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The Craft of the HDSLR

Sep 17, 2010 12:00 PM, By Barry Braverman

How to make the most of the newest tool in the shooter's bag of tricks.

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Shooting "double system" audio with the HDSLR? PluralEyes is an indispensable application for use with most popular NLE platforms.

Going vertical

In general, HDSLRs exhibit substantially reduced vertical resolution, owing to the line-skipping formula employed to reduce the data load to the processor and CF media. Vertical tilts should, therefore, be performed sparingly—if at all—to reduce the risk of aliasing artifacts, which may be especially apparent on a big screen.

Of course every video or still camera has its operational trade-offs. The HDSLR is no different posing its own set of challenges to shooters, most notably with respect to ergonomics, focus, audio connectivity, and workflow.

The size and shape of the HDSLR may be problematic to shooters who prefer a more traditional shoulder configuration. Both Redrock Micro and Zacuto offer a range of useful accessories including versatile shoulder rigs, for those who feel encumbered by the HDSLR's diminutive profile.

Other accessories including supplemental viewing systems to help find critical focus are also available. For recording high-quality audio, a double system may be employed utilizing an exterior recorder like the Zoom H4. The supplemental recording can be easily and elegantly synchronized to the picture using Singular Software's PluralEyes in conjunction with an NLE.

Go forth unseen

For many folks, the main advantages of the HDSLR are its relative economy and unobtrusive nature, allowing shooters to go where pro video cameras have been previously loath to tread. Try shooting with a regular-size pro video camera at the Santa Monica pier sometime and see how long you last sans permit. Those guys down there are tough and getting tougher. For many of us who shoot often under such conditions in Southern California and other places, we need new tools to help us fulfill our assignments with precision, gusto, and minimum hassle. The HDSLR can be instrumental in helping us to do exactly that.

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