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HDSLRs for Video: Beyond the Hype

COW Library : DSLR Video : Marco Solorio : HDSLRs for Video: Beyond the Hype
HDSLRs for Video: Beyond the Hype
A Creative COW Magazine Extra


HDSLRs for Video

Walter Biscardi

Marco Solorio
One River Media
Walnut Creek, California
, USA
© 2010, CreativeCOW.net. All rights reserved.


Article Focus:
There has been an amazing amount of chatter around the HD video capabilities of recent still cameras - if they can still be called that! Rather than play into the hupe of what MIGHT be possible with these cameras, Creative COW Magazine Contributing Editor Marco Solorio takes you inside the real world of production with paying clients using these cameras, including workarounds for their current limitations, and some of the things that video shooters will need to know as they get started using these cameras.

HDSLR,” “VDSLR” or whatever else you call them - the interest in “still” cameras that can also shoot HD video is growing fast...and so is their potential. I liken it to the DV revolution that began with the Sony DCR-VX1000, and again with affordable 24p production using the Panasonic AG-DVX100. Both were truly groundbreaking cameras that, at the time, were unparalleled in quality for the price. We are seeing the same revolution begin with HD video coming from these HDSLRs.

Amidst all of the interest in these cameras for HD shooting, it shouldn't be forgotten that these are DSLR cameras first, with still photography capabilities that are nothing short of amazing. The full-frame sensor and its 14-bit, 21 megapixel resolution is a recipe for breathtaking results in skilled hands. Having both tools in one unit is still mind boggling to me, even after over a year of using it.

The fact is that these HDSLR cameras should NOT be shooting beautiful video at all. Their compression rates are high, their chrominance sub-sampling is high, their re-sizing from full-frame to 1080 isn’t smooth, they’re 8-bit at the compression level, and choosing a bad quality lens just compounds all of that. Yet the HD video can still look breathtaking!

I have owned a Canon 5D Mk II for over a year now, and love it. It shoots 1080p, and boasts the only full-frame, 35mm sensor on the market — larger than the RED ONE’s sensor or super-35mm motion picture film, and about the same size as VistaVision. These full-frame sensors are HUGE, and suck up so much light that even a room lit with a single candle can produce beautiful results. I’ve shot 1080p video in such extreme low-light conditions that any other HD camera, including a Sony F900 or a RED ONE, would have quickly degraded to noise and artifacts.

 

DSLR sensor sizes, including Canon 5D and RED ONE

 

LENSES

HDSLR cameras have added a new dimension to the idea of “revolution:” the vast choice in lens options is every independent filmmaker’s dream come true. No longer are shooters stuck with a fixed lens of dubious quality or limited focal length. No more wide-angle adapters, or telephoto adapters, or even going the extra step with secondary lens adapters. Now, you simply pick the lens you want, specific for the type of shot you want. The only limit is your budget. There are even manufacturers developing lens adapters to fit exotic cinema lenses (like PL-mounted Cooke, and Zeiss optics), which work well with smaller sensor cameras like the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH1 and Canon 7D.

I’ve been a long-time Canon SLR shooter (both film and digital), so at this point, my lens arsenal is quite large, and includes Canon FD, Canon EF, Nikon F, and Sigma mounts. With my 5D Mk II, I purely shoot with Canon’s best “L” lenses, mostly consisting of their fastest primes and a few zooms.

Although the imagery from these still lenses is astounding, there are differences between them and film/video lenses that you should know about.

You can twist the focus ring on cinema lenses for days from lock to lock, for detailed focus pulls. The short twist on still lenses can be a little annoying if you're tight on a slightly moving subject (even a talking head) with very narrow DOF.

Annoying or not, at least these focus rings move only from start point to stop point. Compare this to the electronic focus ring on a lens like the beautiful Canon 85mm f/1.2L II. Although one of the absolute sharpest and fastest lenses on the market for photography (I know, I have one), a lens like this can seem downright evil for video: the electronic focus ring just doesn’t have that physical feel and feedback to it, and worse, will keep spinning forever, even when you can't focus anymore.

Controlling aperture with a physical ring on the lens itself is also ideal, preferably without f-stop click-points — rather than the push-pull mechanism found on some photographic lenses. Although ring gears can be temporarily added to any lens (I use them), they’re usually bulky, a drag to take on and off, and simply not as effective for follow focus and/or motorized control. The good news is that some companies can modify your photography still lenses to employ some of these cinema style features, including clickless aperture stops and permanent ring gears.

Although I prefer Canon optics, I definitely prefer Nikon mechanics in their F lenses. They employ physical lock-to-lock focusing and a physical aperture ring, making them a good candidate for such cinematic style lens conversions. A trick I’ve sometimes implemented is using Nikon lenses on my Canon body, by buying cheap Nikon F mount to Canon EOS EF mount adapters. There are some good buys on used F mount lenses if you’re on a tight budget but want more physical lens control.

 

WHEN IN DOUBT, HACK IT

One of the strongest movements in the HDSLR world today is the development of third-party firmware. Trammell Hudson is the guiding force behind the "Magic Lantern Firmware." He reverse-engineered Canon’s first firmware release to bring much needed features to the 5D Mk II. He has also laid some initial groundwork for the new 7D.

Magic Lantern firmware

Magic Lantern firmware

The Magic Lantern firmware does not replace the camera’s own firmware and features, but merely adds his functions to them — more like a patch — in non-volatile RAM. In fact, the ML firmware needs to be “added” to the camera every time it is turned on, which for safety, is a good thing.

Why would he bother to hack in so many features, and why would you bother to reload it every time you shoot, when you could just buy a video camera? As Trammell notes, “If you can find a camera that a) shoots HD, b) has a 50 mbps data rate, c) has interchangeable lenses, d) has a 35 mm or larger sensor and, e) costs less than $150K…then buy that one instead.”

So what does Magic Lantern add? Dozens of features that cinema lens shooters expect. Zebra patterns, for starters, with threshold levels that can be modified to your needs. There is also recorded lens data, live histogram, custom overlay crop marks for infinite aspect ratios, automated focus pulls, focus stacking, automatic HDR exposure bracketing, and much more. He is also working on timecode integration – in fact, I’m letting him borrow one of my timecode generator units to help with his development.

Magic Lantern Zebra pattern (checkerboard)

Magic Lantern Zebra pattern


Best of all, the Magic Lantern Firmware is open-source and free to use under the GPL license. If you do use the software, please donate. I did!


 

AUDIO

One shortcoming of these HDSLR cameras is their lack of high quality audio recording. Ironically, the audio recording hardware isn't terribly bad, and the final audio recorded is actually uncompressed.

The monkey wrench is that these HDSLR cameras record the audio with automatic gain control (AGC) always on. AGC is a method of compressing and/or limiting audio input levels so they do not overload the camera's audio preamps. Think of it as an automatic volume knob for incoming sound.

This is normally a good thing as it safeguards the camera's internal audio hardware from inexperienced users that may override the preamps with signal that is too hot. However, an AGC system that cannot be turned off is a curse in any professional environment. It creates a noticeably higher noise floor that can be very annoying.

There are currently two ways to overcome this. The first is the oldest method in the cinematic book, and works with any HDSLR: using dual system sound, whereby the audio is recorded on a separate, dedicated device, where full control and sonic quality is maintained throughout the entire audio path.

Car-mounted rig from FilmTools, the Gripper 490 with 3/8 ballmount and 6" suction cup.

 

Car mount for the Canon 5D MkII

The second method combines the Canon 5D Mk II, the Magic Lantern Firmware and some additional hardware. In fact, the first features that Trammell added to Magic Lantern were to defeat the ugly internal AGC system.

The rig I use includes a JuicedLink CX231 micro mic preamp/mixer — a device with proven, low-noise isolated signal preamps — and a good quality microphone, specific for the sound environment I want to capture. I can hook up (for example), a Sennheiser K6/ME67 combo (super-cardiod shotgun microphone) into one of the two channels of the JuicedLink CX231 via a balanced XLR cable. The JuicedLink is then fed into the 5D Mk II into its line-level 1/8" audio input jack.

juicedLink pre-amp for the Canon 5D Mk II


With the Magic Lantern Firmware, and ONLY with it, I can then monitor the live audio feed into the camera, as it’s recorded by plugging headsets into the 5D Mk II's external AV output jack, and visually monitor with color-coded peak-meter VU overlays.

Magic Lantern VU meters at top of viewfinder

VU meters for the Canon 5D Mk II with Magic Lantern

We’re talking about a still camera, right? Amazing.


The result is the use of professional phantom powered microphones, an input trim mixer for both mic channels, an optionally defeated AGC signal path with audio and visual monitoring, ultimately recording to an uncompressed audio codec.

Firmware hackery at its best, for professional features that should have already been built in! Not out-of-the-box by any means, but an excellent solution to the problem nonetheless.

 

MORE CHALLENGES

The downside to the massive native resolution in these large HDLSR sensors is aliasing that results from on-the-fly downscaling to 1920x1080 (or 1280x720). This is roughly 2.1 megapixels, down-sampled, in the case of the 5D Mk II, from 21 megapixels!

The current workaround for any HDSLR is to try to avoid shooting against things like brick walls, chain link fences, power lines, etc. If you must, try to distance the subject further away from them, so that the backgrounds become defocused. In fact, even just a hair out of focus will completely solve the problem.

Unlike traditional CCD sensors that capture the entire image at once, HDSLR video is recorded by linearly scanning across the camera’s CMOS sensor one pixel at a time, which can lead to “rolling shutter” distortions, aka, “Jello-cam.” Although only microseconds, the scanning time it takes between the very first pixel and the very last pixel is long enough to create the visual distortion. When objects, or the camera itself, move faster than can be recorded in one pass, the image becomes skewed or squashed. The faster the motion, the heavier the skew and/or squash. Unfortunately for higher-resolution cameras, larger CMOS sensors, with their longer

Click thumbnails below for uncompressed, untreated still frames from footage captured for this article, captured with existing light
Canon 5D MkII Low-light1
Low-light Canon 5D MkII experiments
Canon 5D MkII low-light
Canon 5D MkII low light experiments

distance to scan, are more susceptible to this than smaller ones.

As technology advances, CMOS scan rates will become faster in these large sensors. There are also some new software solutions that can help "fix" the problem in post-production, but it's an extra step, adding both time and a very slight reduction in overall image quality due to interpolated pixel reconstruction. The workaround for now is to keep your pans and tilts slow.

Also, there is currently no support for live, uncompressed HD output from any of these cameras’ HDMI port. This will be a huge leap forward, as it will allow for real-time capture to a much higher quality format than the camera’s built-in encoding format. Using something like an AJA Ki Pro for direct ProRes recording would be invaluable, especially for chroma-key production.


THE FUTURE OF HDSLR TECHNOLOGY

I haven’t talked much about the RED ONE camera in this article, but if an HDSLR company really wanted

to build a “RED killer,” they could. What would that entail? For starters, they would need to address many of the limitations above: reduce the amount of rolling shutter skew, implement a better down-scaling solution, support live uncompressed audio and video output, and support timecode.

