7DPRO [Canon EOS 7D]

This is my third short film shot with the Canon 7D, a music video featuring a song by my sister Liz that she wrote for her daughter.

Song - "Breathe"
Written and Performed by Liz MacKay
Background Music by Jerry MacKay

No additional lighting was used, just natural light. The performance footage was shot with a Canon 50mm 1.4 lens, and the Niagara Falls footage was with the standard 28-135 zoom lens that comes with the camera.

Shot in 24P using the camera's outdoor white balance.

The Niagara Falls footage was handheld using the IS on the zoom lens. The performance footage was on an inexpensive Slik tripod.

The song was recorded with a Zoom H4N. Lead guitar used the Zoom's built-in stereo mic, and vocals used a Shure SM48S mic. The water sounds were also recorded with the Zoom stereo mic, and the seagulls were from a music library (a slight cheat, but I swear there were seagulls at the beach). Mixing was done in Soundtrack, and background instruments were added in Logic.

Edited and color corrected in Final Cut.

We shot the performance footage at sunset at a beach here in Buffalo. It would've been nice to get more coverage, but you have to move fast since the light from the sun drops so quickly. We recorded everything in about and hour and a half; after that it got too dark. Some of the later footage was brightened in post to match it better to earlier footage. I have a reflector that I forgot to bring to the shoot, but I probably wouldn't have used it anyway...the lighting was pretty much what I wanted as-is.

At Niagara Falls it was very hard to see the LCD screen outside in bright sunlight. Fortunately, I was looking for a "everything in focus" home movie look, so dialing down the aperture and using the auto-focus control between shots did the trick. But for daylight shots where you need to see the screen clearly, you're gonna need some help (a Z-Finder, an external monitor, a giant hat, etc.)

First on my "to buy" list is a fluid-head tripod. I use them where I work, so I'm well aware of their importance, but I've been trying to use my own equipment on personal projects like this. If you're planning on shooting slow panning or tilting shots with a DSLR, a fluid-head tripod isn't a must...but it sure will improve your shots.

If you're using the Zoom stereo mic outside, a windscreen is an ABSOLUTE must. I have a Redhead windscreen (about $40), and you would be amazed how well it works. If you buy a Zoom, buy a Redhead too.

The entire song and film were recorded and shot in one day, while my sister and niece were visiting. Pretty incredible what you can do with a 7D and a Zoom.

j vimeo.com/11378977

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