Slow Motion with the Canon EOS 7D

Recently I have been asked to do a fair bit of slow motion work. As I only have a Canon 5D Mark II, this hasn’t been possible without using a program like Twixtor. (See Part 1 of my Twixtorial here) However, I have managed to get my hands on a Canon EOS 7D which, unlike the Canon 5D MII, has an in camera setting that allows you to shoot at a slower frame rate.

My partner and I made this quick video to demonstrate the 7Ds slow motion. Check it out.

Boss

Featuring: Ehran Edwards and Andrew Bennett
Director of Photography: Ehran Edwards
Directed and Edited by Andrew Bennett
Music: “99 Problems” by Jay-Z + Danger Mouse

Specifications

Camera: Canon EOS 7D
Lens: Canon 24-105 f4.  (Shot at 24mm with the cropped sensor.)
1280×720
60fps
Shutter speed 125.

When I first sat down to learn, I had a hell of a time finding some step-by-step tutorials on this, so I’m going to do my utmost to give you all the info you need.

Canon 7D.

The Canon 7D allows you to record FULL HD 1920×1080 at 24p, 25p and 30p.
It also shoots at 1280×720 at 50p, 60p as well as SD at 50p and 60p.

If you haven’t used a 7D, here is a great video tutorial I found which helps you from scratch. “How To Set Up Your 7D” by Brian Brown.

Before you Film

Setting your Camera

First, make sure your 7D is in movie mode, otherwise you’ll wonder where all the movie setting are.

To shoot slow motion you need to change the camera setting from PAL>NTSC. This is the only way to access the 1280x720p@60fps option.
Go to Movie Rec. Size and select 1280×720@60fps.

Generally you try to set your shutter speed to double the frame rate, this is the 180 degree shutter theory.  (If you are planning on using Twixtor this isn’t the case). This theory helps give the right motion blur to your image to seem real.
This link is a great explanation of “Why Shutter Speed Matters with DSLR“.

Using my 7d I have now set my camera to 720p with a shutter speed of 125.

Here’s a straight forward video which demonstrates the above. “How to Shoot Slow Motion with the 7D” by getconnectedtvshow

Shoot your Footage.

You are free to shoot your slow motion footage. To record push the Start/Stop button as pictured.

You can review your footage in real time by going to the playback menu.
A surprising litte thing I just learnt is you can also review the footage in slow-motion. Simply select the slow motion function (the one to the right of the play option).

Once You Have Shot Your Footage

Import

Import your footage from your camera/card reader. I recommend making backups of all footage. It is best to have an unaffected, unmodified version of the media to fall back on… just in case.

Transcode

Transcoding in it’s basic form means to change one file into another type. But to be more specific, it’s converting one encoded file into another. (This can be done for both video and audio files)

I generally use MPEG Streamclip. It is a free program which you can download off the internet.

Here is a helpful tutorial “Slow Motion from 7D – 720p60 to 24p” by TINY Enormous.  It gives a very basic outline on how to use MPEG Stremclip and how to use Cinema Tools.

Conforming your Footage

Once transcoded you need to conform your footage. Conforming your footage  allows you to use all your frames and play them at a slower rate. (e.g: 20 seconds of footage shot at 30fps conformed plays for 25 seconds at 25fps)

If you edit in Final Cut Pro it seems your best bet is to conform your footage in Cinema Tools. This should be included in Final Cut Studio.

Cinema Tools

Duplicate the clip you are conforming. Once you conform your clip in Cinema Tools it can’t be changed back.

START CINEMA TOOLS. Then go to ‘File> Open Clip.
SELECT your transcoded clip.
Go to the bottom of the screen and select ‘CONFORM’.
This will open a window showing the clip number, it’s current frame rate and frame rate options to conform to.
In this instance SELECT 23.98 NOT 24. Once selected it will conform quickly.

The clip  should now play back in smooth slow motion. Tada!

Here is a great tutorial by Creative Cow.

Extra tutorials

This is another Creative Cow tutorial that outlines how to use Cinema Tools from Final Cut Pro.
Here is a tutorial for those using Premier Pro. “7D Tutorial 60p to 24p slow motion” by Michael DeVowe.
This is a video tutorial by Philip Bloom on Converting Canon 5D Mark II 30p footage to 24p using Cinema tools.

If you liked this post and would like to see more like it, please follow/like my Facebook Fan page. I keep it up to date with all the projects I am working on and promote opportunities for others when I hear of them. Here is the link to the page: Ehran Edwards Facebook Page.

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