The Beginners’ Guide To DSLR Video

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The Beginners’ Guideto DSLR VideoDSLR video guidebook

EOS CAMERAS WITH HD VIDEOCanon first launched HD Video capability in theEOS 5D Mark II camera of 2008. Since then,it’s found its way into nearly every subsequently-introduced camera. EOS cameras with HDvideo capability (as of mid-2016) include: EOS-1D X (all); Mark IV EOS Rebel T4i T6i EOS 5D Mark II, Mark III EOS Rebel SL1 EOS 7D (all); EOS 6D EOS Rebel T3i, T3 EOS 60D 80D EOS Rebel T1i, T2iNot every model has the same capabilities andvideo features; some of the differences include:2The Beginners’ Guide to DSLR VideoFULL HD VIDEO AT 1920X1080 PIXELSAll models (as of mid-2016) except the EOSRebel T3 do offer full 1920x1080 video resolution; the Rebel T3 shoots its high-definitionvideo at 1280x720 (sometimes called “720p”).The EOS 5D Mark II does not offer this720p setting.FULL HD 1920X1080 RECORDINGLIMITED TO 20 FPSThe EOS Rebel T1i model (only) was limitedto a slower 20 fps frame rate when set toits highest video recording resolution; atreduced resolution, it operates at a faster,smoother 30 fps.60 (OR 50) FPS VIDEO RECORDINGAT REDUCED RESOLUTIONSMost recent Canon EOS DSLRs offer a higher frames per second (fps) rate at the 720presolution. Recording at 60 fps (or 50 fps, ifcamera is set to the “PAL” system) gives verysmooth rendering of any movement in video;it can be played back at either this smooth60/50fps, or at a web-standard 30 fps. Thelandmark EOS 5D Mark II does not offer60/50 fps recording when set to 640x480.We’ll discuss how resolution and frames-persecond settings work later in this document.For now, we simply want to distinguish between some of the features in different EOSmodels with HD video capability. Finally, thereis no way to upgrade an earlier EOS model tomake it record HD video, if it doesn’t alreadyhave the capability built-in at the factory.

SETTING UP FOR VIDEOEOS 5D MARK IIThis is the trickiest camera to switch fromstill-image shooting to HD video shooting,although it’s a quick procedure once youknow the way. Unlike most other EOS HDSLRs, it’s a menu-driven system:EOS-1D MARK IV; EOS-1D X 2nd set-up Menu Live View/Movie Func settings 2nd set-up Menu Live View/Movie func settings Scroll to LV (still icon/movie icon) settings;Press SET Press SET button scroll to LV func setting Scroll to Movies. Press SET button. Press SET button. Scroll to Stills Movie;Press SET button Scroll to Movie Display;Press SET buttonThis prepares the EOS 5D Mark II to shootvideo. To actually record video, press the LIVEVIEW button (just to the left of the viewfinder);Live Viewing off the LCD monitor will start.Then, to actually record, press the rear SETbutton. A small red icon appears in the upper- right corner of the screen to indicate liverecording is taking place. Press SET againto stop recording.3The Beginners’ Guide to DSLR Video(EOS-1D X—4th shooting Menu)Press SET button (rear of camera)To actually record video with the EOS-1D MarkIV, press the SET button (rear of camera) toactivate Live View. You’ll hear the mirror goup, and the LCD monitor will display what thecamera now sees through the lens. Press thetop-mounted FEL button (it’s right next to theshutter button) to start video recording; pressthe FEL button again to stop.CAMERAS WITH LIVE VIEW–VIDEO SWITCHTurn outer ring to the redvideo icon. Mirror will riseand LCD monitor goes live.Press START/STOP buttonto begin video recording;press again to stop. Newvideo file is created each time video recordingis started with START/STOP button.VIDEO SETTING ON MODE DIALTurn the Mode Dial tothe video icon. Some EOSmodels have a separatevideo setting on the ModeDial. Turn the dial here toset the camera to be readyto record video.Press the rear button withred dot icon to begin videorecording; press again tostop recording.VIDEO SETTINGAT ON–OFF SWITCHOn many EOS models,video shooting is accessedwith the camera’s main On–Off switch. A video icon appears past the ONsetting—move the switch to that position toraise the mirror and have the camera ready torecord. Press separate record button with reddot, usually on back of camera, to actually begin recording; press it again to stop.

