Did you see my latest video on YouTube? New York City Lights marks my 10th Canon 7D video edited with Pinnacle’s Studio HD and I could not be happier. The above screen capture gives you an idea of the workspace for the video. Over 3 night’s of video edited down and mixed using transitional blends. A separate audio track is used for the music overlay.
I wanted to share some tips on shooting Canon 7D HD Video:
1. Video is not as forgiving as shooting RAW. If the exposure is off, you are stuck. The LCD display is very accurate for video, so pay attention BEFORE you start filming.
2. If you need to set the ISO, Exposure and Shutter Speed, the 7D’s Manual setting is your only option to full control. But, for the most part, the camera is smart enough with video to leave the camera in P (Program mode) allowing you to lighten or darken the photos using the Exposure Compensation +/- settings.
3. Focus in Camera Mode and then switch to Video Mode. The Camera Mode has access to all of the 19 AF Points while Video Mode only has the Center-weight focus.
4. If you want to use a zoom effect, you need to have a sharp focus on the end point of the zoom. Zoom in all the way, and focus at that point. Then Zoom out and start filming.
5. Image Stablized Lenses like Canon’s 15mm-55mm IS EFS and 70mm-200mm IS L will stabilize video fairly well. Of course, there are limits. This is no steadicam! Just like in still photos, quality optics will create impressive results in the clarity of the captured video.
6. Even shooting on a tripod can show a slight wobble in the video. Be sure to allow a second or two before and after the desired video capture to allow the camera to settle.
7. For under $30, the SteadePod is very effective at stabilizing both hand-held video and still photography.
8. Use a fast CompactFlash card (like Sandisk Extreme IV 16gb) to keep up with you. I can easily fill a 16gb card in a busy day of shooting RAW stills and video. Did you know there is a website that independently tests the speed of CompactFlash cards? The results are surprising.
9. Shooting video is a constant drain on your battery. Remember to charge it or carry a spare. Using the Battery Grip (BG-E7) more than doubles the battery performance.
10. The typical video clip (before a cut) is between 4-seconds and 10-seconds. Longer clips are possible (up to 12-minutes) but must include a strong subject matter to hold someones attentions (ex. talking, action) Shoot longer and edit down.
11. Have fun!