The HD DSLR video revolution is here. This tech trend is all the rage. There are contests to push filmmakers to “ tell the story behind the still” and television producers are turning to this compact video recording technology.

We recently shot a fundraising campaign video for the Autism Science Foundation with our Canon HD DSLR. Along the way we learned some valuable lessons to help nonprofits use this new video technology to tell their stories.

Why use a DSLR?

Cost, quality and versatility is the most appealing attributes of shooting on a DSLR. For the price of a consumer-quality HD video camera, you could purchase a DSLR that takes both high-quality stills and HD video. Quite the deal!

A DSLR’s video quality far outweighs the quality that you can get on a less expensive pocket camcorder. While smaller camcorders have their place. When shooting a fundraising video or another piece for wider distribution, quality is key.

You can also get arty with a DSLR. There are tons of lens options and you can use advanced film techniques like shallow depth of fieldand pulling focus.

Rent or Buy?

You don’t have to buy a thing to film your video on a DSLR. Renting means you can get an expensive piece of equipment for a fraction of the price. Check out your local camera shop for rentals and expert advice. Many of them rent everything from cameras to lenses and microphones. is also a great online resource.

In our opinion, purchasing the DSLR body and lens kit is a great investment, especially if you’ll be taking photos or shooting video throughout the year. On the other hand, when it comes to lenses, we say RENT. A great lens can make a huge difference in your video quality, and good glass comes at a steep price. For our shoot, we rented a lens for $35 that would have cost twice as much as our camera kit if we would have purchased it.

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