If you have been looking for the opportunity to try your hand at filmmaking, you don’t need to save up for an expensive digital video camera.

These days DSLRs can be just as good as a dedicated video camera, with added versatility. Many DSLRs can shoot in Full HD, and a select few even shoot in 4K, otherwise known as Ultra High Definition.

Whether you plan on watching your movie on your TV, on YouTube, or on the big screen at the cinemas, a DSLR is a great option for budding filmmakers.

We have compiled a list of the 7 most helpful tips and tricks for amateur filmmakers looking to become the next Coppola, whether that’s Sofia or Francis Ford.

1. Make Time for Planning

Before you start filming it’s a great idea to get out a notepad and pen and plan your day and the shots you need.

Storyboarding and listing the shots you need will save you a lot of time and effort in the long run. If you plan your shots, you won’t get such a headache when it comes time to edit.

Remember to get different shots, whether that’s close-ups, medium shots or wide shots, and make sure to get some B-roll.

2. Get Some Stability with a Tripod

For professional-looking video footage, a tripod is the best investment you will make. No matter how still you try to be, your DSLR will stick pick up little wobbles here and there.

That’s why it’s a good idea to get a good quality tripod. You can also get mounts for your DSLR so you can mount your camera anywhere and get the best shot.

3. Get to Know Your Manual Controls

The good thing about filming with your DSLR is that you already have a pretty good understanding of it.

But that doesn’t mean you won’t still have to learn the ropes. It is a good idea to get to know the manual controls on your DSLR so you can get the best results.

Experiment with focus, definitely try your hand at manual focus. You can also experiment with shutter speed and how that effects your frame rate.

4. Make a Sound Investment

Plenty of amateur filmmakers have started out thinking that the microphone on their camera will do, before abruptly learning their lesson in their first editing session.

Sound is important to every kind of film project, with the one exception being silent films. So audio equipment is a must, that’s why you can get purpose built microphones for DSLRs.

5. Follow The 180 Degree Rule

This is a simple rule that will transform the look and feel of your project. The majority of your favourite TV shows, movies, and even YouTube videos follow this rule.

The 180 Degree rule is all about keeping a natural perspective for the viewers at home. Imagine your subjects are on a stage. You can film from any angle from the audience, but you can cross the stage and film from behind them.

This might sound a little silly, but watching a video that breaks this rule is uncomfortable and puzzling. Avoiding crossing the axis of action will ensure you are consistent and your audience doesn’t get confused.

6. Decipher the Codecs

A codec is a term combining the word compression and decompression. Choosing a codec means you are choosing how your footage is saved on the camera.

Most DSLRs, including Canon and Nikon, use H.264 or MPEG-4 AVC codec contained within a QuickTime .MOV file. Sony and Panasonic use an AVCHD format.

What format is best depends on a variety of factors, including on how you plan to edit your video and whether you plan to upload it, that’s why it important to learn more about codecs.

7. Experiment with Video-Editing Software

There are many video editing programs, so there is sure to be one to suit your skill level and needs. The most popular video editing software includes Adobe Premiere, Corel VideoStudio and Apple iMovie.

You don’t need to go to a school to learn to use these programs, simply look up a guide online and have a go. Learning these kinds of programs is all about trial and error. So, have fun with it.

If you’re ready to start filming your next project you can find a massive range of DSLRs and accessories online at Camera House. If you want some more advice you can head instore and talk to our expert staff, or read more about all things photography on the Camera House blog.