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Issues when shooting video with 7D

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Ingemar Berglund
Issues when shooting video with 7D
on Apr 2, 2015 at 5:14:47 pm

Hey all!

I'm new on the forum and have a lot of questions regarding shooting video since I'm quite inexperienced. I use a Canon 7D with a Canon EFS 17-55 f 2.8 lens.
I started working on an art project a while ago and asked a friend of a friend who has more experience about settings and general advice before I started.
Now after a long time of very infrequent shooting I feel like I might do something wrong and that the results are quite underwhelming even though the conditions have seemed amazing and everything looked great on the LCD display on the camera when shooting. I normally shoot landscapes at dawn and dusk and I understand this might be a little tricky because of the relatively limited light and also maybe the high contrasts between sky and the rest etc.. (?). I'm very curious about what advice you have for tackling issues like those.
However I still feel like there are additional issues with settings, photography knowledge or possibly even with the camera / lens itself because of damage / insufficient care-taking (it's been on a couple of rough trips out in the backcountry). I had it serviced a while ago though and couldn't really tell any difference afterwards.
It's a little hard for me to explain what is bad about the pictures, I just feel like they have an overall bad quality and aren't really crisp / sharp. The concrete problems I have identified are
- quite a lot of noise in conditions where my knowledge can't tell me why noise would occur.
- sometimes there is a like a sawtooth effect on the horizon.

I use flat settings (sharpness and contrast down to zero and saturation turned down two steps) since my friends friend told me this gives the best possibilities for after production.
I shoot in 50 fps since the whole video is supposed to be in slow motion. Therefore the shutter is set to 100.
The aperture is adjusted to the light conditions.
Sometimes I use a ND-filter that I just realized might not be the best.
Iso is normally set to 160 since I feel higher numbers create way too much noise.
I always use a proper tripod and have the zoom still in a shoot.

Could my problems have to do with the flat settings? In that case, what is the quick way to get an idea of how much will happen with the pictures in after production? I mean just a basic all-round kind of settings to "unflatten" it, so to speak. I use premiere pro. In after production my knowledge is zero since I didn't plan to do this myself.

Could they have to do with reviewing the clips in quicktime?

I attached a small raw clip where the noise is visible and there is a weird effect on the roof in the background. It was shot with the above settings and the aperture set to 16.
You can find it here:
I'll gladly post more examples when I can reach all my files.

Thank you so much for reading this, any advice or tips would be invaluable to me.


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Bill Bruner
Re: Issues when shooting video with 7D
on Apr 4, 2015 at 12:22:57 pm

Hi Ingemar - the noise is probably because you are shooting in low light. Even at low ISOs, dim light is problematic. The "sawtooth effect" on the horizon is called aliasing and the "weird effect on the roof" is called moire. Both are common to Canon DSLRs (except for the more expensive 7D Mark II, 5D Mark III and 1D C).

Here is a side-by-side between the Canon 60D (same sensor and processor as your camera) and a typical moire-free Panasonic GH camera:

And here's one between the Canon 60D and the newer 70D:

Most Canon shooters simply avoid rooftops, brickwork, patterned fabrics (as seen here) car radiator grilles and other patterned subjects. You also have to be careful of hair.

Other Canon shooters buy an anti-aliasing filter.

The third group of Canon shooters sell their cameras and buy cameras that have fewer challenges with aliasing and moire.

I fall into camp #3 - back in 2010, when I saw how hard it was to shoot decent looking video with my Canon DSLR, I sold it and bought a camera that was a lot easier to use and gave me superior video.

Sorry I couldn't be more helpful - good luck!

Hybrid Camera Revolution

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Ingemar Berglund
Re: Issues when shooting video with 7D
on Apr 6, 2015 at 12:15:18 pm

Hey Bill!

Thank you so much, this was very helpful and cleared at least some of my questions. It's very comforting to know why some of the problems occur instead of just having an abstract feel of bad quality pictures.

