These are the things I always check before recording video.

Run and Gun Style

  1. Resolution and frame rate
  2. AWB, if I have a few more seconds to spare I will see what the other WB settings look like on the screen
  3. ISO – inside outside?
  4. Picture Styles – normally shoot standard especially if I am running fast
  5. Shutter Speed – easy to jog it 50th for 1080 and 125th for 720
  6. then I check focus and hit record

Planned Shoot (Additional Items to Check)

  1. Custom white balance
  2. I will check the ‘blinky’s’ to see if I am over exposed anywhere (I am not too good at reading histograms yet)
  3. Use an 18% gray card to double check the exposure
  4. Double check the audio – disable the AGC on my t2i

Somethings I never check because I never change them

  1. AF mode – quick focus
  2. AF during movie – enable
  3. Movie exposure – manual
  4. Grid Display – grid 1
  5. Highlight Tone Priority – disable
  6. Always on Quick Focus using the center or top focus point,
  7. Auto Lighting Optimizer on standard.

Donation Shout-Out

Special thanks to Bill Voelker for the generous donation this week. Bill is only one of the very few freefall videographer that uses DSLR.  99.9% of them use Sony Camcorder.  You can check out Bill’s videos on YouTube.


  • Nice vid dave!

    Just one note on AWB. It is possible to correct your footage’s color in post. Just use a 3-way color corrector, reset your whites and ta da! fixed.

  • @Caleb, thanks glad you liked it. I know what you mean, but what I was getting at is you can’t change it the same way you can with a RAW file.

  • Dave (or anybody else) .. This weekend I will be shooting my first short skit for class, and I was thinking of using shooting some footage that I will later use as slow motion. Should I shoot the whole thing in 720? And then just jack up the frame rate so I can then slow it down to 24fps in post? Thoughts?



  • @Tina In my tests 720p 60fps slows down much smoother than 1080p 24fps, so my advice is to shoot it all at 720 60fps. I notice that Vegas has a harder time with the file if you mix the two on one timeline.

  • Good advice. I’m constantly forgetting different settings because I’m usually in a rush and need to get a checklist going.

    One question for anyone. Is there a way to manually white balance without filling the whole screen. Alot of times I have my camera set up and then I’m messing with lights and composition and when its time to do white balance its a pain to move the camera up to the subject so I can fill the whole image to take a picture. Usually I’m using primes too. Is there a feature where you can ‘crop’ the white part or tell the camera what white you want to balance to?

  • @Travis perhaps someone can correct me on this one but if you use spot metering mode you only need to fill a small portion of the center of the image with white, not the full screen.

  • Just a note, if you dont need AF. Disable it on the lens because it removes some of the cpu processing speed on the camera which also dumbs down the h264 codec even more. Read an article about this way back.

  • Help, my 550d/t2i does not have 60fps at 720p!
    Do i need to update or up the shutter speed or something? Ahhhh

  • Hi,

    I liked your startup guide and this was somethingi was looking for, I was testing my canon t2i as per usr settings with 1080P/24 and initiall shutter speed was 50, actually i am using the 18-55 mm lens that came with my camera. i wanted to reduce the shutter speed while i was shooting to get the slow motion effect of the fountain, my shutter speed does not go below 50 and apperture was 5.0, can you please help me and let me know why my shutter speed is not going below 50, but when i am in the AV mode the shutter speed reduce all the way to 1 sec and all….

  • Great info!!

    I have Rebel 2ti – just started working with video files…. what is the best software for an entry level guy to join .MOV files and do basic video editing?

    Thanks in Advance

  • Hi Dave…. do you have any tips for shooting sports? Would these 6 checks you have in this video also apply for filming a soccer game for example?

  • Hi Dave,

    I’m glad i found your website. It has been helpful since I’m new to this camera. I have few quesitons for you, hopefully you can help me out.

    I’m using cannon 550d with original lenses came with the camera.

    1) how do you get your video so crispy clear? are there setting to it?
    2) While recording, the camera stop automatically after few seconds or some.

    Thank you!


  • @ Dave that i don’t know 🙂 could you suggest the card to use for video recording? without the camera to stop during shooting. Thanks

  • hello Dave,

    I’ve been following you since last winter, and learned with you and your advice (sorry for my English). All of your videos where very helpfully. Thanks’ so lot.
    The following link is my first video with all your advices, your opinion about it would really please me.
    Thank you (sorry again, the video is in French at the beginning)