How to use an External Remote for Video
An incredibly SIMPLE solution.
As an Outdoor Adventure vlogger, I have been shooting with a lightweight mirrorless system of the Canon EOS M6 on a Zhiyun Electronic Gimbal and small light external microphones. But for vlogging in my shop and recording product reviews, I wanted something with better video and audio. So I started building a new system using focused on my Nikon D500 as the camera. I have added an External 4k Monitor, a 2-channel Audio Mixer, two better Microphones and a Cube Light.
So far so good! Then I sat on my stool looking at my creation, and it dawned on me, "how am I going to set Focus and Start/Stop the recording?".
Simple, I'll just grab my wireless remote, plug it in and problem solved! Well, not so fast. After getting it set up, all it would do was fire the shutter and take a photo? Ok, so maybe I have the wrong kind of remote, perhaps too cheap, not "Nikon," but after a search on the internet, I could not find ANY remotes that claim to activate the Video Functions...WTH? Ok, Plan B. Hmm...I don't have a Plan B...Facebook! After a couple of posts the Nikon Facebook Groups did not provide a solution either. Confused, It got me thinking, in this day and time of HD DSLR/DSLM video, there has to be a reason for no remotes supporting video functions.
Plan C...start digging into the Nikon Menu System and see if there is something that is not well documented that I may be missing!
And there it was, the solution!
CUSTOM SETTING MENU
G Movies > G1 Custom Control Assignment > Shutter Release Button. It’s down at the bottom and by default is set to Snap a Photo. Change it to Record Video. Now ANY remote (wired/wireless) will Start & Stop video recording.
Next Focusing, if you use the AF-ON Back-Button Focus (BBF), you should have the Focus Decoupled from the Shutter Button. You'll need to set this back on by going to A8 and setting it to ON. It’s on by default but is usually turned OFF for shooters using BBF. If you're not using BBF, (or you are, but A8 is on) then you'll just need to make sure the remote you have (or get) supports the 1/2 pressed shutter button feature, and you'll have control over focus.
- Most external monitors are not going to show you your Focus Point, but descent monitors will have Focus Peaking. So you need to make sure that the location of the Focus Point is relatively close to where it needs to be, and then you can see the Peaking data and know you're in focus.
- Set an option in the My Menu tab to turn on/off the decoupling of the shutter using A8, so it's easily accessible.