canon vixia hf10

Settings for Capturing Video

Once the camera is setup, students can now move on to capturing video. It's important to understand how the camera functions when using it to capture video.

Easy mode

But first, in case all else fails, Canon built this camera with an "easy" button. This button, when activated, puts the camera in full-automatic mode. Everything is controlled by the camera and the photographer has little else to do other than point and shoot.

EASY button on Canon VIXA HF 10

While this may seem like an easy go-to option, we encourage students to learn how to utilize the other functions of the camera which will help to instill proper usage and technique. It's also important to note that while in the easy mode, the camera actually limits the options and settings available.

Shooting in video mode

Main control dial set to video mode on Canon HF 10

This camera has four modes: photo, video, video playback and photo playback. They are all designated by an icon on the main dial switch. They are:

 Video icon  Video
 Video playback icon  Video Playback
 Photo icon  Photo
 Photo playback icon  Photo Playback

For the School of Journalism and its students, we will only be using the video modes. While this camera is capable of capturing still images, the lack of quality and control makes the digital SLRs a much better choice for photography.

Turn the main control dial to the video mode.

Video mode shooting

At the Graduate School of Journalism, we have preset all of the cameras with the appropriate settings for capturing video for the Web. If students feel these settings might have changed, please see the section on changing the camera settings.

In this mode, capturing video requires little more than just pressing the Start/Stop button on the back of the camera with your thumb.

A few things to note: The icon at the top left of the screen indicates the mode you're in, and the type of media that is being recorded to. Students should always make sure that they are in video mode and that they are recording to their SDHC memory card (see section on memory cards to verify the icon meaning).

Video mode settings

This section will describe the settings inside the video shooting mode. These would generally be used to adjust the camera to the conditions in the shooting environment. 

Pressing the FUNC. button will open up a menu that offers a range of options related to shooting video. Here is a brief description of each mode's purpose.

Shooting modes

Program menu in video mode

  • Program AE - "Program auto exposure," this mode is the most basic auto mode. It sets everything for you based on the conditions the camera sees fit.
  • Tv - "Shutter Priority auto exposure," this mode allows you to set the shutter speed when shooting video. To set the actual speed, you have to select this option, then exit this menu and press the joystick up or down.
  • Av - "Aperture Priority auto exposure," this mode allows you to set the iris or aperture.
  • Cine Mode - This is a preset marketed by Canon to give your videos a 'cinematic' look. We do not recommend using this mode.
  • Presets - This option allows you to press the joystick button in to pick from a variety of built-in presets. The presets are based on the shooting conditions you encounter. They allow to set the camera for conditions like sports, portraiture or going to the beach. We do not recommend using these settings. Instead, we recommend using the manual controls above to get the desired effect.

White Balance

White balance menu

  • AWB or "Auto White Balance" - Generally the only one you're likely to use in 80 percent of situations. It sets the white balance for you.
  • Daylight (sun icon) - This mode assumes your are shooting outdoors on a sunny day. It will adjust by adding yellows to counteract the blueish appearance of sunlight.
  • Shade (icon of house with shade) - This mode assumes your are shooting in a shady spot during a sunny day. These situations produce a lot of blueish (colder) colors, so it counteracts with very warm yellows.
  • Cloudy (cloud icon) - This assumes you are shooting on a cloudy day. It will add some warmth to counteract the blueish colors.
  • Tungsten (pear shaped light bulb) - This assumes you are shooting indoors with traditional pear-shaped light bulbs lighting the room. These bulbs produce very warm colors that are near yelllow/orange. This mode will add green/blue to the image to counteract.
  • Fluorescent (bar icon) - This assumes you are shooting in a room like an office with fluorescent lighting. It will add some yellow to counteract the traditional green colors that fluorescent lighting.
  • Fluorescent H (bar icon with H) - This is the same as fluorescent, but to a much greater degree. It assumes you are shooting in a room where there are very harsh fluorescent lights. If you notice green appearence, use.
  • User set (box with triangles underneath) - Use this mode to manually set the white balance to the conditions of the room. Point the camera at something that is suppose to appear as white, then press the joystick in (set) and wait for a few seconds. The camera will set the white balance based on that sample.

Image Effects

Image effect menu

We strongly urge students to never use image effects. Most of these effects, if desired, can be created during the video editing process. Doing so in shooting process will permanently set your footage to these effects. Give yourself options.

These effects adjust the image's color saturation or sharpness, or color.

Digital Effects

Digital effects menu

We strongly urge students to never use digital effects. All of these, including the transitions, can be done during the video editing phase. Do not permanently limit footage to these effects.

