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I have a DSLR that I've started using for video recording and I'd like to buy some accessories for shooting video. I know this could be subjective, but it doesn't have to be. I am looking for accessories for a DSLR that help with video recording, such as a follow focus, or shotgun mic. What are some important accessories for recording with a DSLR?

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4 Answers 4

up vote 6 down vote accepted

I'm biased, but before anything else, invest in AUDIO GEAR. Far too often, filmmakers forget to keep audio on an equal par with picture. Invest in some good, quality mics. Shotgun? Meh...a good, all purpose cardioid like the reasonably-priced ElectroVoice RE-10 can hold you over for a while until you get some audio recording practice under your belt.

Essential to MY toolkit is an H4N...an excellent digital audio recorder. It's small enough to hide on set, and I'll be honest...I've used it hidden behind a centerpiece to record a conversation at a table with no problems. They're stupid cheap, too...like...um...$299? I forget offhand.

The microphones in DSLRs are pretty much all crap from my experience; I use them more as a reference track than anything else.

Good audio will make your images sparkle even more!

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Thanks! Very helpful. –  daviesgeek Mar 14 '12 at 4:04
    
How do you insure on-camera voices to sync with an independent recorder? Are you using a gen-lock of some sort? –  filzilla Mar 14 '12 at 23:11
    
No genlock, I just use a slate. Hey, if it's good enough for hollywood... :) Take a little more time in post, but that's what we're stuck with. Some DSLRs have headphone jack inputs...but no real way to control levels, so you may get crap audio even if you're using good mics. Double-system is the way to go for now... –  dwwilson66 Mar 15 '12 at 0:39

Good advice in regards to sound from dwwilson66.

My favourite accessory for my camera is this shoulder rig. There are heaps of stores selling them on eBay for under $100. They're great for how much you pay.

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My personal and very subjective recommendation list:

  1. A sufficient number of SD cards, battery packs and backup drives
  2. Editing software (consumer SW like Sony Movie Studio will probably do)
  3. Tripod with fluid head to allow smooth tilts and pans
  4. At least one affordable objective with at least 2.8 aperture. E.g. Canon EF 50mm 1:1.8, Canon EF 85mm f/1,8 or Tamron SP AF 17-50mm 2,8 Di (this allows you to create the typical cinematic impression with shallow depth of focus).
  5. Decent sound equipment (e.g. Zoom H4N). If you want, you can add a boom and an additional mic via XLR cable.
  6. An additional making-of-camera (Normally I enjoy my own making-of's much more than the actual movie)
  7. An extreme wide-angle objective, e.g. Tokina AF 11-16mm/2.8.
  8. A Steadycam to get some action into the film (alternatively: camera crane or shoulder rig)
  9. Lights. Professional ones may be insanely expensive, but you might DIY something from color proof fluorescent tubes (e.g. Philips TL-D Graphica 58 Watt 950)
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1  
I do love that you list the 24-70 f/2.8 as an "affordable" lens. It's a great lens (the II variant is one of my favorites to shoot on), but "affordable" isn't the first thought that comes to mind on a $2000 lens. :) –  AJ Henderson Jun 26 at 4:00
    
:-D Sorry for that. My first idea was the Canon EF 50mm 1:1.8, which you can get for $100. The 24-70 was on my wishlist for $800, but I just realized that was second hand! OK, I edited the answer and replaced it by the sigma lens. –  nwsp Jun 26 at 8:37

I vote for audio accessories first then the rigs and tripods. Just want to mention that you can make a lot cool tracking shot stuff very cheaply with PVC pipe and skate wheels.

Here's a good example:

http://www.diyphotography.net/diy-pvc-table/skater-dolly-for-video-photography

The key to making this work well is to be very precise with where you make holes, and pay attention to the lengths of each item.

If you like this sort of thing but don't want to spend time building it, you might want to become familiar with folks that specialize in dolly, cranes, and sliders. Here are some examples:

under $300 http://cinetics.com/

way over $300 http://www.kesslercrane.com/

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That looks awesome! Will keep it in mind. Thanks!! –  daviesgeek Mar 14 '12 at 23:26

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