Photo & video booth using Canon DSLR

I’m starting to work on a photo booth project where I need to take high res still and record video using a DSLR. I know that many projects using Canon DSLR have been done already, such as: Portrait Machine, Playtime and Stop Motion Installation.

For my project, I would ideally display the live feed (Live Preview) of the camera on a screen. Depending on certain user’s events, I would take a photo or I would start recording video from the camera. I have been messing around with some of the add-ons (ofxEdsdk and CanonCameraWrapper) and a Canon Rebel XT1i and a Canon 60D for a day. Thanks to the add-ons I have been able to easily display the live preview and to take photos from both cameras. After looking at the Canon SDK documentation I have been able to record videos too.

But this was too easy, here came the problems:

What is trickier is the fact of doing both in the same ‘experience’ (and so far this is the same for both the Rebel and the 60D). I have found two options so far:
1- Start the camera with the mode dial on ‘manual’, then start the OF app, open a session and begin the live preview. Then I can take full res photos (5,184 x 3,456). To record a video I need to manually set the dial to the movie setting mode. If I switch the dial back to ‘manual setting mode’ the live preview is frozen, but I can still take photos.
2- Keep the camera in ‘movie mode’ for both taking photos and recording videos. This works but the photos have a 16:9 ratio (5,184 x 2,912).

I definitively can not have someone switching the mode dial between ‘manual mode’ and ‘movie mode’, but I would still like to avoid taking photos with a 16:9 ratio. Had anyone dealt with this already?

When recording a video the framerate of the live preview goes down badly, and I suppose there is no workaround to this using the SDK. Would using the HDMI output on the camera and a capture card (e.g. BlackMagic) be a solution that could work?

On top of these issues I have some questions that I would love to have input on:

  • How did you manage to have sharp images all the time. Did you use the auto focus of the camera (possible using the SDK with the 60D but quite slow) or did you do it with a mix of lens and aperture (wide angle + small aperture) to have a depth of field long enough?
  • Any issues with camera that have to run long period of times (going to sleep, over heating, etc…). I have read about this in several posts, but would not mind to have some fresh update about that.

Thanks for sharing!

Interesting you can record video - will have to revisit it. A couple of random things:

I have had the overheating just recording video with the 7D (non-app controlled) but that model may be more prone to it because of the “weather-sealing”.

The Blackmagic solution might not be a bad approach - I remember this article where people were using it to capture 4:4:4 video

You might want to browse through some of the limitations of these commercial products to see if they have similar limitations



Thanks for the links to commercial products. They do not tell much though. The version of PhotoBoothSolutions that supports video seems to only work with webcams and not DSLR. As for PhotoBoof there is no informations about the steps to follow in order to record videos.

So far my understanding is that you cannot set the AEMode property to ‘movie recording’ on cameras with this option available on the mode dial. In my case both Rebel XT1i and 60D have the Movie mode on the mode dial. Looking on the internet it may seem that the Canon 70D does not have the Movie mode on the mode dial, I’m therefore trying to get my hand on one of those.

Heya. I’d be interested in chatting a bit on this as I’ve just finished a project which had some similar elements (600D, still photo + video). Would also be interested in hearing thoughts on my workflow!

I was working in Windows and used gPhoto externally in the end, triggered from the app using ofSystem and batch files - not very elegant I know but it did the job. @smallfly - how were you transferring the recorded video? gPhoto ment I didn’t have to swap between modes on the camera.

With regards to focusing, I had the advantage that people were given a specific spot to stand on (not that they stuck to it). I tried autofocus with an external flash gun but found it very hit and miss - the installation was in a dark environment so it was important for the flash to fire with the still photo. In the end I manually focused on the right spot and got pretty good results.

For the live preview (which I didn’t need in the end) I tried using software like ManyCam to set the SLR as a virtual webcam and then used the normal video inputs in OF which worked pretty well - again a very roundabout way but was just getting my head around OF :smile:

Small report on what I ended up doing and using.

I used:

  • ofxEdsdk with some fixes and additions. All of those I have been merged in to the master branch of the add-on.
  • a Canon EOS Rebel T5i (a.k.a EOS 700D).

For that specific project I set (and kept) the camera in ‘movie mode’. This allowed me to take photos and record videos. As mentioned the photos have a 16:9 ratio, which for that project was not an issue (and also we were in portrait).

When recording a movie the framerate of the ‘live view’ goes down to 12fps, and as I thought nothing can be done for that. Using the HDMI output of the camera was not an option, and that for two reasons:

  • we needed to record movie with audio, and I didn’t want to get into some video / audio sync. crazyness.
  • no clean HDMI out.

