I’ve been making films with DSLRs for a few years now and there are definitely a few key improvements that I think will be coming in the next year or two, or at least I hope they are.
Here’s my list of predictions and wishes for 2015:
A DSLR made for video – Let’s face it, the DSLR camera was never made with video in mind. Its main focus has always been photography with video merely an add-on as technology has improved. When the Canon 5D Mark II launched with broadcast quality video capabilities in 2008, the industry suddenly took notice of the potential of video in DSLRs and since then, HD video has been standard across the market. However, I still feel that there is a large gap in the market for a DSLR made specifically for filmmakers – a camera that gives you the same quality as a something like a RED Epic, without costing you $50,000.
Quality – The best quality video available on current DSLRs is 1080p at 30fps or 720p at 60fps. We know that better technology can be put into smaller devices – the iPhone, for instance, now shoots video at 120fps and can shoot 4K video with certain apps. It’s only a matter of time before the DSLR catches up.
Stabilisation – Once you’ve watched some of the films that were shot using the Cineflex and a great stabilisation system (i.e. The Art of Flight by Brainfarm), you’ll see exactly why it is hugely important in filmmaking. On this note, it’s crucial that a DSLR designed for video has ground-breaking stabilisation software built into the body or the lenses (or ships with something as good as the MōVI..!).
Weather Proofing – With the ability to shoot high-definition video on an affordable, lightweight DSLR, filmmakers around the world have been able to take their filming equipment to a huge range of extreme environments. Therefore, the camera and lenses need to be completely weather-proofed to perform to the best of their ability. Currently, only the very top-end cameras have this and it would be great to see improvements on the lower-end models.
Battery Life – We are fortunate that battery technology is getting better and better but I’m sure most DSLR filmmakers would agree, it still has a long way to come. The Lithium Ion batteries perform well in the cold but I find shooting video eats up battery life whatever the weather. An improvement in battery lifetime without having to screw on a heavy battery grip would be ideal.
Design – The DSLR has been designed perfectly for the photographer but most definitely not for the filmmaker. A complete redesign should be done, taking into account the best grip for stabilisation of the device and controlling focus. The new design should also improve the viewing of the LCD screen and live video output. Currently, DSLR filmmakers have to use a larger external LCD monitor or attach a loupe to magnify the screen.
Other improvements: With the launch of a DSLR specifically for video as described above I would also expect to see much faster autofocus, better low-light capabilities and an improved microphone that doesn’t pick up the camera’s internal noises or wind distortion.
There we go camera manufacturers, please prove me right!