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Canon EOS Crop Sensor for HD
APS-C sensor cameras including the 80D, 70D, 7D Mk. II, 7D, EOS M and Rebel models for HD video recording.


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Old September 6th, 2010, 08:57 PM   #1
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Recently Purchased a 7D

I recently purchased a 7D that should arrive Thursday. I have a documentary shoot coming up this weekend and was curious if there are anythings I should watch out for. I bought a wireless lav with it too so if anyone has any suggestions for recording audio in particular as well as video function issues I may run into it would be greatly appreciated.

Cheers

Tony
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Old September 6th, 2010, 10:56 PM   #2
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I would strongly suggest you use a different camera. Frankly, there is no way you can be up and running effectively on a 7D in the amount of time you've got unless you are VERY familiar with using an HDSLR to shoot films with.

What glass do you have?
What mics do you have and how do you plan to record with them?
How are you going to focus the camera?
Will the recording time limit affect your shoot? If so, how will you mitigate it?
Do you have a stabilizer for the camera or will you be on a tripod for the whole production?
How do you handle redundant data dumping gin the field?
How are you going to edit the footage?


So many things to work out.
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Old September 6th, 2010, 11:35 PM   #3
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I will have a canon 50mm 1.8 and a 28-135 3.5. The zoom lens is the kit lens. I know that since it isnt a fixed iris zooming in and out while rolling wont be an option, but since I was on such a short time limit and budget it was my best bet at the moment for a variety of focal lengths.

Tripod wise I have a manfrotto 05SX w/501HDV head. I will be building a steadicam rig for any non-tripod shots.

Focusing will probably be manual if thats what you mean. I do not have a focus pull setup yet and I figure this segment of the doc shouldnt require a lot of intricate focus pulling. Again like you said I wish I had more time to work with the camera. I have worked with the 5 and 7D before, but in a relatively limited capacity. I will be spending every second with it for the few days I have before the shoot.

I have an audio technica lav kit that connects via an 1/8" connection so I am hoping it will work fine with the camera. If recording on camera isnt the best then we have 3 macbook pros that I will have on location for dumping video and other issues so I can just record with garage band or soundbooth or something and mark it for sync later.

Editing wise I have Final Cut Studio as well as Premiere CS4. I dont believe the time limit (according to Canon 12 minutes) will affect anything. We maybe doing a couple interviews, but I am trying to get access to an ex-1 as well just so that the 7D will not be the only camera on location.

Also I did order a second battery just to be safe. How long do you usually get out of one battery?

I really appreciate the help
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Old September 6th, 2010, 11:55 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony Bernard View Post
I have an audio technica lav kit that connects via an 1/8" connection so I am hoping it will work fine with the camera. If recording on camera isnt the best then we have 3 macbook pros that I will have on location for dumping video and other issues so I can just record with garage band or soundbooth or something and mark it for sync later.
The camera has automatic gain control. Which makes it wholly unsuitable for recording anything but "guide track" audio. There is no way I'd put it into any production. I'd suggest you pursue your alternate solution as quickly as possible.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony Bernard View Post
Editing wise I have Final Cut Studio as well as Premiere CS4. I dont believe the time limit (according to Canon 12 minutes) will affect anything. We maybe doing a couple interviews, but I am trying to get access to an ex-1 as well just so that the 7D will not be the only camera on location.
Ok, sounds like you're all set there.


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Originally Posted by Anthony Bernard View Post
Also I did order a second battery just to be safe. How long do you usually get out of one battery?
I have the T2i, and have worked with the 5D. I have not worked with the 7D enough to give a good answer, but maybe one of the owners will chime in.


I won't sugar coat this. You're on a VERY steep learning curve here. Everything from dealing with dynamic range, to potential overheating issues, trying to focus accurately on the little LCD on the back (perhaps while on the go), and all other manner of challenges. To top that off, you've got glass that is absolutely awful for trying to focus manually.

Like you said, spend every waking moment you can with the camera and understand all the basics, including picture styles, and the quirks. Go through EVERY setting and turn off any automagic settings that might bite you later. I've been where you are. We received a 5D three days before filming a short last year and the DP/Operator had never had ANY SLR before that. I was supposed to be gaffer, but ended up DPing a lot of the picture out of necessity.

I wish you the best.
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Old September 7th, 2010, 12:12 AM   #5
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I would echo Perrone's apprehension given that you have little prep time and that you are recording sound.

When I first used my 7D for a paid job it was first a 2nd cam not doing audio. Later when it became A cam I had already mastered its quirks - I STILL won't use it for audio other than what perrone said, as guide track.

That said, audio recorded in-camera is of limited use in a doc. I even had a attenuated cable made by our tech department but still the agc wrecks havoc on your sound.

You would need a portable audio recording device like a tascam, in my case a zoom where you can hook up your lavs.