The framerate of the live view of the EOS T5i is slower than what you get with the EOS T1i. Something like 21fps vs 30fps when not recording and around 12fps vs 19fps while recording.

The EOS T1i had a overheating warning flashing after 2 hours of use. I had the EOS T5i running for more than 8 hours without getting any warning.

Hi Guys,

I’ve been working on a similar project with little or no answers from the internet. I’m hoping I can get your advice for the right setup.

Using a DSLR, I would like to setup a remote shoot photo booth.
Participants would walk in front of camera and see their actions through an external LCD TV. I need the TV to be full framed with no focus squares. A staff would que them and remotely take the shot. The photos would then go directly to a laptop for review and print.

Any thoughts on the proper equipment and setup?

A few tips, stay away from the cheaper DSLRS if you want full frame and no focus square (5dmk3) use the HDMI out to an HDMI capture box- or if you dont need control over what is on the screen just plug it into the TV directly.

Use the USB connection as well but not for the video (video here is low quality) Just to trigger the shot. You will have to check if these work together. If they do work you have more options. By the sound of it only staff will see the interface so you can even use the normal canon remote software.

You could also use wifi SD cards and simple remote trigger on a cable to get the shot. Set the lights and camera settings first so you just take the photo not worrying about camera settings.

Dont buy cheap aftermarket power supplies to run the camera (they give problems). USB extenders are also problematic for these cameras, I use a geffen full bandwidth over cat 5 and it is great.

Take a look at that, it may help (no UI elements on the HDMI out, for example)


I coming back this:

I just got an UltraStudio Mini Recorder from Blackmagic and I’m able to get the HDMI output from camera into OF using ofxBlackmagic (using both a Canon Rebel T1i and a 5D Mark II).

Now I’m not able to control the camera using the SDK via USB. As soon as the USB cable is plugged to the camera the HDMI output turns off.

Does anyone has been able to use the HDMI output while using / with the Canon SDK ?


Hi @smallfly
very interesting thread,
what about your last post, did you finally succeed with hdmi output and usb control ?

Hi @talaron,

No I did not, and I don’t think this is (or I least was) possible.

Hi @smallfly.
I also want to do something similar. I need the feed from a Canon Mark 5D mark || . I tried ofxedsdk since it was my only option to do this on windows. I followed the instructions in its readme but got many errors on dlls. Since I read you were able to easily get the feed with it I’ll appreciate if you can help me.

Umm, Do you really need video as VideoInput or just get pics from the camera would be enough? If that was the case… you can use the official canon software (Canon’s EOS Utility) to save the pics in a determined folder. After you just read them with OF.

Thanks @charli_e . I need to get the live feed video. and still can’t get rid of all these errors.

I just used recently ofxedsdk on windows with a 550 eos… i told you from memory because the install was made two months ago.

Do you download the canon sdk? if so you have two dll folders, one for 32 and other for 64 bits. Just make sure that you put the correct dll.

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Thanks @pandereto , where should I copy the dlls ? I have 64bits windows but it seems canon website says 64 bits is still in beta. It would be great if you can show how your folders and files are located in addons/ofxEdsdk . I’ll appreciate if you can help me with this.

The dlls should be in the bin folder of your project, you can download a previuos version if new are beta. I don’t have access to the installed computer right now but next week i have to go to change a thing in the app and can give you more details if need.

Thanks @pandereto , I’m still struggling to make it run on windows 8.1 . The readme doesn’t have anything for windows users. I tried all kinds of variations to make it work. I used Canon sdk 2.15 with openframeworks 0.9.3 and everytime I get lots of errors on EDSDK.dll , DPPDLL.dll , EdsImage.dll ,etc mentioning something like this : “‘0x90’:this character is not allowed in an identifier” or “unknown character ‘0x3’” . I download the zip file from github ,rename it and put it in my addons folder and then copy EDSDK folder (downloaded from canon) to src folder. I tried multiple variations on replacing files from 64bit version of EDSDK and putting dlls on my bin folder. But unfortunately nothing works.

Asume that you are compiling of for 64 bit also, i don’t know if something has changed in of 0.9.3

i used 0.9 and the elliotwoods ofxCanon version, i just see that the addon has been updated. I have it running in a installation but don’t had time to go there, when i pass to the installation i can send you a copy of the project if helps but as i said i used a previous version of of and the addon. I will try to lower the sdk version.

instruction for windows should be similar, sorry but i can not give you right now exact instructions since i did that several months ago… and don’t remember exactly the steps i followed

Thanks very much @pandereto , I really appreciate your help. So you didn’t use ofxEdsdk at all?