In fact, I could see adding a multi-pin “accessory port” on the camera body that tethers out to a multi-port connection, which would then add XLR input, audio monitoring, video monitoring, TC in/out, and anything else that might be needed.

From there, we need to go beyond 30 FPS in 1080 HD. Having true variable frame-rates in 1080 HD would be ideal, like 1-60, 1-120 or even 1-240 and beyond if they can do it without melting the hardware. Likewise, going higher than 1080 HD would really open everyone’s eyes; 2K, 4K, and even beyond. The sensor is certainly capable of it, even if recording moving pictures in that resolution has not been enabled.
A flip-out screen would also be nice.

Seriously, most of these suggestions are features already used in existing products.

Of course, the idea of a “RED killer” is somewhat misleading. RED will not be going anywhere as far as the industry as a whole is concerned. But for many shooters, the remarkable quality of HDSLR cameras mean that investing in a RED camera is a far less compelling option. I'm an example of that. Investing in a RED with the necessary options to shoot even a single frame is not cost effective for my business model. If a RED ONE dropped in my lap from the sky, would I use it? Absolutely.

And would I still use the HDSLR for shooting HD? Absolutely. Am I ditching my Sony EX1 anytime soon? No way. But with some of the advantages my HDLSR gives me over a RED, even if just at a “paltry” 1080 HD resolution, for a much lower price, with all the lenses and bells and whistles I use in my camera rigs, there’s simply no need for us to consider RED right now.

 

CONCLUSION....AND GETTING STARTED

Despite the technology’s shortcomings (and there are many), shooters, developers and manufacturers are all climbing aboard the HDSLR bandwagon because of the great potential these cameras have now, and in the future.

Even if you are only interested in experimenting with them for video, these HDSLR cameras are practically a no-risk purchase: great quality, a lot of manual control, and at a price-point that can't be beat. For many people, the Canon 7D would be a good place to start. It has full 1080p resolution, employs a gamut of frame-rate options and can take advantage of lighter, less expensive EF-S lenses. My suggestion would be to pick one decent quality zoom in the 28-70mm range, and one decent quality prime, maybe in the 50mm range, buying as fast of each of these (i.e., letting in as much light) as you can afford.

For a 7D body, an inexpensive zoom and an inexpensive prime, you'll still only be around $2500 all in, a far cry from the price of any other HD option, let alone one with a removable lens system. Don’t like it? Sell it right back into the hungry market for used photography gear — the money you’ll lose could be justified as a “rental cost” — or you can keep it is a great still camera.

The most important thing to remember about shooting with HDSLRs is true for every camera, but ESPECIALLY so with HDSLRs. You have to understand your shoot, and know how the advantages and limitations of your camera play into those specific circumstances. Otherwise, you'll either shoot yourself in the foot on production and lose a client, or you will miss out on an opportunity to seriously raise your production values.

I have a feeling that we’ve only seen a snippet of what’s to come from the world of HDSLR cameras, and from here, our jaws will continue to drop.

 

AND NOW FOR THE MOVIES....  
Canon 5D Mk II footage for HDSLR article in Creative Cow Magazine

 

As mentioned above, I decided to grab model, Jackie Rivero, and visit nearby Broadway Plaza in downtown Walnut Creek, California to capture some images for this article. I brought some of my lenses, but not all. Enough to quickly use the camera in natural low light; we did not use any controllable lights and used what was around us.

Unlike the low-light testing in the Agave Nightclub video below, this time around we have manual control to make the shots a little more interesting, namely, faster shutter speeds. To give the video a slightly over-cranked (slow-motion) feel, all the raw footage was conformed from 30p to 24p. It really smooths things out.

Click here to play.

Canon 5D Mark II overcranked footage

 

Shot and edited January of 2009, shortly after the camera was received in December of 2008, PRIOR to manual control functionality. This video was shot using the Canon 5D Mark II on a modular shoulder mount rig. The only lighting used was what was available in the nightclub. No controllable or camera-mounted lights were used. The prime focus (no pun intended) was to see how well the camera would record this low-light scenario before using the rig in a real production environment.

To give the video a slightly over-cranked (slow-motion) feel, all the raw footage was conformed from 30p to 24p.

Click here to play.

Film trailer shot with Canon 5D Mk II

 

Shot and edited in July of 2009, mostly with the Canon 5D Mark II (firmware 1.1.0) and some B-camera with our Sony EX1. This trailer only has one EX1 clip in it. Can you figure out which one it is?

Lenses used for this production: 24mm f/1.4L II, 35mm f/1.4L, 50mm f/1.2L, 85mm f/1.2L II, 135mm f/2L, 16-35mm f/2.8L II, 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L, Canon 2X extender and Kenko macro rings. Some steadicam, some tripod, some shoulder-mount.

Production was shot the weekend immediately following the public release of the Canon 1.1.0 firmware update in July of 2009, and proved invaluable. We wanted to mostly shoot with high shutter speeds, something otherwise impossible prior to 1.1.0 firmware update in low-light conditions.

Click here to play.

 

 


Media Batch
Comments

Live feed FULL SPEC possible?
by Dimitrios Sideris
Hello,

I am looking for a potent microscope camera. The 5D is almost perfect with one exception. I cannot seem to be able to read a full speced live feed through hdmi. Do you think this is possible? Could a hacked firmware do this? Then I could use a capture card to read the feed into a computer.

Thanks
Dimitris
@Dimitrios Sideris
by Marco Solorio
Hi Dimitris. Unfortunately there are no HDSLR cameras on the market that will give you a clean (non-overlay), uncompressed 1080p HDMI output. This has been long desired by the HDSLR community for three years now. Good luck!

Marco Solorio | CreativeCow Host | OneRiver Media | ORM Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Media Batch
Re: HDSLRs for Video: Beyond the Hype
by Bob Dix
VistaVision is a blast from the past, I thought it was 70mm reduced to 35mm, a White Christmas was shot in VistaVision ?

Freelance Imaging & Video
AUSTRALIA
Re: HDSLRs for Video: Beyond the Hype
by Michael Locke
Man after me own heart. Push what's accepted. Proof is the product. It's a brave new world...
Re: HDSLRs for Video: Beyond the Hype
by Luis Villalon-Meunier
Just started an independent 1/2 hour film noir style project using the D5 at 1600 ISO, I used only 3 1ks and 1 2k, the 2k diffused. My last 3 projects were features shot with a Panavision 35mm camera and crews of around 40/50, but I am amazed at the visual and technical quality we are getting out of this incredible little wonder and, of course, at the speed we are able to do set ups with our present very small crew. I am sold! As soon as we wrap I am buying my own. I wonder if the people in this thread who nit pik every little minor flaw of the D5 ever shoot any films or just complain and wait for the next best digiwonder. By the way, we are recording sound double system, with a separate line going from the mixer to the camera, just for reference. For those who also complain about the built in sound, obviously, you never went to a film class and used a Nagra or something similar. If you want good perfect sound you do it separately. Direct to camera sound is only good for one man band style of shooting in documentaries and/or news gathering.

LuisV
Re: HDSLRs for Video: Beyond the Hype
by steve martin
Hey, locked off shots? check this out;

http://stillmotionblog.com/2010/04/24/beta-testing-the-steadicam-zephyr/
Re: HDSLRs for Video: Beyond the Hype
by Tim Wilson
Just adding a quick follow-up to Marco's note. The next issue of the COW Magazine will have an article by Robert Primes ASC with more follow-up. Robert is also on the boards of ASC and ICG, as well as the cinematography faculty at the American Film Institute. He has won 2 Emmys, 2 ASC Awards and the President's Award from the Society of Camera Operators for his cinematography. He sees DSLRs and the 5D Mk II possibly offering bright paths forward to a new age of visual storytelling.

Robert was a key part of the Zacuto Shootout that Marco mentions, setting up the tests himself, many of which (all of which?) were shot by the COW's Gary Adcock. You'll hear more about this, as well as the experience of Shane Hurlbut (Terminator Salvation) using them for run and gun shooting (no tripods or stabilizers) on his next action film.

And while not often spoken about, Rodney Charters has been using 5D Mk IIs on 24 for a while now. You can find pictures of him working with one on the set elsewhere in the COW Library.

I'll be posting the link to Robert's article soon.

Thanks again, Marco!

Tim Wilson
Associate Publisher, Editor-in-Chief
Creative COW Magazine

My Blog: "Is this thing on? Oh it's on!"

Don't forget to rate your favorite posts!
Re: HDSLRs for Video: Beyond the Hype
by Marco Solorio
Thanks to everyones' comments since my last posting to this. I figured I'd add some updates to the HDSLR happening since my last posting...

The season finale of House on Fox was *entirely* shot on the 5D Mk II. All interiors, exteriors and super-tight crawl-space shots. It was not a B or C cam, or a plate shot cam like other shows to date, it was THE cam for everything. Missed the episode? Watch it on hulu:

http://www.hulu.com/watch/148547/house-help-me

Lucas Film has had Philip Bloom on set to help shoot their latest film, "Red Tails" with Canon DSLRs. It not the A-cam, but it is supplying supporting shots.

Zeiss has added the new model of CP.2 (Compact Prime) lenses to their lineup. These are the first true cinema-style lenses that can fit PL, EF and F mounts from one lens. Zeiss easily sees the huge market with these HDSLR cameras and wants to be part of that revenue-making stream. If they didn't see that they wouldn't have bothered. FWIW, I had the opportunity to use these lenses on my 5D2 at NAB and all I can say is that they're truly awesome to work with. They're pricey at about $4k each, and as such, I'm debating on get one or a triple set. Optics are top-notch and from the short time I got to play with them, seem on par with my Canon L primes. But the Zeiss CP.2 lenses have FAR superior mechanics for shooting HD than my Canon L's. There's just absolutely NO comparison in that regard.

http://www.zeiss.com/C125756900453232/ContentsWWWIntern/042839DEA0E28E5FC12...

Part 3 of the Zacuto Film vs. HDSLR shootout was posted a couple of days ago. If you haven't seen them, watch all three parts. There is truly some amazing and eye-opening stuff in there:

http://www.zacuto.com/shootout

It sounds like Hollywood is making some headway with the powers that be in Japan with regard to opening up the DSLR technology. Uncompressed live output is one of those things:

http://www.definitionmagazine.com/journal/2010/5/22/hollywood-squeeze-more-...

And that's just off the top of my head. A lot more HDSLR stuff going on out there!!!

Marco Solorio | CreativeCow Host | OneRiver Media | Facebook | Twitter | Media Batch
Re: HDSLRs for Video: Beyond the Hype
by Steve Crow
Hey - excellent article, thanks for putting this together!


Regards,

Steve


************************************************
Steve Crow
Executive Producer/Founder
Crow Digital Media
Palo Alto, CA
Steve@CrowDigitalMedia.com
650-213-6569
http://www.CrowDigitalMedia.com
************************************************
Some pudding then...
by Karel Bata
I've just seen Shane Hurlbut's awsome short "The Last 3 Minutes" shot on the 5D (thanks Keidrych for the link) and I'm speechless!

