Sarah Bellingham’s Camera Hacks

Our Videos!

Reminder: (at least) 5 Shot Rule

  • CU hands
  • CU face
  • WS
  • MS
  • Creative shot


Video: Wrapping a Present


  • 4 minutes in: example
  • Remember to MOVE
  • Hold shot steady 10 seconds


Canon XA10



Rules of camera equipment:

  • DO NOT force the equipment.
  • Show up on time and prepared.
  • Remember to hit record!


Preparing to shoot:

  • Are your batteries charged?
    • How to charge your batteries:
    • Put a battery into your camera by sliding it upward. The battery slot is at the BACK of the camera.
    • LIFT the flap that says “DC In,” located on the BACK of the camera, in the BOTTOM RIGHT corner. Plug the charging cord into the camera here.
    • Plug the charging cord into and outlet. A red light should now be flashing next to the camera’s On/Off button.
    • How to change your battery: To eject a battery, pull aside the button on the bottom of the camera. Now gently pull your battery down. It will slide out.
  • Do you have your full kit?
    • Camera
    • Lens cap on camera
    • Shotgun microphone
    • Handheld microphone
    • Headphones
    • SD card – last data transferred, formatted/initialized
    • CHARGED batteries
  • Check your transit time – aim to be 30 minutes early.
  • Check in with your partner and your source. Is everyone on the same page for time and location?


The basics:


  • How to turn the camera on:


      • Hold down the power button on the TOP LEFT of the camera. It says “Power.”
    • Format/initialize your memory card.
      • This will completely wipe everything on the card.
      • Why is this important?
        • It clears space so that you’re able to film for an extended period of time.
        • It makes sure your SD card will be compatible with your camera.


  • How to format your memory card:


      • ***DOUBLE CHECK that you have backed up your footage before erasing your SD card!***
      • Insert your SD card into Memory Card Slot A. CLOSE the Memory Card Slot Cover.
      • Tap “FUNC” on the upper right hand corner of your LCD screen.
      • Tap “MENU” on the upper right hand corner of your LCD screen.
      • Tap the wrench icon.
      • Scroll down this menu to “Initialize.” Tap the orange arrow next to “Initialize.”
      • Click “Mem. Card A.” Wait a moment as the camera loads.
      • Tap “Initialize.”
      • Tap “Complete Initialization,” then tap “Yes.” Wait until the screen tells you the process is complete.


Check your settings:


  • Set your mode to M:


      • On the TOP RIGHT of your camera, there is a MODE SWITCH.
      • The three modes are: Auto, Manual, and Cinema. You want “M” for Manual.


  • Set your recording quality to MXF.


      • FUNC > MENU > Film Icon > Recording Mode
      • Why? This is the highest recording quality.
      • What is MXF? It’s a file format. “Material Exchange Format.”


  • Set your frame rate to PF30.


      • FUNC > MENU > Film Icon > Frame Rate > PF30
      • Why? This is standard broadcast frame rate.
      • What is frame rate? The number of frames you see per second. 30 is broadcast and internet quality. 24 is film quality.


  • Set your exposure to TV (Shutter-Pri AE).


      • Tap FUNC
      • Tap Rec. Programs
      • Tap TV – Shutter-Pri. AE in the upper right corner
        • Why this one? It’s compatible with the frame rate.
      • Tap the X to close out


  • Set your white balance to auto (AWB or Automatic).


    • Tap FUNC
    • Tap White Balance
    • Tap AWB Automatic
    • Tap the X to close out
    • NOTE: You can also try playing with the different white balance settings!


How to set up your audio:

    • We are going to record using EXTERNAL audio devices: A shotgun microphone, and a handheld microphone.
    • On camera:
      • Plug in your microphone’s XLR cable into an XLR port on the right hand side of the handle.


  • On the left hand side of the handle, check your audio settings:


      • CH1 = Mic +48V
      • CH2 = Mic +48V
      • ATT = OFF (there’s two of these!)
      • INT/EXT = EXT
      • Audio dials = set to your pleasure!
        • Check on your LCD screen. Your audio should be reading at about 10.
    • Plug in your headphones. You need to ALWAYS monitor your audio!
  • In Camera:
    • Set your recording channels to CH1 (Channel 1).
      • FUNC > MENU > Camera Icon > XLR Rec Channel > “CH1”
      • Why channel 1? This DIVIDES your audio between two channels, so that you can record two SEPARATE lines of audio. This will help you in your edit! CH1/CH2 will combine the two audio channels. You don’t want that!


Operating the camera


  • How to record:


      • The RECORD button is in two places:
        • BACK RIGHT of the camera, where your thumb will be when your hand is in the grip belt.
        • TOP of the camera. You’ll see a button that says “Start/Stop.” It also has a switch. If the switch is turned toward the picture of the lock, you will NOT be able to record from this button.


  • How to zoom:


    • There are TWO buttons you can use to zoom.
      • The first is on the TOP of your camera, UNDER the handle.
      • The second is on the TOP of your camera, next to the top the Start/Stop button.
    • Push the button toward “W” to get a WIDER shot. Push the button toward “T” to get a TIGHTER shot.


  • How to use autofocus/manual focus:


    • You can focus using either the autofocus or manual focus. To switch between these two options, click the “AF/MF” button located to the LEFT of your LCD screen.
    • AF or AUTO FOCUS: The camera will focus automatically. You can tap on your LCD screen–the way you would with a smart phone–to change your focus, if you want.
      • WHEN TO USE: Good for run-n-gun scenarios where you need to move around a lot and get lots of clear shots quickly!
    • MF or MANUAL FOCUS: You will use the FOCUS RING to adjust focus. The ring is quite literally a ring–a circle of metal–around the camera, located near the lens. It’s just like on a DSLR. Turn the ring to find your focus. The LCD screen will automatically zoom in to help you get a clearer shot. The zoomed in version does not represent your actual image, and will disappear after you stop adjusting focus.
      • WHEN TO USE: Good for steady shots that you have a while to set up. E.g., interviews.


Playback Mode:

  • Hit the camera/playback button on the camera, inside where the LCD screen folds


Getting a steady shot:

  • The camera has an internal stabilizer.
  • Use your body! Put your right hand in the grip belt, put your left hand under the camera, and rest your elbows on your torso.



  • If your memory card isn’t showing up…
    • CLOSE the memory card flap. Is it showing up now?
    • Go to  FUNC > MENU > Film Icon > Rec Media for Movies. Click the orange arrow next to Rec Media for Movies. Click “A.” Click the X in the upper right corner to close out of the menu. Is it showing up now?
    • Try reformatting your card. Go to  FUNC > MENU > Wrench Icon > Initialize.
  • If your camera isn’t recording using the top button…
    • Check that the switch is turned AWAY from the lock icon.
    • Try using the record button on the BACK of the camera.



You’re going to film one of your classmates making a paper airplane!

What shots do we need?

  • Close-up of the hands
  • Close-up of the face
  • Wide Shot
  • Medium
  • Over the shoulder shot
  • Creative shot.

Hold the shots steady. Show action.