Question: I’d like to start getting into shooting more video and I’m not sure how to set my Canon Rebel T7i up for it. I know I can set it to Auto mode and then just shoot the video, but I keep reading about how video should be captured in Manual mode. And then I’m also reading about shutter speed with video. I didn’t even know I had to set shutter speed when shooting video. What’s that about? Can you help?
Answer: I know so many otherwise fantastic photographers who are somewhat intimidated by shooting video. I think it’s because of the questions you asked. They simply don’t know how to set their cameras up, which is a shame because taking video with today’s cameras, such as your Canon T7i, is so easy. Sure, you can always use Auto mode, but when you need something more precise and when you need the ultimate control, you’ll need to move over to Manual mode. Don’t worry, it’s almost just as easy, if you are aware of a few key concepts.
Okay, shooting video, technically speaking, really is pretty much the same as taking still photos. The only difference is, as I alluded to above, you’ll need to be in Manual mode. I know it’s easier to pop the dial at the top of the camera into Auto mode, but trust me, taking advantage of Manual mode is going to train you much better for your future videography career, even if you don’t want to make a career out of doing this.
Here’s what you need to do to set up your T7i.
First, turn your camera on and flip the top (on/off) switch to video mode. This will automatically turn on the rear LCD screen so you can clearly see what you’re taking video of. So you don’t need to flip back and forth from viewfinder mode to live view mode. The camera does that for you.
Next, because we’re practicing here, set your camera up on a tripod and point it at your scene. This will help you keep these steps clear. Also, turn your lens to manual focus as opposed to auto focus. Auto focus can hunt around a bit, depending on movement in your scene and since we’re just practicing, you don’t want any hunting. Go ahead and focus in on something in your scene. If you’ve got an active bird feeder, point your camera at that and focus in. If you live in an apartment building, point your camera out the window down towards the street. Things like these are perfect to practice taking video.
Set your camera’s mode to Manual. Then, depending on the light, you’ll need to make certain adjustments for ISO and aperture. Like photography, if you’re looking for a deeper depth of field, set your aperture to a higher number and vice-versa if you’d like a more shallow depth of field. With the T7i, you can simply touch the rear screen to activate the editable settings. Also, touch the ISO setting to change your ISO so it looks good on the back of the screen. You’ll see it getting darker and lighter as you roll the dial back and forth.
When it comes to setting the shutter speed for video, you’ll need to remember one simple formula. Your shutter speed setting should be about double your frame rate. So if you’re shooting video at 30 frames per second, you’ll use a shutter speed of 1/60 of a second. If you’re shooting at 24 frames per second, you’ll use a shutter speed of 1/50 of a second. If it’s not too bright outside, you should be able to get away with this without using a neutral density filter, but if it’s really sunny and bright outside, you’ll likely need to attach one of these filters to your lens so you don’t over-expose your video. Again, take a look at your ISO settings periodically to compensate for any aperture or shutter speed changes.
Because you don’t want your ultimate video’s color temperature to change as you’re shooting your video, it’s better to lock in a white balance setting as well. Take a look around and figure out what your color balance setting should be and then manually set that.
That’s pretty much it for the settings. When it comes time to record, push the button that’s to the right of your view finder on the back of your T7i. It’s the one with the small red dot next to it. Record your video and then to stop, press the same button again. Don’t use the shutter button. That won’t work here.
Also, as a side note, when you’re recording something that’s the primary subject of your video and if it’s moving, be sure to begin your recording a few seconds before the subject comes into the frame and then stop a few seconds after it leaves. That will give you some wiggle room during editing. It’ll also allow you to edit out the movement you introduce when you press the video recording button on the rear of your camera.
I suggest you practice with a tripod first to get your feet wet when it comes to taking video. While it’s not a difficult process at all, you will need to consider each setting and then set the camera to whatever you feel is right. Remember, Manual mode is best for things like this because you’ll get yourself a lot of control from that mode.
I hope this helps.