Has this ever happened to you? You’re filming a wedding and everything is going perfectly. You know that you’ve captured some amazing shots that you’re super proud of! But then your heart sinks. You realize that you forgot to change a setting and you’ve shot the entire morning in the wrong frame rate! Now, is this the end of the world? No, not really. But you’re disappointed because you know that footage is never going to look as good as it COULD have if only you had your settings set correctly.

Or maybe you’re a photographer who has tried making some video content for your blog in the past. You know your camera inside and out when it comes to photography, but video is a whole new world! So you just switch it into video mode and start recording. After spending hours shooting and editing you’re footage just doesn’t look as good as you’d like or worse, is unusable at all. 

If you can relate to either of these scenarios, then you are in the right place! I’ve compiled a list of settings you’ll want to change on your Canon DSLR camera so that you know everything is set correctly! So, whether you’re shooting video for the first time, or using this camera professionally, these 10 changes will ensure you get great quality video every time you hit record! 




Worried you’re going to forget a setting while you’re out shooting?  Download our FREE DSLR Video Field Guideto take with you so you’ll always be confident in your video settings!




In the examples below I am using screen shots from a Canon 5DmkIII. I don’t go into detail on how to change each item specifically (this will vary from camera to camera). However, the basic principles should carry over regardless of what camera model you have. Refer to your specific camera’s manual if you are having a hard time finding a specific menu item! 


1) Movie Record Size:1920, 24p, ALL-I

These are the best settings for cinematic video with the best quality. The dimensions will be 1920 pixels wide by 1080 pixels high (1080p HD). Interested in shooting some slow motion? Your settings should be 1280, 60p, ALL-I. 


2) Sound Recording: Switch to Manual

If you plan to use the audio from the camera in any way, it is crucial that you switch to manual audio controls. This will make sure that the signal is consistent and won’t fluctuate during any quiet moments of recording. Do a quick audio test to set appropriate levels, your audio meter should be hitting around -12dB at it’s highest point!

TIP: For the best on camera audio quality possible we suggest using a Rode Video Mic Pro (set to +20dB). Keep camera audio levels as low as possible to get a clean signal!


3) Picture Profile: Custom Neutral

When shooting video it is crucial to get the image as close to perfect in camera as possible because there is very little room for editing in post. The Standard picture profile in the camera will give you a very sharp and contrasty image. This image will look great to some, but may be TOO sharp or TOO contrasty for your preferences. I suggest the following settings that will give you a flatter image. This will allow you to add as much contrast or sharpening as you see fit in editing without TOO much color grading work!


Sharpness: 1
Contrast: -2
Saturation: -2
Color Tone: 0


4) Color Temperature: Custom Kelvin

Shooting with a Custom Kelvin white balance is CRUCIAL for video. The last thing you want is for the WB to fluctuate from clip to clip. A custom white balance will help you get perfect color every time, consistent WB between all your clips and will help you sync multiple cameras to the exact same Kelvin number. This specific number will change based on your lighting scenario, but here are some basic starting points to remember.

Indoors: ~3200K

Outside (Sunny): ~5500K

Outside (Cloudy): ~6000K


5) LCD Brightness: Switch to Manual

When shooting video on a DLSR we rely on the screen a lot – especially when judging exposure. Switching your LCD brightness from automatic to manual will make sure that the brightness of your screen is consistent no matter what lighting scenario you’re in. This will ensure you get consistent exposure every time. I set mine to 6, but you can adjust yours to your preference!


6) Remap Set Button to “Zoom” for easy access when checking focus 

In order to nail precise focus, you should be utilizing the “punch in” feature to check your focus every time you hit record. By re-maping the zoom button to the SET button it allows you to use your right hand to punch in without taking your left hand off the lens. This will save you precious seconds when shooting, and make sure you nail that focus every time!


7) Enable “Silent Control” Touch 

This is a 5D3/5D4 specific feature! Most people don’t know that this feature exists! The scroll wheel on the 5D3 actually has touch abilities that, once enabled, allows you to make adjustments to audio levels and other things during recording without turning physical dials which would add noises to your on camera audio. This feature is perfect when recording a long clip and making quick adjustment to your audio levels without ruining your on camera audio mid clip! 


8) Format Memory Card

You should always do this before shooting anything photo or video to make sure the card is prepped and ready to shoot with the specific camera you are using. 

9) Turn on “Auto Switch” Memory Cards*

This feature only applies to cameras with multiple memory card slots. By enabling this feature the camera will automatically switch from your CF to SD card (or vice versa) when one card fills up. This is also great when shooting long clips that might fill up one memory card!

canon-5dmkiii-menus-11 canon-5dmkiii-menus-12

10) Map all these settings to “My Menu” for easy access! 

Ok, so I know this seems like a LOT of things to change – but, if you customize your “My Menu” settings you can have easy access to almost all of these settings from one menu! This makes it super easy to remember all the things you want to change and you won’t have to flip through various menu options!






All right, there you have it! By changing these 10 settings you’ll have confidence that you’re capturing quality video every time. Overwhelmed or worried you’ll forget one of these settings?Download our FREE DSLR Video Field Guide  so you never forget a setting! 


Meet Tyler

Ty’s gift for storytelling began as just a young kid with a camcorder filming skits of his siblings. Often found browsing the latest tech reviews, Apple products, and industry trends; he’s a sharp dresser, quick thinker, and an avid explorer.

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What a helpful article! I’ve been looking into learning more about using the video capabilities of my camera, and this is a great start! Thanks! :-)

Hey Tyler – most helpful post! Love how you’ve set everything up for newbies like me to understand with the photos, etc. I’m hoping to upgrade to a DSLR that shoots video soon as I’m going to be making a video for a crowdfunding campaign. Posts like this make it all the more accessible, so thank you.

just read your article. I’ve been trying to take a video for a Zumba class. I haven’t used video mode with my camera (Canon T6i). This article helps me learn to set up. I have a few questions, here’s my set up:
Canon T6i – tri-pod – indoor evening class/windows on one side of room 24-70 f/2.8 lens – ISO 800 – 1/60 – f/4 – 4.5 — 24 frames – AF Tracking
1. What do you recommend for IMAGE QUALITY? I don’t plan at this point to do any editing on video I take for this class. Would I put in RAW or ?
2. Instructor of class works in front of the mirror. I am wanting to get her facial expressions and cue’s from the mirror, so putting my focus on her in the mirror. At times I can see that the focus goes in and out (blurry), but will come back. Why is this happening? and what can I do so it doesn’t happen?
3. The video also changes white balance look? Not sure if this is because she moves side to side – and possibly the mirror effect/light from windows? Not quite sure where to put my white balance being indoors?
Any suggestions are appreciated. Thanks!