Fundamentals of DSLR Filmmaking
Victor Ha is a former professional photographer that has transitioned into understanding the complexities of HDSLR filmmaking and overcoming the various challenges involved with making a transition from shooting stills to capturing video. Victor takes a very practical approach in helping other photographers make the transition to HDSLR video by leveraging their photographic knowledge into filmmaking prowess.
01: Introduction to Filmmaking
In this introductory lesson, learn why filmmaking is all about storytelling. Using two silent videos as examples, determine the story from the way the video is shot, framed, and edited.
02: Shooting for the Edit, Part 1
When shooting the story you want to tell, don’t throw caution to the wind and hope it all works out. Instead, learn how to think about different shots and perspectives—even when filming something as mundane as making a peanut butter sandwich.
03: Shooting for the Edit, Part 2
Should the number of your shots depend on the mood of your video? What about B-roll footage that doesn’t necessarily relate to the story? How much room do you leave before and after a scene for editing? Gets answers to these and other questions.
04: Camera Basics, Part 1
In this first lesson on DSLR camera basics, Mr. Ha picks four different DSLR camera types and breaks them out into their individual strengths and weakness. They include: a full-frame camera, an APS-C camera, an APS-H camera, and a Micro 4/3 camera.
05: Camera Basics, Part 2
Continue exploring DSLR camera basics with a focus on, well, focusing. Mr. Ha reveals some best practices he likes to use and offers insights into how different lenses work to help filmmakers zero in on what’s most important in a shot.
06: Preferred Camera Settings with Q&A
In this lesson, Mr. Ha runs through the ways he sets his DSLR camera up for success. Along the way, you’ll cover such menu options as Custom White Balance and Image Stabilization, as well as Custom Picture Styles like Technicolor and CineStyle.
07: A Video a Day
Practice, as they say, makes perfect. And that’s equally true when we’re talking about DSLR filmmaking. Here, discover how shooting one simple video every day using your smartphone can help hone your inner filmmaker’s eye.
08: 180-Degree Rule
In this lesson on the importance of establishing shots (your film’s “introductory paragraph”), make sense of the “180-degree rule” when filming two subjects on screen. This simple rule helps you place your subjects in frame—without confusing your viewers.
09: Thinking in Sequences
So, you’ve got your perfect establishing shot. What comes next? A hard cut? A jump cut? Here, learn how to use insert and cutaway footage to build out sequences that enhance your narrative, and to soften transitions and make your film more cinematic.
10: Movement with Monopods
Transitioning to motion and film can be difficult for photographers because it requires them to step away from their camera. Enter the monopod: a mobile, versatile tool that allows you to tap into movements like rocking-and-panning and push-in focus.
11: Movement with Video Tripods
Consider the benefits of working with video tripods. You’ll explore the ball-bowl combination, which lets you stay level on an uneven surface, and the counterbalance feature, which acts as something of a camera spotter. Then, zoom in on the look and feel of different camera movements.
12: Movement with Sliders
In this lesson, Mr. Ha uses video examples to teach you how to get the most out of your camera sliders. Topics include shooting in layers (foreground, middle ground, background) and choosing the right slider length based on what you’re filming.
13: Breaking into Video with Hybrid Portraits
Hybrid portraits are a short, 30-second combination of stills and motion. Think of them as vanity pieces designed to grab someone’s attention. Learn why, for photographers who’ve never shot motion before, hybrid portraits make for a great place to start.
14: The Portrait Film
Unlike hybrid portraits, portrait films are comprised entirely of motion. So, what makes for a good portrait film? One sign is that you can pause the portrait film in any frame and have a well-composed photograph. Learn some other tips and tricks in this lesson.
15: The Hybrid Wedding and Wedding Film
In this lesson, tackle a wedding shoot from two different perspectives. The first is a hybrid wedding film that can usually be done by a single person. The second is a traditional wedding film that’s a multiperson, multicamera job.
16: The Corporate Profile
Being able to shoot a solid corporate profile can open up a lot of doors for you as a DSLR filmmaker. Taking you from pre-interview to post-production, Mr. Ha shows you how to capture someone talking about their business in the space of just two minutes.
17: Basics of Sound
Along with thinking about visuals as a DSLR filmmaker, you need to think about sound, whether it’s background noise at a party or the answer to an interview question. Examine the differences between sound (which is captured) and audio (which is played back).
18: Microphones and Their Differences
There are many types of microphones out there for recording sound. So, what’s the one that’s right for your project? Focus on two types: directional (which capture sound from a single direction) and omni-directional (which capture sound from multiple directions).
19: Picking the Right Microphone
Every microphone, says Mr. Ha, has a personality—a different way it picks up sound. As you’ll learn in this lesson on microphones and sound recorders, it’s not about how much money you spend, but about finding one that has a solid sound-capturing technique.
