Building the Ultimate Video Camera System – Part 1

If you’ve been paying any attention at all to my video related posts, then you know I’ve been experimenting with different ways to use my Nikon D800 DSLR as a video camera.

To refresh. . . A DSLR camera is designed primarily for taking photos, and it’s great at doing so! But, for taking videos – though the results are fantastic – a DSLR is awkward to hold and use. Correcting that isn’t all that hard per se – but what is hard is achieving that while spending the least amount of money.

Nikon D800

The D800 itself is more than adequate for video, as a matter of fact – parts of the TV show “Dexter” were shot using D800’s (I didn’t know that until recently). But Hollywood has a slightly bigger budget than I do, so I’m sure they built superb rigs around the camera’s and were on their merry way. I’m trying to do the same thing – but for as little money as possible.

You might be asking yourself, “Why is he doing this? Just get another video camera if you’re not happy with the one you currently have?” And that’s a fair question. The answer is actually three fold.

  • First and foremost is cost. A video camera that has full manual controls is expensive – anywhere from $1200 to well over $2000 depending on brand and features, and that’s just way out of my league.
  • Second, is that my D800, which I already own, creates fantastic video footage – way better than my Canon camcorder that I used to create the video in this post with. With my D800 I can change lenses, operate the camera in auto or manual mode, and more. All of the same benefits of using the camera for photos, can be applied to taking videos as well. More than I could ever hope to find in a new video camera at any cost.
  • And finally, it’s a fun fall and winter “project” to work on – I like tinkering and figuring things out. 🙂

Anyway. . . Below is a very short video of what I have so far, what I’ve discovered and learned along the way, and where I’m heading from here.

Later on I’ll post a “part 2” of this series.