Losing my DSLR virginity.

I’ve seen them in use, read a lot about them and seen plenty of footage shot with them but never used one. I had been on a shoot where one was used for interior shots but never handled it myself.  I did actually direct a short film once where I used one for a wide angle shot but I didn’t operate it personally and it was a lesser known model; the nikon d5000.The other day we were given a workshop with the canon dslrs and were shown how the interface works, we then had a run through with the sound equipment (boom and zoom mics). We were then set the task to shoot a snippet of dialogue from The Dark Knight. It went quite well and we got some cool shallow depth of field in our shots. There was some confusion with the camera but luckily, two members of the production team (Tom and Adam) own dslrs themselves and know their stuff.

Today we had a workshop on lighting; something I have a lot of interest in but barely any experience. Lighting is important in film production and in some cases, can make or break a film. You can have spot on dialogue and performances but if the lighting is off, the mood is gone. This was very interesting and we got some cool looking high-key and low-key shots using the dslr. This lead to a discussion on what kind of lighting would suite our short film and how we would arrange the lighting in the location.

I still shoot on an old-school camera; the Sony VX2000, which shoots on mini dv tapes and I use a rode videomic which attaches to the hot shoe plate. I am not yet ready to upgrade yet as it still serves me well; I shot this mindless action short over the summer with it:


The main attractions to the dslrs for me is the brilliant shallow depth of field you get with them. Of course they have their downs, there’s no XLR socket (hence the zoom mics) and there is a slight diagonal distort (rolling shutter) when you move the camera fast. This film riot episode about them is quite insightful.


I’m looking forward to shooting our short film with all this new equipment and learning how to master it along the way!


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