Cinematography Buyers Guide for HDSLR Users Mcpherson KS
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Cinematography Buyers Guide for HDSLR Users
A Cinematography Buyers Guide for HDSLR Users
Part 1 of 4 - LCD Viewfinder Loupes (x)
Part 2 of 4 - Follow Focus Units
Part 3 of 4 - Mobile / Shoulder Supports
Part 4 of 4 - Steadicams / Stabilizers
With the introduction of the Canon EOS 5D Mark II, Nikon D90 & D300s, Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GH1, and now the Canon EOS 7D filmmakers and cinematographers now have relatively inexpensive tools at their disposal to create video that offers the look of film. With their large image sensors, this new generation of HDSLR's (High Definition - Digital SLR's) are bringing cinema-quality DOF (Depth-of-Field) control to the masses. Depth-of-Field is the term given to the area of the scene (front to back) that appears in-focus. A large depth-of-field means that most everything in the scene will appear to be in focus, while a shallow depth-of-field means that only a small portion of scene will be in focus. Filmmakers use shallow DOF to help control where the audience should be looking and will shift the focus point when they need to move our attention elsewhere.
The reason why DSLR's are often favored over professional camcorders for filmmaking is due to both the larger image sensors and the ability to use a wide-variety of interchangeable 35mm lenses and f-stops. Larger image sensors will offer a shallower depth-of-field over camera's with smaller senses when shooting at the same focal length and aperture. This, combined with the ability to switch lenses, puts full creative control back into the hands of the filmmaker.
As with photography, shooting video may require some new tools (gear) and skill sets that many of you may not yet be aware of. While none of the gear below will turn you into a filmmaker by themselves these tools, when chosen wisely, can help to increase the overall production value of your final product and can help to set you apart from your competition.
I have grouped the products below into categories (shoulder mounts, steadicams, viewfinders, microphones and audio recorders) and have used manufacturer descriptions to help highlight the advantages of each of the products. You will soon discover that prices range from modest to expensive for most of this gear so it is important to think about the type of work you want to be doing before making such a large investment. It is very easy to be lured into wanting the latest tech gadget, but with prices that can easily exceed the cost of the camera itself you need to stay focused...
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