+ Shooting HD Video with a Canon DSLR Part 2 +
Lately I have been getting a lot of questions regarding HD video with various Canon DLSR’s. I figured I would do a blog post addressing most of the questions I have been asked. I’ve been shooting HD video with a Canon 5D Mark II, a 7D, and a Rebel t2i (550d) for about a year now and there are a few things you need to consider if you are going to use these cameras.
1. One of the most important aspects of filmmaking is audio. As many people already know, the Canon DSLR line seriously lacks good audio control. It is a little better with the new 60D and the 5D Mark II because of the auto gain control, but when using the T2i or the 7D, audio can be a bit frustrating. Over the past month I have been experimenting with many different types of microphones and audio recording. The most obvious solution for most people would be to upgrade to a shotgun mic for their 7D or T2i. While you will definitely hear some improvements, but this is not necessarily a quick fix. The audio recorded with wireless lav’s and shotgun mics still need some adjusting before I would consider using it in my film. There are a couple solutions for this.
First, and probably the easiest, is to clean up the audio using an amazing piece of free software called Audacity. I’m not going to do a tutorial on how to do this because you can find plenty of those on Youtube, but it’s very easy to do and produces fantastic results. You can download Audacity by clicking here.
Another way to record crystal clear audio is by using a Zoom H4n or H1 (pictured below) to record the audio separately. The audio recorded with the H4n/H1 is much better than using the onboard mic and audio input, and it even has an input where you can attach a wireless lav setup or a shotgun mic. The drawback to using the H4n or the H1 is the fact that you need to sync the audio in post, which is not necessarily difficult with a fantastic plug-in for Final Cut called Plural Eyes. You can purchase Plural Eyes or download a free 30 day trial by clicking here. It is a bit time consuming, but so is the noise removal process in Audacity. It is just a sacrafice you must be willing to make in order to record great audio.
2. A lot of people ask me how I create the slow motion clips in many of my short films. If you are using Final Cut Pro, it’s a fairly simple task. Unfortunately if you are using any other editing platform, I can’t help you. In order to create smooth slow motion you must first be sure to shoot in 720p at 60fps. You can change your frame rates around in the video menu…
It’s not necessarily a good idea to shoot ALL of your footage at 720p 60fps, but for slow motion effects, the over-cranking is a necessity. By using Cinema Tools (included with the Final Cut Pro package) you can conform your 60fps footage to 30fps or any other frame rate you choose, effectively creating ultra smooth slow motion. For a step by step tutorial on creating slow motion in Cinema Tools, check out this post on ski photography legend Dan Carr’s blog.
Here is a sample of a slow motion clip I took when I first purchased my T2i. The footage was conformed to 29.97fps using Cinema Tools.
3. The last question I am going to address in this post is memory cards. People always ask me what kind of cards I use in my T2i or 550D. Unlike most of the Canon DLSR’s, The T2i takes SD cards. If you intend on shooting HD video with this camera you need to use either class 8 or class 10 cards (otherwise known as SDHC cards) in order to achieve smooth video recording. I use San Disk 8gb Class 10 cards.
I’m not exactly sure how much HD video an 8gb card can carry, but I estimate it is about 20 minutes, so make sure to have multiple cards accessible.
That’s it for now, I am working on part 3 to this article which will outline some of the accessories and equipment I use on a daily basis. If anyone has any specific questions they would like me to include in the next post you can email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org