As a professional photographer I have always been curious about the art of videography since the two seem to go hand in hand, but I have never made the jump to shooting my own content because I was always quite unsure of where to start. I wanted to quickly learn the basics and start shooting right away. I’m a visual learner, and I figured a crash course in an online tutorial would be my best bet, but searching for tutorials scattered across Youtube seemed tedious. Recently Jared Polin, better known as Fro from FroKnowsPhoto released a comprehensive guide to shooting video using a DSLR called The FroKnowsPhoto Guide to DSLR Video.
Content and Instructors
The DVD is over 6 hours of information broken down into 4 different main chapters featuring the following information and instruction on how to shoot video by yourself as a one-man band. It also comes with 4 different shooting scenarios and instruction on how to produce and direct your own videos.
Chapter 1- Equipment Basics, Frame Rates and Best Resolutions
Chapter 2- Video Exposure Triangle, Shutter Speeds, Aperture, ISO, Picture Styles, Camera Stabilization and Movements
Chapter 3- Three Point Lighting, Audio Capture, Composition & Coverage, Continuity, 180 Degree Rule
Chapter 4- Crash course in Direction & Producing, Four Real-World Shooting Scenarios including EPK/Corporate Shoot, Music Video, Narrative/Movie Shoot and a Youtube Video.
Bonus Materials- How to Create Successful Youtube Videos, Editing Secrets & Tips, DSLR Video Homework Assignments and Shooting Check List
It’s an incredible amount of content and insightful instruction jam packed in only six hours. Jared Polin or Fro as most people know him as is always delightfully amusing to watch onscreen. He never takes himself too seriously while still being able to focus on delivering information in a precise manner. Along with Jared is Todd Wolfe an experienced and award-winning filmmaker. I really think Todd was a good pick for an instructor. His confidence, articulation and expertise in what he was teaching made me feel confident that I was truly learning from an industry leader in the field. Jared and Todd’s dynamic worked extremely well for the DVD and kept it fresh, funny and engaging. What I hate the most in tutorials is boring instructors, and there really isn’t any point in the entire DVD that I wasn’t learning or being entertained.
As a professional photographer myself I found some of the details they went over to be information I already knew. Things like how aperture and ISO worked seemed like a given to me, but what I was surprised at was just how much information was totally new to me. Things like the 180 degree rule, audio capture, continuity and how shutter speeds worked were all things that I was excited to learn. I will say that I wish they had delved deeper into shutter speeds and pulling proper focus for video and what happens when you don’t shoot it correctly, since that seems to be what I struggle with the most when I am trying to shoot before watching this DVD especially with rolling shutter and soft shots.
As someone who is mostly a visual learner I appreciated that they would not only explain the different aspects of camera settings, but actually showed you what they all did or looked like in camera. Things like custom picture styles, different frame rates and composition rules was easy to pick up when you see it first hand in the video. I also was happy that they kept any equipment they used short and simple. The DVD is never about the brands or expensive equipment which for a videography newbie was comforting. With any equipment they did introduce they also mentioned low cost alternatives in case you’re working on a small budget. For the majority of the video they shoot with a Canon 60D which is a mid-level DSLR that you can buy new for only $700. Shout out to my favorite Youtube channels Nanalew and Meekakitty who used the Canon 60D for a long time to shoot their videos. So, those are great examples of quality content shot completely solo with the same camera as shown in the DVD.
Another aspect that the duo go over in detail is pre-production and directing talent which is what I think a lot of filmmakers overlook. Things like researching the subject you’re shooting, location scouting, shot lists, scripts, gear lists and storyboards are all incredibly important things that should be planned well before the actual shoot. They explain how the more prepared you are the more confident and successful you will be on your shoot.
Throughout these chapters Jared and Todd will throw out small tips and tricks called “Just the Tips” they’re great, insightful, little tidbits that also serve to break up the content between sections of the chapters. These first three chapters have so much content packed in that it would be nearly impossible for me to go over everything in the review.
