Review: Creating HD video with the Canon 5D mark II and 7D – Rick Sammon and Juan Pons

by planetMitch3 Comments

We've had Canon Explorer of Light Rick Sammon on one of our podcasts and he told us about this HDSLR training that he was putting out with good friend Juan Pons and they graciously sent me a copy of this training to evaluate.

Marketing materials

A user-friendly guide to all the basics of making video!

Shoot Video with Your HDSLR

One of the biggest revolutions to hit digital imaging in recent times is the ability to shoot cinema-quality video with a DSLR camera. The large HD sensors and high quality lenses make the depth of field and footage comparable to that of video cameras that cost a lot more.

Canon leads the charge with the EOS 5D Mark II and the 7D. Many photographers have these tools in their camera bags, but have been intimidated by the jargon that comes with video making. Most of the training to date has been video-centric and confusing for photographers.

Finally, two of the world’s top experts address photographers and demystify the video process in an easy to follow and entertaining way. You will learn everything from how to navigate the camera controls, to lenses, audio, controlling light indoors and outdoors, accessories, tips and tricks for better footage and editing and sharing your final videos.

The Authors

Rick Sammon a Canon Explorer of Light, is one of the most active photographers on the planet. Rick has published 36 paper books which have won the coveted Golden Light Award and the Ben Franklin Award. Rick, who has photographed in almost 100 countries around the world, gives more than two-dozen photography workshops and presentations around the world each year. He created 7 iOS apps.

Rick, who has been nominated for the Photoshop Hall of Fame, is considered one of today’s top digital -imaging experts.

Juan Pons

Born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Juan Pons is a nature and wildlife photographer. With more than 20 years experience in photography, Juan has most recently embraced the biggest revolution in Digital SLRs, High Definition video. Working with video capable DSLRs since their introduction, Juan had become a recognized expert on maximizing the capabilities of DSLRs when shooting video. Juan’s work has been featured on numerous publications, including: Sierra Magazine, Nature Conservancy, Audubon Magazine, Audubon North Carolina, Wildlife in North Carolina, The Independent, and many others.

Lessons Include:
– The Digital SLR Difference
– Camera Controls 5D Mark II
– Camera Controls 7D
– Must-know Canon 7D HD SLR Info
– Seven things to do, and seven things not to do
– The All Important Audio
– Controlling the Light Outdoors
– Lighting is the Key Indoors
– Lenses
– Adding Accessories
– Juan’s best clips and Rick’s best tips
– Behind the Scenes
– Editing and Sharing Your Videos
– Juan’s slide show of stills taken with the Canon 7D

via Creating HD video with the Canon 5D mark II and 7D – Rick Sammon and Juan Pons.

My view of the training

First, let me admit that I like both of these guys and have enjoyed several conversations with them. They're both very likable guys and they are good friends as well – and that shows in this training. It is always especially good when the guys doing the training work well together.

Second, this training DVD is only 1.5 hours in length, making it very much like the other training you can buy online these days for the HDSLRs – you'll get a very good overview and you'll get some details on this disc that you don't get on some of the others – but due to the constraints of time, obviously you're not going to learn everything you need to make a movie.

Third, you have the option to buy the DVD or a digital download (I was given the download). I personally have given up on getting physical copies, but at least you have a choice!

Final thoughts

I continue to look for the ultimate in HDSLR training materials and so far I haven't found them. I wanted to be totally blown away by this one, and while it is very good, I was hoping for just a little bit more from my friends Rick and Juan.

I've seen quite a few of the HDSLR courses available and I'm pleased to see these guys didn't just duplicate what is out there. In fact, for beginners, you might want to buy this and one or two of the other courses available as there is some overlap, but they all have something unique to learn and most things are reasonably priced these days.

If you buy, you'll get your money's worth if you're a beginner. If you're somewhat experienced in making films with an HDSLR, then I'd recommend you save your money and find a seminar you can find in person to get more hands on.

Blogger's Disclaimer: I was given a free download of the training for review.

(cover photo credit: snap from the video)


  1. In their defense, Rick and Juan have said on their podcast that this DVD wasn’t intended for serious long-form filmmakers, but for still photographers who occasionally need to provide videos. From your review, it sounds like this is right on target.

  2. I’m all for entrepreneurship but there is no defense for this poorly produced product. This will sound harsh, however I’m going to stand up for integrity here. This is bar far the weakiest, most incomplete and inaccurate introductary guide to shooting on these cameras and it costs $40. There are free guides out there that are superior on every level. This is typical of photographers that have not thought out a training product properly and also fail to communicate properly how they shot their examples. In fact I would even say that this is merely an inaccurate guide to gear. As for the humor, no comment. There are superior introductory training videos out there that have been around for over a year. I bought this product. I highly recommend that you do not. Sorry lads, it rubbish! As for PhotoCafe, I’ll question ever buying an of their products again if this is the standard they accept. If anyone chooses to debate the opposite to my comments let me state now: you either don’t know what your talking about, you’re not in the training business or your not being honest.

    1. “If anyone chooses to debate the opposite to my comments let me state now: you either don’t know what your talking about, you’re not in the training business or your not being honest.”

      Wow, that should take care of anyone who disagrees with you — they are either fools or scoundrels 🙂

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