Mar 31, 2011

Shooting Video Manually with My Canon EOS 5D Mark II

By Brooke Weidauer  
(Many of these tips can be used with other cameras that have video capabilities)
"Maybe you’re like me and have not been receiving email firmware updates for your camera. Maybe you’re like me and had no idea how important firmware is. Yep, that’s an embarrassing confession".

You ought to keep in the know about your camera’s firmware. Updating your camera’s firmware is relatively easy to do and requires:
•A fully-charged battery
•Your EOS 5D Mark II camera body
•A CF memory card
•A CF card reader
•Internet connection

If you do not have a card reader you may use a USB cable and EOS Utility, software that was included with your camera.
Updating Firmware

A few weeks ago I decided to discover for myself what all the buzz was about regarding the 5d Mark II’s video capabilities. To my dismay, I’d expose properly and then once I began to record my subject, the camera took over.

I had to update my camera’s firmware. Since the Mark II was released in November of 2008 there have been six firmware updates. These updates fix little annoyances as well as big issues, like the inability to shoot video manually. When you update the latest version, 2.0.8, all previous versions will be included in the update.

To begin your firmware update click [here].

Under “Drivers and Software” select your operating system in the drop down menu. Then click on the firmware link and “I Agree- Begin Download”.

A step-by-step guide [here] will pop up on your screen. Follow these instructions carefully.

Shooting Video in Manual Exposure Mode, A Very Basic How-To

My grandpa was all about the video camera when his kids were young. We recently sat down as a family and watched these old silent films. The children in the video shielded their eyes from the spotlights affixed to the 8mm film camera while opening their presents on Christmas morning.

Fast forward two generations. Forget the bright lights, the silence, and lack of control. If you shoot with the 5d Mark II by Canon and are not utilizing the HD video and in manual mode, you are just as nutty as I was.

Fun fact: the Mark II has been embraced by film and television productions. One such production was the television series House, episode Help Me broadcast May 17, 2010. The episode was filmed entirely with the Mark II.

Before you Begin

A few last steps before you begin to shoot video:
•After updating the firmware on your camera and before you begin to shoot video be sure your LV (Live View) settings are set to “Stills + Movie”. Then, press the SET button and set your screen settings to “Movie Display”. If your screen settings are anywhere but “Movie Display” you will not be able to manually adjust exposure.

•Turn the mode dial on top of the camera to manual just as you would to manually adjust exposure for still shooting.

•Press the Live View button (to the left of the viewfinder) to activate Live View and the SET button to start and stop recording.

Shooting video manually will be intuitive to anyone who’s familiar with shooting stills in manual mode. Basic camera settings such as shutter speed, aperture and ISO apply to video mode as well. Other settings that also apply include picture style, white balance, AE lock, and exposure compensation.

My Method

What I like to do before switching to video is to first expose properly and take a few test shots. I then activate LV and the settings, and therefore exposure will remain constant. When shooting stills I use automatic focus but manually focus when shooting video because I love the look as well as the added control.

Play around with your settings just as you would when shooting still frames. Try shooting at your lens’ widest aperture. Experiment with different lenses, various compositions and angles just as you would when shooting stills.  

When you are ready to upload your video, you would do so just as you would for still shooting, either with a card reader or a USB cable.

Here’s a one-minute video. My aperture was between f/2.5 and f/2.8 and shutter speed around 1/250. I shot with the 85 mm f/1.8 and the 24-70 f/2.8 lenses. The post processing in these images includes a simple s curves, a soft light layer at reduced opacity as well as some slight skin retouching yet the exposure is consistent with the video. For the editing of the video I used imovie and added some royalty free music that I purchased.



Whether you choose to shoot video around the house or plan to incorporate video into your still photography for your clients, you will benefit creatively by utilizing your 5D Mark II’s HD video. For a more in-depth article regarding shooting video manually with the 5d Mark II click [here].

23 comments:

Larkin's said...

LOVE the video Brooke! I can't wait to try some of these things out with my own camera. Thank you so much for the tips!

Amy said...

I'm so jealous - I wish I had the Mark II so I could do this! Thanks for the great tutorial.

Joy said...

Makes me wish I had video capability! Fabulous work, Brooke!

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