How to Set Up My Canon DSLR Camera for Video

15Katey

Well-Known Member
  • #1
I've been doing a lot of video work lately with my Canon D7i DSLR camera and it's been coming out fine, but I don't think I have my camera set up for video properly. Right now, I just switch video mode on and then start shooting. Is there something I ought to be doing? How do I get the best video? Does anyone have any instructions for this? What are the best camera settings for taking the best video? Thanks.
 

KristinaW

Active Member
  • #2
Okay, great. You're already using an awesome DSLR camera for video. That was the first step. Oftentimes people try to get that crisp professional video feel with lousy cameras. Even if they're using DSLRs, they're sometimes so old that the technology simply isn't there. Although, I will tell you that you can get some incredible video from cameras that date all the way back to Canon's T2i. This entire line by Canon is very good.

Lenses & Auto Focus

Here's my first tip for you. Because some of the lenses that aren't silent can be quite loud when auto focusing in the actual video, you'll want to pick yourself up one of the silent ones. For Canon, these are called STM lenses which include the Stepper Motor Technology. These are great for shooting video because they're virtually silent. I was actually taking lots of video just yesterday and I only heard the auto focus motor in the camera once while playing the video back. And even then, it was only a whisper. And FYI, I was using the Canon pancake 24mm prime lens. You can find that here: https://amzn.to/37S26w8. The nifty fifty is also an awesome lens for taking video. Check that out here: https://amzn.to/3mQTXMN. These are great lenses that won't break the bank. And they're crazy popular.

Manual & Auto Mode

I don't want to discourage you from whipping out your camera to take some great footage in auto mode. We all do that and there's nothing wrong with it. The camera will figure out the best settings for you and you'll most likely love what you get. If you want more control though, I encourage you to try manual mode.

All you need to do to set manual mode is to turn your camera to the video setting up near the on/off switch and then turn the dial on top of the camera to M. That's it.

Frame Rate

Let's talk about frame rate for a moment. What kind of video would you like to take? If you want HD video, you can choose 30fps. If you want to take HD video, but then add some elements of slow motion in your post-processing, go with the 60fps setting. If you want a film look, check out the 24fps setting. To set the frame rate, make sure your camera is in manual mode and then press the Q button on the camera's back. Then, on the left side of the LCD screen, you'll see a small box with the current frame rate setting in it. Go ahead and touch that with your finger. I think it's the second box down on the left. When you touch it with your finger, you'll see that a few options appear down at the bottom of the screen. For me, I like to shoot with 60fps because I like many options come post-processing time. I'll press the 59fps box at the bottom. You can choose whatever you like though. When finished, just press the Q button again and your setting will be saved.

Shutter Speed

Okay, this is where most people get confused. Shutter speed for video? Yes. I know, back in the beginning, I didn't even know video used shutter speed. Live and learn. There's a simple rule to follow though when you're shooting video in manual mode. Here it is: whatever your frame rate, just double that for your shutter speed. So if you have a 30fps frame rate, go with a shutter speed of 60. And for me, since I'm using the 60fps frame rate, I'll chose a shutter speed of 125, since that's as close as I can get to double. There's no 120 option. To change this setting, simply tough the shutter speed box on the LCD screen and roll the dial on the top of the camera.

Aperture

This setting will depend on how much light you have available and how much blur you want in your video. If you've got lots of light because you're shooting outside or something, then you can increase the number of your aperture (shrink the hole in your lens) without a problem. You can see how bright or dim your video will be right on the back of your camera as you're changing this setting. If you want lots of background blur in your shots though, open the aperture up all the way (lower the number). Just like shutter speed, you can make these settings by touching the LCD screen on the back of the camera. You don't need to press the Q button for these. They're right there on the bottom row on the screen. The reasons for setting aperture for video are exactly the same as setting aperture for photography. It has to do with light and blur.

ISO

For 99% of the cases, I see no reason to change the ISO setting to anything other than auto for video. The only time I'd suggest that you set this to something stable is if you're in a controlled environment. Say you're taking video of a dark concert. You wouldn't want your ISO to be changing automatically, changing the lighting of your final video, so you'd lock it in to a determined value. If you're in a controlled lighting studio, set this to something predetermined as well. But if you're out doing some vlogging on the streets, keep it on auto. Let the camera figure out the best setting.

