During my undergraduate studies, I did a research paper on the emerging technology of digital single lens reflex (DSLR) systems. The Nikon D90 was the first DSLR camera that had video capability, and I had a Canon 50D. Unfortunately, the 50D didn’t support video. And then I hacked it.

I found a hack called MagicLantern, that would go on your CF or SD card and update the firmware. The update would add video capability and other neat features such as zebra and focus peaks. Since then, I used my Canon 50D rigorously for every single video project.

There was one problem. I couldn’t record sound on my camera.

I fell in love with the DSLR video quality so much that I started using an external recorder and sync it afterward. I would read the lips of my subjects and sync it with the audio. I got pretty good at doing that.

Fast forward several years, and although you can record audio directly into your DSLR, it’s still subpar quality.

Here are limitations for most DSLRs:

  1. No XLR inputs. DSLRs usually have a 3.5mm stereo input.
  2. Difficult to monitor sound
  3. Pre-amp can be noisy (too much gain)

The best option is to record the sound separately if you want professional-grade audio. However, it can be hard monitoring multiple types of equipment. That’s where DSLR rigs come in. It keeps all your gear in one machine.

The rig is heavy, so I usually use this setup for interviews. I can monitor my viewfinder, audio levels, and my subject without scrambling. The rig has holes everywhere so you can add your screen, your phone, wireless lav mics, and others.

Happy Rig 🙂

Equipment Breakdown:

*The following products are not endorsed and I am not receiving any compensation. The products are what I found useful in my personal experience.