canon vixia hf10

Capturing Video

To capture video, turn the camera on and set the main control dial to video capture mode.

Video capture mode on main control dial

For about 99 percent of situations, students are likely to use the "P" or program mode, and AWB or Auto White Balance. Both of these settings are discussed in the previous section of this tutorial. Setting both of these settings to auto gives the photographer the ability to simply focus on the content of the frame without having to worry about the technical aspects of the shot.

However, a good grounding in the specifics of this camera's operation are valuable to correct unforseen circumstances.

Understanding the in-camera adjustments

By far, the most difficult part of using this camera is understanding how to use the joystick in relation to the in-camera adjustments dialogue.

The in-camera adjustments are a series of settings that allow you to make adjustments on the fly while shooting. These include setting the exposure, adjust the mic levels, adjusting the volume and others.

In camera adjustments menu on Canon HF 10

This is how it works:

While in the video capture mode press in the joystick once (the set button).

A menu will appear in the lower right hand corner of the screen. This is the in-camera menu. There are several of them, and to cycle through all of the menus PRESS DOWN on the joystick. However, here's the caveat -- you cannot press up to go back through the menus in reverse! Pressing up will actually activate that function and allow you to change the settings to that specific menu. I know, confusing.

Here are a few of the more important settings you can adjust:

Exposure setting to the in-camera menu Canon HF 10

The exposure setting allows you to quickly brighten or darken the image by adjusting the exposure. To activate this feature, go to the related menu shown above and PRESS UP on the joystick while this menu is showing. An exposure adjustment bar will appear in the upper portion of the screen.

Exposure meter on display of Canon VIXA HF 10

To adjust the exposure, press left or right on the joystick. The exposure can be adjusted ONLY while the exposure menu is currently on the screen. If the set button is pressed, and the exposure menu disappears, the exposure can no longer be adjusted until the menu is activated again.

To actually turn off the exposure setting (or any of these settings), press up on the joystick again and the + - symbols will gray out and the adjustment bar at the top of the screen will disappear.

Mic menu on  Mic menu off
Left: Mic menu is turned on by pressing UP, on the Left: Mic menu is off because the + and - are grayed out.

In-camera mic level adjustement in Canon HF 10

To set the microphone levels, first press the set button, then press DOWN on the joystick until the mic menu is reached. To activate manual mic level adjustments, press UP on the joystick and the adjustment bar will appear.

Mic adjustment meter on Canon VIXA HF 10

Press left or right to adjust the mic levels. Be careful to not "peak" the sound. You'll know this is happening if you see red boxes as shown in the image above.

Adjust focus in-camera menu on Canon HF 10

The manual focus setting works much the same way, except that the screen will temporarily zoom in to give assistance to setting the focus accurately. Manual focus is not very intuitive for doing creative techniques like a rack focus.