SENSOR SIZESVIDEO RESOLUTIONSLR IMAGING SENSORSA huge advantage of the imaging sensor in adigital SLR is its size. Compared to the sensorsof even a high-end video camera, a digital SLR’ssensor is far larger. This means the quality andeven the basic appearance of video files withHD-SLRs are different from those recordedwith traditional pro-level video cameras—letalone compact amateur camcorders.WHAT IS RESOLUTION?Simply stated, it’s the number of pixels usedin a video frame in its finished image. Videofiles are recorded with EOS HD-SLRs atany of three available settings, dependingon the model:Low-light sensitivitySince the sensor is so much larger, each pixelcan be a lot larger as well. As pixel size on animaging sensor grows, all else being equal, itslight-gathering sensitivity grows as well. Thisisn’t terribly important in bright outdoor lighting, but in dim lighting indoors, it can be asignificant advantage.And you’ll see that EOS HD-SLRs have a tremendous ability to record excellent qualityvideo in dimly-lit conditions, with far lessneed to introduce additional artificial lightinto the scene. Digital SLRs often have farhigher ISO abilities, vs. professional digitalcameras, making them ideal for available light recording.Depth-of-fieldThe larger the imaging sensor, the less apparent depth-of-field will result at similardistances and lens coverages. This meansit’s far easier to throw backgrounds out offocus with an EOS HD-SLR than it usuallyis with a traditional video camera.4The Beginners’ Guide to DSLR VideoFull HD 1920x1080This is the highest resolution available formost EOS HD-SLRs (as of mid-2016), andit matches the highest normally-availableHDTV resolution of today’s flat-screen TVs.Furthermore, it matches or exceeds the resolution of many laptop computer monitors, aswell as most digital projectors used for presentations and similar applications.There’s no question that 1920x1080 Full HDvideo has a wonderful clean, detailed andsharp look when viewed on a compatibleoutput device. As the highest resolutionsetting for video recording with EOScameras, it makes sense in situationssuch as the following: Video files you know you want to burnto Full HD Blu-Ray disks or similarsuper-high resolution disks Videos where you want the option tobe able to edit and deliver a finishedproduct that can be reproduced at thehighest possible output quality Video files to be displayed at highest resolution (normally) possibleon web sitesVideo shot at 1920x1080 and then playedback directly on an HDTV looks absolutelyfantastic, especially if the TV is a true FullHD 1920x1080 type.The catch with Full HD 1920x1080 video isthat the files will be massive in size, even ifyou edit and save them in a more highly-compressed file type. They’re often far too largefor internet use on commercial web sites, andbeyond what can be used on some popularvideo web sites.Furthermore, if you plan to burn DVD disks,be aware that most consumer-level DVDplayers can’t read high-resolution video files.Beyond that, true Blu-Ray disks—the only realhigh-definition disk type now in common use—usually require specialized disk-burning software, special disk-burning “drives” dedicatedto Blu-Ray production, as well as a true Blu- Ray disk player for viewing.HD 1280x720This is still considered High Definition videoin today’s world, and actually a very commonly- used setting in many of the HD broadcasts wewatch over the air today (regardless of theactual resolution of our HDTVs). It’s practicalfor several reasons for HD-SLR shooters whoare recording video: The files still have lots of information inthem, but are at least slightly smaller infile size, a benefit for storage and possibly editing time at the computer later.

