Most of today’s top digital cameras are capable of shooting video as well as stills — and for the average user, simply having the option to shoot video is often enough.

But there are specific uses for digital video, including a new one — vlogging — and a classic one — filmmaking — that require specific features, specifications and accessories.

Finding the best camera for filmmaking or vlogging

Let’s take a look at the difference between filmmaking and vlogging, and what to look for in a filmmaking camera — and then we’ll dive into a new accessory kit from Nikon that will help you get started!

Are you a vlogger or a filmmaker?

Classic hollywood directors like Steven Speilberg have cited their love of movies from an early age, and recalled how all they wanted to do as children was find a video camera and start filming. They have a desire to get behind a camera and use it to tell stories, be they fiction or documentary.

Vlogging, on the other hand, typically features the vlogger in front of the camera. It can be a much more intimate and interactive type of filmmaking, where the personality of the vlogger is more front and centre and interacts more directly with the viewing audience.

As you might expect, while vloggers and filmmakers each need cameras, their specific requirements are quite different.

What makes a good camera for filmmaking

We recently discussed the needs of vloggers, so this time we’ll focus on filmmaking. Here are just a few of the things you should keep in mind if you’re an aspiring filmmaker:

4K Video

TVs and mobile screens are capable of displaying more pixels than ever before, meaning their crispness and clarity is sharper than ever. And if you’re not shooting video in 4K (3,840 x 2,160 pixels) and at 24 or 30 frames per second, your videos are going to look low-quality — and your viewers will notice. Ensure you’re producing high quality videos by choosing a camera that can capture 4K video at a rate of 24 or 30 frames per second.

High-quality audio

Most digital cameras feature an on-board microphone — and in most digital cameras, the audio quality provided by these mics are sub-par. Ensure your camera allows you to plug in an external microphone, and invest in a shotgun to accurately capture crystal clear voice and atmosphere in your films.

Wide aperture

Larger apertures typically capture shots with a shallow depth of field, which can lend a cinematic quality to your shots, particularly anything shot in close: the main subject of your shot will remain sharp and vibrant, while your background remains distant and blurry. Your “nifty fifty” lens (50 mm, f1.8) is a great starting point.

Log format recording

For a true cinematic experience, you’ll want to properly color-grade your videos in post-production — which means you’ll need a camera that can capture and export video in a logarithmic (log) format. The log format captures a higher dynamic range of exposure, which can later be adjusted using editing software for the best representation — without losing any image quality. 

Image stabilization

While many high-quality video cameras offer some sort of on-board, software-based image stabilization, for truly smooth, jitter-free images, you’ll need a gimbal or gyroscope — a tool that allows you to move your camera, pan, zoom, crane up or down without losing stability.

Start telling your stories with the Nikon Z 6 Filmmaker’s Kit

We reviewed the Nikon Z 6 a few months ago, and we can tell you that it’s a powerhouse mirrorless camera that captures great video — in 4K and in 24 or 30 fps. Nikon is now offering the Z 6 II, and it is available in a kit with the Nikkor Z 24-70mm f4 lens.

The final word on vlogging vs. filmmaking

Vloggers and filmmakers have different needs but the good news is, both have great options available to help them get started. For filmmakers —whether you’re looking to make provocative documentaries, start up your own video marketing and advertising agency, or you’re an aspiring Speilberg, you can’t go wrong with the Z 6 from Nikon.

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