Hack Your DSLR For All-day Battery Life [Video Production Tip]

Hack Your DSLR For All-day Battery Life [Video Production Tip]

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I shoot video, not as much as I would like, but enough to run through a couple batteries when I am out doing it. I have three batteries, in fact, for my two-camera set up. But that means stopping and switching batteries and losing valuable time. What if there were a way that I could shoot continuously for 9+ hours with both cameras and still have everything as portable as possible? Well, I would be out and shopping for the parts in a heartbeat. We, the ReelSEO team, stumbled across this great hack that will allow you to do just that for minimal expense and no modifications to the camera.

So what does it take to get this 9-hour operating time? Chris Winter has all the details in his YouTube video, Increase Your DSLR Camera Battery Life to 9 hours. It takes about 10 minutes, not including shopping time.

Here’s what you will need aside from a sense of adventure and some basic camera know how:

  • external battery (10000mAh or higher) – 12V and 9V output via DC cable
  • dummy battery (DC coupler)
  • cheese plate – for hot shoe mounting (something like this)
  • velcro tape (or other adhesive)

In the video Chris shows you how he sets his up for his Canon T3i. I have a Canon 60D and that nice thing about most Canon cameras is, they have a port for a cable from the battery compartment. The 60D has it cleverly hidden under the door hinge.Canon 60D wire port

In his video he used a 10,000mAh battery from Anker, they now make a 20,000mAh battery with multiple ports for multiple device charging and it is priced around $140. I also found another multi-output from Poweradd with 32000mAh. So you could power the camera, an LED light rig, your iPad (I used mine as a clapperboard via the MovieSlate 7 app.

The dummy battery or DC coupler comes in a variety of options, some allow you to plug the camera into a wall outlet, some do not. I read some reviews and some look like they do not supply enough amperage to the camera. For the Canon 60D the battery is 7.2V and 1800mAh with 13Wh rating.

There are various other ways you could mount the extra battery including to the side of your tripod or other mount if you are using a shoulder-mount or other DIY mount.

Here’s the setup from Chris Winter

I have my wish list together, and threw in a 160-LED battery-powered light as well, which can then mount to the dual hot shoe slide mount I have. Something like this one. I can mount the battery and LED light all right on top of the camera without problem and even make room for a shotgun mic if necessary.


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