How film fitness videos with a DSLR

If you want to film fitness videos with a DSLR then there are a few things you should know before you go out and buy the latest camera.

Over that last few years the video features for DSLR cameras have improved massively with every model released. However they still have one Achilles heel which means it’s not necessarily the perfect solution for filming fitness videos.

You can film fitness videos with a DSLR in HD and even 4K now, but these cameras have a maximum record limit of 29m 59s and many split recordings in to separate 4GB files. This means that if you want to film a fitness video that’s longer than 30 minutes, you’ll need to hit record again. And because video may be split into different files you’ll need to edit them together with software after filming.

And without being ready to push the button straight away you’re going to lose a few seconds of your workout.

Of course, if you’re not planning to filming workouts any longer than 30 minutes, a DSLR camera may be perfect for you because:


  • The basic kit lenses are usually good quality useful for many situations
  • The storage media like SD cards are inexpensive
  • The cameras can dive good results in low light
  • Many have articulating screens so you can check your frame while filming and they can double as a vlogging camera
  • And many models have input jacks to allow you to attach radio microphones to improve audio quality


But to be fair, we have to highlight some cons as well.

  • You’ll probably need to invest in extra batteries because many will die after an hour or so
  • The pre-amps for audio recording inside older camera models aren’t the best quality.
  • You need to be careful how you record your audio to avoid a lot of hiss in your recordings.
  • Cameras can be more technical and complicate to use.
  • Video setup and menu systems can be confusing and you may need to consult the manual to make headway.
  • You will need a relatively sturdy tripod to help the weight of the camera.


So is it worth trying to film fitness videos with a DSLR?

It’s certainly an option and it can be a high quality and cheap solution. If you plan to do a lot of editing and construct your videos in parts then you can get high quality results with a low investment.

But if you’re adverse to editing and want a quick way to film and upload your fitness videos, then you might want to consider a dedicated video camera; an action camera like a GoPro or use a phone or tablet device.

How to film fitness video with your phone

It’s easy to film fitness video with your phone nowadays. The cameras and tablet devices are capable of delivering high resolution HD images. And with the right cable you can also connect external radio microphones to them to improve your sound quality.

The simplest way to film fitness videos with your phone is to do it without music. This helps to future proof your content and avoid any copyright issues or claims if you post your workouts on social media channels.

Filming fitness videos without music also means you have less to worry about when filming. Its easier to focus on delivering great sounding audio instructions from your mic than trying to balance a music mix as well.

If you want to use music in your videos its best to add it in editing. Or invest in equipment that allows you to mix music and your mic with more control for a better user experience.

For most instructors however, filming without music is the best option. This gives your audience the freedom to use any music they choose when they workout.  This means every time they repeat your workout they can choose the music that best suits their mood.

If you’re planning to use either of the two radio mics below then you’ll also need a Rode SC4 cable (£10). This cable converts the stereo output from the microphone receiver to your 3.5mm jack plug on your device. Without this your phone or tablet won’t be able to record the input signal from your microphone receiver unit.


Tips to help you film fitness videos with your phone

  • Film facing a light source to improve the quality of your image. With plenty of light your camera will create the best picture and keep you in focus.
  • If you’re using extra lighting to illuminate your scene, bring your light as close as possible to you to get the most benefit.
  • Lock the exposure on your camera app so the brightness of your video doesn’t auto adjust with slight changes in light and cause a distraction.
  • Try and film your fitness video in an area that isn’t messy or cluttered so following along is easy to do without distractions.
  • Wear colourful clothes and avoid wearing all black. It’s difficult for viewers to perceive position, depth and distance if the instructor wears all dark colours. So choosing what you wear can help your participants to mirror you more effectively.
  • Test your camera setup and field of view before you film for real. Mark the edge of your frame with a water bottle or piece of equipment so you never stray out of shot. Try and fill as much of the frame as possible – your participants will appreciate an easy to see demonstration.
  • Always film in landscape so your audience can cast your video to a TV for the best big screen experience.
  • Make sure your device has plenty of available space to record your video and your battery is charged.
  • Film in full HD 1920×1080 resolution for great quality video.
  • Avoid filming in 4K resolution. 4K is 4 x bigger than HD and creates big video files that eat up a lot of space on your phone; take ages to transfer to your computer and can be a struggle to edit and upload to hosting platform like YouTube.
  • Set you phone to air plane / silent mode to prevent any interruptions like messages or phone calls.
  • Charge your radio mic batteries so you don’t run out of juice
  • Practice your intro and outro and start on time so you come across as a professional.
  • Use a timer app like seconds pro to periodize your workout so your workout lasts your planned duration. It can be easy to loose track of time!
  • If you talk constantly through your workouts your audience may mute your video and follow along by sight. This means they’re not going lose your coaching expertise to help them get the most out of the workout. Without periods of silence it can be difficult for you audience to identify the most important coaching, so be economical with your words and let your coaching cues land before adding more.
  • Keep the volume of your voice consistent so it can be well heard and don’t whisper even if you’re doing a holistic workout. Your audience can always turn down your volume at their end if they think you’re too loud.


