Canon 7D Tips – Shooting both Stills & HD-Video with One Camera

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I spent Halloween in Greenwich Village in the staging area for the night’s Parade.  I was an Army-of-One covering the entire event with one camera, shooting both still photos and HD-Video.  This task is possible ONLY with a camera like the Canon 7D.  I wrote about this before in my article, Flip the Magic Button to Jump Between HD-Video and Still Photography.  Jumping between shooting stills and video is just a quick flip of the Live View shooting/Movie shooting switch on the back of the camera.

Both the still photos and video will be shot according to the 7D’s camera settings.  For example, if you have the camera format set for RAW (18meg full resolution) and 1080p @ 24fps, those are the setting which will be enabled by flipping the switch.  Simple, and jumping between shooting modes takes only 2-seconds.

Be sure to take a look at my video, 38th Annual New York Village Halloween Parade 2010, on both YouTube and Vimeo.  I also have a new photo album with over 20 photos on Facebook.  Here is a sample.

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7 thoughts on “Canon 7D Tips – Shooting both Stills & HD-Video with One Camera

  1. I just did a shoot using my 7D with a 24-105mm f 4L lens. I am very comfortable with shooting stills both RAW and L Jpeg. However, I shot about 25-30 min of video also. When I downloaded everything into Lightroom 3 I had to export the video clips to a folder on my desktop and then used Any Video Converter to convert them and burn them to DVD. The problem I am having is twofold: The transition between each video clip is abrupt and the order in which I took the videos was not the order that was burned to DVD?? I went back and had to rearrange each clip based on the time stamp! I read your blog with interest and perhaps you can suggest a fix. Also, when you set the ISO setting when taking stills, does that also carry over to the video mode when you switch it on? Also, does autofocus work as well in video? Thanks.

  2. First, I am not a fan of Lightroom. After buying the Adobe CS5 Master Collection, I refuse to spend any more for a product which Adobe should though into their bundles. Bridge and Lightroom should be merged into one product and included for FREE with every CS Suite.

    The best way to take control over your video files and transitions is to use a video editor. Premiere Pro CS5 is fantastic and Pinnacle HD Studio is a great inexpensive alternative. Even Premiere Elements might be good enough for your needs.

    The ISO setting applies to both stills and video on the Canon 7D. Continuous Autofocus is not available on any Canon DSLR in video-mode. The only way to achieve autofocus while in video mode is to press the shutter have way. The Canon 7D will attempt an AF lock on whatever is covered by the large AF rectangle. I would not do this while you are filming since you will record the camera “hunting”. Instead, set your AF first and then start recording video. When you need to change focus, stop the video, recompose the scene, set your AF and then start the video again. The video editor will make blending these clips together very easy and allow for a variety of transitional effects.

    Keep in mind … when you start shooting video, always give the camera a second or two to settle. Plan on this type of lead before and after the clip. It will make transitioning easier.

  3. I shot some video with my 7D and when I downloaded it to my laptop, everything was Sideways! Haven’t shot any video since then. I do my photos on my Mac, but in the past, have done my video editing on my PC-based laptop with Sony Vegas. I have a Panasonic camera-recorder bought years before getting the 7D.
    My questions:
    1) Can I download any 7D video to the PC and use Sony Vegas for editing?
    2) Is there a certain time limit one can record before the 7D ‘heats up’ or stops working? I know limitations from the CF card are one thing but I had heard that there is a 7 or 8 minute maximum to shoot vid.
    Thanks!

  4. See, Macs do everything the hard way 😉 Actually, you must have been holding the camera on its side while you were filming. Easy mistake and a lesson to learn.
    1. Yes, you can use Sony Vegas for editing. A few of my Facebook Friends use Vegas on their PCs to edit Canon 7D video.
    2. I have never had a problem with the 7D heating up. If you look at my Halloween Parade video and my Christmas video, I shot hours at a time without a problem. In fact, I maxed out two 16gb compact flash cards! There is a 4GB file size limitation for continuous video which is about 12 minutes at 1080p. You will need to stop at that point while the camera catches up, and then you can start again. In reality, 12 minutes is a very long time for a continuous shot.

  5. Hi there, I am enjoying your website. I have a Canon 40d at the moment but am thinking about the 7d as an upgrade. I would like to use a 7d for shooting video of a live band on stage and wondered if it could cope with that sort of lighting. Another consideration is that I currently only have a 17- 85 efs is lens. Any advice would be gratefully received thanks.

  6. The 7D was code named “Lord of Darkness” for good reason. It handles low-light situations very well. (Only the Canon 1D Mark IV does better.) Make sure you use a lens which is also designed for low-light (for example, with a wide aperture of f/1.2 to f/2.8 with Image Stabilization is possible) and you will capture excellent video and/or stills. The Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 IS L would be great. So would the new Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 EX DG OS is you want to get even closer.

    Take a look at these articles too:
    Canon 7D Tips – What should my first lens be?
    DSLR or Camcorder for HD Video?

    And, there are more help tips in my eBook, Canon 7D Tips and Tutorials.

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