20: Double System Sound
Double system sound means you’re capturing sound to another device that’s not your DSLR camera. That also means you’ve automatically dedicated yourself in post-production to doing what’s called syncing. Mr. Ha demonstrates how it all works here.
21: Hi-Hats and Low-Hats
Hi-hats, low-hats, gorilla pods, GoPros. In this lesson, take a look at footage that’s shot with some of these tools noted for their stability and versatility. In addition to learning how to work with these helpful filmmaking tools, get insights on what situations are right for which ones.
22: Handheld Stabilization with Q&A
Dive into the world of handheld stabilization, from Steadicams to glide cams to extremely expensive tools. Among the tips you’ll get are the three points of contact you need to make with your camera (and gear) when moving with it in your hands.
Here, Mr. Ha shows you the right way to do two-hour time lapses based on his experiences out in the field. They key is manual exposure, manual focus, and manual white balance. Also, take a peek at an app that takes the math aspect out of time lapse shooting.
24: Lensbaby, Copters, and 4K
First, explore how Lensbaby footage can add layers of instability to your narrative. Second, discover the perspectival impact of aerial footage from drones like quadcopters and hexicopters. Lastly, investigate some of the amazing things you can accomplish with 4K capture.
25: Using Your Current Photographic Tools for Video
If you’re a photographer, chances are you already have plenty of tools you’ve invested time and money into buying and learning. But you can use many of these tools for video, as well. Learn how to work with these common photography tools in both worlds.
26: DSLR Filmmaking Tools, Part 1
In the first of two lessons on DSLR filmmaking tools, join Mr. Ha for a spirited look at the essentials you’ll need to succeed on your next shoot. These tools include light meters for two types of metering, lenses for different budgets and tastes, and lens adaptors.
27: DSLR Filmmaking Tools, Part 2
Continue exploring essential DSLR filmmaking tools. Now, learn the importance of external monitors that show what your camera’s seeing, lens gears that allow for a tactile experience with your lenses, and focusing tools to achieve choreographed movements.
28: Lighting 101
If you understand the fundamentals of lighting and start by learning them from the ground up, you’re going to become a much better lighting technician in the future. Here, Mr. Ha focuses on ambient light to illustrate how patterns of daylight can have a powerful impact on your image.
29: Ambient Light, Part 1
What’s the difference between short lighting and broad lighting? What about the difference between key light and fill light? How do you deal with light in situations like weddings, where your subjects are constantly moving around? Find out here.
30: Ambient Light, Part 2
Continue exploring the beauty of ambient light—and the skills needed to make it work for your next project. Central to this lesson are Mr. Ha’s insights on working with shadows and manipulating them to highlight your subject and even create different moods.
31: Soundtracks for Dummies, Part 1
What does your story sound like? That’s where soundtracks come in. In the first of two lessons on the topic, skip the legalese and focus on how to choose the right soundtrack for your content. And it all starts by picking three words to guide your search.
32: Soundtracks for Dummies, Part 2
Delve into more topics related to film soundtracks. Learn the pros and cons of going with your gut when choosing music, when to pick a song with vocals versus instrumentals, and where to find affordable music with the correct rights.
33: Lighting 102
Come back to lighting and learn how to make it less intimidating by breaking it down into more manageable pieces. In this lesson, consider the benefits and drawbacks to all types of lighting, from HMI and tungsten lights to florescent and LED lights.
34: One-Light Setup
How do you work with an economic setup involving just one light? What are some of the options you have? Mr. Ha discusses several of them here, including a butterfly light (which you see a lot of in older movies) and a clam shell light (which helps fill shadows).
35: Two- and Three-Light Setup
You know how to work with one-light setups. Now move up to two- and three-light setups and all the different ways they allow you to play with shadows and light. Mr. Ha’s studio demonstrations prove especially helpful for understanding the intricacies of these setups.
36: Lighting Q&A
In this helpful Q&A session, Mr. Ha fields audience questions about lighting. You’ll learn how much lighting is truly necessary for the average person, what kind of light stands to take with you on location, the right ISO to aim for when shooting indoors, and more.
37: Corporate Profile Pre-Production
Mr. Ha walks you step by step through the pre-production process for a hypothetical corporate profile of a gym, harnessing everything you’ve learned in the preceding lessons. It’s the perfect chance to break apart the nuances involved in getting a project off the ground.
38: Storyboarding, Shot List, and Gear List
To visually imagine your corporate profile, you need storyboards and shot lists. Learn strategies for creating both—and sharing them with a client. Also, learn how to build a comprehensive gear list so you have what you need to bring those storyboards to life.
39: Callsheet, Crew, and Sound
On many shoots, you’ll likely work with multiple people on both the talent and client sides. Not to mention a range of locations and times. In this concluding lesson, learn how to better manage talent and crew so your production can run as efficiently as possible.