Modern DSLR cameras have the highest quality lens selections and the most accurate exposure systems ever available. Brands such as Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Pentax, Sony, Panasonic, among many others, feature high quality digital cameras that produce the most technically perfect images ever made. These brand name product lines also make a point to be represented among the more popular and affordable entry level models that are commonly available. They do this without sacrificing product quality and while providing compatibility with their vast array of high quality interchangeable lenses and accessories.
This brings us to the place where we consider that these high-quality cameras are also capable of making great videos. So, what’s stopping us from bringing these impressive collections of lenses, electronics and accessories into the world of videography?
First is the problem that they aren’t shaped or configured for optimal video work. It’s difficult to hold them steady and check your settings while you’re shooting live action. DSLR cameras are sometimes a bit small for shooting steady video and their weight distribution may be wrong for that application. Another issue is that when you add external flash units, microphones and other video accessories the whole package becomes almost unmanageable.
The Solution is to Build a Video Rig
For a basic, versatile rig a popular option is a shoulder mount set-up. Start with a good paring of baseplate and camera cage. We’ll get to some pictures of actual products below. You attach rails to the baseplate. The role of the baseplate is to allow attachment of popular accessories such as handles and to form the base for a method of shoulder support. A quick release baseplate is preferred so that you can move the camera and cage to other shooting angles without much bother. The camera is secured within the cage which helps protect the camera from bumps and impacts that are common occurrences during video shoots. The shoulder mount configuration brings considerations that should be thought through before you buy your rig.
Electronic Viewfinder, External Monitor and Mounting Equipment
Professionals will want an electronic viewfinder, external monitor and the mounting equipment needed to attach them.
Counterweight for Balance
A rear mounted counterweight will improve your work by placing the weight above your shoulder which brings to mind the possible need for shoulder padding that will be true of some set-ups.
Another useful item that’s highly recommend for the complete DSLR video kit includes a follow focus that will provide the confidence of repeatable and smooth focus pulls and other video methods.
A matte box will remove glare and will also reduce the possibility for refraction within your lens.
You will want to add a mountable compact LED for lighting. A portable audio recorder will make for professional quality sound recording. Many videographers will consider accessories such as an external power solution as indispensable.