Tips from Canon on Recording Tools & Techniques
With the growth in popularity of the EOS Movie functions found in all current EOS DSLR cameras, some users requested the ability to record or view what the camera was recording on an external device through the HDMI port.
When working in a production environment, relying on the rear LCD screen can be limiting, especially when working with a crew of people where several people need to be able to keep an eye on the shoot. By using the HDMI output to connect an external monitor, additional features of the monitor, such as focus peaking and zebra bars, can be used (although not all monitors will provide these features), thus helping to speed up production and allowing more of the crew to be involved in the shoot.
The EOS 5D Mark III, EOS-1D C, and now EOS 5D Mark IV are able to record clean, uncompressed digital video with embedded timecode over HDMI output, whilst simultaneously displaying the video on the rear LCD display and recording to internal memory cards. Combined with an improved color sampling of YCbCr 4:2:2 8-bit video, this adds efficiency to video editing, with improved color grading options and enhanced on-set monitoring.
If you wish to be able to see the video on both the rear LCD screen and an HDMI connected device, then the mirroring function will allow this while still outputting a clean HDMI signal to an external monitor or recorder.
Using an external recorder not only enables a video signal devoid of compression artifacts, but also allows a choice of preferred edit-ready codec, for example ProRes 4:2:2, as well as the ability to shoot in a variety of frame rates and bit rates. It also allows a longer record time than the camera’s built-in 29min 59sec limit.
The advantages of external recording stretch beyond simply the codec choice. The expanded color space present when recording out through HDMI gives improved color grading capabilities in post-production and allows the edit workflow to be smoother and produce higher quality end results.
To avoid having several buttons to press to begin recording, the timecode features of the EOS 5D Mark III, EOS 5D Mark IV, and EOS-1D C allow the camera to start and stop recording on the external device, with one button press.