HD SLR Video: Getting Started with a Basic Setup

In talking with my friend and HD SLR innovator, Vincent LaForet, he offered some good advice for those just getting into HD SLR video: Keep it Simple.

Well, I am just getting into HD SLR video, and I took his advice.

Here is my simple (starter) setup for images and sound - and why I use this stuff:

Rode VideoMic - Camera Mounted Shotgun Microphone. The sound quality is very good and I only have one thing to worry about (as opposed to a transmitter/receiver lapel mic set up). Also, the mic plugs directly into the camera (or an accessory recorder). Because it's not wireless, there is no chance for interference, which I have experienced even with a very good transmitter/receiver mic setup - even when I turn off my iPhone. :-)

If you use an on-camera mic, be sure to turn off the IS and AF features on your camera. Those tiny sounds will be picked up big time.

Want more professional sound? Check out the Zoom recorder. That's the recorder I use for my DPE on-site interviews.

Induro CT 214 Tripod. Steady as a rock and supports the longest lens I use for video: 70-200mm f/4.

If you plan to use longer lenses or other accessories, you probably want a heavier tripod.

Manfrotto 501HDV Fluid Video Head - Supports up to 13.2 lbs (6kg). Lets me move the camera in any directly smoothly and easily. As a bonus, the handle makes me feel like a pro. :-)

A fluid head is an essential accessory for steady shooting.

Canon EOS 5D Mark II Digital Camera Kit with Canon 24-105mm f/4L IS USM AF Lens. I like to travel light. This lens is very versatile for people and scenic shots. What's more, at the wide settings, I can hand-hold the setup.

Another favorite lens of mine is the 17-40mm. I shoot more wide-angle stuff than tele stuff.

Lexar 32GB Professional UDMA 600x CompactFlash Card. Reliable and plenty of space for shooting several segments.

Don't leave home without plenty of memory cards (and batteries).

For more HD SLR video/sound information, check out the Digital Photo Experience. Juan Pons posts some good stuff there, as does Art Howard. We also have a interview with Vincent on the site!

Explore the light,