There's an article here

I don't see any problems with this, or am I missing something? I hope he doesn't mind us picking it apart, but really Shane - that is fantastic work!
proof of the pudding
by Jonty Reason
We've just finished shooting a feature on the 7D (CITY OF THE DAMNED for anyone interested - http://www.cityofthedamned-themovie,com) and we started editing this week and the images are amazing. When this and other similar films start coming out you are going to see a complete change in direction amongst indie filmmakers. It is still not quite the panacea we need but its the closest thing yet. As for sound - record it separately! its no biggie and iMHO its actually a better solution that trying to get the picture acquisition device to do something its not supposed to!! Simple, huh? It all comes down to being a tool! in the right hands it will produce some fantastic results and after all even though paper and pencils are cheap, nobody complains there's too much poetry being written!!!
Mr Griffin and Dark Ages
by Vanja Marin
First, Hey Marco, I enjoyed this article a lot, as I did videos...
I just switched FROM SONY XD cam TO 5D2 and as another NOBODY, I must ask Mr Griffin the following:

Why, oh, why do you bother trying so hard to put down this positive thinking, creative people with your depressed bull - with people like you we wouldn't have electricity yet, nor steam machine!!!

Yeah, HDSLR isn't perfect yet and not giving 100% of its possibilities cause there's thing called market and they still have to protect their high pro segment... But what they gave to us, little people or big creative individuals who love to look forward - it's not perfect but it's darn GREAT!!!!!

I deeply enjoy every shot I shoot with it and it like nothing I can achieve with any of my cams, those museum parts of history, as you refer to everything that was essential to get to where we're now; from Hi8, Dv, Sony Z-1 ---- but if I didn't climb that latter - where would I be not knowing that something called moving picture, thnx to laziness of an eye, can give us such a beautiful art.... And even better, I can participate in making it! Hey, man, wake up!

With not a single OBJECTIVE argument (I don't give a damn what DO YOU THING), ergo, without OBJECTIVE ARGUMENT you allow yourself to depress world around me with narrow minded bull that is so annoying in its ignorance - Unbelievable!!!!



Why don't you just stop! People here, all those nobodies who stopped by to read this article don't think like you - and you go and find some place (if there is one - with electric things called computers) and be super-smart-me over there...

Negativity of the world concentrated in one person... sad,man, sad.... Let it be... It's here, It'll stay and progress and there's nothing you can do about this!!!
Mr Griffin and Dark Ages
by vanja marin
First, Hey Marco, I enjoyed this article a lot, as I did videos...
I just switched FROM SONY XD cam TO 5D2 and as another NOBODY, I must ask Mr Griffin the following:

Why, oh, why do you bother trying so hard to put down this positive thinking, creative people with your depressed bull - with people like you we wouldn't have electricity yet, nor steam machine!!!

Yeah, HDSLR isn't perfect yet and not giving 100% of its possibilities cause there's thing called market and they still have to protect their high pro segment... But what they gave to us, little people or big creative individuals who love to look forward - it's not perfect but it's darn GREAT!!!!!

I deeply enjoy every shot I shoot with it and it like nothing I can achieve with any of my cams, those museum parts of history, as you refer to everything that was essential to get to where we're now; from Hi8, Dv, Sony Z-1 ---- but if I didn't climb that latter - where would I be not knowing that something called moving picture, thnx to laziness of an eye, can give us such a beautiful art.... And even better, I can participate in making it! Hey, man, wake up!

With not a single OBJECTIVE argument (I don't give a damn what DO YOU THING), ergo, without OBJECTIVE ARGUMENT you allow yourself to depress world around me with narrow minded bull that is so annoying in its ignorance - Unbelievable!!!!



Why don't you just stop! People here, all those nobodies who stopped by to read this article don't think like you - and you go and find some place (if there is one - with electric things called computers) and be super-smart-me over there...

Negativity of the world concentrated in one person... sad,man, sad.... Let it be... It's here, It'll stay and progress and there's nothing you can do about this!!!
Replies to David Griffin
by Marco Solorio
Or "David Guy", whatever you're picking your name out to be today.

I honestly hate to say this, David, but unfortunately, you haven't the slightest clue of *anything* regarding this technology.

Like most people of your nature (a lot of ignoramus ramblings with no logic, no foundation, or both) never respond to direct questions that are asked of you. So I'll forgo the previous non-replied questions I asked of you and proceed with these new ones. Feel free to respond to them directly, but I wont hold my breath.

For one, Canon does not make a "Mark 5" or a "Mark 7". I'm assuming you're referring to the 5D Mark II and the 7D. Your ignorance to even the simplest of model names shows you have zero aptitude to the very technology you rebuke, and furthermore, are showing that you have zero interest with said technology, which is fine, but puts egg on your face when you try to make claims that are clearly incorrect to a very high degree.

David Griffin wrote: "if you already have a D200 or a D300, there's really no reason to buy the D700"
Under what basis? If your statement was true, nobody would buy the D700, when in fact, it has features and capabilities the D300 doesn't have. But none of the Nikon cameras you mention have HD video capability which makes it completely irrelevant to this article. So why even bring it up?

David Griffin wrote: "For the rest of us normal people, the D700 and D3 are loser's buys, as is the Mark 5 and Mark 7."
Another nonsense remark. "Loser buys"? People buy specific cameras, whether Nikon or Canon for the task or functionality they like in the camera. You just basically insulted people who bought one of these models (for some, who have saved their hard earned money to do so). People also make money with these Nikon and Canon products. To say it's a "loser buy" is a loser remark on your end at best. There is no fact or relevance to your claim.

David Griffin wrote: "I say the Mark 7 because its just more Canon rushing to the table first while sparks are still flying out from its products, and is out WAY before Nikon's next camera, and Nikon's next camera after the D700 will be a decided improvement over whatever Canon is so desperately trying to spam."
HUH??? Your sentence makes absolutely no sense. I'm assuming you're saying Canon rushed to market with their cameras, long before Nikon did, and that Nikon will have a better camera after Nikon??? For starters, Nikon was the first camera maker to release an HDSLR camera with their D90. The next camera to market was the Canon 5D Mark II (or the "Mark 5" as you erroneously refer to). To this day, the 5D2 has been the most successful HDSLR camera to hit the market and it's well over a year old at this point. The surge this camera has produced is *freaking* huge, if you haven't left your cave to notice. Again I'll reiterate from my prior posts; my sincere hope is that Nikon DOES build a 5D2-killer as it will greatly help perpetuate the competition needed to further advance this technology. As it stands right now, Canon is the absolute clear choice for HDSLR shooting and needs some good competition to get things stirring. Right now, Canon DOES NOT have any real competitors in the HDSLR market. That is fact.

David Griffin wrote: "The camera after the D700 maybe of great value, and I may buy that one, and then wait for 2 or 3 more cameras to come out before I get the one I am waiting for."
You're speculating on non-existent hardware that you know nothing about, nor know what kind of features it may or may not have. All the while thinking Canon, Sony, Panasonic, Sigma, Olympus, et al, wont come out with new stuff on their own? What kind of logic is this??? Ridiculous.

David Griffin wrote: "But the D700 has no Video value at all, and neither does the Mark 5, and neither will the Mark 7. That said, you are better off buying a D300 now, for the money, unless you are just dying to show your friends how big your megapixel stick is, which will eventually lead you to feelings of inadequacy and depression when you don't "measure up" in a few months from now"
Uhh, no video value for the 5D2 or 7D? That may be your reclusive close-minded opinion, but that holds little merit to the untold numbers of users and DPs using the 5D Mk II, 7D and 1D Mk IV specifically for HD production AND making money with it. If prime-time is using it, then I guess you'll need to talk directly to them.

David Griffin wrote in response to Ron: "David Griffin, by stark contrast, has never jumped on any bandwagon in his life, nor will he ever. I am MORE psychic than you, and all mankind, and I can tell you that these cameras will someday be in a freakshow for technological mishaps in some 'believe it or not' museum and people walking by and seeing them on display (long after you and I are gone.. well.. you anyway) will cringe in horror and disgust, and shield their children's eyes to keep them from having nightmares and mental trauma. And one question will repeatedly echo through the minds of all who were exposed to these abominable monstrosities: "who used them, and why?" or maybe "I can't imagine there was anyone around in that day without foresight enough to see what these really were, and then actually bought and used these". And when they look back through the internet for clues and find this website, the name of David Griffin will be heralded as prophetic wisdom, appreciated only after his time, as any genius. And the name Ron Lindeboom will spark a large debate among that generation's educated elite and psycho-analysts as they try and figure out why it is that certain people in 2010 couldn't be kept from purchasing these useless advances in technology. I imagine it would have something to do with insecurity or vanity, or just trying / needing to be the person with the latest gadgets, regardless of how useful they are."
The fact that you're talking in third-person about yourself with the description you wrote speaks volumes. Seriously, you carrying a full six-pack, dude?

David Griffin wrote: "and no, nobody in their right mind would buy these cameras for video. NOBODY. PERIOD. people will use Video cameras, because that's what they will have to do."
Sorry, but you're completely deranged if you think nobody is buying these for video. Seriously. No, SERIOUSLY. You obviously don't know how useful these HDSLR cameras are in their respective rights.

David Griffin wrote: "nobody will buy these for their video. If anyone has, they have either been duped, aren't the brightest spoon in the kitchen, or shameless self-promoters and narcissists."
Ummmmm, okay. Nobody will buy these for video? You're living on another planet my friend.

David Griffin wrote: "As it sits now, you would have a better chance of making a great HD movie with a canon IXUX or other little pocket camera with HD capabilities. The video in these current DSLR's is crap, and crap is most certainly not their intended goal."
So how do you exactly quantify "crap" as an assessable form of measurement? Personally, I think "crap" is an erroneous measurement standard, since there's only a few points of measurement; "crap", "crappier" and "crappiest". So I'd like to rebuke your rebuttal and say that these cameras produce excellent results, even if you decided to actually shoot real feces, if that's your goal.

David Griffin wrote: "To reload firmware everytime u turn on the camera, it seems like a nightmare"
You're assuming incorrectly (again). There is an option to enable auto-load of the Magic Lantern Firmware. Most people (including myself) don't use the auto-loader.

David Griffin wrote: "Nikon did the same thing when DSLR's came out, in the beginning of DSLR's, everyone was going ape over canon, touting about how much better they were than Nikon. Nikon bided it's time, and today, Nikon is by far the superior lineup for still camera DSLR's."
Says who? Under what pretense? According to what numbers? You seriously want to turn this into a Nikon vs. Canon flame ware? WHO CARES? I see beautiful photos from both Nikon and Canon, likewise, I also see horrible photos from both Nikon and Canon. Bottom line, it's no fault of either camera maker and completely the fault (or praise) of the user. The same can be said about the HD video capabilities of these cameras. Don't blame the technology, blame the user. And FWIW, I still see a lot more white lenses than black ones at sports event, if that means anything. :-/

So tell us, what video camera(s) do you own that's so amazing?
If you don't own any, which ones do you rent/use?
What kind of projects do you work on with said cameras?
http://vimeo.com/9243537
What do you think of that video, and more importantly, what do you think of what they're SAYING in the video?

