Canon SL3 Unlimited Recording Professional Video Rig

what’s up guys sigi here and welcome to another tech gear talk today i’m going to show you how i rigged out my canon sl3 for unlimited recording better handling professional audio enough power to last me all day and even improved lighting now some people overlook the sl3 because it’s an entry-level dslr camera but canon snuck in a couple of features to make it quite powerful so while it does have some limitations which i discuss in my full review up in the corner this rig has got me some fantastic results i’m going to take you step by step through each component i’ll tell you why i chose to use it and i’ll also include some additional options at different price points in the description all right so let’s get going in order to start up building a kit we need a cage and i chose this small rig cage as my base it’s designed to fit the sl3 which is also called the 250d or the 200d mark ii and it also fits my sl2 or 200d like every cage it attaches to the body of the camera with a quarter 20 at the bottom but with this cage small rig added a secondary attachment point on the top left which slides in through the strap mount and once you tighten both of the screws the fit is extremely tight and the camera doesn’t slide around

at all which is a problem that i’ve had with some other cages and by the way i’ll put links in the description to every component i talk about so you can easily find them now i love that this cage has both quarter 20 and 3 8 inch holes all the way around which gives me tons of options as far as mounting accessories there are two cold shoe mounts one on the right and one on the left and there are several quarter twenties and one three eight hole on the bottom so you can easily attach the cage to a quick release plate if you want to mount the whole thing on a tripod it was also really important to me that the cage won’t block any of the functionality of the camera so you can see that i could still access the buttons dials and ports the battery compartment the memory card slot and i still have complete range of motion on the fully articulating touch screen i also like the fact that it protects the camera whenever i put it down or just in case i happen to bump it against something and another real life example is if i want to put the camera on the ground to get a low angle shot or a reflection and the ground might be a little wet i know that it’s not going to damage the body because the cage is protecting it

another bonus about this cage is that it helps me when i try to use the sl3 with some bigger lenses on a gimbal it raises the camera a bit so the larger lenses won’t hit the quick release plate it also lets me attach counterweights without having the need for a special plate this can make balancing the camera a lot easier next i wanted to improve the handling and stability of the rig so i added a side handle and in this case i’m using a small rig wooden universal side handle i mounted it to the right side because the sl3 is a fully articulating touch screen which extends to the left this handle is very well made it’s super comfortable to hold and it looks really nice there’s something about adding wood grain to all this matte black that i really like this handle also has a cold shoe mount a few extra quarter 20s and a 3 8 inch mount at the top it attaches to the cage using these two thumb screws and you can get them pretty tight by hand but to really get them tight it helps to use a hex screw and small rig has a super clever design where they built a spot for the allen wrench right into the handle and it’s also magnetic so there’s no chance of it falling out and you losing it and this way you always have it when you need it now once you attach the handle you’ll see that as soon as you start handling the rig with the side handle you’ll immediately get more stable footage

and smoother camera movement next there were a number of reasons why i wanted to add a top handle i wanted to be able to just quickly grab the rig off of a tripod or use this when i’m just carrying the rig around i also wanted to be able to get low angle shots and i wanted more versatility in terms of how i can handle the rig for b-roll so this small rig top handle works great again there’s an additional cold shoe mount and tons of quarter 20 and 3 8 threaded holes and i’ll show you how i use this cold shoe later on in this video so now that i have handling all taken care of the next thing i wanted to address is audio and if you watched any of my audio related videos then you know that whenever possible i like to avoid using the built-in microphone on any camera there are just several issues with any built-in microphone so first they’re always so tiny so they can only do so much and realistically high-end audio components are just not a priority for camera manufacturers because relatively small segments of their audience actually uses them so they spend their money on things like better image quality better iso performance and improved dynamic range finally and probably my biggest issue with any on-camera

microphone is that it has to be as far away from the subject as the camera and it doesn’t have the pickup pattern that’s designed to focus on the subject with the sl3 in this particular setup there are a few different microphones that i use depending on the situation so if i’m running and gunning and i want the most portable solution where i’m always ready to go one of my favorite microphones is the rode videomic pro plus it’s super compact for the quality of audio that you get and it comes with a rye built-in lyer shock mount which isolates the microphone from camera movement and then prevents camera handling noise from traveling up to the mic this is a shotgun microphone with a super cardiod pickup pattern meaning that it’s going to focus on sounds coming from the front of the camera and it’s going to reject sounds coming from the side and the back so i just attach it to the cold shoe mount on the left side of the cage and i’m all set and i use this microphone a lot because it has some really great features like auto on off two low pass filters a high pass boost an incredibly important plus 20 db option and this lets me turn the gain down on the sl3 and then have the microphone amplify the sound instead of counting on the sl3’s preamps i also have a video comparing all the rode video mics so if you’re interested in hearing the differences i’ll link

