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How to Shoot Your First Movie with a Canon EOS 60D

The Canon EOS 60D is capable of recording HD-quality movies. It doesn’t have quite as many bells and whistles as a dedicated video camera, but it can shoot a good short film or two when necessary. When you’re ready to try your hand at moviemaking, take these steps:

  1. Set the Mode dial to the Movie setting.

    As soon as you select Movie mode, you can preview your shot on the monitor. You also see various bits of recording data on the screen; remember that you can press the Info button to cycle through the different data display modes if you want more or less screen clutter.

  2. Review and select the movie quality, sound recording, and other options.

    If the Quality setting appears red, your memory card doesn’t have sufficient free space to store your movie. You can try lowering the Quality setting; if that doesn’t work, free some card space by deleting pictures.

  3. Compose your shot.

  4. Set focus.

    As in Live View mode, manual focusing is the best way to go. So set the lens switch to MF and twist the focusing ring on the lens to bring your subject into focus.

  5. (Optional) Apply Exposure Compensation.

    You can shift it only through a range of –3 to +3 stops. (The camera will display up to five stops either way, but the extra two stops of exposure compensation will be applied only to still shots taken when you’re in Movie mode.)

    To apply this exposure shift, rotate the Quick Control dial to display the exposure meter at the bottom of the screen. Move the bar under the meter to the right for a brighter picture; move the indicator left for a darker picture.

  6. Press the Live View/Movie Shooting button to start recording.

    A red “recording” symbol appears on the monitor.

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  7. To stop recording, press the Live View/Movie Shooting button.

That’s all there is to the basic movie-shooting process. Here are a few additional details: some minor, some not:

  • Using AE Lock: Normally, the camera adjusts exposure during the recording as needed. If you prefer to lock in the exposure settings, you can do so using AE (autoexposure) Lock.

  • Snapping a still photo during movie recording: You can interrupt your recording to take a still photo without exiting Movie mode. Just press the shutter button as usual to take the shot. The camera records the still photo as a regular image file, using the same Picture Style and White Balance setting you set for your movie. The Still Quality setting determines the picture resolution and file format.

  • Using the right memory cards: For the best movie recording and playback performance, use memory cards that have a speed rating of 6 or higher. And, keep an eye out for the little data recording indicator. The indicator shows you how much movie data the camera has in its buffer (a temporary data storage tank) awaiting transfer to the memory card. If the indicator level reaches the top, the camera stops recording new data so that it can finish sending existing data to the card. You can also try reducing the movie size setting to improve the transfer speed. If the recording progress indicator keeps hitting the limit, buy a faster memory card.

  • Turning off image stabilization: If possible, turn off image stabilization to save battery power. On the kit lens, set the Image Stabilizer switch to the Off position.

  • Movie Crop mode: The 60D includes a video mode that gives you, in effect, a 7X zoom lens for free when you’re recording a movie. Available as a movie quality or size setting, Movie Crop captures the center 640 x 480 pixels to greatly magnify your movie image. Image noise may be more noticeable in this mode but, shucks, how can you not like a feature that gives you a big zoom like this!

  • Paying attention to camera temperature: The camera’s internal temperature may increase significantly during movie recording, especially if you’re shooting in hot weather. The little thermometer symbol on the screen is your cue to stop recording and turn off the camera to allow it to cool. If you ignore the warning, the camera stops recording and prevents you from doing any more shooting until it cools.

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