I hate to say it, David, but you bore me. You complain and whine, but don't bring any factual data to the table. There is no basis or logic behind your ramblings, especially when you bring your "psychic abilities" to the mix. This is a complete waste of time and bandwidth.
Nobody...
by Jason Shreve
Stink, I guess I have to rethink all my purchasing plans if I'm not going to be allowed to buy this stuff that I've already field tested & loved. I guess I should ignore my own senses & believe this other guy. I guess I need to figure out if I'm shooting on a DSLR for the footage that I really like or for the great acclaim this strange video contraption will bring me in the early adopter group. ( Just to let you know, I'm being a be facetious.) I am not alone. The NOBODY statement has already been disproven, now it's just a case of how wrong it's going to be. My humble guess... Very.
Maybe I'm Psychic
by David Griffin
(I knew I was going to say that)
anyway, I dont see DSLR's in the same respect you are seeing them i guess. I see them as a fully Functioning Video camera. If the camera companies were content with what is currently out on the market, if their final goal is what you and I see today, I'm sure they wouldnt have even bothered making them record video. These cameras are a work in progress, a new technology, we should all be used to these by now. The current state is just a phase, a stepping stone, an evolution, the current state-of-the-art. However, we all know that the actual state-of-the-art is several developments or generations ahead of what is currently sold in the market place.

There will soon not even be a single HD camera sold on the market, and everyone will look back on HD as they do to 8mm, when cameras all convert to 4k pro or QuadHD Prosumer. HD will be a tiny resolution of the past, as will all HD cameras. the current DSLR video cameras will be obsolete in the next year, and the DSLR cameras are not going to stop until they become they are destined to become: Fully functional video cameras.

As it sits now, you would have a better chance of making a great HD movie with a canon IXUX or other little pocket camera with HD capabilities. The video in these current DSLR's is crap, and crap is most certainly not their intended goal. They are about 25% developed, if that, and 25% of what they need to be and will become.

All this psychic summoning is draining, but i see one more thing: a video camera that actually works, yes, if you don't believe in unseen mystical powers, go buy a crappy DSLR with Video now and enjoy what you can try and make of it. If you are a believer, then heed the call of the mystic crystal ball and wait until they have actually accomplished what they set out to create, which is definitely not those monstrosities we have available today. Dr. Frankenstein is still in his lab, best let him finish his work, and let these "works-in-progress" sit in solemn reverence and not be stared at too long lest they feel awkward and uncomfortable.
new technology, far from maturity
by David Griffin
in all honesty, I was probably more excited about these cameras than anyone in the world. I traveled to Japan just to see the D700 which hadn't been released in my region yet. but I didnt buy it. It's a new technology, and as such is far from maturity and full-featured functionality and practical usefulness.

if you already have a D200 or a D300, there's really no reason to buy the D700, unless you are just cursed with Nikon fever and cant help but buy everything and everything you see. If that's the case, you are probably an eccentric billionaire who does the same thing with European sports cars, in which case, go ahead and buy 3 to 8 D700's just for the heck of it, and mail one my way before you forget you even own them.

If you own a D2x, I wouldnt buy the D3 unless you are just so successful of a professional that you can buy anything Nikon ever creates, year after year, sometimes 2 in a year. For the rest of us normal people, the D700 and D3 are loser's buys, as is the Mark 5 and Mark 7. I say the Mark 7 because its just more Canon rushing to the table first while sparks are still flying out from its products, and is out WAY before Nikon's next camera, and Nikon's next camera after the D700 will be a decided improvement over whatever Canon is so desperately trying to spam.

The camera after the D700 maybe of great value, and I may buy that one, and then wait for 2 or 3 more cameras to come out before I get the one I am waiting for. But the D700 has no Video value at all, and neither does the Mark 5, and neither will the Mark 7. That said, you are better off buying a D300 now, for the money, unless you are just dying to show your friends how big your megapixel stick is, which will eventually lead you to feelings of inadequacy and depression when you don't "measure up" in a few months from now.
DSLRs
by Luis Villalon-Meunier
As someone with 40 years of professional experience shooting mostly 35mm, I look forward to my first film with the D5. I look at it as another tool and I don't need to compare it to any other camera film or video. I have seen a lot of crappy movies shot in 35mm with Panavision or Arri cameras that look worse than the samples in this article. As far as the sound is concerned, I recognize you are not going to get the best sound with the DSLRs, but, I always use double system sound, just like film, even with high end video cameras. Everyone seems to complain about their minor flaws instead of talking about their aesthetic capabilities. When the Panasonic 100 came out, we had the same idiotic criticisms. Just look at all the great films made with this camera. I have one and I still use it.
RE: About the Audio
by gary adcock
David

I agree 100% about the audio issues, still cameras in general make pretty poor tools for capturing audio of any type. However its pretty clear from your posts that you are against the DSLR as a b-cameras or as crash cam, 2 places where I think that it would excel.
I was part of the Zacuto Shootout and audio was not part of the testing- it was about how these cameras responded when matched against a film camera- and most of those shoot MOS- so we were not going to compare Sync sound to Sync sound.
As I said, I think of DSLRs as another tool in my kit, something I really need when I need it and until then is stays in the case.
David, that's why there are early adopters, mid-term adopters, and late-term adopters
by Ron Lindeboom
David Griffin speaking on behalf of all mankind, and with his words a repetitive echo to boot, states: "All this psychic summoning is draining, but if you don't believe in unseen mystical powers, go buy a crappy DSLR with Video now and enjoy what you can try and make of it... Dr. Frankenstein is still in his lab, best let him finish his work, and let these "works-in-progress" sit in solemn reverence and not be stared at too long lest they feel awkward and uncomfortable.

David: If people like you ruled the world, there would have been no desktop publishing revolution, no desktop video revolution -- ah hell, I don't even need to be a psychic to see that you are a man who likely didn't buy a computer until 2009. You are the kind of guy who would never buy one because "more powerful ones are coming out next year and they'll be cheaper, too!" They do and they did -- and they still do. Some people never learn and they just wait. Then there are the early adopters. Clearly, you are not one of them.
About the Audio
by David Griffin
and about what i said about not having audio, no audio is better than bad audio. why even bother having a crappy microphone built in tot he camera? does anyone even use those? and i liked the juicedlink thing, does it have XLR? Now, i dont really think that the VDSLR's will ever have XLR inputs, that's probably the last thing they would ever add, After everything else you could probably imagine. so all you are really left with is one of those little 3.5" mic plugs, and show me one camera that has a 3.5" mic plug only AND has quality audio controls and configuration. That said, why even bother with the audio, unless they are going to include something like the JuicedLink in the camera body itself? And looking at the size of that JuicedLink box, that's a definite waste of precious space in a DSL Body. If you took out the audio all together, you would have more space and room, and development dollars to focus on high-quality video. As anyone interested in High Quality Video should also have their own external Audio recorder and be just as interested in High-Quality Audio, or they dont really have a clue what they are doing, and probably shouldn't be using a camera at all. Going back to my original statement, No audio is better than bad audio.

And rather than worrying about button clicking and lens noise and Auto-focus noises, and whatever else entering the audio, VDSLR manufacturers may consider creating an external audio Solid state CF audio recorder with XLR inputs as an additional purchase, which mounts somewhere unobtrusive, or can be used completely detached.

What I want is a WYSIWYG style recorder. I dont care about focus rings and zoom clicks or rings or any of that. What i need is something that records exactly what is going on through the lens, zooming, Auto-Foucs, etc. The AF would definitely be a very loud noisy operation, such as Nikon's CF Continuous Focus function, another reason Audio should be from an external companion device or removed all together
notes on the zacuto shootout.
by gary adcock
I think many people assume that you only need one camera, and while I was very impressed with the power of video on a still camera is very compelling, there is one truth about the DSLR cameras and workflow.

It was not designed for Motion Picture production, the lenses are not designed in a manner that is consistent with the needs of mainstream productions, click stops on the apertures, sloppy and loose movement on the Zoom and Focus rings keep me from using these tools as my #1 camera.

That does not mean that a DSLR cannot or should not be used for video, thats just plain stupid. What is does mean is that I would grab one in a New York second if I needed it. Would it match what I previously shot- most likely, would I be able to jam or hang that camera in a really small or tight position, yup.

Would it replace my main Video camera- no, not for me, but that is my opinion, but I would consider it for many tasks that other less cameras cannot handle - like wide angle or Macro shooting where the accessories are not available or too costly to use.
Re: ZZZzzz
by Mads Nybo Jørgensen
I agree, none of the guys on this list in my opinion has a clue about Digital Film-making and should not be trusted to dusch an important task: THE GREAT CAMERA SHOOTOUT 2010 CAST: Jens Bogehegn (Web Series Executive Producer), Robert Primes ASC (Director of Photography), Philip Bloom (DP - Color Profiles), Gary Adcock (Digerati), Ryan Emerson (Colorist) and Steve Weiss (Web Series Director). SPECIAL APPEARANCES BY: Shane Hurlbut, ASC, Stephen Goldblatt ASC, BSC Stephen Lighthill, ASC, Rick McCallum, Stu Maschwitz, David Wexler, Kevin Shahinian, David Robin, The Bui Brothers and more. In fact I shall personally ask Gary Adcock on the HD High End forum about what they did to corrupt the test. And how dare they miss the EX-3 out in the final - this is the best camera since the invention of sliced bread! Common guys! If you can do a better test, go do it - but stop having a go at your colleagues for experimenting and trying out new technologies - unless you are being paid for having an opinion about said camera...?

All the Best
Mads
(on a sad rainy London day)
to Karel Bata
by keidrych wasley
"Fact is, shooting with Zeiss lenses is *bound to* create a good result. The question (to me) is how do they perform with cheaper lenses that were designed for stills cameras to focus on film rather than on a CMOS chip that can exhibit its own peculiar issues like pixel crosstalk? It's a question, not a criticism."

The zeiss lenses were stills lenses. They were the zeiss ZE's.
Older stills lenses are also very good (in some cases better). The old Nikon AI's perform very well, Leica R series are excellent, old zeiss contax very good. The Leicas are the best for a cinema style focus throw, high dynamic range. You can read more about them on Shane Hurlbut ASC's blog. He's been testing many stills lenses on the canon for his latest feature shot on 5D/1D/7D. He was using Panavision Primos until a lawsuit from Panavision to Canon stopped the use of their adapter. He then switched to zeiss ZE's. Read about it here:

http://hurlbutvisuals.com/blog/2010/02/06/still-lenses/

PS. his whole blog is a goldmine of information. The inside track newsletter you can sign up for is also excellent.
Everything in its own due time
by David Griffin
Thanks Marco. However, i think the magic firmware is just a hack, and that said, whatever it can do I don't feel really warrants attention until Canon adopts its features. To reload firmware everytime u turn on the camera, it seems like a nightmare, as alot of still photographers using DSLR's are in the habit of clicking the camera on or off as needed, subconciously. as soon as the camera goes down, my off switch clicks, as soon as i lift it, its back on. I cant imagine having to reload the firmware everytime u turn on the camera. I do like what the hack represents, and I hope it's adopted by canon, only then will i think of it as legitimate features. As for the Nikon, that is my point exactly. Nikon did the same thing when DSLR's came out, in the beginning of DSLR's, everyone was going ape over canon, touting about how much better they were than Nikon. Nikon bided it's time, and today, Nikon is by far the superior lineup for still camera DSLR's. Same thing i see happening now, Canon is an advertising / marketing company which makes printers, copiers, and a whole lot of other stuff. They know the market, and they simply make th product the market demands. so they are always first to the table. Nikon is a Photographic company only. with no other focus. They set out to create the best camera for their company and users, without much regard for timeliness. They are poised now to do what they have always done. of course its easy to make 1080 HD, they may come out with 2169 QuadHD, or it may be that they just wait until the technology is developed to introduce yet another camera that blows its users away and meets the standards for the Nikon lineup. Mark my words, just like everyone who jumped on the canon DSLR bandwagon regrets it, so will everyone who jumps on their VDSLR badwagon too early on.
Me neither!
by Karel Bata
I'm actually very very excited about these new cameras. But at the same time a little disappointed. At the moment we're prepping for a feature and the director (an established stills photographer) is talking about buying a Canon, so I'm having to take a very serious look and I reckon the camera's nearly there, but not quite...

