Home > DSLR filmmaking, Film Production, Useful > Canon 5D and 7D Settings and Post-Production

Canon 5D and 7D Settings and Post-Production


For the last months I’ve been dealing with the post-production “nightmare” of the Canon 7D. A bunch of DSLR users (Phillip Bloom, Vince LaForet, Planet 5D, etc…)  have done a great job posting possible workflows and post-production tips, but digesting all this information can also be a nightmare. Even deciding which workflow to follow can be somewhat problematic. The purpose of this post is to share one of the best DSLR filmmaking summaries that I’ve found and to share my own workflow.

The Blog DigitalFilms by Oliver Peters has a great summary on anything related to filmmaking with the Canon 5D and 7D. Read it and get the most out of it.

Great Blog on DSLR FIlmmaking

Now, my camera settings and workflow.

  • Camera mode: Manual
  • Shutter: mostly 1/50 @ 24fps, 1/125 @ 60fps.
  • Aperture: it depends on how much depth of field I want but I rarely shoot above F16. Lenses normally start loosing image quality when used above F16.  Photozone has great lens reviews where you can evaluate at which F stops your lens performs the best.
  • Focus: Manual Focus.
  • ISO: normally 125, 250, 500 or 1000. Apparently these are the “native” (best?) ISO settings for the 5D and perhaps the 7D.
  • WB: I normally try to set the temperature in K. For interviews and complex lighting situations I do Custom WB with an ExpoDisc.
  • Picture Style: Neutral. It gives a “flat” image that has more latitude for color correction in post-production. Other users have developed custom Picture Styles that are even flatter.
  • Exposure: I normally underexpose the footage by 2/3 or 1 stop.
  • Screen Brightness: set to Manual and between 4 or 5. I’ve noticed that the footage can result a bit over exposed if you rely on the image of the LCD to set exposure.
  • ND Filters / Depth of Field: neither the 5D or the 7D have built-in ND filters. I use a 0.9 ND filter that cuts 3 stops of light. This is important because in video mode you are “stuck” with a shutter speed of 1/50 and the only way to control your exposure is with aperture and/or ISO. If you want to have shallow depth of field you may want to have a screw on ND filter.

The workflow:

  • File Conversion: I use MPEG Streamclip to convert from H.264 to Apple ProRes 422 (HQ). In Streamclip’s formats menu the first Apple ProRes 422 is the HQ one. Budget for files 3 times bigger after the conversion. Streamclip seems to be faster than Compressor and it doesn’t crash as much.
  • Sequence Settings in FCP: the aspect ratio is HDTV 1080i (16:9), the pixel aspect ratio is square, the editing time base may be 23.98 or 29,97 (depends on your footage),  and the Compressor setting is Apple ProRes 422 (HQ). If you see weird lines in the Canvas of FCP don’t worry, they won’t show up when you export your movie.
  • Audio and Synching: I use a Zoom H4n as an off-camera digital sound recorder. PluralEyes is a great software that will synch audio files recorded with different devices. Don’t think about it twice, it will make your life way easier.
  • Slow Motion (60fps) footage: conform to 24fps or 30fps the H.264 or ProRes files using Cinema Tools and edit them normally in your FCP 24fps or 30fps sequence.

This is it by now. More to come later if I remember more stuff.

Enjoy and go shoot!

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  1. conservationmedia
    March 10, 2010 at 8:58 PM

    You’re a rock star, Federico! Thanks for this post. I like comparing notes. Keep up the great posts.

    Jeremy Roberts
    Conservation Media

    • March 10, 2010 at 10:07 PM

      Thanks man! I’ve been checking Conservation Media lately and its looking good! We’ll have to catch up one of these days…

  2. j88
    May 1, 2010 at 5:08 AM

    Thanks for the info! I agree that all the info out there can be confusing. I was truggling with the correct FCP sequence settings.

  3. April 21, 2011 at 5:23 PM

    Thanks for such a simple workflow list. Finally someone has broken it down to help rather than confuse. You’re a CHAMPION!

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