You’ve been shooting video on your Canon DSLR, but want to get more out of it. Well luckily, there are a few easy options you can take advantage of.
The first thing I want to talk about is using your picture styles. Picture styles are an important decision to consider when shooting on a DSLR since you won’t have raw controls. We call these settings “baked” into the image (White Balance, Exposure Values). Those settings are there to stay, and you have to work with it later in post. The first picture style I shoot on is Neutral because I want a simple look with not too much saturation and good contrast. Shooting in neutral doesn’t require too much correction to make it look the way I want but I lose a lot of flexibility in the shadows and highlights. If you want to get a more dynamic range and more flexibility with your video, you can download Technicolor Cinestyle. The Cinestyle picture style creates an ultra flat desaturated version that gets “baked” into the image. This results in getting less highlight clipping and smoother shadow rolloff. It will require more color correction in post and is not something you would want to deliver without. This video is a comparison of Canons C-Log vs. Technicolor’s Cinestyle picture profile.
Cinestyle is a free plug-in. C-Log is limited to specific cameras and costs.
There are other routes you can take that are a little more challenging to improve performance. Magic Lantern is a firmware modification that provides features that your DSLR does not have natively. A few of these that I like and use frequently are Zebras, Focus Peaking, Audio Metering, Intervalometer, and Raw Video. These features are a game changer and give you something the manufacture saves for their premium cinema line. This is not exactly in line with your manufacturer warranty and could potentially void that. I haven’t experienced anything but good results and can say it has been nice getting more out of my camera. From my experience the 5D MK iii handles this the best with its CF memory and it allows faster recording for raw video. The workflow for raw video is not the easiest process to dive into and I strongly recommend doing your research before jumping off the diving board. The best part is that you can install this firmware on a lot of different cameras. For the full list, and more information check out Magic Lantern.