It has to be borne in mind that this camera was never intended for the uses we're talking about, and the shortcomings will no doubt be addressed within a couple of years, but right now...

I must say (and I really don't want to be confrontational about this!) that I'm not too impressed by Zacuto's Shootout. They concentrate on latitude (and maybe pumping up their own cred?) and there's no doubt these cameras cut the mustard on what are virtually still images in low light at 4K, but once you start to pan past sharp objects, or the subject moves quickly, or (critically) you're not shooting at 4k and your camera is pixel dumping (so at 1080p it's ignoring about 3/4 of the pixels!) it's a different story. RED, by comparison, records at 4k and then downsizes to the resolution you want. But of course RED costs a lot more...

I notice Zacuto get Philip Bloom to do the 'real world' test, thereby guaranteeing something that will NOT show up the problems! Personally, I love the shot of a cow standing in a field. Wow, such demanding material. Heh heh. Sorry Philip.

Fact is, shooting with Zeiss lenses is *bound to* create a good result. The question (to me) is how do they perform with cheaper lenses that were designed for stills cameras to focus on film rather than on a CMOS chip that can exhibit its own peculiar issues like pixel crosstalk? It's a question, not a criticism.

Mind you if a Canon fell out of the sky, I definitely wouldn't say no. :)
I'm not anti DSLR, I too
by Alister Chapman
I'm not anti DSLR, I too would love a cheap APS sensor or 35mm sensor camera, but it has to work for all shots. I don't want the kind of terrible issues exhibited in the Zacuto video at 05.30 and 05.38, the jello at 35.02, . I also wonder why they desaturated the opening sequence, is it purely for aesthetic reasons or is it because the brickwork has moire?

I would gladly sell my more expensive cameras and swap them out for cheap DSLR's. I'd have enough cash to buy a huge collection of nice fast lenses, but they are not there yet, damn close but not quite there yet. Why couldn't Zacuto have included the EX3 that was at the shootout in the tests, that would have made the whole thing much more relevant IMHO.

As for zooming with stills lenses, well most stills lenses are not parfocal, they don't need to be for still photography, so there will be slight shifts in focus as you zoom, how bad this is will depend on the quality of the lens, thats part of the reason why video zooms are so expensive compared to stills zooms.
35mm Film vs. DSLR: The Zacuto Shootout
by Marco Solorio
To all the DSLR naysayers out there (you know who you are), I'd like to invite you to check out this Part 1 shootout that Zacuto is doing. They're basically comparing DSLR technology against tried-and-true 35mm film. There's no question that film is the clear winner, but the fact that these DSLR cameras are so capable in comparison that it really opened the eyes of both film shooters and DSLR shooters alike. This isn't some hack-job comparison they put together, but quality controlled by experts in the industry and screened in calibrated post-production theaters (Stag Theater at Skywalker Ranch, LucasFilms Ltd., AFI (American Film Institute) Theater in Hollywood and the FilmWorkers Astro Color Timing Theater in Chicago). To help keep controlled comparisons to a maximum, all cameras used Zeiss lenses.

Compared with 35mm film are:

- Canon 5D Mk II @ 1080p24
- Canon 1D Mk IV @ 1080p24
- Canon 7D @ 1080p24
- Nikon 3Ds @ 720p24 (its maximum resolution)
- Panasonic GH1 @ 1080p24

http://www.zacuto.com/shootout

Now, to anyone that still wants to keep pounding the "DSLR cameras just don't cut it" drum, well, keep fooling yourself. And by the way, not one, single panel expert in the video complained about aliasing in any of the footage. Maybe it'll show up in Part 2 when they shoot resolution test charts, but in all the real-world footage in Part 1, they were all very impressed to say the least.

Seriously, these cameras shoot incredibly well. Even an entry-level $800 T2i/550D body with a $100 50mm f/1.4 lens will get you absolutely astonishing footage. Think about that. For about $900, you have an incredibly capable, multi-frame-rate, 1080p camera with direct lens-to-sensor flexibility, resulting in an image that looks truly fantastic. As Ron noted in a post below, the price-to-performance ratio is truly out of this world. Feel free to continue to whine, complain and pixel f--- these DSLRs while the rest of us make money with them for the types of shoots they excel in! Booyah! ;-)
Replies to David Guy
by Marco Solorio
Hi David,

I don't think boycotting would really help bring out those future DSLRs to market you're asking for! ;-) As for zooming while recording, well, it can easily be done manually, just not in-camera. Or you can attach a lens gear to the lens with a studio zoom remote if the camera is on sticks.

David wrote "the impossible task of trying to maintain focus on an subject moving close to you."
Well if you can't pull focus yourself, then have a focus puller do it for you. Even with auto-focus in a camera, most shooters prefer to pull focus manually. With that said, I'm sure we'll be seeing auto-focus in the next generation of these cameras. It's inevitable.

David wrote "there should also be audio control. ... and can't even turn off AGC? useless, but i always external audio devices anyway."
With the 5D2, there is audio control. The latest 2.0.4 firmware update allows the user to turn of the AGC, adjust input trim, provides VU meters and is now 48kHz as opposed to its original 44.1kHz.

David wrote "Zebra would be kind of nice too."
Using the Magic Lantern firmware, as described in the article, you can have real-time zebra/peaking overlays, controllable to whatever thresholds you need. They're even working on a functional waveform monitor. The did add a real-time histogram, but the latest 2.0.4 Canon firmware has it now too.

David wrote "Nikon is a company who knows precision and knows cameras."
David wrote "I am really just waiting for Nikon to improve their video"

??? ;-) Nikon makes great cameras, but their DSLR video capabilities just aren't on par with Canon at the moment. I'm hoping they release something huge for NAB. Anything they can bring to the table that meets or exceeds Canon's benchmark will only cause Canon to work even harder to stay on top. Competition is always a good thing. Truth is though, Nikon missed a HUGE opportunity between November 2008 unto July 2009 when their D90 first hit the market. Had Nikon added 1080p24 and manual control, they would have easily won over countless users to Nikon, including many Canon users that were/are using Nikon lenses. Pure and simple. Well over a year later and Nikon still hasn't released a single 1080p DSLR, nor one that is affordable that offers manual control, which at this time has turned an incredible amount of would-be Nikon users over to Canon, and probably more significant, to Canon lenses. Once a company sells users on their lens mount, they'll typically stick with that company. So all in all, bad moves on Nikon's part. Nikon apparently use Sony CMOS imagers, so maybe that has something to do with it. You never know.

David wrote "in fact, they should just do away with the audio all together, and focus on the video functions only."
Huh? Well, I'd have to say I disagree with that! A little contradictory of what you were initially saying earlier. Anything they can add to a camera to make it better is preferred, as you can always turn off or not use said feature.
Re Judging Picture Quality
by George Monteiro
Would you be willing to post some short clips in the camera's native format? It is hard to judge which artifacts are in the raw footage and what is being added in the flash conversion.
Off-centre pixel crosstalk?
by Karel Bata
Has anyone noticed any such problems?

Pixel crosstalk at the off-centre parts of an image is caused by the fact that off-centre pixels (up to 70%!) may be shielded by transistors and stacked or interleaved metallic bus lines. These are optically opaque and absorb or reflect a majority of the incident photons colliding with these structures. These stacked layers of metal can lead to undesirable effects such as vignetting, light scattering, and diffraction, leading to desaturation, loss of focus, and other color artefacts. This would be more noticeable with the use of wide angle lenses. But being off-centre they may well be overlooked in subjective tests!

Also, I've heard that the sound achieved with the juicedlink sound adapter is actually somewhat lacking in quality, particularly at low frequencies. Anyone done a comparison with a dedicated pro level sound recorder? Or know of any hard test data?

And cheers Marco! Great article! (And fierce discussion here!)
Negativity
by Adam Smith
Wow, a lot of negativity! And over what? Ok, Marco's videos aren't perfect. Who's are? That's called creative license. Go figure...their tests, pretty darn excellent tests at that with a new technology. Anything and anyone can be critiqued, but what is the sense in criticizing so harshly over tests with a new technology? I don't get it. These people are either: jealous, scared of the new technology, amateurs, or extremely bored. I for one love my Canon 7d, it gives me another tool to add to the arsenal, another option to give me a different "look." I haven't even got through half of this article yet and it has helped tremendously in terms of DSLR's. Keep up the good work, and hopefully we can keep the negativity to a minimum here on the Cow. You guys are nothing but the best. I have asked several technical questions of the forum in the last year or so and I can't say enough good things about the Cow. Now go shoot something!
Audio...
by Jason Shreve
Great article! Thanks for the info. I've shot a couple projects on a 5D and am in love with it. We got around the audio issue recording on an inexpensive Edirol R-44 & syncing the audio with PluralEyes. (http://www.singularsoftware.com/pluraleyes.html) This is a no brainer if you're shooting on a DSLR!
Re: Soft images
by Iain Anderson
Well, the majority of the shots were taken with sharpening off or low. I can't promise the train shots are perfectly in focus, but the other shots were on a tripod with autofocus set before each movie was taken. The full-size images on Flickr are the same as the movies; to avoid doubt, here are a couple of uncropped images on my site:

http://funwithstuff.com/chart-s0.jpg
http://funwithstuff.com/chart-another.jpg

A factor may be that I've only got the kit lens; perhaps better lenses bring out aliasing more clearly?
Soft Images
by Alister Chapman
Iain, I'm sorry but your grabs are not in focus or you have some other issue that's making them blurred, that's why there is no aliasing in them.
In search of aliasing
by Iain Anderson
In the time I've had my 550D I've been trying to find aliasing. I've seen minor aliasing (jaggies) once or twice and moiré when pointed at a test chart at just the right distance in 1080p. (However, aliasing is obviously, painfully visible when using 720p.)

