How to Shoot Video with a Canon 7D Tethered to a Computer

I know a lot of you are shooting your videos with Canon HDSLR’s. I bet you’re being slowed down while shooting your videos and you don’t even know it. Always having to get up to change your settings. Starting and stopping your videos. Framing yourself. This may not seem like a big deal, but what if you didn’t have get up from where you’re shooting to make adjustments? Wouldn’t that save you a lot of time and frustration? You bet! You could buy a small LCD camera monitor and face it towards yourself, but that only addresses one of your issues. What about focusing, or starting and stopping recording? Did you know there is a free solution? And, you might already have it.

When you bought your Canon HDSLR it came with free software. Most people ignore the software that comes with their cameras because there are usually better 3rd party options. Not in this case. Canon’s EOS Utility allows you to control your camera from your computer. Plug the two together with a USB cable and you have full control over your camera. Even when shooting video. Let me repeat that! Even When Shooting Video!

Here are some of the things you can control from your computer:

  • Focus
  • Aperture
  • Shutter Speed
  • ISO
  • Start/Stop Recording
  • And Much more (see your manual)

I bet, once you start shooting with your Canon HDSLR tethered to your computer, you’ll wonder how you managed shooting your videos without it. So go and install EOS Utilities (if you haven’t already) on your computer and try shooting you next video this way.

Check out the video below and you’ll see just how easy it is to use.

YouTube Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jqU0Pc4vcPc

Do you shoot with a Canon HDSLR? If so. What’s your technique?

What’s in My Camera Bag

Making sure you have everything with you when you’re shooting your video blog post is extremely important.

In this video I show you what I have in my camera to shoot my video posts.

Here’s what’s in my video blogging camera bag:

  • Canon HF M300 camcorder
  • Canon SD1400is camera
  • Zoom H2 audio recorder
  • Audio-Technica ATR-3350 lavalier mic
  • various small tripods and stands
  • freshly charged batteries
  • memory cards
  • memory card reader
  • battery chargers
  • all connection and power cables

YouTube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9cisppYlakw

What do you carry in your camera bag? Is there anything I’m missing?

Shooting Video Blog Posts Made Easier by using a Camcorder

Shooting your videos for your blog should be made as easy as possible. The easier it is to shoot the videos, the faster you can edit and then post them on your blog.

When I started this blog I was using a P&S camera and a DSLR that shot HD video for my blog posts. I thought they were pretty good for what I was doing. But, that was until a friend lent me their Sanyo Xacti VPC-CG20 camera. Even this inexpensive video camera made shooting my posts much quicker.

How did it do that? The answer is simple. It had a combination of features that made the video recording process much quicker. First it shot HD video at decent bitrate. Giving me good quality video to work with. Second, it had a lens that could zoom in and out and focus. No need for lousy digital zoom and manually focusing. it had a flip out LCD screen. This allowed me to be able to see myself whenI was in front of the camera. Just those 3 features alone sped up the video making process tremendously.

I immediately decided to buy myself a “real” camcorder. I ended up buying a Canon HF M300. It has all of the features above with a few added bonuses. The first bonus was it had even a higher bitrate than the Sanyo. Second, it came with a remote control. This was great for when I was front of the camera, I could start/stop recording and zoom in and out without having to move. Finally, It had an audio/mic input so I could plug in my lav mic and get great audio.

You work hard on your videos and your blog. No need to make it any harder.

What camera(s) do you use? And, do you think you would benefit from using a camcorder?

If you want to see more on the Canon HF M300 there is a review on my other site: http://www.imageguy.com/canon-hf-m300-review-video/

YouTube video link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OoMMaLe8iwc

Video Comparison – 5 Different Camera Types

What type of video camera should you get to make your own video posts? That’s a tough decision if you don’t know the quality that each of the camera types produce.

In the video below, You will see what the video quality looks like from the different types of cameras that are available.

Here is a list of what I used and my thoughts on each set up:

  • MacBook built in camera – Video and audio quality suck for video blogging.
  • iPhone 3GS – Video and audio also suck! Not as much as the MacBook, but still sucky enough to not be considered good for  video blogging. I have seen video from the iPhone 4 and it does look much better, but, unfortunately I don’t own one. Still, your phone should be your very last choice for your video blog.
  • Zoom Q3HD – Video quality is ok, but the audio quality is excellent. The Q3HD fails in low light and has a very low bit rate causing lower then expected video quality. You can see what I mean in this comparison. This camera is a decent option for someone on a limited budget who wants to start video blogging, but there are much better options for about the same price. Another important thing to consider, this camera does not have an optical zoom. Only digital zoom. Do not use digital zoom if you can avoid it! All it does is crop the video causing blocky and pixelated images.
  • Canon SD1400IS – Good video quality (even in low light). Audio quality is ok. This camera has a real zoom lens and allows you to frame your subject easily. It does not have a flip out, and tilting LCD screen though. Pair this camera with an audio recorder like a  Zoom H1 and you are well on your way to producing excellent quality video posts for your site.
  • Canon 7D – Excellent quality video and decent audio quality. This is the biggest and most expensive option of all the cameras. If you are shooting only indoors and with a tripod and you want the best possible quality, this your camera. Attach a lavalier mic (like the Audio-Technica ATR-3350) to this camera and you will have fantastic video and good audio for your blog posts. Note: The lavalier mic only records in mono. You will only have audio on the left audio channel when editing. To solve this, just output your videos in mono and you will have sound from both speakers.

Check out the video below. See and hear the difference between all the video recording options.

Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6rF0jHLXW7I