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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 27th, 2010, 09:31 PM   #1
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Best practices for shooting with a 7D

Hi all,

How do you guys usually shoot video and pictures with your 7D? Let me split this question in two parts first to be more 'specific':

Video:

I imagine it is very different depends on the circumstances. Outdoors, indoor, hand held, tripod, low light, etc. Specifically asking about a short movie dialogue scene indoors with low light on a tripod. But, how, what do you guys use as general rules when you are shooting video? Do you always go with manual focus? What else do you change? I am asking because I was shooting with a wide angle lens (16-35mm) indoors with low light and all I did is set it up at 1920x1080 with 24p and then just manually changed the focus... Any suggestions on what you usually use as part of your best practices when shooting video with your 7D?

Photography:

Well, let me go straight to the point: I am basically using Av mode only. I do a custom white balance every time , and then just modify my aperture in Av mode. That's it. Yes, sometimes I use the built-in flash and my tripod, specially for low light night shots; but that is practically it. Most of times I rely on the auto focus, but sometimes I use manual focus.
Any suggestions on what are the best practices for taking pictures with your DSLR?
I know it also depends on the circumstances, but what's more practical? I am no asking to go all automatic, but anything besides going ALL manual? Is Av mode what you guys use the most (besides manual mode of course)?


Hey, I'll appreciate the input...

Thank you VERY much.
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Old September 27th, 2010, 10:26 PM   #2
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Ben, Ben, Ben........

Your 16-35 is not really a wide angle on a 7d..........

Canon has some basic guidelines about shooting video in a 3 page document on their website. They go into using shutter priority based on a selected frame rate. Also, you should consider getting Philip Bloom's training DVD for the 7D. For video you should always do manual focus. If you shoot off a tripod most of the time ( as you suggest) you might consider a monitor (5 inch or 7 inch) to help you get the focus right.

Perhaps the best advice on stills is a basic photography class. There are many things to consider. Are there any classes opportunities where you live? How about a workshop? What you think is a simple question about settings is actually quite complicated because some of the basics of really good photography can dictate settings. I have started shooting stills with two 7D's at the same time, with different lenses, and the basic settings for each are different. For stills I use Adobe RGB color space and (mostly) Adobe Lightroom 3.2 for organizing and general tweaking ( with some CS4 additional image treatment). I just spent a full weekend in a Lightroom 3 workshop.

Last edited by Richard D. George; September 27th, 2010 at 11:07 PM.
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Old September 27th, 2010, 11:38 PM   #3
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Pick up a zacuto loupe or use an external hd monitor for focusing(do not rely on the LCD). If all you have is the LCD then remember to use your zoom/focus feature x5 or x10. Take a still photo of the shot, check the histogram. Shoot at different settings if u can, darker & lighter(it's video, not film). Don't be afraid to experiment until you and your camera become good friends.
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Old September 28th, 2010, 03:06 AM   #4
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interesting,

where did you find this on their website?
'Canon has some basic guidelines about shooting video in a 3 page document on their website'
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Old September 28th, 2010, 07:54 AM   #5
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Basic beginner practice for 1920x1080 with 24p video:

1. Set up a user setting and assign this to C1,2 or 3 (on top of your 7D). So first create a picture style profile - start with neutral and adjust - like many I bring down sharpness all the way and contrast and saturation a little to make a flatter profile. Save this as a define user profile and assign to C1 in user settings.

In this assigned mode C1 you can also save other settings as below:
1. For 24p set your shutter speed to 1/50th (twice frame rate). You can up this a little to get edgy action style motion.
2. Manual focus
3. ISO set to 200 or max 320. During shooting this may move to 100 for strong light. In image settings I disabled Highlight tone priority. If you enable this your lowest ISO will be 200. Some like this enabled - I dont.
4. I set my white balance to daylight as that is 80% of my work.

Thats a basic set up. All of the above can be assigned to C1.

For still work Aperture priority is fine and so is Auto Focus. In fact there are more settings for AF than anything else - these cams are made for AF work because they have infinite control over AF in still mode. Control DOF with your aperture. This is the fun part.
I was messing with video on a boat with friends yesterday and shot some stills - with a 11-16mm - by careful AP even a wide angle can have DOF.
Again set up for AP stills mode and assign this to C2 for example.
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Old September 28th, 2010, 08:11 AM   #6
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One more thing - dont hang out too much in the forums - get out and shoot as much as possible! Do photographic weekends - 2 solid days of shooting. Nothing beats this for learning. The pro's are good because they do this everyday.

By the way the guy in the photo is the legendary cricketer Farouk Engineer - he played cricket for India and England - Lancashire. He was in Miami this weekend. Next year we are making a doc with him in India.
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Old September 28th, 2010, 08:32 AM   #7
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I agree with Jon to use Av most of the time for stills. There will be times you should use shutter priority for either slow or fast shutter speeds. Consider fill flash (used gently), which will require a speedlite and a diffuser.

For stills, autofocus is fine, but lock it in on your subject first, using the AF points. Learn the Rule of Thirds and you will see why your subject will not always be dead center, so you will need to lock in AF then re-compose.