to it up in the corner all right so the next option is if i have a subject that’s moving around or i can’t get close enough to get good audio because of how the shot is framed i would usually go with the rode wireless scope this is one of my favorite wireless setups right now because it’s just so small and light has two components a transmitter which will be clipped to the subject then a receiver which will be attached to the cage and then wired into the 3.5 mic input jack on the sl3 what’s great about this small kit is that you don’t need a lavalier microphone because the transmitter has a microphone built in now if you don’t want the transmitter to show up in your video then you can actually plug in a lavalier microphone into the transmitter and then you’re all set and what i really like about this setup is that even if i’m not always the same distance away from my subject or if they turn to the side the microphone is essentially moving with them and i’m getting consistent clean and crisp audio another similar option which actually has more

features is the kamika boom xu and this actually gives me two transmitters and one receiver so i can record two people at the same time also comes with lavalier microphones for each transmitter so i don’t have to pay extra for them and i’ll create a comparison between the two systems to help you choose alright so we have handling and audio and now i wanted to add unlimited recording and improved user experience now the sl3 already has a fully articulating screen so i can always have it pointed at me whether i’m behind the camera in front above below or even to the side but sometimes it’s nicer to see things on a larger screen so having an external monitor is really nice but unlike with my m50 rig the sl3 has a clean hdmi output so instead of using just a monitor which is an option i decided to use the atomos ninja 5.

this is both an amazing monitor and an external recorder meaning that i can get clean signal from the sl3 feed it into the ninja 5 and then record onto the ssd now this removes the recording limits from the sl3 and now lets me record for as long as i have space on this ssd i’m using a one terabyte samsung which gives me hours and hours of continuous recording depending on the resolution and quality now one misconception about external recorders is that they will always improve the quality of the footage so this atomos ninja 5 for example can record 4k 10bit hdr or 4k 12-bit raw but it can only record in the bit depth and chroma sampling that the camera is sending in our case according to my conversation with canon the sl3 records 8-bit 420 internally and externally meaning that regardless of the capabilities of the atomos that will be the information that’s being recorded now think of it this way if the camera can output 8-bit which is 16.78 million colors there’s no way for the atomos to change it to 10 bit which is over a billion colors because those colors were simply not part of the original feed now some cameras can output a higher quality feed externally than what they can record internally and in that case using something like the atomos ninja 5

will give you better quality than recording to the sd card and if this is confusing let me know and i’ll create a dedicated video where i discuss this in more detail now the ninja 5 can record in prores which will create larger files but ones that are easier for your computer to edit so if you’re filming in 1080p and you’re not having any issues with editing it’s probably not worth it but if you’re shooting in 4k and your computer is struggling to edit the files you may like this option now in addition to being an external recorder and a beautiful accurate and bright monitor the ninja 5 also provides some super valuable exposure and white balance tools like false color and waveforms i can also actually upload luts if i want to shoot in a flat color profile like style or pro lost but i want to see what it will look like after i apply a lut and i can do that right in the atomos so if you watched any of my cinematic look tutorials i talk about shooting in a flat color profile so you get more detail in the shadows and the highlights now the issue is that it doesn’t really look great on the monitor because it’s really washed out so being able to apply lut in the recorder solves that issue because it’s not actually changing the file that i’m recording it’s just showing me on the back of the screen what the flat

file will look like with the correction lut applied now another bonus that we get when we’re using a recorder is that it has a headphone jack so in addition to audio levels on the screen we can plug in a pair of headphones and monitor audio in real time this is a great feature especially for a camera like the sl3 that doesn’t have a headphone jack and actually the more i talk about the ninja 5 i really just need to do a dedicated video because it’s such a powerful tool and it’s not cheap it’s 500 bucks plus the price of the ssd but it does add unlimited recording some powerful new features and something that you can use with future cameras now next i’m going to tell you about some of my favorite lenses and the one that i use most often not just with the sl3 but with any camera that accepts it is the sigma art 18 to 35 f 1.8 it’s actually the lens that i’m using to record this video and obviously i have a second one because i use it so often you’re probably already familiar with this lens but i just love the image and build quality it’s a super fast lens that opens up to f 1.8 which gives us that shallow depth of field and also makes it a great lens in low light it’s an ef mount lens so of course i don’t need any adapters or anything like that now if i need to go even wider i usually throw on a 10 to 18 which is another great value and lets me go really really wide now if you want some more options i do have an sl2 lens video which i’ll link to up in the corner and in the description and since they have the same mount the same lenses will work on both cameras right here i’m using the 50 millimeter f 1.8 and nifty 50.

