A full guide on better DSLR video is coming soon on Photograph IO. Stay tuned.
Let’s face it : DSLR cameras (and mirrorless cameras now) are not only great tools for photography, but they can also be excellent rigs for video. With the advent of the Nikon D90 in 2008, being the first DSLR able to shoot HD video, more and more people have been starting to get into cinematography using interchangeable lens cameras. With their large sensors, DSLR’s allow you to get that cinematic, shallow depth of field while still retaining a great amount of control over the final result for quite an affordable price.
However, one major drawback of DSLR’s compared to dedicated motion cameras from Red, Arri or Blackmagic is in their mediocre, at best, output. While high end motion cameras costing tens of thousands of dollars can shoot in near-lossless, Apple Prores 442 or even RAW video, most DSLR’s are limited in their output quality by the highly compressed codecs used not to mention a lower bitrate. Some of these limitations are hardware based (i.e. overheating, processing power), while some others can be cured by software and firmware. Unless you have a D800 or 5D Mark III capable of clean HDMI output, chances are that your output video is compressed.
But there is a way of improving this.