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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Gear Up For Video

A look at some of the key accessories one pro uses to make top-quality HD video with his DSLR

This Article Features Photo Zoom

Sennheiser MKE 400
Digital SLRs come with microphones built in, but these mics are small and cheap, plus they’re nonselective in recording. The solution to better audio is as simple as purchasing an external microphone that plugs into your camera and can be used separately from the camera itself.

A shotgun mic is a good all-around microphone for photographers shooting video because it’s easy to use attached to the hot shoe, convenient and delivers good sound. A shotgun mic limits what it “hears” to a narrow angle directly in front of the camera. In addition, the mount of a shotgun mic insulates the microphone from the camera body so that you don’t pick up camera sounds.

iDC Run & Gun
I use the Sennheiser MKE 400 (www.sennheiserusa.com), a small but effective shotgun mic, plus a windscreen sized specifically for it. (Wind noise settings on microphones aren’t as good as shaggy windscreens.)

Zacuto Z-Finder Pro
Hoods And Magnifiers
The LCD is your only way of working with video with DSLRs. There are some SLR-like cameras that shoot video and have an electronic viewfinder, and they allow you to see video as you shoot it both through the viewfinder and the LCD. Regardless, you’ll generally find that the LCD is easiest to use for shooting video.

Hoodman HoodLoupe 3.0
The problem is that the LCD isn’t always easy to see. An LCD hood and magnifier can help you better compose and focus your video shots. The hood mounts to the back of your camera over the LCD and includes a magnifier to allow you to better see the LCD.

These come in a variety of shapes, sizes and prices. Whatever you get, be sure that it completely covers your LCD. In addition, be sure that you can mount it securely to your camera. I’ve found that the iDC Viewfinder Kit ((www.idcphotography.com) improves upon the basic glare shield made by Hoodman (www.hoodmanusa.com) by adding a base plate and magnifier to the very useable hood and magnifier. I also like the Zacuto finders (www.zacuto.com) a lot. They’re finely made and they have excellent magnifiers built in.

Gitzo Traveler Monopod
A monopod gives you support and flexibility so you don’t have to hold the camera all the time and you can move quickly from one spot to another with the monopod still attached to the camera. This makes it ideal for shooting sports. I use a carbon-fiber monopod for its light weight. All major tripod manufacturers make good monopods.

Get a head for your monopod. You don’t need anything fancy as you’ll be panning by rotating the monopod, although if you want to do a lot of tilting up and down with the action, you need a fluid head.


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