i also have a video about this lens again i think it’s such a good value for like 125 new this is a great lens for portraits and for video again especially if you need low light performance now if i feel like i want to take the next level of course i can use all my l series canon glass which all natively fit on the sl3 alright so let’s move on from lenses and talk about lighting when i’m shooting in low light or if i just want to separate my subject from the background and i don’t have the studio lights with me i use the godox r1 for portability and versatility this is my go-to light right now it’s extremely bright at full power and it’s dimmable from zero to a hundred percent using the dial on the side there is an lcd screen on the top so i can easily see the battery power the intensity and the color temperature in cct mode i can select the color temperature between 2500 and 8500k depending on whether i need warmer or cooler light i can also switch to hsb mode which lets me select 360 different colors and different levels of saturation and brightness for each this is great when i want to add a splash of color and it’s one of the reasons i use these lights when i shoot some of my b-roll i have three of these lights and they charge using a usb-c cable the battery lasts a really long time if

i ever need to i can charge them while i’m using them with this particular setup i added an articulating magic arm with double ball heads to one of the quarter twenties on the wooden handle this lets me position the light at various angles and also pushes it off to the side which gives me less flat lighting the r1 also helps brighten up my subject and gives it that extra pop and separation from the background or can even provide some fill light there’s also a magnetic diffuser that i just snap on and actually does a really good job at diffusing the light and making it much softer and more flattering now moving on i want to talk a little bit about the sd cards that i use with the sl3 if i record internally rather than with the atomos ninja 5.

i’ve been using the sandisk extreme pro 128 gigabyte cards for as long as i can remember pretty much with all of my cameras and they work great now some of the ones that i have are a little bit older and slower they still work great with the sl3 and there are now newer and faster ones that actually cost less than what i paid when i got mine so i’ll put some links in the description but again even with the old speed i’ve never had any issues with the sl3 now i’m always going to tell you to get more memory cards than you think you need because it’s so important to have backup also i recommend keeping extra cards even if they’re smaller capacity ones in your bag just in case you get somewhere you realize you forgot your card or that it’s full or something happened to your card you’re never stuck without one and you’re always good to go i think that we’re all investing money in our gear and even if this only saves you one time like ever it was still totally worth it and i’m going to finish by again encouraging you to invest in good memory cards all this gear doesn’t mean anything if you use a cheap card and then lose all your data and speaking of backup let’s talk a little bit about extra batteries so the sl3 is known for having fairly good battery life so normally it’s not something

that i worry about i have a video where i show you how to overcome the poor battery on the m50 and i use a similar solution to improve the sl3 power options one of the solution is just to have additional batteries and i’ll link to a few third-party options that i use which have worked great for me and have saved me a lot of money but when i go out to film for hours i just don’t want to deal with changing batteries at all so what i do is i use the power junkie and a usb coupler and basically the power junkie is this little adapter that uses sony npf batteries to power other gear so i can use one of these batteries i got two of them for 37 and each one of them has almost five times the battery life of the sl3’s lpe 17 battery so i use the usb coupler from my battery life video and i plug it into the power junkie grab one of these batteries and then i’m set for hours when i’m on the go and of course these npf batteries come in different sizes so this is the medium size if i don’t need as much power i can get a smaller one if i need even more power i have one that’s twice this size all right so that’s how i rigged my sl3 for unlimited video recording and i found that this setup produced excellent results for me i would love to know how you set yours up and i’m always happy to learn and get new ideas from you guys i’ll put links in the description to all the products that i talked about in this video as well as some of my favorite lenses because there’s always specials and discounts and those links will be automatically updated with the lowest pricing i really hope i was able

to give you some good ideas about how you can set up your canon sl3 for video if i did please let me know by giving this video a thumbs up tweet it share it and if you haven’t yet join the community by hitting the subscribe and notification buttons you can always find me on instagram twitter and facebook at techgear talk you know what i always say buy nice or buy twice good luck and see you soon all right so let’s get to the bonus material here and i think i’m going to start doing this at the end of my videos where i just continue to talk a little bit more about this product so one of the questions i got about my other rig video was how heavy it is and you know it is it’s definitely adding weight to just a camera so if your idea is to get the smallest and lightest rig that you can then this is not it obviously we’re adding weight but with that added weight we’re getting a ton of functionality so if you don’t need this functionality don’t do this but if you want to start with a lower cost body add lenses to it get great audio get unlimited recording get lighting better handling then i think the way i look at it it’s okay that we’re adding a little bit of weight or even like a medium amount of weight i wouldn’t say this is a lot of weight and i

think with the way that i have the cables all zipped i think it’s still pretty small and manageable and it is really comfortable to hold like i said even if you’re hand holding it you’re just introducing some camera movement you’re gonna see that it’s a lot more stable than when you’re trying to hold a very light camera and another point that was brought up in one of the other videos is that this is really adding a lot of cost to a lower cost camera and i totally get that but honestly for the functionality that we’re getting it’s really not that bad like this is still less expensive than my cheapest cinema camera that i bought like five years ago so you have unlimited recording unlimited with canon unlimited because they refused to do it in camera for some reason i don’t know maybe it’s some tax law in the eu that’s still happening or not i don’t know why they’re doing it but we can’t get unlimited recording for some reason so now we can alright if you’re still watching this i think that’s pretty good if you have any questions let me know in the comments section see you

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