Basic video production with the Canon 6D

Check out

The 6d kits can be checked out for 1 day at a time. If you need to have the camera for more than one day (e.g., an out of town shoot), you must make arrangements in advance with both me and Clint Elmore, JEM’s video production specialist. You can find more information about the equipment room and its schedule and policies at their website.

  1. The 6D body
  2. A 24–105 Canon L-series lens
  3. An Audio-Technica 10 series wireless kit
  4. A Rode shotgun mic
  5. An on-camera 150w light
  6. A tripod (in additional bag)
  7. A Tascam audio recorder (in additional bag)

Basic use

To start shooting video, all you need to do is turn the camera on and flip it in to the video mode. For many situations (especially those with consistent light), the automatic mode is pretty accurate. Long term you should shoot in one the manual modes covered below, but to start the green auto mode might be fine. To begin recording all you need to do is hit the start/stop button inside the video/photo switch.

Shooting manual

Shooting in manual gives you the ability to control the output of the camera. Therefore, manual shooting allows you to make artistic and editorial decisions about the look and feel of the video you are shooting.

  • “P” for program — you have some control to adjust the exposure
  • “M” for fully manual — you control both the shutter speed and the aperture (or iris)

Program mode

To get to program mode just turn the top dial from the green automatic setting to the “P” setting. Once in the “P” mode, you will be able to adjust the exposure using the rotating the wheel on the back of the camera.

Scroll the button to the left or right to change the exposure of your scene.
The image to the left is five stops underexposed; the image to the right is five stops overexposed.

Manual mode

To get to the manual mode, just turn the dial on the top of the camera to the “M” setting. In manual, you have complete control over your aperture (or iris), shutter speed and ISO.

White balance

As I mentioned earlier, in both program mode “P” and in manual “M” you can manually control the white balance.

  1. You might have multiple light sources which confuse the camera, like in an office with a window (5600 K) and a overhead light (3200 K).
  2. You might be using one of the LED light kits and you want everything set to the same temp.
  3. You might be shooting a scene where the light is changing and you don’t want the camera constantly correcting.

Audio control

Within the 6D, you can also control the audio when you are in either of the manual settings. To flip in to manual, hit the menu button and the go to the second video tab. Change the “sound rec.” option to manual and then you can adjust the record level up and down.



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Nick Geidner

Nick Geidner

Associate Professor of Journalism and Director of Land Grant Films (@LandGrantFilms) at the University of Tennessee.