They’re ideal for certain HD onlinevideo sites, and still represent a goodstarting point for files you intend toreduce in size for final actual use. Many EOS HD-SLRs let you shootat 1280x720 using higher frames persecond rates, such as 60 or 50 fps. Atthese higher recording speeds, you’llget very smooth rendering of any movement during recording (great for actionfootage), and if it’s played back at astandard 30 fps, you’ll see somethingof a slow-motion effect.We’ll discuss frames-per-second settings inmore detail shortly.Remember: you can always shoot a video fileat a high resolution setting, and then in editingcreate a lower-resolution copy. The original fileremains at full-resolution, and can always bere-edited later.One important note: the Canon EOS 5DMark II does not offer the 1280x720 resolution option.Standard Definition 640x480With the popularity of high resolution TVs,computer monitors, and so on, you may wonder what the possible usefulness of a standard-definition 640x480 resolution settingmight be. The thing to consider is the actual,final method you anticipate your video filesmay be viewed with.5The Beginners’ Guide to DSLR VideoOne is the internet. Whether you’re uploadinga finished video to many typical photo &video-sharing sites, shooting video for yourfriend’s business web site, or any similarpurpose, remember: the vast majority ofweb-based video today is still at resolutionsof 640x480 or lower.Another is if you want to burn DVDs of yourvideo files (or finished, edited videos) forfriends, family and acquaintances to view onstandard home DVD players. These play standard-definition DVDs, and are not normallycompatible with HD video files. DVD burningsoftware in many home computers, and DVDdisk drives, are normally (as of mid-2016) compatible only with 640x480 standard-definitionvideo files.You can record Full HD 1920 x1080, or HD1280x720 videos in-camera, and then producean edited copy that’s 640x480 in its final, finished form. But, some users prefer to startwith files as close to the actual final size thatthey can.With many EOS models, you’ll be shooting640x480 at a space-saving 30 fps, meaningfiles will be smaller in their original form, andrequire less work to upload to the web or burnto standard DVDs. Some EOS models, like theoriginal EOS 7D, record standard-definitionvideo at 60 or 50 fps, which gives any cameraor subject movement a much smoother appearance. These video files can easily be changedduring editing to a more conventional 30 fpsfor web use or other applications.FRAMES PER SECOND, OR FPSVideo recording is a series of individual stillimages, or frames, shot and then displayed ata fast enough sequence that our eyes and brainperceive them as continuous moving images.EOS digital SLRs can record video at variousrates, although choices will vary dependingon the camera in question, and the resolutionyou’re asking it to record video at.In general, higher frames per second rates(30 fps and up) will tend to record smoothermovement, while slower fps rates (24 fps, orlower) will tend to appear a bit more choppyand seem to resemble the movement you seein actual films.30 fps (actual 29.97 fps)This has become the de facto standard framesper second rate for North American TV, and forvideo displayed on the internet. Video shot at30 fps will tend to appear quite smooth, andany movement of the camera and/or subjectusually flows pretty smoothly as well. It wouldbe a natural choice for video you intend to burnonto DVD disks, and also for any video youwant or hope to display on a web site.24 fps (actual 23.98 fps)This slower fps rate is actually preferred bymany serious video shooters, especially thosewho value its more “film-like” look. Movementdefinitely will look slightly less smooth here,but when shot properly, far from choppy. Itblends nearly perfectly with traditional moviefilm footage, if you ever need to combine videoyou shoot EOS HD-SLR video with existingfilm footage.