Recommended apps for filming fitness workouts:

Filmic Pro

Open Camera


Recommended Radio Mics for filming fitness videos:

Rode Filmmaker Kit £250

Rode Go Wireless Kit £150


Recommended Head mics for filming fitness videos:

Great for both men and women. More comfortable than the AKG with a snap back style adjustment for size. Great clarity and low noise which is why I use this for filming professional videos.
AKG C555 £100
Good for women because it adds more low end sound to your voice giving you more power to cut through the music.
Can also be used my men, but you may need to reduce the bass EQ for in studio teaching. You may need to buy an extra adaptor to attach to you mic pack.
The double ear SubZero (£35) could be a good option as an alternative. I was impressed with the single ear mic (see below) but I’ve not used the full headset. In skin colour it’s more discrete.
If you do lots of lying on your back (e.g. Pilates) you may want to consider a single ear headset like this one from SubZero (£15). The quality is excellent for the price and with no bar around the back of the head, it wont touch the floor or knock of your head when lying down. The fit can be tricky though sometimes if you have small ears. You can bend the wire to fit better – but be careful you don’t break it!


That’s it! Now go and film fitness videos on your phone with confidence and deliver workout experiences that meet the expectations of your audience.


How to stream fitness workouts from home to your clients

Fitness Video Disclaimer Examples (Free download no opt in)

Do you want to stream fitness workouts from home?

If the current health scare has affected attendance to your gym or fitness classes and you’re considering live workouts via Zoom, YouTube Live, Facebook Live and Instagram Live, here are some tips so you can launch some content TODAY!

???? Make sure your insurance covers you for LIVE classes.

???? Set up your camera/phone in landscape mode so your audience can cast the image to their TVs for a big screen.

???? Intro your workouts with a short disclaimer (examples)

???? Don’t use music as you film. You can then record and re-post/reuse your workout without fear of copyright issues.

???? Invite your audience to play their own music in the background as they workout, so you can optimise audio for your own speech for the best user experience.

Create Better Fitness Videos with Professional Audio – Fitness Instructor Microphones for Fitness Videos

An instructor microphone is essential for being heard in class, so let’s improve the audio for your fitness videos too.

In this blog post you’re going to learn 3 ways to record great audio to make your fitness videos sound more professional.


It’s easy to film high quality videos nowadays. When there’s plenty of light available, action cameras, mobile phones and consumer level DSLRs are all capable of producing great looking videos.

But did you know that more people are put off watching videos that have bad sound than bad video?

Without a good way of recording your music and voice at the same time, the sound soon becomes messy and unclear.

And that means your audience will either skip your video, or (if you’re lucky,) turn off the sound and put their own music on.

But that means they’re no longer listening to your expert advice. So they’ll only get so much out from the workout if they can only watch to follow along.

Fortunately recording clear audio for your DIY fitness videos it’s a lot easier than you’d think and it doesn’t have to be expensive either.

In this blog post I’m going to share with you 3 ways to record great audio for you fitness videos.

Fitness Instructor Microphone Setup 1: Use a second mobile phone to record your voice.


If you’re using an action camera, tablet device. mobile or DSLR to film your workouts you can use another mobile phone to record you audio.

Slip the phone into your mic belt and feed the mic up your shirt and clip on your collar. Mae sure you’re clothing is not too loose or the mic will swing around and create unneccesary noise.

You can then easily sync the audio to your video with any free editing software on your computer.

There are many inexpensive microphones available through eBay and amazon that will deliver high quality results.

Before you purchase any microphone make sure you check that:

  • The mic is compatible with your device
  • Your phone is capable of recording sound with an external mic

Here are a few options:

You’ll also need an app to record the audio – here are a few to choose from:

Fitness Instructor Microphone Setup 2: Use a portable audio recorder for your voice.


There are many inexpensive portable audio recorders available that allow you to connect an external mic. Likewise there are many cheap mics that give good results.

My favourite audio recorders are:

I’d recommend the Zoom H1n. It’s small, light and has a built in limiter that prevents your audio from distorting when you raise you voice.

Here are a few compatible mics for all recorders listed above:

Fitness Instructor Microphone Setup 3: Use a wireless recording system for your voice.


This is the most expensive option for recording sound for your fitness videos. The best and cheapest radio mic system available is the Rode Filmmaker Kit (£250).

You can plug the receiver directly into your DSLR camera and record the sound directly to your video. So when you put your video on your computer you don’t have to synchronise the audio to the video.

It’s possible to connect the Rode Filmmaker receiver to your smartphone as well for the same result. But you’ll need this SC3 adapter to stereo mic plug (£8) to make it work.

Rode Filmmaker kit

SC3 adapter to stereo mic plug

So there you go, three ways to record professional audio for your fitness videos.

Let’s take a quick look at the pros and cons for each so you can decide what option is best for you.

Setup 1:

Use a second mobile phone to record your voice


  • Cheapest solution
  • High quality mics are cheap
  • You may need 2 phones


  • Audio and video need to be synchronised with editing software
  • Downloading audio from your phone isn’t always quick and easy
  • You might stop recording by accident if you knock the phone

Setup 2:

Use a portable audio recorder for your voice


  • Cheapest and wider selection of mics available
  • Audio recorders can be used for many other purposes like podcasts.
  • If you only have one phone, you can use it for filming
  • Recorders have ‘hold’ buttons to prevent stopping recordings by accident.
  • Quick and easy to download audio files.
  • Batteries and storage last a long time


  • Audio and video need to be synchronised with editing software
  • Dedicated audio recorders could be more complicated to use.
  • You may need to buy a micro SD card / SD card.

Setup 3:

Use a portable audio recorder for your voice


  • Audio is recorded straight to the video – no need to synchronise using editing software
  • Professional grade audio
  • Quick to setup and simple to use
  • If you only have one phone, you can use it for filming
  • Batteries and storage last a long time


  • Expensive solution
  • Unit may feel large in a mic belt
  • Best used with a DSLR camera for better control
  • Extra adapater needed to connect to a phone.