Modern Pentax DSLRs will all have the ability to record film.
Some, like the K-1, can shoot in full HD (1920x1080, 60i/50i/30p/25p/24p), giving your films that professional feel. But if you've never really delved into the world of video with your DSLR before, where do you begin? Here, we run through some top tips for beginners starting with video.
The K-1 has a dedicated record button to the right of the viewfinder on the back, along with a switch allowing you to choose either video or stills mode - set to video, press the record button and away you go!
Tripod - A tripod will be essential if you're serious about videography. It will stop shake caused by your hands and more importantly will keep the camera on one plane and avoid it wobbling around all over the place, unless of course this is the look you're going for with the film! A head that's able to pan will be ideal too - this is discussed in further detail below.
Image stabilisation - All modern Pentax DSLRs have Optical Image Stabilisation built in, and it's a good idea to have this setting turned on when you're shooting video and panning. It will help to iron out any bumps and jolts that may occur, giving you a smoother finish to the video. If you're keeping the camera still while shooting, ie locking it in place on the tripod and not panning, then there is no need to use OIS.
Focussing - Set the camera to manual focus and get used to controlling your lens well. In film making, being able to switch the focus between subject in the scene, or focussing in and out to start and end the scene, is a key skill. Get used to the amount of dampening the lens has so you can turn the focus accurately without taking your eyes off the scene.
Smooth panning - A good quality panning head for your tripod won't go amiss, as panning can be another key element in film-making. It's a key tool for following moving objects and subjects in your film, It can also be used to move the focus onto the subject by panning to them while they are stationary.
Smooth zooming - The same as with focusing, knowing your lens well and being able to accurately zoom in and out will be a huge advantage in what can often be a fast paced situation. Practise zooming in one smooth movement, keeping the tempo the same, to help any change in the image stay fluid.
Think about the frame rate - The frame rate you use to shoot will be a big player in what your final footage looks like. 24fps is quite a slow frame rate that will give a flicker to the image, 30fps is about the average for video footage, and anything higher can be used to create a hyper-real effect and slow motion shots. To adjust the frame rate, put the camera in movie mode, press menu and go down to 'Movie'. Press the right arrow key, and then press this again on the recorded pixels option to choose your preferred setting.
For more information on Pentax DSLRs, visit the Ricoh website.