Canon 7D DSLR for Cinematography

I have been meaning to write about this for a while now. Mostly because I have been trying a bunch of different options I have at my disposal to record video to my Mac or PC and get it moved into my video editing tools.

I [amazon_link id=”B003BM7X6I” target=”_blank” ]bought a Canon 7D[/amazon_link] about a year ago and while it is an expensive camera I wanted to be able to use more of the pro features I was used to when I was a Photography student so many moons ago. One of the main draws for me to the Canon 7D was the ability to do 1080p at 24 frames. You have no doubt done google searches on cinematography and DSLR and know that the “cinema look” is not 30 frames per second but actually 24. I like this option on the Canon 7D since I gives me that “cinema look” if I want it.

I have been researching and testing ways for me to use cameras I already own for recording the show. I have tried a Kodak Zi6 with limited results, a Microsoft Life-cam studio which is great but then I need another piece of software to record the video and also a complicated bit of set up to bring in my audio from the Apogee ONE on the Mac to the audio input on the PC.  Let me explain my predicament. I do not want to give up my Audio show for video, I want to do both. I like the work-flow I have in GarageBand and so I record my audio separately to Garageband and I was having to Mix the audio out to the PC. It was much more work than I felt necessary and the video looked like I shot it on a cheap webcam.

So, my final test was with the recent GeekTechlive.com Episode 111. I set up my Canon 7D and started recording normally. After review, I found the dreaded Automatic Gain Control ( AGC ) issue with audio on the built in mic of the Canon 7D. Ok, so I have a fix for that. I record my audio separately and before the show actually starts I “clap” my hands to record the sound on the camera and the Heil PR40. I bring both files into Final Cut Express and line up the clap marks and bingo presto! high quality audio with high quality video.

So can the Canon 7D be used for shooting video? oh Hell yes it can! just because I am using the Canon 7D for my show I am still not fully utilizing the abilities of this device. Check out Vimeo.com for thousands of Canon 7D movies they even have a dedicated Canon 7D channel of Amazing Movies all shot with the 7D. an example of one is below:

<iframe src=”http://player.vimeo.com/video/7284726″ width=”400″ height=”225″ frameborder=”0″></iframe><p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/7284726″>The Last Days of Autumn – A Canon 7D film</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user434753″>Paul Frederick</a> on <a href=”http://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>

I suggest you check out Vimeo.com’s channel I linked to above for even more stunning movies shot with a [amazon_link id=”B002NEGTU6″ target=”_blank” ]Canon 7D[/amazon_link]. That channel as well as test and reference shots I did prior to Episode 111 definitively made the 7D the camera of choice for me to shoot the show in.  I am going to be refining the workflow and color correction as I go but I hope you like what I have so far. I look forward to taking it to the next level and post about my learning curve so we can both learn together!

Chris