1 While image-stabilized lenses are very effective for still photography, handholding video clips will result in “rocky” video that distracts the viewer. Use a tripod for best video results.
2 Make sure the camera is level before you start shooting. This is especially important if a panning move is anticipated. Both the D90 and the EOS 5D Mark II have built-in grid lines that help you do this.
3 You can’t use electronic flash to illuminate videos, so you’ll have to shoot by ambient light or acquire a video light. Fortunately, the D90 and the EOS 5D Mark II provide excellent low-light image quality.
4 The built-in microphones will pick up camera noises (stabilizers, AF motors, flash units recycling if used for still shots). Plan accordingly.
5 It’s generally best not to zoom during a shot unless really necessary. If it’s necessary, zooming smoothly manually requires much practice—an advantage for the HD camcorders with their smooth power zooms.
6 Use the AE lock to lock in the initial exposure. Otherwise, distracting exposure changes may occur during a clip (for example, if a bird takes flight, showing its light wing linings, followed by the dark top sides of the wings as it flaps away).
7 With the D90 and EOS 5D Mark II, it’s probably best to set up a scene so that the initial focus point need not change. If the focus point must be changed during the clip, adjust focus manually (that’s how the pros do it).
8 While you’ll probably want to keep the sounds of the animals in wildlife videos, you might try adding music to a scenic video.
Camera Supports For Video D-SLRs
While image stabilizers in lenses and camera bodies work very well for handheld still photography, they aren’t really steady enough for video work. Any unintentional camera movement during a video clip will result in a jumpy on-screen image. For professional-looking videos, it’s best to mount the camera on a sturdy tripod. As an outdoor photographer, you probably already have one.
What you likely don’t have is a fluid head. While ballheads are terrific for still photos, making it easy to put the camera just where you want it and lock it there quickly and easily, balls don’t allow for smooth panning and other camera moves. If you want to follow a deer moving across the scene or pan peacefully across a beautiful sunrise, you need a fluid head, which utilizes hydraulic damping to provide smooth panning and tilting moves. Good fluid heads for the Canon EOS 5D Mark II and Nikon D90 start at around $350, and are available from such manufacturers as Gitzo and Manfrotto. You don’t need an all-out pro fluid head (which can cost thousands of dollars), but you do want a fluid head with a built-in bubble level; if the camera isn’t level, a panned shot will look very bad.