Video with your DSLR Week: Shooting Video the DSLR Way

August 1, 2010


[Editors Note: This week is “Shooting Video with your DSLR” here on DPE with Rob Sheppard, Art Howard and Juan Pons. We will be bringing you a new article every day this week, make to sure to check them all out!]

I love using my Canon EOS 7D for video. It is truly a lot of fun! This week, we are going to look at video for DLRs. This post starts the week by showing you a video I did this spring. This kind of video was possible in the past (I have shot with camcorders of all types and have shot video professionally), but neither as easy or as fun as using the 7D. I will refer back to this video to talk a bit about some of the things to think about as you start to explore shooting video.

So, check out the video above and I will tell you a bit about what I used.

As I said, this was all shot with a Canon EOS 7D. This camera and lenses make for a very compact kit of gear. Since the camera is using an APS-C size sensor, the lenses are smaller for the same angle of view as larger sensored cameras. I do not need the high ISO/low noise characteristics of the larger sensors, so I appreciate the smaller and lighter gear. HD video in Canon cameras is at 1920×1080 pixels, period. It does not matter how big a sensor is in megapixels or physical size, the resolution of HD video in these cameras is about 2 megapixels. That is the standard for HD video (along with 1280×720) and this cannot be changed.

I shot with a Canon 50mm macro for the really close shots of the bees. I do have extension tubes that I can use with the macro lens, but I really did not need them here. I used the Canon 10-22mm EFS lens for the wide shots, including the wide close ups. For really close work with that lens, I will add a Canon 500D achromatic close-up lens. I love wide-angle close ups and this is one thing that absolutely thrills me about shooting DSLR video. Wide-angle shooting is challenging to difficult with traditional video camcorders, but it is a breeze with a DSLR.

Audio was captured with a Sennheiser MKE-400 microphone. Audio from the camera’s microphone would have been worthless. The Sennheiser is a low-priced, quality shotgun microphone that narrows the angle of acceptance for audio, plus it is just a lot better mic than the one in the camera. This mic comes with a windscreen of sorts, but I am not impressed with it. I added a furry windscreen made to fit the unit from They have a great selection of very reasonably priced windscreens.

The low angle shots are from a bean bag and a GlideTrack sliding camera mount. The latter also gave me the close-up moving camera, although it needed a little dry grease because the moves were not as smooth as they can be.

Once I learned that these bees are totally non-aggressive from the Stokes Guide to Observing Insect Lives (a wonderful nature book, by the way), I relaxed among them as I shot. I had bees bouncing off of me (that would probably freak some people out). The point of that is not being brave about bees, but that knowing your subject can really make all the difference in the world for this type of nature shooting. You need a variety of shots for video and it helps to know enough about your subject that you can work it to get that variety.

If nature and photography are in your interest range, check out

, ,

This post was written by:

- who has written 27 posts on The Digital Photo Experience.

Rob Sheppard is the author/photographer of over 30 books, the editor-at-large for Outdoor Photographer magazine, and a nationally known presenter and workshop leader. His specialities are nature photography and helping photographers with digital technologies from getting the most from small sensors to Lightroom to Photoshop. Check out Rob’s websites at and

Contact the author

One Response to “Video with your DSLR Week: Shooting Video the DSLR Way”

  1. Tom Arbour Says:

    Rob- You gave me one little idea in this that I had never thought about, and in all my readings about digital photography, I had never heard anyone mention before- using a close-up lens with the wide angle Canon 10-22. I’ve been thinking of ways to replicated the close-up wide angle capabilities of the Canon point and shoots with a DSLR, and I just didn’t think it would be possible. Thanks for this great idea!



Leave a Reply