This chapter includes four real-world scenarios on shooting solo. I will say that there isn’t much content online that shows a full production of a shoot for video. Going beyond just short behind the scenes videos they fully explain how certain shots are achieved and more important why they were shot that way. They go over how to shoot a corporate video/interview, a short creative film, a music video, and a Youtube video. I will say that the music video portion of the real world shoots was highly entertaining since Jared was the subject and artist appearing in the music video. I found myself comparing the shots from the video that Todd shot to other music videos featuring similar type music. Funny enough the video that they shot most of the time was more visually entertaining than many music videos that I’ve seen shot on DSLRs.
I enjoyed that Todd and Jared explained almost every shot in detail and shared the camera settings for all of the shots. Todd also gives great examples on how to direct the talent that appear in any videos that you shoot. They even go over the importance in capturing creative b-roll to help gather enough content for post-editing. My favorite scenario to watch was the Youtube video section. Since I write for a blog like Fstoppers it will come to be very useful to me personally. I’ve always wanted to add videos to my articles here on Fstoppers, but I’ve never known how to go about filming them least of all the confidence to do so. This section covers everything to do when you’re having to shoot one all by yourself including pulling focus using a clever work-around which was lacking in the previous section.
Included in the bonus material are two videos with additional content. Jared goes over extra information on how to create successful Youtube videos including the importance of SEO, tagging, quality content, linkbacks, descriptions and keywords. He also goes over quality audio, the relationship between Youtube and Google and how that works in your favor, and the importance of consistency and branding plus much more.
Todd’s extra chapter is all about editing and post-processing tips for your footage. Whether you decide to use Adobe Premiere, Final Cut Pro or another editing software all of his tips will fit for any post-processing that you do. He goes over the importance of organizing your footage and proper sound editing among other important subjects such as dialog and movements. Another thing he goes over is the importance of not using copyrighted music in your videos. One of the most annoying things that I see when surfing Youtube or Vimeo for content is people that use copyrighted music and risk having their content pulled from whatever hosting site they decided to use.
Other extra content also includes the Advanced Homework Assignments detailing an outline for each scenario and camera settings that was featured on the DVD that you could practice with. It also comes with a shooting checklist that is perfect to print out before every shoot to make sure you never miss a thing.
Who is This DVD For?
The DVD is really marketed to the general public including both newbs to DSLRs to seasoned professional videographers, but I think the people that will get the most out of this DVD are the professional and hobbyist photographers (which happens to be Fstoppers’ core audience, as well) who like myself want to take the leap to shooting video. It goes over the most important subjects without dragging out points that we may otherwise already know saving you time and frustration. I am happy to say that instead of tirelessly going through Youtube for hours on end trying to collect separate videos to help me learn the basics everything that I needed was included on the DVD. It has given me a strong understanding of how DSLR video works and how to not just shoot technically sound footage, but creative and engaging content, as well. No longer am I timid about shooting footage with my Canon 5d MkIII or Canon 60D. I have all of the tools now to get out there and start my journey into videography.
Okay, here is the part that I’m sure a lot of you were waiting to get to. How much is all of this content going to set you back. I’m incredibly happy to say that it’s not as much as you would expect. I’m used to paying anywhere between $300-$400 for a DVD tutorial of this length and the full price happens to be half that. The full non-discounted price is only $197, but at the time that I publish this review Fro is selling it for 50% off. So, right now you can catch this entire DVD tutorial digital download for only $97 or $107 for the physical copy with free shipping. I really don’t think that anyone else can beat this price in the tutorial market right now and the information that is included is worth far more than what he is selling it at. Jared also includes a 100% money back guarantee because he is confident that you will not only learn from this DVD, but be fully happy with your purchase.
Right now Jared is holding an awesome promotion on his website for his DVD series. When you buy the Guide to DSLR Video up until the 26th of December you can give a copy to a friend, family member or colleague. It’s a great way to pay it forward to the other aspiring videographers that you know.
Jared is also holding a contest on his website. For those who buy the DVD are entered into his holiday giveaway with over $7000 worth of photography/videography swag. There is also a non-purchase necessary option, as well.
Disclaimer - I was not paid any money by FroKnowsPhoto for the review of this product. All information here is from personal experiences from watching the DVD, and I am not endorsed in any way whatsoever by the producers of this project.