Because I couldn't find test chart footage from a 550D in video mode. I've shot some video of a home made test chart and a real-world train, taken screen shots and uploaded them to Flickr. Hardly perfect but still useful; make sure to view at full size.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/7303327@N03/sets/72157623668440344/

You can see moiré some of the time, but it's easiest to see aliasing in the gaps between the floorboards. Nothing that's going to stop me shooting with it, but turn sharpening down.
Fear of the unknown....
by Don Walker
First of all Thank You to Tim Wilson for stating what I was feeling....... What aliasing?
I just don't see any? Maybe I'm just not that good though I've been in the business since 1981.
Russ and Allister, I felt like you do now back in 1991 when at NAB, We were told how the Video Toaster was going to replace my $1,000,000 linear edit suite. Well the Toaster may not have done it but Apple did. Stop bad mouthing what scares you, and be willing to adapt. Two years ago, i bad mouthed the Panasonic HMC-150 for shooting HD on little SD cards...... Today that's almost all I shoot with. I haven't used my HDV deck in months!
Don Walker
It's Coming, but still a ways off
by David Guy
I'm personally waiting for a Nikon Video camera. Nikon is a company who knows precision and knows cameras. when they set their mind to something, it always comes out on top. I am really just waiting for Nikon to improve their video which I know they are working hard on, and I know it will keep improving which each DSLR, and when it comes to fruitition, watch out, it's going to be the best camera on the market, and nobody will by a sony or panasonic anymore. I totally understand Marcos enthusiasm, and desire for this to work, it's coming, just not there yet. the best things of course are all of our lenses will work, that right there, for me, makes this the only video avenue worth pursuing or investing research dollars in. I have seen some nice shoulder mounts made just for DSLR's already. There is going to have to be a complete reinvention of the DSLR's eye piece. Its going to have to be well cupped over the eye, and maybe can switch between optical and digital view or something. And maybe even large internal hard-drives added in addition to solid-state removable media like CF cards. The audio and lighting i dont really care about, those should be all external things anyway. in fact, they should just do away with the audio all together, and focus on the video functions only. I think the DSLR's should be alot fatter, a little more like a red maybe, almost double their current thickness, just to house full functionality of a high quality video camera.
Not yet.. Boycott!!
by David Guy
other problems keeping me from buying these camera for a the next few generations are lack of the ability to zoom while recording, and the impossible task of trying to maintain focus on an subject moving close to you. until the video recording process maintains auto focus on a selected region of the frame, and allows zooming, forget it. there should also be audio control, and the ports you mentioned for all the external hardware. Zebra would be kind of nice too. and can't even turn off AGC? useless, but i always external audio devices anyway. i'm not buying any SLR for video until it becomes a fully functional video camera. I would also like the LCD display to have a release button, and a cord which can be switched out to different lengths, meters long even, and then it just snaps back in with little connectors. Taking it out would release the connection, and a wire would need to be added for LCD functionality. i am guessing 3-5 generations / developments later we should be looking alot better.
But they don't work as they should
by Alister Chapman
Ron, that is exactly my point, the Canon demo piece could have been shot on any one of a wide range of cameras and IMHO would have looked better for it. The aliasing, blown out skin tones, jello, orange skin etc spoil the piece. As a technology demonstrator the video is appalling. You are quite correct that the quality of the cinematographer is more important than the tool he/she chooses. But then you say that DSLR's work well. So in your view then a camera that aliases when in focus, overheats on long shots etc works well? If as a cinematographer you believe that aliasing is pleasing to the eye or acceptable then that's your choice. Yes I know how codecs work which is why I know that aliasing is a big issue as aliasing and long GoP codecs are worst enemies (that's why the BBC will not accept anything shot with a DSLR under any circumstances). If you don't understand that then my guess is you don't actually know what aliasing does when encoded. Why is it that when anyone comes on a DSLR based page and raises these issues they are talked down to as though they have no idea about anything? I used to design cameras for use by the BBC, I started my career in film, shooting film 30 years ago. I've seen technologies come and go. I spent last week teaching the tutors at London Film School on various aspects of digital cinematography. I was invited to the school by the tutors as they respect my work and opinions. If you are happy dealing with aliasing, just carry on buying these cameras by the truck load. Canon will make a load of money and continue making them just the way they are. Why should they change them when they sell so well just as they are. I notice that Phil Blooms latest piece on Exposure room is full of aliasing, even the clip thumbnail is full of it, or is it that the wooden deck really is a rainbow of reds and purple?


Ron Lindeboom's reply: Alister, you seem to have the mistaken idea that I must think these cameras are perfect and that I am a cheerleading fan for them. I don't and I am not. BUT... You seem to have forgotten an important point in any business -- and if you are a businessman and not a hobbyist -- that is a point called the price-to-performance ratio. These things are giving a level of performance that was unheard of not long ago. Perfect? Far from it. But would I use one for CERTAIN jobs? Yes. Not all, but some. My citing of codecs and compression was due to the fact that you cited issues with Vincent Laforet's piece that could quite easily be introduced by the compression used to display the video on the net. Am I saying that these things shoot the best image ever seen to man -- or woman? No. But you guys are talking just like the critics who dismiss RED One because of the screwy insane process they use to track two color channels and create a third from the other two. Can it get a great image? Yes. Perfect? No. It depends on price-to-performance for SOME people and in that regard, some will buy this and use it. I think of these cameras in the same way that I think of the HDV rigs. Nice when considering what they cost and the level of image they give compared to what could be done not long ago, but perfect? Far from it. But in the hands of a pro, they can give some great images. Are you done yet? Or is speaking against DSLRs like a holy mission to you? You stated: As a technology demonstrator, Vincent Laforet's video was "appalling." Yet, I know more than a few cinematographers who saw it and bought DSLRs to experiment with themselves. Seems not everyone agrees with your verdict as to how appalling the demonstration was.
DSLRs
by Luis Villalon-Meunier
It baffles me that all the comments have been about aliasing, lack of focus, a camera being better than another, and not about what they are for, which is to help tell a story. I started in Photography/Film school using 4x5 view cameras and 16mm B & W (Color was too expensive). My last feature (and 5 others before) was shot with a Panavision camera 35mm with all the goodies, but I am looking forward to my next to be shot in April with the Canon MKII5D, Matte Box and Follow Focus gear, and I'll use it like the Panavision. The problem with digital, to me, has been that too many diletantes think that by pressing the record button, no lights, no tripod, auto focus, sound on camera, and placing something on You Tube tonight you qualify as an instant filmmaker. No camera is going to replace experience, talent or knowledge of the film language. When I got my Panasonic 100a a few years ago, I was hired to shoot a Low Budget police drama with 3 one hour episodes. The producer almost fainted when I asked for 2 cam assistants, a lighting and grip package, dolly and tracks, and, for several night sequences, 2 18k HMIs on Condors...."I thought for video you didn't need lights". My answer was and always is..if you want your footage to look like a security camera at a 7/11 or police surveillance...that's true. Needless to say, everyone said that the video looked "like a movie" and "all in focus". I am still using the 100a, and none of my clients is the wiser.
One of my film instructors always said "It's not the car it's the driver"
Seen it, should I be impressed?
by Alister Chapman
Yes seen it and it is on the whole a good piece of work, but what exactly is so special about it? What shots are in there that could not be done by the vast majority of craft camera operators or DoP's? The wobbly hand held shots? The shaky car mounts? A few focus racks. Like most Canon DSLR stuff, shot at night to make aliasing less of an issue, but it's still there, what are those cobble stones doing at 00.35, the rims of the glasses at 00:50, the building at 01.32, The wide shot at 01:35. IMHO it is also let down by jello and blown out skin tones. I know that when this was shot manual control was not possible, so I'll let the exposure issues go, but like I said, when in focus it will alias. In my opinion there is nothing particularly challenging in any of the shots in the clip. The most challenging seem to be the worst executed, like the aerials which really spoil the clip looking pretty much like any home video of a city at night.


Ron Lindeboom of the COW directly responds: The point is, Alister, is that you admit this example is "a good piece of work" and yet you persist in belittling DSLRs. The point you state that "What shots are in there that could not be done by the vast majority of craft camera operators or DoP's?" -- is exactly my point. They work, get over it. I have seen plenty of stuff that is QUITE good shot by highly skilled photographers and cinematographers -- I have also seen pure crap shot by those who would shoot pure crap if you stuck a Genesis or anything else in their hands for that matter. Do you know how HARD it is to get a video to play across the net today using the codecs and compressions that are available to us today? And you want to judge an image by a highly compressed web video that is at best a nice "approximation" and "indication" of what can be done? One that can be played across a web feed? Why not judge a Panavision or an ARRI by the images seen in a banding mosaicing MPEG stream coming down off a KU band satellite fed through a cable company's head-in??? It would make your opinion just about as valid.
Alister, after reading all that, I have just ONE question for you....
by Ron Lindeboom
...and it is: Alister, can you shoot this good?

As my dear ole sainted Dad used to tell me: It is a poor workman who blames his tools.
I would like Marco to apologize
by Alister Chapman
Marco, you are mixing fact and opinion. I made it very clear in my post which was which. You said "But for you to say, "this large sensor-poor readout is what causes all of Canons issues" is entirely misguided and misleading." What is "entirely misguided or misleading" about that statement? It's a well know FACT that the Canon's alias, It's also a well known FACT that this is due to the way the sensor is read. So what justification do you have for claiming that I am misguided or misleading people by making that statement? Come on Marco, I would like an apology for your claim that I am misguided and misleading. To everyone that says the aliasing can be fixed, please tell me how you fix the aliasing without softening the picture. I and thousands of other would love to know how you fix it, not work around it but fix it. It is my OPINION that the Canon's don't cut it simply because when they are in focus they will alias and it's not just fine patterns and textures but any line or edge, specular highlights, things like peoples teeth, when they smile their teeth can sometimes exhibit jagged aliased edges. In Marco's video the models necklace and headband alias whenever they are in focus. The best way to prevent aliasing is to reduce the optical resolution below sensor nyquist, via filtering, diffusion, softening or poor focus. Add to that excessive skew, poor ergonomics and lack of built in professional tools such as peaking and timecode compared to any semi-pro or pro camcorder that is why in my opinion they don't cut it. I stand by my opinion that a large proportion of the clips shot with the Canon's being posted on the web exhibit an excessive degree of softness or are only actually in focus for a brief moment, even some of those shot by Canon experts. Yes, you are all correct that it is not the cameras themselves but the way they are being used, but if this is the way this technology makes people work then I want no part of it. I know that if I were to present a clip shot on a proper video camera and I did not have it in sharp focus or could not keep it in focus, I, as the operator would come in for justifiable criticism. I also look around and see the majority of clips being shot in the dark. Why is this? Yes the Canon's have excellent sensitivity, but is it also because the ease of using wide apertures at night helps hide the problems? If Panasonic, Red, Sony etc were to bring out a video camera that aliased whenever it was in focus they would be shot down in flames and I doubt the camera would sell very well. I will wait for Red and Scarlet or maybe Canon will sort out the aliasing, in the mean time it's not for me. I'm sorry, but I have no desire to go back to the days of having to consider whether the pattern on a shirt or dress will turn into a rainbow of moire if it is in focus or whether the hue of grass in a field will change when I rack focus. I was glad to leave those issue behind when we moved from analog to digital recording. When it's sorted, I'll be at the head of the queue, because yes, I would like the flexibility to be able to pick and choose my DoF, but at the moment that flexibility is not there, you are largely forced to shot at f2.8 or wider to avoid having too much in focus.
To Alister Chapman Part 2
by Marco Solorio
Alister Chapman wrote: "I am not misguided or misleading anyone and I take offense at that comment."

