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DSLR Accessories

Andrea Allen
December 16, 2010 by Andrea Allen PRO

Step 4: Gearing up

When you purchase your camera, you don’t get a whole lot of accessories. It can be helpful to get some extra stuff to help you be prepared and shoot better footage. Here’s a list of common accessories for DSLR cameras.

Batteries: Get extra batteries! A full day’s shoot will use about four batteries. This goes without saying, but be sure to charge them all up the night before you shoot. It’s a big thing that is easy to forget. Establishing a workflow for getting prepared to shoot is essential.

Cards: Get some spare memory cards. It’s a good idea to use around 16 gigabyte cards so that if you accidentally format your footage, you haven’t lost everything. A 16GB memory card shooting at 1080p will give you approximately 30 minutes of recording time. Be safe with smaller cards!

Viewfinders: Use these to help steady the camera and get great focus.
Here’s an awesome tutorial that shows you how to turn your old camcorder’s viewfinder into one you can use on your fancy new DSLR camera!

Rigs: For additional stability, you can use camera rigs that allow you to shoot handheld for much longer. There are tons of companies that manufacture great shoulder rigs for shooting with your DSLR.

Microphones: DSLRs typically don’t have great on board microphones so you can buy external microphones to get better sound. Now things start to get totes crazy when you start mixing and matching things. For example, this tutorial shows you a handy way to put an external microphone on a shoulder rig on a budget!

ND Filters: Put this on your camera so you can maintain the shutter speed and aperture when you’re shooting outside.

Light panels: Use a light panel to add some extra light to what you’re shooting. If you’re indoors and grandma’s house has some dark nooks and crannies, throw up one of these handy light panels to shed some light on that situation. Sometimes the light in your videos makes all the difference, so don’t underestimate this accessory.

Dolly: Dollies give you smooth motions so you get really professional looking video!
Here’s a test clip using Philip Bloom’s pocket dolly by Cliff Watson.

*E***For extra credit:** Your fellow ingenious Vimeans have been hard at work making lots of accessories themselves. Head over to the Do It Yourself Shoulder Rig Lesson in Vimeo Video School and see if you want to accept our challenge!

Ready for a challenge?

So do you feel confident enough to go out and shoot something? Philip has a great starting challenge for you called “An Object.” Find an object and film it so that it’s interesting! Use all the techniques you learned, keeping in mind your white balance, ISO settings, and frame rate. Keep your video under two minutes and really push your boundaries with framing and DOF. Watch Phil’s example video here.

Accept this challenge
  1. Accessories are important as you start shooting. Learn about what you definitely need and things that you'll want for awesome looking videos.
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    If you're new to shooting with a DSLR, here are some things you'll need to know about lenses.
  3. 3.
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  4. 4.
    Shooting at night with your DSLR? This lesson will give you the tips for making your low light shots awesome.
  5. 5.
    Recording high quality sound for your DSLR can be tricky business. Here are a few ways to help you record.
  6. 6.
    This lesson covers a few simple changes you can make to your camera settings in order to get the best looking footage for your DSLR!
  7. 7.
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  8. 8.
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Annie Richardson

Do you have recommendations for stabilizers that won't break the bank when you are just getting started?


What I have found out after owning a DSLR filming kit for some time is that accessories can be more expensive than the camera itself. So buy these wisely.

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