VSW: Using the Canon 60D for Video

The Basics:

1) Never point the camera directly at the sun. NEVER. Even if you’re not rolling.. It will fry the chip and make the camera into a very expensive paperweight.

2) Charge the battery before you leave. Using the live view and shooting video drains the battery quickly.

3) Take an external microphone when you check out the camera and use it: the internal microphone is terrible, giving you useless audio. The Rode Shoe Mount mic works well on the camera.

4) Check out a tripod and use the tripod, always.

5) the 10 minute limit: The Canon DSLR will record a single take for only 10-12 minutes before it automatically stops recording. This is a problem when you’re doing an interview so plan accordingly start and stop on your question so the camera does not roll out on the subjects answer.

6) Audio is crucial, Audio is King and Queen

shooting interviews: use a lavalier microphone, set manual audio for interviews.
shooting B roll, use external microphone on top of camera, set audio=auto,

If you’re recording an interview, attach a mic directly to your subject. Use an external digital audio recorder or connect the lavalier directly into the camera using a stereo to XLR cable. Use the camera in Manual Audio mode during interviews and set your levels carefully.

For B roll, use an external microphone on top of the camera (like the Rode Shoe Mount) An on camera mic is not good enough for interviews unless the Rode Shoe Mount mic about one foot from your subjects mouth.

The microphone that is built into the camera is worthless for recording any audio.

7) When recording video, use these settings”

(use the Q button for quick access to these important controls)
set 1920×1080 30p
picture style is standard
AWB= auto white balance for B roll
aspect ratio:16:9
use manual exposure, manual focus (switch on lens to MF_manual focus)

8) Camera Settings
shutter speed is always 1/60th of a second for video (a multiple of 30p.)
(a faster shutter speed like 1/125 or faster makes the movie looks choppy)
front dial near shutter release sets shutter speed
back dial sets aperture
use Manual exposure and manual focus.

Here is a link to the Canon 60D instruction book.

Camera Settings:

The camera should already (hopefully) be set up when you get it from the equipment room.

Set the dial on top of the camera to movie mode.

Push menu button on back of the camera to set up the camera for video…
With Camera in Movie Mode> Menu (setup Menu) on back of camera

screen 1 (first icon, top row, far left)
Movie Exposure= manual
AF Mode=Quick Mode …but you’ll be using manual focus
AF W/shutter button during movies=disable.
AF and Metering Button for movies=1
Highlight tone priority= disable (!!)

screen 2 (second icon, top row, far left)
Movie rec size 1920×1080 30p
sound recording: auto for B roll/ verite shooting, Manual for interviews
silent shooting mode 1
meter timing= 4 seconds
grid display (as you wish.. I use grid one to remind me I’m rolling because if I see the grid lines, I’m NOT rolling)

screen 3 (third icon, top row, left)
exposure comp=0
auto lighting optimizer=disable
picture style = standard
white balance= auto (I always choose the white balance for the scene (!!) also access this from Q_quick_button. But you have to remember to reset each time.)
custom whiter balance: shoot piece of white paper as a still and choose this option
(use only in difficult lighting)

Getting Ready to Shoot

-be sure selection dial on top of camera points to movie camera mode
-attach an external microphone on top and check audio levels
(MENU sound recording auto audio for B roll, manual audio for interviews, wind filter disable). Built in microphone gives very bad sound. Rode Shoe Mount mic
-picture style standard
camera on tripod

Exposure is Important
-set ISO (try for multiple of 160..such as 160, 320, 640, 1250, 1600)
-shutter speed of 1/60
-set aperture to get a good exposure..check the histogram too dark? increase ISO

You can shoot a still photo while a movie is recording but it interrupts the recording of the movie (and a blank space will be seen in the movie where the still picture was shot).

Recording Media: the SDHC card needs to be class 6 or higher (faster) for video. Otherwise, the camera will pause recording video while it writes data to a slow SDHC card. a 16 gb card gives you about 30-40 minutes of HD video

Notes & questions
questions: Is there a way to only see the histogram and not all the other settings?
interviews directly into the camera using xlr=-stereo mini?

Written by Bob Sacha, please contact him before you publish or share this doc.