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My school's drama department wants to record their shows. As the school only has really old cameras, the recordings look like garbage. I have a Canon T3i but the recordings stop at 30 minutes. This is where the Blackmagic Design Intensity products come in. The Intensity products can record from an HDMI input. So, in theory, I can connect my T3i's HDMI out to this and record the show on the computer. My only concern is the time. Our shows are about 2 hours. Would this cause the camera to overheat? Would this even work at all?

  • Are you sure it doesn't still cut off after 30 mins? We've got a couple Canon 5d3s, and I'm pretty sure they cut off regardless. You might want to look into "magic lantern". It's a firmware hack that, among other things, circumvents this limitation in some Canon cameras. No idea if it works with the T3i, though. – Jason Conrad Dec 23 '14 at 6:54
  • Just checked. ML does support T3i. You should check it out. But be aware that it probably voids your product warranties and could potentially damage your camera. I haven't had any problems with it, though. magiclantern.fm – Jason Conrad Dec 23 '14 at 7:05
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    Oh one other thing. I've heard that the 30 min restriction has less to do with hardware limitations and more to do with the European Union imposing extra taxes on cameras classified as "video cameras" ie, cameras that shoot more than 30 mins of video at a time. I've also heard that this is just a rumor, so take it with a grain of salt. – Jason Conrad Dec 23 '14 at 7:11
  • @JasonConrad, the limitation of 30 minutes is not only for EU but for USA too. This is based on classification of still and videocameras. But my concern about the OP question is heat of the sensor. 2 hours is too much for camera like this – Romeo Ninov Dec 23 '14 at 8:34
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    Agreed. Just in case I didn't make it clear before: ATTENTION Magic Lantern PROBABLY voids your warranty and could turn your camera into a FLAMING BRICK. – Jason Conrad Dec 23 '14 at 9:18
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The problem is that the HDMI output on your T3i is not clean. You would still have all the UI from the camera interface placed on it. Higher end cameras (like the 5D mark iii) and some other makes have a clean output option, but I don't believe the T3i does.

You can use the third party MagicLantern firmware to force the interface clean, but at that point you can also have it automatically start a second recording after the first ends and bypass the 30 minute limit altogether.

As far as sensor overheating, it really depends on the camera model and the temperature in the environment you are shooting and how fast it dissipates waste heat. MagicLantern generally displays an indicator of the temperature of the sensor with some color coding as to how hot it actually is. You could try using ML and see how your camera handles it, but it may very well run too hot when trying to do two hours at a time. You won't know for sure until you try though.

As others have noted, ML may or may not void your warantee. It technically isn't a full third party firmware, but rather just runs on top of the underlying OS that is built in, but it can tweak settings that aren't normally tweaked internally. There are plenty of cases of people getting warranty replacements on cameras that had had ML installed, but you should be aware that it is not a completely risk free process and in rare cases ML has caused cameras to become unresponsive (or even brick in exceptionally rare cases).

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