Auto exposure Is OK, but learn what the metering modes mean and when to use each one. (later - you should start learning what the Historgram means and how to use it)

You don't need Photoshop at this point. Many use Photoshop Elements. If you can stretch a bit, Lightroom would be a great choice.

Last edited by Richard D. George; September 28th, 2010 at 01:28 PM.
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Old September 28th, 2010, 01:26 PM   #8
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Chris:

Google this and you should find the PDF:

Canon Quick Guide to EOS DSLR Video Recording

It is basic, so I would still suggest the Philip Bloom DVD, or something similar.
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Old September 28th, 2010, 07:35 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard D. George View Post
Chris:

Google this and you should find the PDF:

Canon Quick Guide to EOS DSLR Video Recording

It is basic, so I would still suggest the Philip Bloom DVD, or something similar.
Thanks Richard, I already bought the Philip Bloom DVD (now much much cheaper btw)

I wanted to send it to my brother who is considering a DSLR and wants to borrow mine for a shoot. Thanks again
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Old September 28th, 2010, 10:05 PM   #10
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All right,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard D. George View Post
Ben, Ben, Ben........

Your 16-35 is not really a wide angle on a 7d..........

Canon has some basic guidelines about shooting video in a 3 page document on their website. They go into using shutter priority based on a selected frame rate. Also, you should consider getting Philip Bloom's training DVD for the 7D. For video you should always do manual focus. If you shoot off a tripod most of the time ( as you suggest) you might consider a monitor (5 inch or 7 inch) to help you get the focus right.

Perhaps the best advice on stills is a basic photography class. There are many things to consider. Are there any classes opportunities where you live? How about a workshop? What you think is a simple question about settings is actually quite complicated because some of the basics of really good photography can dictate settings. I have started shooting stills with two 7D's at the same time, with different lenses, and the basic settings for each are different. For stills I use Adobe RGB color space and (mostly) Adobe Lightroom 3.2 for organizing and general tweaking ( with some CS4 additional image treatment). I just spent a full weekend in a Lightroom 3 workshop.
Ha, that Ben, Ben, Ben reminds me of a friend of mine who really likes me and treats me like his little brother. So, I take on a good 'cute' way.

OK, it is not really a wide angle. But do I need it to be a 'real' wide angle? All I want is jut fit two people in the frame without having to put the camera that far and tearing down my walls. Because with the 50mm f/1.4 I have, I just can't fit two people in my frame!

So, I am not entirely sure what you mean by getting a really wide angle. I tried it for that purpose and it was wide enough to fit two people.

I've got that PDF file (thanks) and I want to get that DVD you are recommending. I've got the trailer:

YouTube - Learn 2 Shoot Great Video on your Canon 7d trailer.mp4

And it definitely sold it to me. How long it is the entire DVD do you know? The thing is, is 121 bucks on Amazon. Is that the 'normal' price? I thought 40 or 50 bucks is more 'normal'. I am sure it is worth it though, getting into consideration how much money you need for even a workshop which you will not get as much as with this DVD.

Yes, I must have workshops around. And I will take one as soon as I can, but for now all my learning comes from here and the internet in general (youtube has LOTS of photography tutorials). It is amazing how much you can learn and I am learning from for example YOU.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard D. George View Post
I agree with Jon to use Av most of the time for stills. There will be times you should use shutter priority for either slow or fast shutter speeds. Consider fill flash (used gently), which will require a speedlite and a diffuser.

For stills, autofocus is fine, but lock it in on your subject first, using the AF points. Learn the Rule of Thirds and you will see why your subject will not always be dead center, so you will need to lock in AF then re-compose.

Auto exposure Is OK, but learn what the metering modes mean and when to use each one. (later - you should start learning what the Historgram means and how to use it)

You don't need Photoshop at this point. Many use Photoshop Elements. If you can stretch a bit, Lightroom would be a great choice.
Yes, did know the rule of thirds for some time now. But is great advice and I appreciate it.

Last year I've got the 'Production' suite, so I do have Photoshop in my shop.

Check out my 'first' photo production with my Canon 7D and even tough I am SURE you will find plenty of mistakes, I did use what I know:

My Steel Horse - a set on Flickr

The first 5 pictues have been taken with a different camera tough.
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Old September 28th, 2010, 10:08 PM   #11
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Thanks Lee

Quote:
Originally Posted by G. Lee Gordon View Post
Pick up a zacuto loupe or use an external hd monitor for focusing(do not rely on the LCD). If all you have is the LCD then remember to use your zoom/focus feature x5 or x10. Take a still photo of the shot, check the histogram. Shoot at different settings if u can, darker & lighter(it's video, not film). Don't be afraid to experiment until you and your camera become good friends.
Good advice,

Yes the Philip Bloom trailer shows the same trick about using the zoom in the LCD which I did not know quite honest.

