Making a short film using a Canon 500D

So I've just finished my first short film and I thought I'd share some of the tech specs and considerations on here.

It is written from image23 on Vimeo.

Click through for more details...

Kit list
For this project I used the absolute bear minimum kit as I wanted to focus on my idea's, not an overly complicated set up. Beside's I've always found that a little restriction does wonders for creativity as you're forced to solve problems in more imaginative ways...

Filming ~

Canon 500D
Lensbaby composer
Elinchrom D~lite it2 *

Sound ~

Zoom H4
Adobe audition

Editting ~

Lenovo G570 laptop
Adobe premiere elements

* I had intended to use my 250w hotlights for this but both of them broke on the day of the shoot! So I was forced to use the 100w modelling light on my elincrom head!!! This actually worked much btter than I had expected, however I did end up with a much higher ISO than I would have liked.

Things to consider
If you're thinking of getting into making films on a DSLR, there are a few things you'll want to bear in mind when it comes to choosing what kit to use.


The quality of HD footage from the canon 500D is very very good, especially when shot through decent glass. However what it does lack is control and decent sound recording capabilities.

The ISO, apperture and shutter speed are all set automatically by the camera which can be quite a restriction but not at all unworkable. I was helped along in this instance because I used a lensbaby lens which has a completely manual apperture control.

The sound on the other hand is much more of a problem on the 500D. The mic built into the camera is quite frankly not worth using in most instances, it just picks up way too much handling noise and sadly there is no input for an external mic.

The workaround here is to use an external sound recorder and sinc up the footage and audio when you do your edit. For this film I didn't actually use any ambient noise as there is no speech, so I can't really comment on how easy this is to implement ~ maybe in a futre post!

Computer spec's for editting

The other issue I came across when making this film was my {admittedly quite old} computer just flat refussed to cope with HD footage, which obviously gave me fantastic excuse to go and buy a new laptop ;D

I found it took a fair bit of digging to work out what kind of specs I should be aiming for, but the machine I ended up with certainly seems to hit the mark.

So far I've had it run 2 layers of HD footage with 3 layers of Audio in premiere, whilst also running photoshop, firefox and mediaplayer with no problems at all.

So if you're in a similar position the specs of my computer are...

Model ~ Lenovo G570
Processor ~ Intel i5 2410M
Graphics ~ AMD Radeon™ HD 6370M 1GB
Hardrive ~ 640 GB 5400rpm
OS ~ Windows 7 64 bit

I also found this website very useful ~

As usual, any comments always welcome in the box bellow.


  1. Ive just bought a 500D and would like to make alot of videos with it. How do you find it in terms of frame rate as I know it does max of 20 at full HD. Ive been considering swapping it in for a 550D instead. Any suggestions would be great.

  2. Hey Gareth,

    I've not had any problems with the frame rate, you can actually shoot at a 30fps if you drop the quality down to 720p. In terms of video, the 550d is actually a massive step up from the 500d, you'll get a range of frame rates {20, 25, 30}right up to 1080p, there is a stereo mic jack and crucially, you'll also get way more control over Aperture and shutter speed.

    So I would say go for the 550D if you can, it has a much more comprehensive feature set and as your techniques and Idea's progress I can guarantee you'll be really glad of those extra creative controls ;)

    ~ Jamie