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From the author of Video Gear

Video Gear

An increasing number of digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) cameras have video capabilities, so let's examine some of the gear options for photographers who are interested in taking video a step further. The quality of the HD video on many of the recent cameras is amazing, but just as with still photography, gadgets and gizmos are available to enhance the features of the equipment you already have.

External Microphone

The audio that your camera can capture is probably okay, but in many situations it will be less than ideal. If the subject is too far away, the camera's built-in microphone probably won't pick up the subject's voice or sound. In a crowded and noisy room, you're likely to pick up more excessive background noise. Using an external microphone (see Figure 2) can eliminate those problems and give your videos some high-quality sound.

Figure 2 I use a BeachTek XLR adapter and external shotgun microphone to record audio with my Canon 7D.

Stabilizing Devices

Other types of equipment are useful for stabilizing the scene. A standard tripod and head will work fine if the camera is going to stay still throughout your recording; however, if you want any camera movement, consider getting a fluid video tripod head. This device will allow you to pan the view smoothly from side to side.

If you plan on moving around even more, think about getting a handheld video rig. You attach your camera to this setup, helping to stabilize the scene and make your video look less choppy. You can also attach equipment that will allow you to control focus and get a better view of the LCD monitor.

Many companies are creating really amazing equipment, but these things aren't cheap—it's easy to spend a lot of money on video equipment. If you're on a budget, you could search around for a way to make a do-it-yourself video rig. I've seen some pretty creative setups that people have made with a few simple products from the hardware store.

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