Video shot at 30 fps can fairly easily beconverted to 24 fps during video editing. It’spossible to do the opposite, and convert 24fps original video to 30 fps edited files, butthe results are usually not as good as theywould be if the video had been shot at 30fps in the first place.And, it’s relatively simple to convert original60 fps video files to 30 fps or even 24 fps, tomatch other video files shot at industry-standard fps rates. Movement in any scenes obviously won’t look quite as smooth, but it willmatch up nicely with any other files taken atthose speeds originally.will be better-served by reducing their resolution to 1280x720, and using the resulting 30fps. However, the 20 fps is perfectly acceptable for scenes with little or no movement, andsince it’s accompanied by Full HD 1920x1080resolution, the amount of detail and clarityin these frames is outstanding.Important—special 24.00 fps settingSome EOS DSLRs have an additional, specialvideo setting for 24.00 frames per second,instead of the standard 23.98 fps. This is intended only for matching video footage withactual movie film, and should never be usedfor normal digital video shooting.25 and 50 fps—the “PAL” settingsThese settings match the TV standards usedin many parts of the world, such as Europe,South America, and much of Africa and Asia.To enable these settings, your camera’s “VideoSystem” in the Set-up Menu has to be changedto the so-called “PAL” option. Once that’s done,when you go back to your video menu options,you’ll see that the fps options have changedfrom 24, 30 or 60 fps to 25 and 50 fps.When 24, 30 or 60 fps isn’t exactlywhat it seems.With most EOS digital SLRs, video frame ratesof 24 fps, 30 fps, and 60 fps are actually a tadslower. This isn’t an accident or an engineeringoversight. In fact, it’s something high-end videoenthusiasts strongly requested. The actualframe rates are.60 fpsNot all video-enabled Canon EOS modelshave a 60 fps option. Those that do allow itin conjunction with lower resolution, like HD1280x720, or sometimes SD (Standard Definition) 640x480.Video at 60 fps has a super-smooth look forany movement, and may be a preferred setting when you want a very refined, flowingappearance to any movement in a scene. Iffiles are kept at 60 fps, and played back atan industry-standard 30 fps, the result is asmooth slow-motion effect, although not thesuper-slow motion you sometimes see on network TV sports. Played back at the full 60 fps,the speed of recorded movement looks natural, but with a super-smooth appearance thathas a very modern look and feel to it.6The Beginners’ Guide to DSLR VideoThere’s little reason for most EOS video shooters in the USA to choose these two frame rates,unless you need to either produce material forplayback in those international regions via DVD,broadcast TV or by connecting the camera directly to a PAL-compatible TV or HDTV.20 fpsThis option is only available on the first EOSRebel model with HD video capability, the Rebel T1i. It’s the only fps option when the camerais set for Full HD 1920x1080 recording.If you guessed that at 20 fps, video wouldtend to look rather choppy, you’d be correct.Rebel T1i users who are shooting movement24 fps. 23.976 fps30 fps. 29.97 fps60 fps. 59.94 fpsThese slightly slower fps rates conform precisely to the North American NTSC televisionstandard, and are preferred for precise videoediting if you’re shooting or editing video forDVD, TV or the internet. There is no way, in- camera, to change these settings back to precise 30.00 fps and similar. Note that the “PAL”settings—25 and 50 fps—are precisely 25.00and 50.00 fps. Another point: early versionsof the EOS 5D Mark II camera (with firmwarelower than version 2.0.4) offered only 30 fps,and it was precisely 30.00 fps.

EXPOSURE AND VIDEO RECORDINGAUTOMATIC EXPOSUREOut of the box, every EOS HD-SLR introducedto date will automatically set exposure duringvideo recording. This means shutter speed, lensaperture, and the ISO rating will all be adjustedautomatically by the camera, and will changeduring shooting if the light measured by thecamera changes (for example, as you movethe camera from a bright to dark area, orvice-versa).Automatic exposure is an obvious convenience,and can be a practical answer when users needto shoot quickly. It’s normally quite reliable,and can be further adjusted by the user withExposure Compensation (more on that ina moment).With most EOS HD-SLRs, your choice is eitherto use the camera in a totally automatic exposure mode, or alternately to switch to manualexposure, and adjust your own shutter speedsand lens apertures.Shutter-priority (Tv) and Aperture-priority (Av)Even though you can set the camera’s ModeDial to these settings on most EOS HD-SLRs,if the camera has otherwise been set to videomode, it’ll revert to completely automatic,program auto exposure for video recording.Tv and Av usually are only in effect for still- image shooting.Higher-end EOS cameras, like EOS 5D seriescameras, the 7D Mark II, and EOS-1D X (and7The Beginners’ Guide to DSLR Video1D X Mark II) will allow actual shutter- andaperture-priority video recording, if you select the Tv or Av settings, respectively.ISO settings during Automatic ExposureISO is always automatic when the camera is setfor automatic exposure video shooting—no exceptions. The camera will vary ISO sensitivityas light in the scene changes, raising it to higher settings when it reads dim light, and reactingto brighter light by lowering the ISO rating. Theonly way to manually set ISOs is to switch thecamera to Manual exposure altogether.ISOs in video work exactly the same as theydo for still image shooting, in terms of whatthe numerical ratings mean. Just as you canexpect more digital “noise” in a still imagetaken at a high ISO rating, you can expectsimilar increases in digital noise as videoISOs are raised.Any disadvantages to Automatic Exposure?You’ll often hear video experts preach againstusing any form of automatic exposure control.And for their extremely critical purposes, theremay be some validity to what they say. Manyof these users don’t want the camera to bevisibly changing exposure, even if the camerapans through areas of different illumination ina scene. Furthermore, their feeling is that thecamera won’t always produce exposures thatmatch their very critical expectations and preferences for the “look” of a given scene.But: when you’re just starting out, you may findit’s a big convenience to have the camera makethese adjustments for you, freeing you to concentrate on composing your scenes, checkingfocus before you shoot, and starting and stopping recording at the right moments. When youfeel comfortable switching to Manual exposurecontrol, by all means do so. But don’t feel bulliedinto it because of the words of experts, regardless of how well the Manual exposure controlworks in their experienced hands.TWO TOOLS TO CONTROLAUTOMATIC EXPOSURESome users think that if you shoot video withAutomatic Exposure, you lose all control overyour images and are completely at the mercyof the camera. Actually, you do have a coupleof tools available to control how the Auto Exposure operates:Exposure CompensationThis is a truly fundamental control, for bothstill pictures as well as video. Exposure Compensation lets you intentionally darken orlighten an image. Whether the camera simplywas fooled by the scene’s lighting and gaveyou a video result that looks too dark or toolight, or whether you simply want to lighten ordarken for creative purposes, here is whereyou do it.The method to apply Exposure Compensationvaries, depending on the model of EOS digitalSLR camera you’re working with.