Next is the battery. To get you by a day of shooting, you'd be safe with 4 batteries, a little tight with 3, hardly getting by with 2.

You definitely need something to 'enhance' your LCD viewing- I made mine using a magnifying glass.

Without one, you'd be getting a lot of off focus and soft shots.

Good luck.


p.s. seeing its your 1st few posts, welcome to the forum.
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Old September 7th, 2010, 12:13 AM   #6
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Ok so when the equipment gets here I will plan on testing the lav with recording to the laptop. Im not even going to bother with trying the camera audio input since it has auto gain.

I am VERY nervous about focus being an issue. Do you think it would work if I actually measured and marked focal distances on the lenses and then pulled focus day of just to be a little more accurate? (As long as they arent the type of focus rings that just spin round and round forever)

I may also look into overnighting a hood/viewfinder setup for the lcd to make seeing it a little bit easier. If I can pull together extra funds that is.
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Old September 7th, 2010, 12:17 AM   #7
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Thanks for the heads up on the DIY Loupe link. That might be a big help. And yea I will definitely be recording audio to a different device. I am now worried about the battery may have to ship another one or two...thanks a million for the heads up on that too though.

p.s. thanks glad to be here!
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Old September 7th, 2010, 12:31 AM   #8
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About the focus, in a docu scenario, I would strongly suggest using constantly the magnify button as your "focus assist" to confirm you have your target in focus. Good thing that you can move box that indicates the area to magnify.

Doing so with practice will give you better chances of getting things in focus.
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Old September 7th, 2010, 12:40 AM   #9
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Awesome. Thats how I will do it then.
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Old September 7th, 2010, 03:55 AM   #10
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Good advice from Ted and Perrone. I'll add, buy some ND for your lenses.

Keep it simple and you'll be fine. Good luck:)
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Old September 7th, 2010, 04:07 AM   #11
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If you have easy access to power during the day you should be able to manage with 2 batteries by recharging when empty.
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Old September 7th, 2010, 06:57 AM   #12
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What is the subject and the purpose of the documentary?

Do not be put off by the obsessing over technical stuff. If you have a compelling story or something to say you can shoot it on an iPhone and people will watch. So go ahead and shoot - don't let anyone break your confidence!
If you are shooting over one weekend it must be a short film right? It would help if you gave more information. Beware of a DIY steadicam - use the tripod as much as possible. You don't have time to practice hand-held. I would have spent my money on a good shotgun fixed to the cam if you do not have recording equipment. You can get useable sound this way.
Other than that go for it.
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Old September 7th, 2010, 07:16 AM   #13
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The EX1 is a great idea, especially during the interviews. It can do the audio fine. I would suggest using a clapper on a slate with a large digital stop watch, for syncing. Just shoot it with both cams every time you start a new shot. You could set the EX1 on covering medium shot and then use the 7D for multiple angles and frames. Try to not move too much though, you will regret it in editing.

I find using the 5x and 10x focusing works very well. I use it on my 5DmkII and 7D all the time. Follow focus helps a lot. The Cavision setup is reasonable priced and quite good. And I believe B&H have them in stock.

I would definitely have at least 4 batteries on hand. I have AC in my vehicles so I can charge batteries there, but a lot of times you just forget and no power will stop you dead.

I think you will do fine. I always find that the way to really learn all new equipment is to prepare as well as you can, by testing and practicing, but you really learn when shooting for real.

One thing I would definitely do is hook the 7D to a good evaluation monitor and really learn how to get exposure and focus right. A large HDMI monitor will do, but ideally use a pro evaluation monitor you trust. The histogram is very good for setting exposure. Also get used to setting the white point manually (custom). This is very important if you shoot with 2 cams.

Spend some time with the PP settings. If you want to match the EX1 and the 7D, I would use Doug Jensons (Vortex Media) settings on the EX1 and turn the sharpness and contrast all the way down in the 7D use neutral as style (whatever it is called) and turn the saturation down 1 or two notches.

Let us know how it goes, nothing like trial by fire. If you use the EX1 for the interviews as A-cam it will be much easier. And take some of the pressure off.

Enjoy, the 7D is a great tool!
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Old September 7th, 2010, 07:21 AM   #14
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Olof,

just a heads up, I don't think the OP mentioned he has an EX1, just the 7D, you must have been lukin at Perrone's sig. ;-)

Ted
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Old September 7th, 2010, 11:57 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony Bernard View Post

but I am trying to get access to an ex-1 as well just so that the 7D will not be the only camera on location.

Also I did order a second battery just to be safe. How long do you usually get out of one battery?

I really appreciate the help
I read this from post #3 by Anthony Bernard. It is easy to miss. I had a hard time finding it the second time, and I was starting to wonder where I got it from.
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