A simple DSLR system for documentary shooting

October 3, 2014 — Leave a comment

I will be heading to Photo Plus in New York at the end of the month to do some presentations for Nikon. Its the US’s biggest gear expo for equipment, so should be a lot of fun!

To help demo the Nikon gear that I have been using (primarily a D800, 17-35mm & 28-300mm lenses), I spent a day shooting with friends that operate a schooner, the J&E Riggin, here on the Maine coast.

Using a very simple kit that included one DSLR body, two lenses and a great microphone from MyMyk, I ran the video signal into an Atomos Samurai Blade recorder to capture broadcast quality images. The external recorder also gave me the advantage of having a monitor giving me a small and ergonomically useful hand-held rig. The recorder is equipped with a 240Gb SSD drive also giving me extended record times and 10 bit Apple ProRes files ready to drop into Final Cut for editing.

https://i2.wp.com/cdn.cvp.com/images/products/altimage/25%2006%2020141403687432atomos_ATOMSUN003_2.jpg

The Blade is equipped with SDI inputs, so to interface with the camera, I also used the Connect from Atomos. This takes the HDMI signal from the camera and converts it to SDI, it also is brilliantly designed to piggy-back on the recorder to keep the system compact and simple.

Equipment definitely has moved on in the last few years. I am looking forward to upgrading to a Nikon D810 very soon with increased video functionality, this should make a great combination with the Blade and the Atomos Star. The Star another recorder produced by Atomos, there is no monitor screen but the tiny form factor more than makes up for this design decision. Sitting on the DSLR hot-shoe, this amazing device also records Apple Pro Res files at a much higher quality than your camera is able to do internally. At less than $300, it has to be the best camera accessory you can buy!

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