EOS Rebel models (all versions):Press the rear button marked with a “ /-”icon (it’ll also have an AV i /48;nearest actual 1/50 30 fps—ideal shutter speed 1/60 60 fps—ideal shutter speed 1/120;nearest actual 1/125

Now of course, you can’t always shoot atthese relatively slow shutter speeds, as apractical matter. Shooting in bright sunlightis one example where you’d need accessorieslike Neutral Density filters to be able to conveniently shoot this slow. But: when you can,you’ll tend to get smoother overall movement,even to subtle things like leaves blowing intrees, if you shoot close to these speeds atcorresponding fps settings.MANUAL EXPOSURE WITHDIFFERENT EOS CAMERASThe procedure for setting an EOS camera intoManual exposure mode varies, depending uponthe model. As of mid-2016, here are the stepsinvolved for compatible EOS HD-SLRs.Not all EOS models that can shoot video haveManual exposure capability. The following models can only shoot fully Automatic exposurewhen you are set for video recording: EOS Rebel T1iEOS 5D Mark II, Mark IIIMark II models require firmware version 1.0.7or higher installed (otherwise, Manual exposure control isn’t possible): Turn top Mode Dial to the “M” setting Change shutter speeds by turning topMain Dial (near shutter button) Change lens apertures by turning rearQuick Control Dial; be sure camera’s mainOn-Off switch is pointing to upper-mostposition, so that rear dial is “active”EOS 7D series, 6D, 70D/80D,EOS Rebel T4i T6i, T6s, SL1 Turn Mode Dial to “M” S et desired shutter speed by turningMain Dial, near the shutter button Set aperture by turning rear Quick ControlDial (Rebel models—press Av button andturn top Main dial); be sure sliding “Lock”switch is away from Lock position. EOS Rebel T3 EOS 5D Mark II(firmware lower than version 1.0.7)EOS-1D Mark IV; EOS-1D X; EOS-1D X Mark II: Press MODE button and hold it down Turn Main Dial (near shutter button)until “M” appears on top LCD panel Set shutter speeds by turning Main Dial(don’t press any buttons while doing so) Set apertures by turning rear QuickControl Dial; be sure camera’s mainOn-Off switch is pointing to

EOS Rebel T4i T6i EOS 5D Mark II, Mark III EOS Rebel SL1 EOS 7D (all); EOS 6D EOS Rebel T3i, T3 EOS 60D 80D EOS Rebel T1i, T2i Not every model has the same capabilities and video features; some of the differences include: FULL HD VIDEO AT 1920X1080 PIXELS All models (as of mid-2016) except the EOS

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