D800 video function thread

Started Jun 29, 2012 | Discussions thread
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primeshooter Veteran Member • Posts: 4,913
D800 video function thread

I noticed the other thread kinda descended into a debate about if people wanted the function or not. Personally I don't care about these people's thoughts so I thought I'd start a new thread so we can keep it a little...focused? I've been playing with video for quite a while now and found a few things out which may help other folks on here.

I've been pleasantly surprized with the video and with a little bit of extra kit, you can get impressive results.

To get started, switch to the only mode that gives complete control - Manual. Forget the other modes.

Set your shutter speed to as close as possible match your FPS. So, if you have selected 30FPS set your shutter speed to 1/30 and leave it there - you are done. The aperture is a creative choice, obviously and ISO will depend on the light, and your aperture settings of course. White balance is something that is best to alot of the time leave on auto intially to give you a reading, then switch it to manual and leave it from there. Set your desired picture control from the liveview screen. I think NL resembles how I see the world as I hate the oversaturated look. It also leaves a good range of tones to edit further or leave if you wish.

If recording to a card, set high quality and select 1080 and either 24FPS or 30FPS for a cinematic match to your footage.

Plug in a set of headphones to the socket and listen to the sound level (ambient) before pressing record. I'd then recommend going into the menu and changing the level from AUTO to manual and reducing it down a little. It's way too high in auto and picks up extra noise you wouldn't normally want in your recording and a little buzzing sometimes. If you do not want sound - say you are going to put music as your soundtrack only - turn it to OFF in the menu.

Try to use prime lenses, or if you must use a zoom, forget it has a zoom ring during filming. Stop and change your focal length or move nearer but don't zoom in and out during video (feels naff). Even old old primes that are very cheap to buy now are great for video. Do not worry about how sharp a lens is for video as it's mostly irrelevant.

The main issue is focus. Forget autofocus, switch to manual and learn to focus pull. There are focus follow rigs you can buy off amazon and ebay etc however to start with, to get a feel for it I found this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wr7ODWNcMoY&list=FLxp7740JypwS-B8DuDZ67wQ&index=11&feature=plpp_video This costs like £6 delivered and involves a much easier and smoother way of manual focus. (You can find it if your look on AMAZON US too).

Focus is difficult the wider your aperture is (obviously). If you are shooting with a 24mm lens at f/16 focus will be a breeze. If you mount a 50mm or 85mm 1.4 and put the lens to f/1.4 you are gonna have a hard time unless you are a good bit away from your subject which will give you increased DOF. If it's a static scene press the + button and put the red focus box over your subject then manual focus your lens. You can press record and it'll instantly zoom out.

What else are you gonna need?

Tripod. Get a tripod, even a cheap one - it's one of the biggest things that will make your video better right off the bat, something to stabilise, a rig possibly. You can hand hold too, I've been trying to replicate steadicam footage (remember the scene in the shining where the camera follows behind Wendy and Danny in the maze), with some sucess and watching you do not jump up and down from your pelvis whilst walking. A glidecam is useful if you really want to nail it.

Additional mic. (Nikon or 2rd party). If you want decent sound it's a must. The sound isn't that bad from the onboard mic, but even manual focusing it will hear you moving the focus ring!

Patience - it's not easy to get great looking footage and I'm not there yet either.

I hope this gives some users a starting ground, it's what I've figured out so far anyway.

Nikon D800
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