Alister Chapman contradictorily wrote: "Fortunately however the majority of serious production companies realize that focus is important and so rather than saving themselves shed loads of money by buying Canon's, they are continuing to use dedicated video cameras as the primary cameras for the bulk of programming.The hybrid and thus compromised Canon's simply don't cut it."

For one, I don't know where you're getting this out-of-focus rhetoric from. You're basically saying that DSLR camera operators as a whole and/or DSLR technology as a whole will create out-of-focus images, no matter the skill of the operator and/or optical quality of the camera. This is a completely erroneous suggestion. I'm not trying to offend, but merely sticking to facts and reality, as opposed to incorrect blanket statements such as this. Furthermore, saying these "hybrid/compromised Canon's simply don't cut it" is another blanket statement that holds no merit. By "not cutting it", to what degree? Even the vast majority of Red users aren't going to film outs. Yet on the same token, it's a valid statement to say that some DSLR footage has made it to film out in some degree. Bottom line though, you can easily achieve beautiful, sharp, clean images from a DSLR on a large 1080 display, despite what you're saying. We've really seen some excellent stuff on our 55" LED display. Our jaws dropped the first time we saw it on the LED as a matter of fact.

Alister Chapman wrote: "The Canons do very well in low light and I have not disputed that, but not everyone shoots in the dark."

Show me a shooter that shoots in high lit environments 100% of the time. You mean to tell me you never shoot low-light shots, even for aesthetic/creative purposes? But even with that said, my 5D2 is really on-par in high lit environments as my EX1. I never bothered to mention that the 1D Mk IV is rated somewhere around 11.3 stops, higher than that of the EX1. And for what it's worth, "laws of physics", as you say, doesn't always equate to superior optical + digital convergence of perceived visual quality. There are just too many variables at play, stemming from the actual physics end of the spectrum over to the psychological end of the spectrum. I've never disputed the merits of a truly high grade digital camera system, whether it be a RED or a luscious F35. But to dispute the likes of a 5D2 or a 1D4, "simply don't cut it" as you stated, is a fallacy, especially when there is no point of reference you've provided to quantify such remarks.

Lastly, I'll have to echo the other people's comments on your complaining of extreme DOF, or use therein of extreme DOF. I seriously don't know anyone that would NOT want to have as much narrow DOF as possible in their camera. Better to have it there and stop-down, than not have it at all when you would really like to use it (whether for the look or for the extra light gathering). Complaining about a camera/lenses' ability to shoot narrow DOF is like saying, "I only like slow lenses", which to me sounds absurd. David's most recent post spells it out perfectly.
Re: Sorry
by Mads Nybo Jørgensen
Last comment was about the EX and not the slightly higher grade XD - if you get what I mean? :-)
One last thing...
by Justin Goudreau
I'm not knocking the new breed of video camera. I think they're incredible. I can't afford them. If you can afford a better tool and it will do the job use it. Buy it. I probably don't have to tell you this but any lens stopped down will give you a greater depth of field. Deep focus photography can look amazing too. Citizen Kane.. anyone? Bueller...Bueller... Those web clips are predominantly experimental and artsy. We're just pushing these little cameras to see what they can do. We can always throttle back by closing up the iris. Anyway.. I just appreciate the fact that these new tools are available and affordable. Hell Phillip Bloom practically has his own genre of film like von trier and his Dogme95. Philips would be no dialogue, cropped to fake 2:35, every shot has a rack focus or shallow dof, trance chill spiritual music, must use latest gadgetry track slider, and must be served on Vimeo. LOL. I'm more of a dialogue screenplay guy anyway. But I love those little videos Phillip is doing. I thought of a perfect outlet for them. All of those plasmas at restaurants that show network TV should instead have those Bloomers on. I think they are very artistic but I wouldn't want to watch a feature movie like that. No way!
Cutting together of multiple formats
by JT Harvey Jr
Marco,

You mention in one of your responses that you thought the 5D2 cut together well with an EX1. Have you seen it cut together with an EX3 and what are the challenges to cutting both of these formats together so that iis unnoticeable to the end-user?

Thank you!
So when you go to the
by Alister Chapman
So when you go to the cinema to watch a film on a 60ft screen do you expect it to be out of focus? I don't, I expect the action or the actor to be in focus and to stay in focus. I also don't expect the color of the actors clothes to change in hue as they comes in and out of focus, but with a DSLR this appears to be acceptable or desirable. People seem to forget that the first film to get the Academy Award for Best Cinematography was Slum Dog Millionaire, which was shot with the SI-2K, a 2/3" camera, so to those that think the holy grail of cinematography is ultra shallow DoF I say think again. I think people have become so used to watching web clips on small screens that they forget how apparent DoF (apparent, not actual) increases with screen size. On a small web clip the difference between foreground and background sharpness can be difficult to discern, on a large screen it is much more apparent. This is no different to being able to tell when something is in focus on a big screen when you can't tell on a tiny LCD viewfinder. Next time you watch a blockbuster movie look at the DoF, yes it will likely be shallower than ESPN or a soap, but I think you'll find it to be a lot deeper than you expect. I don't always want DoF from here to infinity, sometimes it's nice for rich texture filled vistas, but for narrative work, yes it is nice to throw the background out, but right now it's being taken to such extremes that not only is the background nothing more than a total blur, but the foreground too is never quite sharp. Perhaps I'm a dinosaur, perhaps the Oscar winners are dinosaurs for shooting with 2/3" cameras, but as someone that spends money on getting my eyes sorted by an optician each year I would rather like to see films that are in focus or have a DoF deep enough so that the whole face is in focus and not just the tip of the nose.
Re: YES
by Mads Nybo Jørgensen
To Justin: Hear, Hear - well spoken

To the rest of you: Most of the problems mentioned are very much down to user experience and handling. What ever happened to the three kids that went into the forest with a 16mm? or was it 8? - in any case, there are 125 million good reasons for why it worked... Having said that; will our clients accept the tool and can we make profit on it? That is what matters to me.

All the Best
Mads
Stoking the fire...or just blowing gently?
by Justin Goudreau
I think you should use what you want. My uncles RCA camera that plugged into a giant VHS machine got sharp pictures and were great for Christmas in the 80's but no one ever got excited about the 'video look'. I use to run around with my non-reflex bolex with my parallax view-finder just hoping I'm framed right with the thickest winter jacket wrapped around the camera to blimp the wind-up motor while my buddy recorded double system on a cassette recorder and radio-shack mic. Projected on a screen it looked amazing (to me). Out of focus, shakey, grainy, dreamy frame rates. This made me feel different about moving pictures. These DSLRs and letus adapters put that feeling back in our hands after seeing perfectly focused 30 fps TV for years. Let us artists dream and you guys that are happy with perfectly focused from here to Bolivia images keep shooting for espn and fox news. Maybe it's just a fad, maybe just a new tool. Either way we all benefit from learning getting back to the basics Fstop, iso, and shutter speed. Using filters on lenses not the ones on the little wheel built into your camera. It's certianly easier to pick up an HV 20 to shoot your kids playing and maintain focus while chasing them around. And it's certainly easier shooting a NFL pro quarterback thow a pass and see the tackles in focus from all angles. These tools exist. We already know about them. But now us little guys are able to play with lenses that do things that don't come off camera trucks or out of a rental house. We can have them in our bag and make art.
I am not misguided or misleading
by Alister Chapman
I am not misguided or misleading anyone and I take offense at that comment. It comes down to the laws of physics and optics. If you take a large sensor that is densely populated with very small pixels and then skip large numbers of those pixels when you read the sensor, unless you have a very precise optical lowpass filter you will get aliasing and other issues. Add to that the use of a bayer mask and you reduce resolution to well below the count of the pixels used and color precision will be below that of a 3 chip design. So as I said if you take a large sensor and read it out poorly you end up with a highly compromised system, that statement is based on the laws of physics, my friend, not hearsay or opinion. Apart from the readout issues, small pixels mean reduced dynamic range. The Canons do very well in low light and I have not disputed that, but not everyone shoots in the dark. Now if Canon were to take their sensor expertise and produce a big sensor camera with the right AA filter and dramatically reduce the pixel count using bigger pixels with good microlenses to fill in the gaps, then you would have a world beating video camera. At the moment what canon have is a camera that IMHO works best when it's out of focus. Yes you can post stuff on Vimeo and challenge people to tell the difference between cameras and they will struggle. Vimeo (and other highly compressed video) is a great leveler. There are probably many that can't tell the difference between shots I've done with consumer cameras and high end HD cameras on Vimeo, but you show the same footage in full 1920x1080 on a 50" plasma and the difference is startling. No one is complaining about the quality of the live action in Avatar, and that was shot with 2/3" video cameras, shock, horror! What follows is my opinion, and you don't have to agree, but many of the examples of clips shot with the 5D etc that I see online are clearly out of focus, or only in focus for passing moments. If I'm picking that up on highly compressed web clips, what does the real footage look like on a big screen. If that is the "look" that is desirable then clearly somewhere along the road I have been mislead, as I was taught how to focus and keep the subject in focus, but this doesn't now appear to be fashionable. Fortunately however the majority of serious production companies realize that focus is important and so rather than saving themselves shed loads of money by buying Canon's, they are continuing to use dedicated video cameras as the primary cameras for the bulk of programming.The hybrid and thus compromised Canon's simply don't cut it. That's the reality, that's beyond the hype. Is there a place for the Canon's, absolutely, they are a great teaching and learning tool and for some types of shot they are impossible to beat within at the price, but as a high quality all-round HD camera that you can just go and shoot whatever you want they are far too compromised (unless you like soft pictures).
To Alister Chapman
by Marco Solorio
Alister, I've never said the 5D2 is a better camera than the EX1. I own both cameras, including the Letus adapter for the EX1. I've always said (and suggested) that the EX1 (or any dedicated HD video camera) is a different animal than DSLR cameras, and that one needs to figure out for themselves which camera is best suited for their personal needs, as both platforms offer advantages and disadvantages for particular shooting styles, environments and scenarios.

With that said, I stand by my comment that my 5D2 will absolutely give me a better image in MID to LOW-light environments than my EX1. It's so obvious when you A/B it, that there's no comparison. The larger sensor in the 5D2 is not hype at all. As stated time and time before, does it alias? Yes? Are there some methods to help reducing/avoiding it? Yes. But for you to say, "this large sensor-poor readout is what causes all of Canons issues" is entirely misguided and misleading. One could argue that even the EX1, with its CMOS sensor can also be inferior due to its present (albeit lower) rolling shutter, but nobody, including myself has warranted that as a major crutch in these posts.

Take my Singularity Trailer for example, which was first uploaded on Vimeo last June of 2009. To this date, nobody has figured out which shot the EX1 clip is. Truth is, both cameras inter-cut very well together, namely in sunny, and/or well lit scenes. There's no hype there or in my article, my friend.
Response to James Houk
by keidrych wasley
James Houk said: "I think Allister was, at least in part, alluding to the fact that when you do shoot perfectly in focus (even at just one depth) on the Canon 5D you risk worse aliasing. So, to a certain degree, pushing a very shallow depth of field, and even there having a slightly soft focus may look "better" that if the 5D is perfectly focused."

