfectly balanced, and highly compatible. The price of gimbal stabilizer can vary from under $100, to $600+. If you’re shopping for a deal, you can focus on the most important features, which are weight and balance factors. The two MOVO gimbals listed below are perfect entry-level products with relatively light DSLRs (up to 5 lbs)

If you need advanced features like the ones listed below, you will likely pay a higher price ($300+). In that case, it is important to know the average battery life, which is an essential comparative factor.

  • Versatility – How easy is it to turn the camera smoothly while being on the move?
  • Balancing quality – How balanced is the camera when you make a sudden move, or run with the subject?
  • Advanced operation modes for different shooting situations
  • Battery life

One of the top-rated high-quality gimbals on the market is DJI RONIN

STEADY-CAM (AKA STEADICAM): A professional tool that works great with moving shots. A steady-cam stabilizer can support more weight than most gimbals. So if you have a heavy DSLR camera, or a heavy lens, steady cams will be a good option. Because both the steady-cam and its supporting cameras can be heavy, there are also “Steadicam Vests” that let you allocate the weight more evenly and allow for long-hour shooting days.


Final Thoughts

It takes some time to practice with these tools. We understand that it could cost a lot to keep adding accessories to your DSLR cameras for video quality boosting. That is also why we provide so many different versions of bundled packages to meet different needs while keeping the cost down