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How to set up Canon cameras for video shooting?

how to set up canon for video

Let's talk about how to achieve optimal video quality when using Canon cameras. The settings are universal for almost any camera. They apply to any cameras, with the exception of only some parameters (sort of like the Log profile only available on full-frame mirrorless cameras).

Let's analyze the points.

1) Exposure and white balance

A universal rule for any video shooting is that the shutter speed should be equal to the frame rate times two. Therefore, in most situations, a shutter speed of 1/50 is standard. If you're shooting indoors, it's easy. But if you're shooting outdoors during the day, you'll need ND filters to reduce the amount of light that hits the sensor. I highly recommend such a set.

Canon cameras do a good job of auto-detecting white balance. So you can often get away with it. But keep in mind that in all modern canons there are two types of AutoBB - AWB and AWB (W). Normal AWB is good for shooting outdoors during the day or indoors with window light. AWB(w) is needed for shooting at night in the city or shooting indoors with warm light bulbs.

If you are shooting a video (for example, a blog) with constant light indoors, then you need to set the white balance in Kelvins or use manual white balance according to gray map.

Please note that for video recording it is very important to correctly set the white balance when shooting. Correcting it in the way that photographers are used to editing WB when processing RAW files in the editor will not work. BB errors on video can be fatal to the final result. Follow the correct setting.

2) Autofocus/manual focus

All modern cameras have two main modes of autofocus for video: focusing with tracking and tracking faces, eyes, moving objects AND focusing by zone (small dot, large square, etc.).

In all promotional materials, they praise the focus with various types of tracking. It is really very convenient in a number of subjects. But! If you are shooting a report with a large number of people, I do not recommend using full auto. It is much more reliable to use point tracking focus and even turn it off sometimes.

There are also situations when it is generally better to shoot without autofocus. Any focusing system, no matter how cool, can fail. Therefore, if you shoot a static object from the same distance for a long time, then it is better to focus once and turn it off.

3) Frame rate selection

The frame rate when shooting video in most cameras can be 24, 25, 30, 60 or 120 fps. For most tasks, 24 or 25 fps will do. Depending on PAL/NTSC mode. If you have a question "why don't I have 24 frames, but only 25?" or "why don't I have 120 fps but only 100 fps?“, then you need to change the dependency mode from PAL to NTSC or vice versa in a separate menu item.

A frame rate of 60fps is needed if you want to make slow motion video OR if you want to do fast pans or other camera movements. 60fps allows you to deal with strobe while panning.

4) Color Profile (Standard, Natural, Log and Gamuts)

For shooting video, there are two main profiles for Canon cameras:

  • Standard
  • Natural

In both profiles, set the contrast to a minimum.

Natural is better, because. gives an even lower contrast image compared to the standard profile. But on some cameras (for example, Canon m50) the natural profile looks dumb, the color rendition is lame. Therefore, see for yourself which profile will be better on your camera.

In my experience, I can say that on all Canon full-frame cameras, the "Natural" profile is more preferable for video shooting.

The log profile is currently only available on top Canon mirrorless cameras. About how to paint it, I wrote here.

5) Sharpness and detail

Sharpness is a broad topic. Most Canon cameras have problems with detail when shooting video.

It depends on:

  1. Lighting qualities
  2. Intracameral image reading from the matrix (is there a line skip or not)
  3. Color profile settings
  4. Lens

You can influence the lighting, set the optimal sharpness value in the menu and put on a sharp lens. But in cameras with soapy video, it is better not to touch the sharpness parameter in the image profile.

I want to warn you - the lens is NOT IMPORTANT here. The main thing is the light and what camera model you have. Many Canon cameras shoot video at "unfair" resolutions and there's nothing you can do about it other than upgrade your camera.

6) About bitrate: ALL-I, IPB?

Many associate bitrate with image quality, but this is not true. Almost all modern cameras have a fairly large bitrate in the standard IPB mode. Therefore, bet on IPB and do not bother. ALL-I will not give any increase in quality. You'll just end up with pointlessly large files on your memory card. Recorder won't help either.

More on this topic here.

7) How to choose the optimal light?

There are several recommendations here.

  1. Do not shoot against the light. Make sure that the light falls on the subject. Go around it on the other side or turn it in the right direction.
  2. If you want high quality video indoors, you need to think not about the lens, not about the bitrate, but about how to properly illuminate the person you are shooting. Work with constant light (monoblocks, ring light, lightsabers etc.).
  3. Don't raise your ISO. High ISOs are not something to aim for. Increasing this parameter always leads to a loss of image quality. See the previous two paragraphs.

If you still need to shoot where there is little light and nothing can be done about it, you need to use fast optics.

8) Stabilization

A massive PR campaign among manufacturers of photographic equipment made many believe that matrix stub - Solve any problems with camera shake. If it is in the camera, everything is OK, and if not, then the camera is not for video at all. Nonsense is better to leave in the same place - in promotional materials.

  1. First, the vast majority of kit lenses have built-in optical image stabilization. This is enough for careful handheld shooting.
  2. Secondly, if you want a really smooth video, it's worth buying steadicam. Such a device really opens up great opportunities for video shooting with camera movement.
  3. Thirdly, the tripod is our everything. I wrote about tripods in detail here.

9) Sound

Forget about recording on the in-camera microphone. Or rather, you can certainly use it, but then you should not blame the lens noise and generally make any claims about what will be heard.

There are two general options:

The gun microphone is suitable for reportage filming. Petlichka - for interviews or blogging.

Canon cameras have problems with the built-in audio preamp. Therefore, if you want to get good sound, I recommend using audio recorder. This creates additional mixing work during editing, but improves the sound quality.

Another, more expensive option, and not far off for all cameras, is to buy a new one. audio interface from Tascam.

A small nuance. The sound level indicator during recording on the screen of Canon cameras only appears when the volume level is adjusted manually. At the AUTO volume level, there will be no sound level indication.

For the popular microphone Buoy BY-M1 It is recommended to set the recording volume to a minimum. But in recorder it sounds better.

10) How to process video?

Components of a computer for video processing:

  • Processor preferably 8 cores or more
  • RAM 16-32gb
  • Any graphics card from Nvidia GTX 1070
  • SSD for mounting 500-1000GB
  • HDD for storage from 3TB
  • 4K monitor 27″

More about PC for editing here.


There are many nuances in creating a video and it is impossible to list them in one article. It is difficult to give universal recommendations, because There are specific tasks where you need your own approach. But in general, the above recommendations will be relevant for most tasks and most Canon cameras.

I want to remind you that I can order an individual consultation on setting up / choosing equipment.

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