Nikon have been at the forefront of photography and videography technologies for years. Nikon DSLRs are world renowned for their imaging quality, and now advancements in video technology mean that they are equally as apt for shooting movies.
To demonstrate the company’s commitment to video and desire to support the next generation of image makers, Nikon is supporting the Virgin Media Shorts
competition - a short film competition that showcases the talents of fresh British film-makers. The competition is an opportunity for up and coming film makers to get a head start in their careers, whether they choose to pursue the highly competitive world of film making or directing.
This year, the competition invites everyone to get involved, so you can have a say in the winning films, by voting in the Nikon People's Choice Award
. Over 800 submissions have been whittled down to just 13 finalists and you can vote on your favourite using Twitter
until 21 October 2013
The Nikon People's Choice Award winner will receive £5000 of funding, mentoring from the BFI and Nikon digital camera equipment worth up to £5000!
Nikon ambassador John Wright, who is also on this year's Virgin Media Shorts judging panel, said: "Nikon are delighted to be involved with Virgin Media Shorts, and to be supporting the next generation of British film makers. I’m really impressed with the shortlist, and it will be a tough job deciding the Grand Prize winner! I am excited that the Great British public can help us out, by voting for their favourite film in the Nikon People’s Choice Award."
So whether you will be voting for your favourite short, or creating a short to enter in next year’s competition, we’ve got some top tips to think about when shooting video…
Nikon – Video Equipment For Everyone
If you're a budding videographer, Nikon equipment can help you shoot first class video material. DSLR and compact camera videography is growing faster than ever, and with a wealth of technology to choose from everyone can have a go at shooting video on a Nikon camera, whatever your budget.
Nikon currently has over 30 compacts that have video modes, and these can produce results a whole lot better than most smart phones. The more advanced compacts, such as the P7800
, offer full HD recording, stereo sound and external microphone input with the ability to manually control settings.
Having a larger sensor and interchangeable lenses can make a huge difference, so if you're looking for something that's still relatively compact but has the features of a DSLR, then the Nikon 1 Series is the way to go. The Nikon 1 V2
includes features such as Nikon's short movie creator – an ideal tool to create short films from your video recordings.
If you're serious about making cinematic films then you need to look no further than Nikon's range of DSLRs. The stars of Nikon's DSLR range for video are the D5200
. The D800 is the highest resolution DSLR available, with a huge 36 megapixels. Nothing beats this camera in terms of image quality for video. If you are a beginner to videography, the D7100
could be the answer. It uses a DX sensor, which is smaller than the full frame one used in the D800, but it still offers lots of control and quality at a more affordable price. It also offers slow motion capture at 720p, just like the more expensive models, making it a great tool for video work.
The advantage of shooting with a Nikon DSLR for video is that you have a wide variety of lenses to choose from, and even if you decide to upgrade your camera in the future, you'll still be able to use all your lenses, which is not possible with most dedicated video recorders, as they do not have interchangeable lenses.
There are a huge variety of lenses available to you when you choose a Nikon DSLR for videography use. Depending on the lens you choose, you'll get a different effect in camera.
No matter what you want to shoot, Nikon has a NIKKOR lens to suit. From zooms to wide angles and macro lenses, everything you could possibly need as a videographer is covered. In videography, it may be in your best interests to choose a prime lens, which will generally have better optical quality and enable you to get nice bokeh effects.
There's no need to worry if you can't afford a new lens right now, as the kit lens that often comes with your DSLR camera can be ideal for many video shooting situations. These lenses are often versatile, allowing you to try out many different effects, and get a feel for the direction you want to go with your videography before investing in another lens.
Tips And Tricks
If the Virgin Media Shorts competition has inspired you to have a go at videography for the first time, it can be a pretty daunting process, but there are a few things you can do to minimise your chances of disaster.
