I’ve really only started to take video seriously with the 5Dmk2, and since I’m really grateful for the help I’ve found on other people’s You-tube and Blog posts, I’m just passing on my initial thoughts.

1.  Always shoots in Manual shooting mode.

2.   Live View Menu: ‘Movie + Stills’, include ‘Movie Display’

3.  Disable Highlight Tone Priority setting.

 4.  Only shoot ISOs in multiples of 160 ISO: 160, 320, 640, 1250.

 5.  Keep shutter speed at 1/50s at 24 frames per second. This approximates the shutter

      of a film camera, including effects of motion and motion blur.

 6.  Picture Profile: set User Defined 1 with the following settings:

           Picture Style:                        Neutral

           Sharpness:                        0 (all the way down)

           Contrast:                           -5 (all the way down)

           Saturation:                        -2

           Colour Tone:                      0 (middle setting)

7.  Record at 1920 x 1080 @ 24 frames per second (this is closest ‘look’ to movie film)          

8.  Use ‘Live Mode’ AF mode (unless you shoot with manual focus): you can use the AF   button for working AF during recording(Although this will include momentary darkening while contrast aids the AF).

9.  Manual focus and zoom are both greatly aided by geared handles on a double rail assembly, for ‘follow-focus’ and ‘follow-zoom. After exhaustive searches of reviews and tests from other photographer/film-makers, I’ve come up with this great kit from ‘thecinecity.com’. Here’s a link to their site: http://www.thecinecity.com/eshop/PROAIM-DSLR-KIT-3.html.

I had them modify the rig to include two V-2 follow focus rigs, one for focus and the other for zoom (you still get the free Z-1 ‘follow-zoom’ handles, but these are not so good since they only go on 1 not 2 of the rails), and I’ll get back to them to order more of the right lens-rings so I can fit them on all my lenses. This kit is an obvious Indian knock-off of Red Rock’s gear. But at less than 1/3 the price, with good quality metal build, I highly recommend it! Be sure to buy from their main site, not their site on Ebay, which has much higher prices.          

10. Since the built-in sound on DSLRS is so bad, for the best stereo sound quality, use a separate recorder like theZoom H4N stereo recorder, which can also be fixed via a screw bracket to the hot shoe of the camera. In conjunction with a ‘Sescom  ‘LN2MIC-ZMH4N-MON3.5’ cable, you can ‘step down’ the line level audio tomicrophone level, and plug in a headphone set as well to listen to the audio as record both the audio and video. Cool.

 Here’s a write-up for it from Sescom:


      The Sescom LN2MIC-ZMH4-MON Line Out to Camera Mic In Headphone Tap

      Cable is designed to connect the line output of portable recorders, such as the Zoom

      H4N to the microphone inputs of compatible DSLR cameras. The cable measures 18″

      in length, features male 1/8″ (3.5mm) mini TRS connections, a female 1/8″ (3.5mm)

      TRS input for headphone monitoring, and a -25dB level attenuation pad for “stepping

      down” line level audio, to microphone level. The cable is magnetically shielded which

      eliminates RFI (Radio Frequency Interference) noise from cell phones, PDA’s,  & WIFI.


      Try these settings on the Zoom H4N:

      Headphone outlet: 50

      Built-in mikes: 90 degree angle (for close recording)

      Recording levels: 80 (meters at -12dB)

      48khz @ 24 Bit


11. Photographers will tend to concentrate on the visual aspects of video without paying equal attention to audio, only to find that their video is useless without equally good audio.

I’m taking friends’ advice on buying the best. Currently looking to budget two industry standards between shotgun and Lavallier: the Sennheiser MKH 416, and the Sennheiser G3 112P GB (make sure this uses channel 38). I’ll let you know how I get on.


The EOS 5D Mark II will record movies up to a maximum file size of 4GB. Depending on the level of detail in the scene, 4GB files equate to approximately 12 minutes of continuous video at full HD resolution, or approximately 24 minutes in standard definition. Video clips are recorded in .MOV format using H.264, an MPEG-4 movie compression. Sound is recorded using linear PCM without compression. The new camera features an input terminal for external stereo microphones as well as a built-in monaural microphone for convenience. Through its mini-HDMI port, it’s easy to display crisp, clear images on a High-Definition TV. 


SESCOM ZOOM HN4 Recording Duration Times (using 48khz@24 Bit)

2GB: 1 hour      4GB: 2 hours       8GB: 4 hours      16GB: 8 hours



After lighting and exposure are set up, hold up a white card to camera, filling frame. Take a picture in Video Mode. Go to Custom White Balance in the camera’s menu, and choose the existing photo of the white card as your choice for Custom White Balance for that shoot. This will give you a true white for the screen.



Use a video head on tripod for smooth panning movement.



You can use rechargeable batteries, but Nickeln metal Hydride (Lithium) batteries last for a lot longer in the Sescom HN4.



Never use Auto Levels. Set recording levels so that peaks (loudest sound) never go over between -12 to -6,decibels never more. Overloud sound (too ‘hot) distorts and over-modulates: you can never get this to a stage where you can use it. Sound that’s slightly too low can be brought up with gain, but not the other way around.



You can buy a clap-board and write scene information on the board to show it at the same time you synch sound and video; but if you say the info to the camera when audio starts, then do a hand clap to camera, this does the same thing.


Obviously much of the information here will apply to other cameras as well as the Canon 5Dmk2 or 3. More info as my experience gets better. Good luck. Feedback welcome.