White Balance

Again, for 99% of people out there taking video, I would suggest that you keep the white balance set to auto. Let the camera do the work. Really, if you're so into videography that you need to set a custom white balance for your scenes, you probably have a camera that's much more expensive than the T7i, not that this isn't an incredibly awesome camera. If you are in a tricky situation though, such as an environment that has mixed lighting or if the camera, for some reason, can't seem to get the white balance right, go ahead and set a custom one. I'll be writing a post shortly that will cover exactly how to set a custom white balance for video on Canon cameras.

Auto Focus

This setting trips people up a lot too. I was outside taking video yesterday of a drone flying around in the air above me and I noticed that my camera wasn't focusing on it properly quite a bit. There was a lot going on in the scenes and the camera had no idea what to focus on. I had my camera set to Live 1-point AF. If I had it set to Smooth zone AF, I could have just touched the back screen to set the focus directly on the object in question. It's a much more manual type of auto focus option, if need be, than the other one I just mentioned. And when I don't want to choose what to focus on, I can just keep the white focus square in the middle of the screen. To learn more about smooth mode AF, check out this article.

There's a lot more to discuss when it comes to shooting video, but I'll save those conversations for those who are curious about such things. Things like camera stabilization, where to place your subjects, audio and external microphones, and bokeh. Taking video is tons of fun and once you get a handle on what your Canon T7i camera can do, you'll be off to the races. Let me know if you need any more answers. I'd love to help!
 

15Katey

Well-Known Member
  • #3
Thank you so much! Your response is incredible. I will keep this post and read it over right before I head out to take video next time. You are the best.

Since you offered, I do have another question. What's your favorite lens for taking video with my camera? I need a good video lens in my arsenal. Thank you!
 

KristinaW

Active Member
  • #4
Thank you so much! Your response is incredible. I will keep this post and read it over right before I head out to take video next time. You are the best.

Since you offered, I do have another question. What's your favorite lens for taking video with my camera? I need a good video lens in my arsenal. Thank you!
Oh you are welcome. No problem at all. I love writing about this stuff.

To answer your question, for the budget minded, I like three lenses that would be great for you. They are:

Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM - https://amzn.to/37UGfUT

The "Nifty Fifty" – Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II - https://amzn.to/3hqqwzZ

Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM - https://amzn.to/37T893j

The first one (18-135mm) is great because it's got image stabilization and zoom. Learning how to use the zoom effectively with video can take time, but it's helpful when you need it. Also, the image stabilization is quite handy when doing handheld videography and walking around.

The 50mm lens is an all around incredible lens, but it doesn't have image stabilization, so you might want to use a tripod or a gimbal to keep the scene steady. It's also not the widest shot, so those two things above are very important. But really, this is one of the best values for the money in the world of photography. It's got a huge aperture that lets in tons of light and the glass is very sharp.

The 24mm is wider than the 50mm, so you won't have as much shake in your scenes if you're doing hand held shooting. But since it doesn't have image stabilization, you may need to help in that department, just like above. But this lens has a fairly large aperture and a decently wide angle, so I may choose this lens over the 50mm quite a bit. But for overall silent shooting that stays steady, I would go with the 18-135mm. Try all three and I think you'll like them.

Here's the rule; the wider the angle, the less camera shake you'll see in your shots. So if you can get your hands on a wide angle that's got image stabilization, you're good. Also, you definitely want to buy a lens that's got a silent motor. Trust me. Don't buy a lens that's not silent. You'll hear that motor all the time in your video. Unless, of course, if you're got your focus set to manual. Then the auto focus motor won't matter at all.
 

CampFireJack

Well-Known Member
  • #5
I bought a very nice Rode VideoMic Pro video microphone for my Canon T3i about 10 years ago. It's a great microphone and I've had a lot of success with it. I'm not sure if the dead cat came with it or not, as some sort of kit, but I have one of them too. The standard mic comes with a black foam sleeve, but I keep the dead cat over that. It cuts down on the wind noise tremendously. Check out it. I don't think this model is for sale anymore, but this is a comparable model: https://amzn.to/2WRcqOr
 

Attachments

  • rode-videomic-pro.jpg
    rode-videomic-pro.jpg
    83.9 KB · Views: 0
  • rode-video-microphone-dead-cat.jpg
    rode-video-microphone-dead-cat.jpg
    84.8 KB · Views: 0
  • rode-video-microphone-dslr-canon.jpg
    rode-video-microphone-dslr-canon.jpg
    72.3 KB · Views: 0
Top