What is HDSLR: why your camera’s video feature is underused and underrated

What is HDSLR: why your camera's video feature is underused and underrated

When it comes to video on DSLRs, people love it and others hate it. Whatever you think, this feature is here to stay. So, then… what is HDSLR?

Put simply, HDSLR is a DSLR camera with the capability for HD video recording. And if you’re using it for the first time you’ll discover that there are a lot of new things you have to think about,  including the camera settings themselves.

What is HDSLR: an essential guide for first-time videographers

Understanding HDSLR Formats

The first thing to understand are the formats. HDSLRs record videos in a variation of the Quicktime (.MOV) format, known as H.264.

Like with stills, you will change this to a different format to edit your footage, and to another format again when it comes to saving your blockbuster. But there are some options to choose from at the recording stage.

A DSLR with HD offers a choice of two or three different resolutions. ‘Full HD’ or 1080p offers the best resolution (the same as a Blu-ray Disc), but restricts the maximum length of each shot you record to 12 minutes (taking up 4GB of memory).

For those used to camcorders that can record continuously for an hour or more, this might seem a significant restriction.

However, for most types of video, each individual clip that you record will usually only be a matter of seconds long. A low-resolution VGA option lets you record continuously for up to 24 minutes.

A third option (on most cameras) is ‘Standard HD’ or ‘720p’; this has the same 12-minute (4GB) maximum length for each clip, but offers a different range of ‘frame rates’.

What is ‘frame rate’?

The frame rate is essentially the number of shots taken each second to create the illusion of movement. The standard setting for European TVs would be 25fps, and for North America it is 30fps.

However, a faster frame rate (50fps or 60fps, depending on your location) is useful for creating slow-motion sequences in post-production.

An alternative 24fps is also available – which matches the look and frame rate of the big film cameras used to shoot big-budget movies.

PAGE 1: What is HDSLR?
PAGE 2: Getting to grips with HDSLR: free cheat sheet
PAGE 3: HDSLR audio recording


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