I hope me and my 7D and its new lens become best buddies!!
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Old September 28th, 2010, 10:20 PM   #12
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This is it!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Braeley View Post
Basic beginner practice for 1920x1080 with 24p video:

1. Set up a user setting and assign this to C1,2 or 3 (on top of your 7D). So first create a picture style profile - start with neutral and adjust - like many I bring down sharpness all the way and contrast and saturation a little to make a flatter profile. Save this as a define user profile and assign to C1 in user settings.

In this assigned mode C1 you can also save other settings as below:
1. For 24p set your shutter speed to 1/50th (twice frame rate). You can up this a little to get edgy action style motion.
2. Manual focus
3. ISO set to 200 or max 320. During shooting this may move to 100 for strong light. In image settings I disabled Highlight tone priority. If you enable this your lowest ISO will be 200. Some like this enabled - I dont.
4. I set my white balance to daylight as that is 80% of my work.

Thats a basic set up. All of the above can be assigned to C1.

For still work Aperture priority is fine and so is Auto Focus. In fact there are more settings for AF than anything else - these cams are made for AF work because they have infinite control over AF in still mode. Control DOF with your aperture. This is the fun part.
I was messing with video on a boat with friends yesterday and shot some stills - with a 11-16mm - by careful AP even a wide angle can have DOF.
Again set up for AP stills mode and assign this to C2 for example.
Thank you Jon!!!!!

This is exactly what I was looking for. The 'perfect' answer right here. This is awesome thank you so much, I am thrilled to have a nice guideline like this one. I really appreciate the time you took to make it.
I do not have a working printer, but I will try to print it out and keep in in my Canon back pack. Just what I was looking for. THANKS A BUNCH!!!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Braeley View Post
One more thing - dont hang out too much in the forums - get out and shoot as much as possible! Do photographic weekends - 2 solid days of shooting. Nothing beats this for learning. The pro's are good because they do this everyday.

By the way the guy in the photo is the legendary cricketer Farouk Engineer - he played cricket for India and England - Lancashire. He was in Miami this weekend. Next year we are making a doc with him in India.
Jon, I did my first 'photo' production. Check it out when you have some time:

My Steel Horse - a set on Flickr

The first 5 pictures have been taken with a different camera (a best buddy of mine for the last 3 or 4 years).

I did a photo afternoon last week, I went to take stills of a really cool tree in Hanover, NH that is changing all its leafs to red. I did learn something very valuable after taking about 90 pictures out of focus: At f/2.8 you get mostly blurry pictures when the subject if far enough even on a tripod. So I figure I have to use at the very minimum at least f/4 (and taking taking the picture from crossing the street, more than 20 feet).

Hey but I am learning, and it is very excited I must say.

Thanks very much Jon for all this great input!!

Oh, and AMAZING work BTW!!!
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Old September 29th, 2010, 08:33 AM   #13
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I don't know the lens you were using but depth of field is governed by the focal length and aperture. You have to know your lens to know its sweet spot.

At 2.8 the DOF will be at its most shallow, so focusing becomes an issue - for video especially where the subject may step out of the shallow DOF. On a wide angle lens, the DOF is a little deeper - on telephotos it is more shallow at the same aperture.
So for people talking where you want the viewer to concentrate on the talking head, DOF is essential to blur out the background - thats why 80 to 100mm is the favored focal length - its not just about the minimum aperture.
For documentaries a shallow DOF would not be ideal in many cases, because it is not natural. DOF is a manipulative tool used mostly in fiction but for docs or real world work which is what I do, it can feel unnatural as our eyes do not work this way. Make sense?
So use DOF sparingly to tell the story in films. Too many filmmakers are shooting at 2.8 and 1.8 and obsessing over bokeh when it may not be appropriate to that scene. Nonetheless, its the just about the most important factor to control your audience.
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Old September 29th, 2010, 08:45 PM   #14
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Good explanation

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Braeley View Post
I don't know the lens you were using but depth of field is governed by the focal length and aperture. You have to know your lens to know its sweet spot.

At 2.8 the DOF will be at its most shallow, so focusing becomes an issue - for video especially where the subject may step out of the shallow DOF. On a wide angle lens, the DOF is a little deeper - on telephotos it is more shallow at the same aperture.
So for people talking where you want the viewer to concentrate on the talking head, DOF is essential to blur out the background - thats why 80 to 100mm is the favored focal length - its not just about the minimum aperture.
For documentaries a shallow DOF would not be ideal in many cases, because it is not natural. DOF is a manipulative tool used mostly in fiction but for docs or real world work which is what I do, it can feel unnatural as our eyes do not work this way. Make sense?
So use DOF sparingly to tell the story in films. Too many filmmakers are shooting at 2.8 and 1.8 and obsessing over bokeh when it may not be appropriate to that scene. Nonetheless, its the just about the most important factor to control your audience.
Hi Jon,

Yes, I did know about all you are saying and explaining here. However, you did not know I knew. That is why I honestly thank you for taking the time. It is a very nice way to explain it and I am sure it will help a lot of people who read this forums.

Once again, thank you very much for taking your time to write these helpful lines!!

Best Regards!!
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