Tips & Tutorials

Introduction to Filmmaking on Your Canon EOS (3): How to Edit and Shoot Better Video

In the last 4 lessons of Simeon Quarrie’s series of video tutorials on filmmaking with the Canon EOS, we learn about choosing lenses, establishing focus, editing, and other tips and techniques on how to shoot better video.

Introduction to Filmmaking on your Canon EOS

 

7. Choosing lenses

In Filmmaking Tutorial 7, we learn that zoom lenses, prime lenses, as well as the focal length that we use, all have a different impact on our images. Our choice of lenses depends on what we’re filming and on our creative decisions. The ultimate objective is to use a variety of focal lengths to tell the story and keep the composition of the sequence of shots compelling.

Videographers will often start a scene with wide angle “establishing shot” to orientate viewers with the scene and where they are. After this, they will then shoot close-up to convey important details and emotions.

One of biggest concerns of videographers, especially when shooting by hand, is that of camera shake, which can lead to shaky footage that makes viewers feel uneasy. Some EF lenses come with built-in stabilization, which is beneficial for shooting video as it helps to keep camera shake to a minimum.

Simeon Quarrie noted that while photographic zoom lenses provide flexibility in focal length, it is not easy to get smooth transitions when zooming while recording as they are designed for zooming before taking an image. He advises that we decide on a focal length before pressing the record button. When we need a shot from a different focal length, we should stop recording, change the focal length, and start recording again. He shared that he often uses more than one camera if he needs a wide angle and a close up shot of the same moment. Footage taken with different focal lengths can then be stitched together to form seamless footage during editing.

However, users of the EF-S18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM lens can use the Canon’s Power Zoom Adapter PZ-E1, which will help achieve a smooth zoom while shooting video when combined with the EOS 80D.

 

Filmmaking Tutorial 7: Choosing Lenses

 

8. Staying in Focus

Simeon Quarrie’s 8th lesson in filmmaking covered the topic of focus.

Focus functions as a way to guide the viewer’s attention to an area of the frame, and in video, this point can change in the duration of a shot. Therefore, most video-makers shoot video with manual focus (MF). This is a technique that requires much practice, but can be mastered.

Shooting with an extremely wide aperture, such as f/1.2, may give us an extremely shallow depth-of-field especially on a full-frame camera, but it also makes it hard to manually establish focus on a moving subject. Simeon Quarrie advises using a narrower aperture, such as f/4, to achieve focus more easily. However, he advises against using an aperture that is too narrow, such as f/16, as it can be difficult to see what is sharp and what is slightly soft.

Canon’s Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology is effective for autofocusing when shooting video, enabling the smooth focus tracking of moving subjects. Face detection AF is another convenient feature, especially useful for shooting interviews. We can lock in or shift the focus area by touching the specific area of the screen. (Check out its performance on the EOS 7D Mark II)

 

Filmmaking Tutorial 8: Staying in Focus

9. Editing Video

Lesson 9 of the tutorial series was about editing video.

Editing video is a creative and subjective process, in which editing software is used to combine video, sound, sound effects and graphics and apply colour correction, and then exported into a preferred format for sharing.

Ideally, we have the edit in mind even as we film. First, organize the individual clips you have taken by laying them on a timeline in the order that fits the narrative. This is called a “rough assembly”. Use transitions to creatively join shots together—a common way of doing so is to use a fade-in before the first clip, and a fade-out for the last clip.

We can edit the sound too. It is possible to remove unwanted sound from the footage (and keep the image), or conversely, remove the image from the footage while keeping the sound. The, select the appropriate music and sound effects to set the scene, mood and emotion for the audience, ensuring that the video and audio work in harmony.

 When done editing the footage, transitions and sound, we next decide on how we are going to share the video, and choose an appropriate bitrate to export/encode it into. A high bitrate enables high quality playback on a computer, but results in a larger file size. Exporting the video with compression will result a lower bit rate and lower quality but a smaller file size for easier upload to social media.

Once our video is online, it is ready to be watched by people all over the world.

 

Filmmaking Tutorial 9: Editing Video

 

10. In conclusion

In the last tutorial, Simeon Quarrie recaps the previous lessons, and reminds us that shooting video is not something that can be mastered overnight. It requires time and lots of practice, but the rewards worth it. He encourages us to keep learning, to go back to look at the video tutorials again if there is anything we are uncertain about, and to do some more research to find out more details.

It is worth remembering the video is not just about technical settings, but about what happens in front of the camera. Simeon Quarrie reminds us to give our video purpose, and to tell a story where possible.

On this note, he waves us off to start what he hopes will be a fun, fulfilling journey shooting video with our Canon EOS camera.

 

Filmmaking Tutorial 10: Conclusion

 

There are altogether 10 tutorials by Simeon Quarrie on filmmaking. Click on the link to view each tutorial!

Filmmaking Tutorial 1: Why Shoot Video?
Filmmaking Tutorial 2: How to Craft a Story
Filmmaking Tutorial 3: The Importance of Frame Rate and Resolution
Filmmaking Tutorial 4: How to Expose for Video
Filmmaking Tutorial 5: Camera Movement and Stabilisation
Filmmaking Tutorial 6: The Use of Sound and Music
Filmmaking Tutorial 7: Choosing Lenses
Filmmaking Tutorial 8: Staying in Focus
Filmmaking Tutorial 9: Editing Video
Filmmaking Tutorial 10: Conclusion

 

Here are some other SNAPSHOT articles on shooting video and movies:

Canon Singapore Announces Canon Log Firmware Upgrade for EOS 5D Mark IV
Introduction to EOS Movie Shooting for EOS 5D Mark IV Users (Part 1)
Introduction to EOS Movie Shooting for EOS 5D Mark IV Users (Part 2)
Convenient Movie Shooting Features on the EOS 80D
EOS 80D Test Shoot Review: Subject Tracking Performance during Movie Shooting

 

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