Quality Settings

Quality setting

Students should only use the FXP quality setting when capturing video -- even for the Web. This quality setting refers to the amount of compression that is performed on the video. The only difference between FXP and XP+ is the resolution is a little bit higher with FXP. But because the final destination is for the Web, the extra resolution isn't necessary, therefore the FXP offers resolution high enough for the intended purposes.

Since students will be recording video to be edited later, they should only use a high quality setting. On FXP mode, you can record over two hours of video with a 16GB memory card. (combined with internal memory, that's 4 hours and 10 minutes.)

 Recording Modes/Memory FXP* XP+ SP LP
Canon HF10 Built-in 16GB of memory 2hr. 5min. 2hr. 50min. 4hr. 45min. 6hr. 5min.
SDHC 16GB memory card (Type 6 only) 2hr. 5min. 2hr. 50min. 4hr. 45min. 6hr. 5min.
 Total 4hr. 10min.  5hr. 40min. 9hr. 30min. 12hr. 10min.

* FXP records at 1920 x 1080 while all of the other formats record in 1440 x 1080.

Still image setting

Still image settings

Photo button at the top of the Canon VIXA HF 10The Still Image menu refers to the photo button at the top of the camera. When this function is enabled, the photo button will allow the user to take a photograph instantly by pressing the button -- even when in video mode.

We recommend students turn off this function and not use the photo button at the top of the camera. There is a very long lag with taking photos with this video camera, and students should use a digital still camera for taking still photos.

Main camera menu

Camera settings menu

When you click the joystick in (set) while on this item, you will enter the main camera settings menu. The other option to enter the main camera settings is to press-and-hold the FUNC. button.

Camera menu on Canon VIXA HF 10

Students should never change any settings in this menu except for changing the memory type under Memory Oper, and changing the AV-Output to use headphones under System Setup.

In case the camera gets reset, here are a list of the settings we use here at the School of Journalism:

Camera Settings
Function Setting Description
Self Timer OFF Used to take pictures of one's self
D. Zoom OFF Used to provide extra zoom at a greatly reduced quality
Zoom Speed Var Variable zoom speed depending on how hard the switch is pressed
AF Mode I.AF Set to "instant" AF which is quicker autofocus
Focus Assist ON Uses infrared light on the front of the camera to help autofocus
Img Stab ON Image stabilizer helps steady the shot when camera shakes 
Frame Rate 60i IMPORTANT! Uses 60 fps interlaced, which helps sync audio monitor
A. SL Shutter ON Auto slow shutter. Camera will use slower shutter in low light.
WindScreen OFF Automatic wind noise reduction, but reduces low EQ on audio
Mic ATT OFF Automatic mic attenuation. Mic levels are automatically adjusted.
System Settings
Function  Setting Description
Battery Info [none] Displays remaining battery time
WL. Remote OFF Allows camera to be operated with a remote control
Beep OFF Plays beep sounds for warning (We set it to off to avoid distractions)
Power Save ON Camera will auto shut down if not operated within 5 minutes
Quick Start 10min Amount of time before camera shuts down when closing the LCD screen
AV/Phones [Phones] Toggles the function of the AV OUT plug outlet on back of the camera
Phones Vol [highest] Volume of the headphones
Img Numbers [Continuous] Whether the numbering resets when the card is removed
Comp. Out 1080i Resolution to use when plugging a video cable to the back of the camera
HDMI [none] Status when plugging into a high definition TV

Setting AV plug for earphones

This camera has an "audio-video," or AV OUT, plug outlet in the back of the camera. The outlet serves two functions 1) As a way to plug the camera into a video monitor, and 2) A way to plug in a set of earphones to monitor your sound.

NOTE: The plug will serve either of these two functions, but not both at the same time. The function of this outlet can be adjusted in the camera settings.

AV OUT plug on Canon VIXA HF 10
The AV OUT is the yellow plug.

Since this plug serves two different functions, you may have to change it on occasion to serve as the earphone out. (This is the default setting for the students). If you plug in a pair of earphones and hear a buzzing noise, it's because you have to switch the function of this outlet.

To change the setting, perform the following steps:

[Insert image of AV/Phones menu]

  1. Turn the camera on and make sure you're in video capture mode.
  2. Press and hold the FUNC. button for more than two seconds to go into camera settings.
  3. Scroll down to the SYSTEM SETUP icon (5th from the top) and click the joystick to the right to enter the system setup menu.
  4. Scroll down to the AV/PHONES option, and press the joystick in (set).
  5. Select phones from the menu. Then press FUNC. to exit.