A Canon HDMI Mod (Making it work)


Hey Peeps,
Generally speaking, VCK blog posts center around the challenges freelance creatives face in dealing with the bureaucracy and politics of the contest genre. And for the most part that will continue, but since I am a full time boutique production studio, who stays quite busy creating for contests and clients alike, I thought I might include a few blogs about the challenges you and I face knocking out the nuts-and-bolts logistics of producing content for these brands.

The ideas for these blogs will more often than not probably come from you guys, the reader, and/or friends in the industry. Invariably it seems you guys are always providing me valuable information and/or asking very good questions about the business, which usually require me to do a bit of learning myself.

Recently, Danny Winn, (an uber, uber talented creative and good friend), was asking me some questions relative to the Canon 7D and 5D. I thought I would share with him a recent problem I discovered with the Canon camera(s) and how I remedied it. This post is intended to share that information with the kingdom.

Canon HDMI Port Problems

Anyone who works with the Canon 7D or Canon 5D will share the frustration with the flimsiness of the HDMI chain and how it can create down time on the set when it either pulls out completely or yanks enough to cause a signal break to the monitor requiring a re-set of the image on the monitor.  Aside from the aggravation, with the client on the set this can be very embarrassing, especially if it happens 10 times a day. The most important issue however is the integrity of the female port on the Canon cameras. It is not that beefy and I observed that it was actually getting a little loose on my Canon 7D.

Yes I always have a back-up camera when I shoot, but even so,…who wants to have to rent a backup while they send one of their Canon’s off for a costly HDMI port repair……I don’t see any hands raised, good, let’s continue.

Below are pics of how I jimmy-rigged and color coded my cameras with gaffer tape and $10 HDMI mini>standard adapters. In this way, the HDMI cable will be ripped/wiggled/yanked from the $10 adapter, and not the HDMI Canon port.

I’m aware my modification is not the most aesthetic, but this does not bother me. I have always put functionality above aesthetics. Even if the gaffer’s tape leaves tape residue, it matters little to me, as I will most likely work these camera(s) to a state that renders their re-sale value moot in any case. As a wedding photographer for almost two decades, I modified all of my equipment to provide the most reliable streamlined performance, freeing me up to think about the bride and the groom, not my sync cord. As a frame of reference, for those of you who know about strobes/flashes, I went through 8 (eight) Norman 400B flash units and about 20 batteries in my career. None of them looked pretty when I was done with them. It’s just the cost of doing business. I think we always need to measure how much importance we give to equipment, vs the content they are intended to assist us in creating. “Tools are meant to be used, and if necessary, abused, in pursuit of quality”. [VCK 2/15/11].

An old saying I subscribe to:
If you can’t afford to get em’ muddy….don’t strap em’ on

One day I hope Canon or a related 3rd party innovator comes up with a better solution. In the meantime this will have to get me by. If anyone out there knows of a better solution, I am all eyes and ears.

Below are the pics of the mods I made. You may click on them to see a higher resolution image. Note the strength of the mod as represented by the pics of the camera being supported by holding on to just the adapter. BTW, both of the battery grips are loaded with batteries.

Click HERE to check out one of the sites were you can buy the adapter.

BTW: If you get a minute you should go to Danny Winns Youtube channel
This guy is multi-talented and very cool to chat with.

Enjoy the pics.




15 responses to “A Canon HDMI Mod (Making it work)

  1. Pingback: A Canon HDMI Mod (Making it work) | Video Contest King | World of HDMI News

  2. You are truly a class act Jared and I appreciate your kind words more than you’ll ever know.

    It’s very rare for people in the video industry to share their wealth of knowledge on video creation and even little gear set up tricks like you do and I for one have benifitted greatly from it.

    Thanks for your blog buddy!

    • It’s funny Danny. I have had the same experiences as you have had with peers holding trade secrets very close to the vest…on the other hand, though, I also have met some very generous professionals in my life (especially as a wedding photographer) who have imparted liberally of their knowledge.
      As an Adult Ed teacher her in Ca., I discovered, I really love to teach, debate, discuss and all the while learn along with my students and peers. I am glad I have this blog to do just that, and even happier that I have faithful subscribers like yourself that frequent it enough to make it worthwhile.
      The King.

    • Thanks Keith,
      Yes, I really created it out of necessity. Having had experiences with equipment durability for two decades as a full time wedding photographer, I could see that I would soon be sending cameras in for regular repair on this issue. Thanks for coming to the blog.
      The King

  3. That is so clever, Jared.
    P.S. Enjoyed catching up on your other blogs.

  4. I am getting really tired of my 7D personally, sure it looks great, but there are so many add ons needed to really take advantage of the camera. I hate the fact its nearly impossible to run and gun with it, I really need to pick up a 2nd camera, this is a great tip though!

    • I feel your pain Shane, but I think it’s important to remember that prior to this series of Canon cameras it cost much, much more to achieve the 35mm quality in our finished product. As far as sound, well, there is no difference in the way it is captured with the 7D than for the last 70 years with PanaFlex and VistaVision cameras. Visual and Studio were perennially recorded separately. When you add in the compact size and portability these series offer they are still the best option at the price. When I finally get proficient with a follow-focus unit I will be able to do just about everything currently being executed in feature film cinematography today.
      The King

  5. Hello All,

    I ended up buying a 7D about a month ago. Great camera but I can’t seem to get the video to play smoothly when uploaded to my computer. I’m recording in 1920X1080 24p but its choppy and seems to be dropping frames in playback, whether in quicktime or Final Cut Pro. Are you having any of these problems? Do I need a faster computer? I tried searching in 7D forums but couldn’t really find a direct answer. Any advice would be great.

    Thanks so much,

  6. I thought that i had broken my HDMI connector, so I hand delivered it to the Canon Repair Facility in Irvine, CA, the front counter guy told me that it was a $700 repair to replace the motherboard! (But geez it was down to $500 with my CPS discount- so why complain?) I was frustrated that a Camera less than 2 months old would be costing me ANYTHING to fix. Turns out the problem was with the cable, whew!

  7. Hi,
    many thanks for your informative blog post.
    I want to mod my camera in a similar way and already bought an mini-hdmi to hdmi adapter. But I’m encountering the problem, that the lcd screen goes black even when I just attach the adapter without having an external monitor connected. This is a problem, when the adapter is supposed to stay on the camera all the time. Do you have the same issue? I have a 7D by the way…

  8. Hi, I also use a 7D camera and I can’t connect it to my tv via HDMI. I think it needs a specific version of HDMI cable. Can you tell me what version do I need? Is it 1.3?

  9. Wondering if anyone has ever had to pay for the repair on an HDMI port? I’ve found a good deal on a 5D Mark III, but the port has stopped working. The camera is still under warranty, but there’s no guarantee Canon will repair it for me since I’m not the original owner.

    Trying to determine if it’s as good a deal as I think it is.

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