To solve the problems is a whole other thing though. Maaan I wish I had researched all this properly a lot earlier. My friends friend told me I was good to just shoot and I wanted to be believe it and did..

I guess the noise is a low light problem in many of my pictures since they are shot at dawn and dusk but the example clip was shot in the middle of the day and still has some noise. Is the light still too low?
What ways are there to get around this and minimize the noise?
Since I shoot at dawn and dusk the light changes a lot and I don't have time to do perfect settings, especially since I have to be in the pictures myself in this project.

Good to know about moire, that explains it why the patterns in the blowing sand in Sahara fucked up those shots :*( That one seems easier to avoid than the aliasing though.

Do you know any downsides of the anti-aliasing filter?

If I were to switch cameras, would I be able to shoot material that looks the same as with my 7D but without the problems of course? The thing is that I need to be bale

Another question I have is whether or not 720 has worse picture quality than 1080. I thought it was just that 1080 was in a bigger scale but maybe I have misunderstood these concepts totally. From some videos I've been watching to solve this problem it seems like I have. If so, I wish so much I had bought a camera that could shoot in 1080 and 50 or 60 fps from the beginning cause there is no point in doing that now? Or will 1080 material shot in 50 fps scaled down to be able to use with the 720 material look better than the 720 material? And still not too good / different to use with the 720 material? Haha, sorry about that maze.

Is it an option to shoot in 1080 and 25 fps and do the slow-motion in post? It's not a super high tech video with a lot of focused movement. It's mostly landscapes and sometimes me moving a little.

Thank you so much and sorry for all the questions / confusion.



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JP Pelc
Re: Issues when shooting video with 7D
on Apr 8, 2015 at 5:58:12 pm

Bill basically nailed it. Canon cameras are great for getting your feet wet in video at a really affordable price. However as your skills and eye for quality increase, it might be wise to get a better camera as Canon DSLR's are really limited in a number of ways. The weird effect on the roof is called aliasing, it is common in Canon DSLRs, it's hard to predict when it will and will not occur, and there is not much you can do about it. You can get an anti-aliasing filter but it softens the video so I do not recommend it.

A few tips:

- Don't shoot flat. Many people like doing so on canons (including myself for a while), however it is not practical. Without getting too technical, Canons shoot a heavily compressed codec so when you go to color correct later (which is the purpose of shooting flat) you can't do much before you see strange noise patterns and other artifacts. It is best to get as close to the look you want in camera as possible and keep the color correction to a minimum.

- Keep your ISOs at multiples of 160. Because of the way Canons work, their "natural" ISOs are 160, 320, etc. AVOID multiples of 125 as they produce the most noise. (If you run a test you will see that ISO 125 actually gives you more noise than 160)

- If you don't have the money for a better camera, pick up some good lenses. Quality glass is as important (if not more) than a good camera. Kit lenses generally produce a dull, soft, image. Some good/relatively cheap lenses I recommend:

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Ingemar Berglund
Re: Issues when shooting video with 7D
on Apr 9, 2015 at 8:49:09 am

Thanks for your input!

- So you think the anti-aliasing filter affects the material more than the aliasing / moire?

- I don't have the knowledge to determine what settings I should use. Normally I don't necessarily know what I'm shooting will be for, I was shooting flat to be able to decide that at a later stage and be able to get as much out of the material afterwards, possibly together with a grader. But now I have shot at least 50 % of my current project with flat settings so I don't know if it's possible / is any point in switching settings if I want to be able to use everything together?

- I always shoot at ISO 160 or 320.

- My lens is way more expensive than the ones you suggest and I was told this is a really really good lens? As I wrote I use a Canon EFS 17-55 f 2.8 lens. What are the advantages with the lenses you suggest?

- What camera would you suggest if I decide to buy a new one?

Would be amazing if someone has thoughts for my questions in my previous post as well!

Thanks a lot!

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