Must Have Accessories for Video with Canon T3i?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by jayeskreezy, Sep 16, 2013.

  1. jayeskreezy, Sep 16, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2013

    jayeskreezy macrumors 65816

    Mar 3, 2005
    Ok I have my Canon t3i now for video and can anyone tell me what are some must have accessories for it?

    I currently have:
    Rode VideoMic
    50 mm lens
    Camera Bag

    I basically need everything else.
  2. floh macrumors 6502

    Nov 28, 2011
    Stuttgart, Germany
    Hm. First of all: This highly depends on what you will be doing. I am guessing you will be making short films? If not, many of these things will not apply... The links I give are just examples. Most of them are what I own and have therefore been researched, but some are just "what I've heard is okay for the low price".

    And then: You are only talking about the camera? Because in my opinion, the most important things that you don't have yet to make your film appear more professional would be "lighting" and "good sound". If you have neither, I would recommend spending your first bucks on some sort of 5-in-1-reflector. Really, the next thing in my opinion would be a cheap pro shotgun mic and an external preamp or recorder, since sound is half your movie. If you think the Videomic is gonna give you great sound, check out this video I made.

    I hope I cleared up that the camera is not your only piece of equipment, although an important one.

    Now, if you are really just talking about what you need for your camera, I can tell you what I wouldn't want to miss anymore for my T3i. These are ordered in that the first ones are the most important.

    1. A Battery Grip: Shooting video takes copious amount of battery, and this relaxes things significantly.
    2. A cheap fluid head tripod (I have this one). People shoot handheld too much in my opinion. Those people would probably recommend a shoulder rig.
    3. A focus ring, and a slim one at that for your 50mm (f/1.8, I assume?)
    4. A cheap slider, since it creates the most beautiful shots.
    5. If you shoot outside, a variable ND filter to be able to keep your shutter at 180° and your aperture open. Be aware that you either need adapters or one of these for every lens diameter you have. The link doesn't match your nifty fifty.
    6. I've heard many people use a viewfinder, although I have never seen the need for it myself. Then again, I shoot mostly indoors.

    Well, maybe there are some good ideas in there for you. I can not stress enough though that I find some lighting (at least the reflector/diffusor) and better sound more important than any of these. If you would like to keep your Rode Videomic for main sound, at least get an extension cord and a broomstick-boompole to get it closer to your subject. It really is unbearable when put on the camera in my opinion.
  3. Nothingwitty macrumors newbie

    Sep 17, 2013
    Time limit on filming

    Great list of accessories there. Not to hijack the thread here but how do you get around the 12 or so minute maximum filming time using the T3i?
  4. daveplotty macrumors newbie

    Jun 24, 2009
    I have the 650D. To get around the 12 minute limit have a look at a firmware hack called Magic Lantern. In my opinion this is a must have for filmmakers using DSLRs.
  5. floh macrumors 6502

    Nov 28, 2011
    Stuttgart, Germany
    Yep, plotters is right, Magic Lantern works for the T3i (600D) as well. You will have to dare to hack your camera though, but I have never heard of a case that went wrong... There is an option deep within the menus to immediately restart recording when it stops. This will result in another .MOV file, but you can glue them together as is.

    There is no other way to do this, since the filesystem on SD cards (FAT16) won't support file sizes bigger than 4GB, so the camera has to create another file no matter what when that limit is filled up.
  6. jayeskreezy thread starter macrumors 65816

    Mar 3, 2005
    Ok on second thought I might need a lens. When I went to record video today all of my subjects were waaaayyyy too close in the frame even with the camera zoomed out. Is there any way around this on the t3i? It's hard for me to get full shots of the subject if I'm not like 50 feet away.
  7. floh macrumors 6502

    Nov 28, 2011
    Stuttgart, Germany
    Nope, sorry, that's how it is. The cropped sensor turns the 50mm effectively into an 85mm lens, and that's just very close. You can either learn to live with that (you don't necessarily need many full body shots) or get a lens.

    Maybe you could get the standard zoom 18-55mm EF-S that often ships with Canon cameras as a bundle from a friend? I don't need mine anymore, but shipping it from Germany might be silly... That way, you can do wide shots with the zoom lens that doesn't open very wide, and then shoot closeups with neat shallow DOF from the 50mm.

