How to Melt Down Your Video Camera

How I melted my Canon T2i dSLR

Have you ever been driving a car and had the engine overheat? Have you ever had to pull over your car to put coolant into your engine because it was overheating?

I never thought the same thing could apply to a video camera. I was wrong. Not just any video camera, my dSLR. You see, I have used my camcorder for many years now without any problem whatsoever. Occasionally, I will use my dSLR ( digital single lens reflex camera) to shoot video. Stunning video. Amazing quality video.

However, up until today, I never knew my camera could overheat, shut down and require me to wait until it fully cooled down before using again. In fact, I learned today that my dSLR has a temperature gauge setting with an electronic thermometer warning in red that blinks continually when it reaches the breaking point. Unfortunately for me, I was in front of a camera shooting video on my own and didn’t realize that I was overheating my camera in my temperature-cooled office. It was only when the camera shut down midsentence that I realized something was wrong.

When I tried to restart it, I saw the deadly red thermometer warning continuing to blink. As I touched the settings to try and restart the camera, I almost burned my fingers on the outside of the camera. The electronics were extremely hot to the touch. With little else to do, I shut the camera off and went out to get some lunch.

In researching the problem, I learned that dSLR cameras are not designed to shoot video continuously like camcorders. In fact, they typically have a maximum continuous video shoot time of 10 to 12 minutes. That occurs because of the large video file that must be transferred to the memory card. However, if you try to shoot video continuously, without starting and stopping, the electronics will overheat and shut your camera down without warning.

When I came back from lunch and turned my camera on, it was cool to the touch and ready to go for another round of video. What’s the moral of the story? I’m glad you asked. There is always a moral to my stories.

If you intend on shooting protracted sequences on video with a dSLR, then my strong recommendation is not to use a dSLR. Instead, stick to your trusted camcorder that will allow you to shoot video for a long time. Then again, maybe it was me talking too much that caused my camera overheat and shut down :-)


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Gerry, I want to thank you, you’ve helped me – not just to use video that actually converts and gets me what I want from the video that I use on the web. You have consistently delivered information to very smart, very savvy businesspeople – lawyers and professionals – that they just rave about and that they are going to start implementing in the next couple days to radically change and transform how they deliver the value to clients and how they get paid for it. Gerry, thank you! Fantastic!

David Frees
Unruh, Turner, Burke & Frees