Canon 7D, Composition

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When creating movies, most of the same rules of composition you use with still photography apply (see Chapter 8). The rule of thirds is one important rule to keep in mind when shooting video. The 7D’s grid overlay feature places a grid over the LCD Monitor to help you frame your shot properly. Changes to this menu item will apply to both Live View and video recording modes (Figure 9.5).

You can set your camera to display a grid overlay on the LCD Monitor in video mode and Live View.
FIGURE 9.5 You can set your camera to display a grid overlay on the LCD Monitor in video mode and Live View.

SETTING THE GRID DISPLAY FOR VIDEO RECORDING

SETTING THE GRID DISPLAY FOR VIDEO RECORDING

  1. Set the camera to video mode using the Movie shooting switch.
  2. Press the Menu button and use the Main dial to get to the fourth camera tab. Use the Quick Control dial to scroll down to Grid Display and press Set (A).
  3. Using the Quick Control dial, once again select the grid of your choice (B). Press the Set button to lock in your change.
  4. Press the Menu button to go back into Movie shooting mode. You will now see a semi-transparent grid over the LCD Monitor on the back of your camera.

When you are in video mode, you will notice a semi-transparent mask covering parts of the LCD Monitor (Figures 9.6 and 9.7). The space within the mask is the area that will be recorded; the semi-transparent mask on either the top and bottom (HD) or left and right (SD) will not be recorded. This is extremely helpful when composing images for movies, because you will know where the edges of the frame will be.

In HD resolutions, your camera will display a semi-transparent mask over the top and bottom portions of your LCD Monitor.
FIGURE 9.6 In HD resolutions, your camera will display a semi-transparent mask over the top and bottom portions of your LCD Monitor.

 In SD resolution, your camera will display a semi-transparent mask over the left and right portions of your LCD Monitor.
FIGURE 9.7 In SD resolution, your camera will display a semi-transparent mask over the left and right portions of your LCD Monitor.

If you place your camera on a tripod to record your movies, one very useful feature is the electronic level, which you learned about in Chapter 5 (Figure 9.8). It can sometimes be diffi cult to see the horizon line in your scene, and the electronic level will help you keep your camera leveled both vertically and horizontally. With still photography you can always go in and straighten the photo in editing software, but with video you don’t have as much wiggle room, so it’s always best to get it correct in-camera. Note that if you set the autofocus mode to “Face detection Live mode,” the electronic level won’t appear. Be sure to set it to either “Live mode” or “Quick mode” for it to show (please read the next section for more information on focus settings for video recording).

The electronic level is a helpful feature to use when placing your camera on a tripod.
FIGURE 9.8 The electronic level is a helpful feature to use when placing your camera on a tripod.

USING A TRIPOD

To get the best possible quality when recording video with your camera, it’s a good idea to have a sturdy tripod and a fluid video head. I use a Manfrotto 501HDV video head with my Canon 7D when I use it on a tripod (Figure 9.9). There are also other options for stabilizing your camera, including handheld rigs and additional equipment.

A sturdy tripod and a fluid video head are good tools to have when shooting video with your 7D.
FIGURE 9.9 A sturdy tripod and a fluid video head are good tools to have when shooting video with your 7D.

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