Getting Started: My First DSLR
So you want to get into video! Congratulations!
Filming, editing, crafting stories - videography has it all. It's an exciting hobby or profession, with so many niche job roles and technical skills. It will take years to completely master any one aspect of the process. And it's just fun.
Getting your first camera can be daunting; social media, online forums and blogs are littered with camera comparisons and detailed technical specs that can be hard to understand at first. It's a sea of information that you can quickly become lost in.
So I'm not going to tell you what camera you should get. That's very much up to you and what you want to shoot. Youtube videos, wedding video and photography, professional interviews, broadcast quality documentary: These all differ quite a bit in style, equipment, workflow and execution.
My first camera was for me and my own personal projects. Later I also picked up short contracts and gig work while working professionally as a videographer then animator, and video editor.
My first camera lasted me years, and paid for itself 10 times over, and most importantly allowed me to experiment and grow my style. Because at the end of the day my biggest take away is:
Get the camera you can afford that works for you now, and just start making.
Start doing, practice practice practice!
My first camera was a Canon Rebel T5i, I got this identical package deal from amazon with a starter stand, batteries, and cards. I was a college student with limited funds and snagged the $500 deal on a Black Friday discount. I was stoked, at work I would use a 5D MKIII which is a several thousand dollar camera, and felt so frustrated I didn't have something to shoot with at home. It didn't need to be fancy, but I wanted something with a similar layout and menu, that I could use with the same photo and video editing software I did at work.
And honestly, that was the best decision I ever made. This camera helped me practice my photography, something that wasn't as much part of my job as a videographer, and improve my video compositions,
Some of my earliest portrait work on the left, to a few years later improvement on the right; playing with light and prisms
Those skills really served me later when I got into wedding photography.
Much better! and yes, this was taken with that same camera.
Some of my favorite personal videos I've made today, were done with this little camera:
#PCH from Lindsay McLean on Vimeo.
And these are just some of my favorite highlights. It took a lot of practice and doing a lot of different things. Playing with shutter speed and taking plenty of blurry light photos.
Embrace the process, be a little cringy.
Have a tool to find what you want to do. At work I was making marketing videos for the University I went to, but what did I want to do after that? I definitely wasn't sure yet, but if a friend asked if I wanted to make a Behind the Scenes video for his shortfilm?
Sure why not! Let's try something new.
Because you're not going to learn about what you want to do 1, 2 or 5 years down the road if you're not making silly stuff just for you, too.
San Diego from Lindsay McLean on Vimeo.
Clients still mention this video after I send them my reel sometimes. Then I remember this is up there and still public.
The T5i itself, taken with my new camera.
At the end of the day art is about experimentation. Get yourself the tool that gives you the flexibility to do what you want to do.
Then do it.
10/31/2022 07:31:53 am
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Seattle, WA Video Nerd that likes working and chatting all things video and story.