National Library of New Zealand
Harvested by the National Library of New Zealand on: Aug 24 2011 at 13:57:55 GMT
Search boxes and external links may not function. Having trouble viewing this page? Click here
Close Minimize Help
Wayback Machine

Step 2: Getting the camera ready to shoot

When you first get your DSLR camera, there are a few settings you can change that will give you a better image.


Some cameras need the video functionality to be enabled. If you have a Canon 5D, you’ll need to set it up to shoot video.

To set up your Canon 5D to shoot video:
  1. Hit the Menu button
  2. Select the Live View/Movie func. set
  3. Select LV func. setting
  4. Choose Stills+movie then Movie display

To get the best image, you’ll need to change a few settings. This isn’t required, but we recommend it. The following instructions are for most Canon DSLR cameras, there are similar settings for other brands as well.

  1. Go into your Menu
  2. Select Picture Style
  3. Select User Def 1
  4. Change your picture style to Neutral
  5. Turn Contrast all the way down
  6. Turn the Saturation down two notches

Knowing how to change your frame rate is important to achieve different looks from your camera.
A frame rate is the frequency at which your camera will capture each frame of footage. Since videos are made up of still images put together, the faster your frame rate, the more images are taken.

The most common frame rates are 24, 25, 30, 50, and 60. Using 24 fps will give you a film look while using 50 or 60 fps will allow you to have great looking slow motion video by slowing it down in post production. For the same look you see on television shows or documentaries, use 25 or 30fps. Like any of your cameras settings, using and changing them is what will give you the best idea of what you like and what works best for you.

To change your frame rate:
  1. Go into your Menu
  2. Select Movie rec. size
  3. Choose from the options

Europe has a different set of frame rates than the United States. If you're in Europe and other countries, use PAL frame rates. If you're in the United States and much or North America, you'll want to use NTSC. The reason for the difference is actually due to the way electricity is transmitted. Check your camera's manual for specific instructions on switching between NTSC and PAL.
For extra credit...
Get all the technical details about NTSC and PAL.
  • Introduction to DSLR Cameras

    New to shooting with a DSLR? Maybe you're thinking about getting one? We'll teach…

  • Setting up your DSLR

    This lesson covers a few simple changes you can make to your camera settings in order to get…

  • DSLR Lenses

    If you're new to shooting with a DSLR, here are some things you'll need to know about…

  • DSLR Accessories

    Accessories are important as you start shooting. Learn about what you definitely need and things…

  • Shooting video with a DSLR

    Keys to understanding your camera settings and how to start shooting great video with your DSLR.

  • Recording sound for DSLRs

    Recording high quality sound for your DSLR can be tricky business. Here are a few ways to help…

  • Timelapse with a DSLR

    Learn how to make a basic timelapse video with your DSLR.

  • Nighttime Shooting with a DSLR

    Shooting at night with your DSLR? This lesson will give you the tips for making your low light…

Ready for a challenge? So do you feel confident enough to go out and shoot something? Philip has a great starting challenge for you called "An Object." Find an object and film it so that it's interesting! Use all the techniques you learned, keeping in mind your white balance, ISO settings, and frame rate. Keep your video under two minutes and really push your boundaries with framing and DOF. Watch Phil's example video here.

Accept this challenge

Setting up your DSLR

This lesson covers a few simple changes you can make to your camera settings in order to get the best looking footage for your DSLR!

New to Video School? Read our Frequently Asked Questions.

Get Vimeo Plus!

Submit a tutorial

Vimeo Video School tutorials come from the members of Vimeo who like to share their knowledge and passion with everyone else. Have a great tutorial you want to share with us? Submit it.