Photojournalist Ami Vitale on the Nikon D300s and top tips for learning video

Shot on a Nikon D300s. If Youtube link is unavailable click here

Using the D300s was one of the first experiences I had shooting video, but what struck me is how easy it was to learn. Within one day, I was able to pick up the basics of shooting. It was liberating and exciting to explore the possibilities of story telling with more than just still images and audio. Now I feel as if there is a whole world of opportunities to explore.

Ami Vitale on location with the D300s

Ami Vitale on location with the D300s

Ami shooting camels with the D300s

Ami shooting camels with the D300s

My top tips are pretty simple.

1) Be patient. Wait for things to happen in front of the frame. I liked the ambiguity and suspense of discovering what might happen in front of the lens instead of always panning and searching for things. Of course panning is useful, but I think it needs to be used minimally.

2) Shoot for a minimum of 5 seconds on the beginning and end of each shot. You need that for editing. It may feel as if you are shooting for longer than you really are so get in the habit of shooting a little longer to make it easier in the editing room.

3) Shoot lots of sequences.

4) Make the tripod your best friend. Use a good one with a fluid head.

5) Same like still photography. Wait for beautiful light. Light is everything. Avoid those high contrast scenes.

6) Shoot and shoot and shoot. It’s the only way to discover and create beautiful work.

As far as the D300s goes, this is a sweet little camera, especially for the price. I am shooting a lot more video now and loving it.

Meeting the locals

Meeting the locals

I had help on this project from Dai Sugano who is an absolute genius and helped me with the editing. His work is very inspiring and he has a unique way of seeing the world. His work is an excellent example of a still photographer moving into video and breaking the mold with originality and creativity. David Barreda and Ashima Narain helped me in the field. Without all these people I would never have been able to make this. It’s really all about collaboration.

Go to for more photos
Sample D300s still images here


Posted on October 6th, 2009 by Ami Vitale | Category: DSLR video news |

14 responses to "Photojournalist Ami Vitale on the Nikon D300s and top tips for learning video"

  1. Sammy Lyttle Says:
    October 6th, 2009 at 10:50 am

    love your work Sammy N Ireland

  2. Bela Says:
    October 6th, 2009 at 11:21 am

    I guess if you don’t have time or inclination to go to a proper four-year film/video school to learn the trade, you can always take Ms. Ami Vitale’s five-minute class here.

  3. Jeff Achen Says:
    October 8th, 2009 at 8:53 am

    Thanks for the post, as a D300s shooter I look forward to more posts, tips and samples from Nikon shooters. Perhaps I can even contribute… : )

  4. Chris Gibbs Says:
    October 10th, 2009 at 1:42 pm

    Hi Ami,
    Great to see all these really talented stills shooters getting into the moving image! I’ve thoroughly enjoyed Dai’s work too – really cool there’s a support network out there for transitioning stills people!
    PS. Your stills work is fantastic!

  5. James Dodd Says:
    October 12th, 2009 at 2:18 am

    There are some nice scenes in here, but again it comes across as nothing much more than a quick sampler, and in this case showcasing the work for nikon.

    I mean obviously it does it’s job and I’m sure it will convince a few people that the camera is worth purchasing etc, but as a journalistic piece I didn’t really see what the purpose was? was there any? or was it just the sales tool?

    also, I’ve briefly used this camera and the rolling shutter problem were appalling, far worse than that of the canons.
    And even with VR lenses it didn’t match the canons results, such a shame too… but then obviously these problems don’t show when you’ve constantly got a tripod stuck to the bottom of the camera!

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