Here are a few things that are handy to know if you want to get started with video work:
It can help to pre plan your shoot by storyboarding the scenes one by one. Using your script as a starting point, you can craft how you want each scene and shot to work and look, just like a comic book strip. This gives you and your actors something to work from, so you're all on the same page.
Ideally, use a lens with image stabilisation built in. You'll need to point the camera in one general direction for a long period of time whilst shooting video, and IS will help to keep the image steady as you film. Prime lenses are usually slightly sharper than zoom lenses, and can be faster too, ideal for shooting narrative based works.
It's a good idea to invest in an external microphone, such as the Nikon M-E1, which can be plugged into the hot shoe of your camera. Good quality audio is essential in a film, and without it the audience will quickly become frustrated and lose interest. The ME-1 features a built in wind muffler and stereo sound, to give you the best audio quality possible while shooting.
Accurate focusing is key in video work. Nikon's lenses all feature a large focussing ring, to allow you to focus accurately with minimal effort. To see if you're in focus or not, all Nikon DSLRs have a large back screen, and the D800 also has the option to attach an external monitor through the HDMI socket, and these can feature focus peaking to help you judge accurately what is in focus.
A tripod is a key piece of kit, not only to keep the camera steady, but it will also help to keep your subject in focus when using a narrow depth of field, as the slightest movement could inadvertently throw them out of focus.
Shutter speed plays a large role in the look of your overall footage. The frame rate will have a say on the feel of the film – 24 frames per second (fps) will give a flicker to your film, 30 frames per second will look more like an average video and anything higher than this can be used to create hyper-realism and slow motion shots.
Knowing your formats can save you a lot of time when it comes to editing your work. This will help you pick a program to suit your needs when it comes to editing your work, as not all will cover every one of the vast choice of video formats available. Popular formats include AVCHD, HDV and MPEG.
Editing Footage On Your Nikon DSLR
Producing a video doesn't end with the filming. It has to be carefully crafted, and that's where having a good idea of how to efficiently edit your work comes in. Nikon's cameras offer several useful features that will make the editing process easier.
Before you even transfer your footage to the computer for serious editing, you can mark in and out points on all of your clips in-camera on the D800. This allows you to cut out the top and tail of each clip in an almost automated fashion, saving you some time when you get to the computer. It will also limit the amount of film you definitely won't use being transferred onto the computer, saving time.
You can also add filters to your footage before it goes anywhere near the computer, allowing you to warm up or cool down your clips as well as convert it to monochrome and apply basic picture effects.
A Pro's View
John Wright, celebrity fashion photographer and videographer has been using Nikon DSLR cameras for a number of years to shoot some of his most high profile work. John is also a Nikon Ambassador and is a judge for this year’s Virgin Media Shorts competition. John currently uses a Nikon D800E for his video work and here he explains what he’ll be looking for when judging the Virgin Media Shorts competition:
What are you looking for in a winner of the Virgin Media Shorts competition?
I'm looking for someone who has managed to present a piece that changes how we see the world around us. Someone with vision, a sense of humour and ambition.
What’s in your (video) kit bag?
My Nikon D800E. Everything else is hired :)
Your number one tip for someone looking to create a great video?
Just get on and start making it. Don't delay. Shoot it on anything you can and start editing it! It'll be great in its own way…and the next film will be greater still. Just press 'record' and go!
Vote Now For Your Favourite Virgin Media Short Film
You can take a look at all 13 shortlisted films for the Nikon People's Choice Award on the Virgin Media Shorts website
. You can vote for your favourite either through the Virgin Media Shorts Facebook tab
or on Twitter
, using the hashtag #VMShortsVote. The winner of the Nikon People's Choice Award will get £5000 worth of film funding and BFI mentoring, as well as Nikon DSLR equipment to the value of £5000.
Remember, every vote counts, so make sure you take a look at the entries and vote for your favourite before the closing date on 21 October!
If you are keen to learn more about video with Nikon visit www.nikon.co.uk/training
and sign up to our next video course.