Why DSLRs are Great and Terrible for Video Production

video production dslr

You might not know the name DSLR, but you inevitably either have one or at least have seen one of these cameras. They are everywhere. DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) is a type of digital camera that blew up in both consumer and professional markets over the last 10 years. Originally, these were strict photography cameras. But in 2009, Canon released a huge breakthrough in the video production realm with the 5D, followed closely by the 7D. To keep it simple, these DSLRs allowed you to capture video in amazing quality that mimicked a Hollywood style for a reasonable price. That quality coupled with cheaper options for audio recording that became available gave anyone aspiring to become a filmmaker the tools they needed to get off the ground. The 5D had two upgrades later on, 5D Mark II and Mark III.

Since then, DSLR cameras have become available in various types, brands and levels of complexity, making it easier for anyone to do video — and this is where DSRLs have hurt more than helped filmmakers. When I say anyone, I mean anyone. Some DSLRs, though not as high-quality as others, still produce amazing looking video while making the means of capturing that footage as easy as enabling a preset.

Video Production is a Collaboration of People and Equipment

Recently, Canon released its latest upgrade, the 5D Mark IV. It has been most anticipated by DSLR filmmakers, but upon the announcement of its specs, the release was met with a resounding groan. The majority of DSLR filmmakers were bummed because they wanted more ease, along with the capabilities of higher-end cameras, all compacted into one cheaper, smaller model. There is not one camera that will work for every video production. Every camera has traits and setbacks that others won’t. DSLR’s are great at capturing low-light and are extremely compact. They’re a great camera option for “run-and-gun” filmmaking where you have to capture moments as they happen and don’t have time to set up lights or change settings. Blackmagic Design introduced the Ursa Mini 4.6k that allows an incredible amount of dynamic range, but low-light isn’t it’s

The reality is, there is not one camera that will work for every single video production. Every camera has traits and setbacks that others don’t. DSLRs are great at capturing low-light and are extremely compact. They’re a great camera option for “run-and-gun” filmmaking where you have to capture moments as they happen and don’t have time to set up lights or change settings. Blackmagic Design introduced the Ursa Mini 4.6k that allows an incredible amount of dynamic range, but low-light isn’t it’s strongsuit. There are hundreds of cameras out there that all have specialties in one area or another, so going into a video production with only one camera (and only one person) is unwise and counter-productive.

“One Camera To Rule Them All”

This Tolkien thinking of “one camera to rule them all” has polluted the commercial video production market. So many people, after the onset of DSLRs, have been able to convince companies and businesses that they can create a video for cheap, only utilizing a few people, or just themselves with one camera. And while there are very rare exceptions, creating a video as a one-man band never yields great quality video. Video production is a collaborative effort from people skilled in every aspect of production: sound, camera operation, direction, producing and more. Utilizing the skills of several people and various cameras and equipment will only produce a better product.

We’re not bashing DSLRs. They are an incredible tool to have in your arsenal. But only using one tool to craft your product sets you back. You wouldn’t ask a carpenter to build a house with only one hammer and type of wood. You wouldn’t want to only use one type of light bulb for every lamp in your home. Video production is a craft and the best craftsmen and women use the best tool for the job, with help from their best workers.

We’ll Help You Craft a Great Video

Leeway Films is a video production company in Chicago, IL and Seattle, WA. We have access to a plethora of filmmaking equipment and work with some of the best people in the area to create a video for your business. Call us at 206-659-5499, or email hello@leewayfilms.com for a quote.