    If you want to spend money: I love my Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 with stabilization. It's not dirt cheap but also not overpriced. The VC will make some noise but helps a lot to stabilize the shot. The Zoom range is perfect for cropped sensor cameras and corresponds to the very popular 24-70 on full frame you hear photographers talk about all the time. :) Another great plus is that it's parfocal. So you can quickly zoom in, pull focus, zoom out and you will still be in focus.

    Generally, you should spend about as much on the camera body as on the lens. The latter matters a lot more to make your shot look pretty. Don't make the same mistake I did and first get a cheap lens. You will replace it and have spent the money in vain. Rather try to borrow one from a friend.
  8. Policar macrumors 6502a

    Nov 21, 2004
    Congrats on the purchase, it's a super fun camera.

    Floh has the right idea (though spend more on the tripod; the Sachtler Ace is ok at the entry level), but I agree you might do well to get a wider lens, too.

    Check out the community at dvxuser and the like… Generally I try to cover the 18-85mm range of focal lengths, so the kit lens (18-55mm) is a good start, but it's not too fast. For the least money, the 18-35mm f1.8 Sigma, 50mm f1.8 Canon, and 85mm Canon are a good start.

    The Tamron is ok for the money… The 17-55mm f2.8 Canon is better and just came down in price. The Sigma 17-50mm is also slightly better. All are very good.
  9. jayeskreezy thread starter macrumors 65816

    Mar 3, 2005
    I figured out the problem. Thanks for the info too. I had digital zoom 3x on instead of having it off. The regular frame size is fine and I have the Canon 18-55mm EF-S. That's why I couldn't understand why it was so close.

    For any other newbies like me. Make sure you don't have digital zoom 3X on or everything will be super macro close in the viewfinder.
  10. floh macrumors 6502

    Nov 28, 2011
    Stuttgart, Germany
    Hehe. I seriously thought about suggesting that, but since you wrote about the camera being "zoomed out" already I didn't want to insult you... :) Glad to hear everything is fine now. Have fun with the great camera!
  11. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    What do you need? I'd say better audio gear.

    While the rode mic is not bad it's location, right on the camera is the WORSE place to put a mic. OK some times news camera crews who are recording some event need a camera mounted mic but when they can they give the person a hand held mic. In every other case you will get better sound if you place the mic closer to the talent. you have three options
    1) hide a lavalier mic on the person
    2) use a boom mic
    3) "plant" a mic in some object that is close, like tape it to the back side of a coffee mug that is left visible on a desk. Just hide it any place CLOSE to the source of the sound.

    iPods, macbooks and so on can be used for audio recording if you buy the right interfaces that have the XLR connections. Later yo sync this to what you recorded using the cameras built-in mic. FCPX does this perfectly with ne click. (no more clap boards)

    You will end up with quite a collection of gear but you need it. The one thing that really makes a film amateurish is poor sound and a camera mounted mic will sound cheap, even the really nice Rode mic will pick up room echoes and what not.

    The NEXT set of gear is "lighting stuff". This can actually be cheap and DIY. Like a big pices of foam core board, white on one side and crinkled aluminum foil glued to the other side, then a cheap stand to hold it up made with 3/4 inch PVC pipe. A white bed sheet hung from a curtain rod makes for a really big reflector for cheap. Eventually you need real lights, buy them of build them from 4 foot daylight color florescent tubes. You can make "free" sand bags with sand and used multiple used plastic shopping bags. These will keep the light weight cheap light stands from blowing over.

    This all assumes you are making films where YOU have control of the relent. If you are doing news coverage, the rode mic is the only option. Quick interviews with a semi-cooperative subject can use a quick clip-on lav. mic. and it is OK for the Mic to show

    Voice over narration work needs a real studio mic but it can be one of those under $100 kinds. The AT2020 is good as is AGK P120. I just bought a used NT-1A for $80 and it is better.

    Soon your collection of audio gear and lighting gear will be worth more than the cost of the SLR. But without t your surf will look like home movies. It is the sound and light that makes the impression on the viewers. In fact a $250 camcorder can do good work if you have good enough light and sound.


    What would you be shooting with 12 minute shots? You begin to bore your viewer after about 30 seconds with no cut in the film.

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