Canon 7D Video Tips

I’ve been using the Canon 7D for about three months now with the Revolution, mostly on road trips as its much easier to carry than our Sony Z1U and shoots very good HD video.  Here is an example of one of the videos I’ve shot with the 7D.

I was exchanging tweets with Steve Garfield (@stevegarfield), and he said he’d like to hear a few tips when it came to the Canon 7D. Seems like a fine excuse to update my blog, since I am so very bad at it. So – here’s a few things I’ve picked up since using this fine piece of equipment.

General:

  • I prefer the manual focus over autofocus. A lot of times what I will do is set my shot up in photo mode, actually take a photo and review it to ensure everything is in focus and properly exposed. Once I am satisfied with the shot, I switch over to video mode and record away.
  • It’s a bit difficult to shoot action while zooming in and out. Instead, I tend to let the action come to me and just use the parts that are in focus.
  • However, I have found that if you zoom all the way out and set your focus, you can zoom back out and still have the majority of your shot remain in focus. Doesn’t work the other way though.
  • Get a good sized CF card. I use a 16GB card and it still fills up fast at 1280×720 60fps.
  • There is no headphone jack to hear your audio as you record. This can be a bit scary if you’re using an external mic (which I do a lot), and want to hear your levels before shooting. What I usually do is get the mic hooked up and record a short clip and play it back through the camera’s internal speaker to get a quick listen. This prevents you from accidentally forgetting to turn the mic on, etc.

Editing:

  • Though I sometimes don’t have the time to do this, it’s best to convert your files before editing them. They are natively h.264 compressed and that doesn’t always work so well in Final Cut Pro. Converting the files to Apple ProRes 422 in Compressor or Final Cut makes for better editing. The files also come off the camera kind of high in contrast, and this conversion cuts it down a bit and gives a more natural look.
  • If you do not have Final Cut Pro for converting, MPEG StreamClip works pretty well, and is free!
  • Be patient. These are big files and take awhile to render/export. I edit on a MacBook Pro and a G5 Tower with 8GB of RAM, and both still take a good amount of time to process these big files.

That’s all I have for now, hope this was helpful!

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