Having a soft focus shot is completely unacceptable, and unnecessary. Just shoot the 5D at around 4 - 5.6 or above, this is equivalent to a 2.0 - 2.8 on 35mm. Aliasing is only a problem with some backgrounds where detailed patterns are present. If your subject is at a far enough distance from this type of background it is not a problem to throw the background slightly out of focus, thereby solving the aliasing. Some of the talk here about DoF is simply ridiculous. A BIG ACTION FEATURE FILM has been shot on the 5D/1D by Shane Hurlbut, please stop this talk about not being able to focus sufficiently or that the picture quality is not good enough for an LCD!!! His work will be on a 40 foot screen! He has done tests against 35mm/HD cameras and the quality was sufficient for general cinematic release. Does that not say something?

to Russ
by keidrych wasley
by Russ "I really can't see how you can make a decent video with a DSLR -unless you let the action 'happen in the frame' - in other words just using the DSLR as a benign, unmoving camera platform. Most of the stuff I've seen shot on DSLRs show a 'locked off' shot - there is little dynamic camera movement - and the rigs I've seen so far to give the cameraman the ability to introduce movement are pretty ordinary compared with the more mature 'platform' market for vidcams"

Russ, please go to Shane Hurlbuts site and read his blog. He's a top DoP using the 5D/1D for an action film for cinema release. The whole reason he's using these cameras is for their maneuverability. Most things are handheld and moving, lots of dynamic action and camera movement. Also, he speaks highly of the image quality in comparison to 35mm etc.
Recognise that your opinions are not definitive. Look at what people are doing with this camera and the footage they are achieving. Just because you can't achieve what you are looking for does not mean these cameras can only achieve what you've experienced or observed. Choose to be enlightened a little by opening your mind a touch and observing without prejudice what is happening. Other people are pushing the boundaries and it's exciting, their is a whole world beyond your own opinions and views that factually conflict with what you are saying, and their is visual proof. These cameras have problems, but people are working around them and producing stunning, vibrant footage.
Marco you said "However, it's still
by Alister Chapman
Marco you said "However, it's still unclear if it's either 14-bit or 12-bit. I cannot find a Sony resource or whitepaper on the matter that clearly states what the bit-depth of the EX1 sensors are. If you have a link, I'd like to read it. Again though, a rather moot point IMO. If it such a moot point why did you feel it necessary to raise it in the first place, trying to claim that the Canon was superior. You also talk about the way the Canon's use a full frame sensor, well it is full frame in size, but sadly Canon have chosen to read it in such a way as the bulk of the pixels are doing nothing to contribute to the quality of the image, if anything this large sensor-poor readout is what causes all of Canons issues. I thought the article was supposed to look "beyond the hype" not add to the hype.
Shallow Focus
by James Houk
I think Allister was, at least in part, alluding to the fact that when you do shoot perfectly in focus (even at just one depth) on the Canon 5D you risk worse aliasing. So, to a certain degree, pushing a very shallow depth of field, and even there having a slightly soft focus may look "better" that if the 5D is perfectly focused. The point about tightening down on the iris is keen, but because of the Canon 5D's particular aliasing quirk, has it's own ramifications. Another thing that ought to be noted is that the 5D is being used by many to push boundaries, including what can be done for a low budget. Users are impressed with it's low light capabilities, but I must if this, along with a lack of budget, is convincing some users to try and shoot with available light, or with lighting kits that would be considered woefully inadequate for other cameras. The result may quickly be a choice between crushing blacks or opening the iris and losing depth of field. In short, I suggest that some users may be pushing the limits of their lenses, and are apparently satisfied with the ultra shallow depth of field it produces. On the indie side of things, I'll bet there are a lot of guys shooting without an external HD monitor attached via the mini-HDMI port on the 5D. Without this assist, it it likely difficult to discern subtle focus issues on the live view monitor. The ultra shallow depth of field "out of focus nose" issue is a real one - I've encountered it with my EX1 Letus combo. In situations where I can't up the wattage in the room, I've had to either increase gain, or open the iris to 1.4, else risk crushing too much black. Had I been able to add enough light to shoot at 4.0 or 5.6 I would have been able to obtain a nice bokeh in the background, while ensuring that the subject was never out of focus. I definitely think that this is all hackery. I'd much rather (as Russ would rather I do) have a RED or a Varicam. But even the RED is a hack. My Letus is certainly a hack. But my Letus costs a fraction of what the RED costs. And the RED costs a fraction of what 35mm film costs. Do they all get the same results? Hell no. But let's be honest - I'm a young professional. I can't afford a RED yet. And without a reel the only way to get close to one is to spend years as an underling performing the scut. Nothing wrong with that, and you learn a lot from your elders. But in a world where I can buy a camera for a fraction of that cost that still gives me enough functionality to prove myself - I'll take the lead and buy that camera. I'd rather spend 3 years with a hack camera building a reel that shows what I could do with a "real" camera than spend that time purely working my way up to a 2nd AC for a real camera (although I'd still love to do that. I know I'd learn a lot). In short, I'm not naive. I know that my 16k invested in an EX1, a Letus, and glass has nothing on the RED. Nor will another 2.5k on a Canon 5D give me that functionality. But it will keep me fed, and allow me to prove myself so that when I can get my hands on a RED, Scarlet, or next generation ARRI, I'll have the skills and the eye, and the big adjustment will just be buttons, DIT, and adjusting to a new set of dynamic ranges and camera response. And folks, here's the other key... it comes down to our audience. Who is watching the product? At the end of the day, just because we on this forum can tell the difference doesn't necessarily mean the audience can. Or, for the medium that they can. Tell me you're shooting with the 5D for youtube and vimeo and DVD - I won't blink. Tell me you want to project your Canon 5D movie on a 50foot screen at Sundance, and I might be concerned. It's all about what tool will work for the medium, the budget, and the audience.
Alister Chapman: "I don't always want
by David Roth Weiss
Alister Chapman: "I don't always want DoF from here to infinity, sometimes it's nice for rich texture filled vistas, but for narrative work, yes it is nice to throw the background out, but right now it's being taken to such extremes that not only is the background nothing more than a total blur, but the foreground too is never quite sharp."

Clearly, you're watching way too many amateur films Alister. Misuse of the minimal DOF by those who can't control it is not a shortcoming of the technology, it's a shortcoming of the operators. The improper use of the minimal DOF achieved in video with the DSLRs is no different than the improper use of minimal DOF that would be achieved by a still photographer shooting wide open and focusing on the tip of a person's nose. No one would hesitate to suggest the still photographer made a mistake, so why does the same mistake in video mode suddenly illicit lots of moaning about the technology being at fault? I would suggest that you withhold judgment on the technology until you can see it in use by people who really know how to put it use.
Re: Slumdog
by Mads Nybo Jørgensen
Hey Alister,

Yep, and the man who shot Slumdog also shot "Festen", which is one of my top-10 favourite movies of all time - I can't remember whether they used a PD-100 for the job? It might even have been a VX-1000 mini-DV - but it told a great story. I had the opportunity to give a tiny bit of advice on Slumdog (payment, 1 cup of coffee) when they were discussing whether to use the SI or some other HD format (IMHO the alternative was a much lower resolution, which I will be killed for if I were to reveal). However, the concerns in that discussion about using the SI was more about the overall size of the kit and how to safe-guard the data throughout the process. I have yet to see Slumdog, so I can't comment. But honestly, Anthony Dod Mantle for never being afraid of trying new formats and new methods certainly deserved that Oscar - and so does his trusted team. In any case, I actually find it slightly "funny" that the comparisons here have been more about the 5D v XDCAM, than 5D versus something really serious, such as a RED of F900 etc... Just a small thought about professional protectionism. ;-)

All the Best
Mads
Oh Russ, what are we going to do with you?
by steve martin
I think he's jealous.
Re: Nightclub footage and fast lenses
by Marco Solorio
Justin, many thanks for the very nice comments. Yes, I was shooting wide open with booth lenses; f/1.4 with the 35mm f/1.4L and the f/2 with the 135mm f/2L (which BTW, I absolutely love using the 135mm lens when I can). ISO was maxed out (I think at 3200 ISO, but varied between shots), which at the time was uncontrollable due to the original firmware not allowing manual control of anything (this was back in January of 2009). You had to do a couple of tricks and hit the AE* Lock button to ensure the exposure would hold. It was a huge pain, but luckily Canon released a firmware update for full manual control to resolve all that.

As for output on a large display, it looks excellent in some shots and a bit noisier in others, just depends on the shot and lighting. That being said on a PVM20L5/1 CRT and a 55" LED for reference. The brighter shots, like the DJs on their computers look really nice and pop. But some of the darker shots on the dance floor do present some compression blocking and noise in shadow areas. And of course, every person would have their own opinion, good or bad, of how it looked if they were here seeing it with me in the edit suite. Regardless, I think for what it is, and how little light there was in some of the shots, it really looks good on the 55" LED.

You'll obviously get some stop-loss using the 7D as compared to the 5D2, by how much, I'm not exactly sure. Couple that with an f/2.8 lens and it's starting to get dark. But if you can get that f/1.4 lens, you'll be in better hands.
Some comment replies
by Marco Solorio
Alister Chapman: My apologies as for thinking the EX1 sensor was 10-bit. I thought I recalled it as being such, but I'm mistaken. However, it's still unclear if it's either 14-bit or 12-bit. I cannot find a Sony resource or whitepaper on the matter that clearly states what the bit-depth of the EX1 sensors are. If you have a link, I'd like to read it. Again though, a rather moot point IMO. And I may be able to attain greater latitude in my EX1 in varying scenarios, but it doesn't do so in every scenario, namely in mid/low-light environments. The EX1's 1/2" sensor just can't compete against the full-frame sensor of the 5D2 as soon as light exposure lessens. Ultimately, the EX1 gets noisier much faster than the 5D2. Understandably, a different topic than dynamic range within each camera's ISO sweet spot, but not completely out of the overall picture-quality equation nonetheless.

Mads Nybo Jørgensen wrote: "However, you are absolutely right that using a digital still camera is as ridiculous an idea as people wanting to use their TV set to browse the internet with, to watch films & listen to music on their mobile phones and making phone calls through their PC - what will be next?"
I think Russ took your rhetorical question as literal, rather than as its underlying facetious implication. ;-)

Tim Wilson: Oh I know, that poor guy at the 2:00 mark is painful to watch. I almost didn't want to keep that shot in the edit, but we've all been there! Makes for good reality show drama, LOL! Thanks for all the kind words, Tim. It's appreciated! =)
Oh Russ, what are we going to do with you?
by Marco Solorio
To Russ Stiggants: The main problem here, Russ, are a few things...

1. You don't know how to engage in worthwhile discussion that uses balanced perspectives and is proactive.
2. You don't validate your rhetoric with any ounce of true credibility or foundation.
3. You're dismissing DSLR technology as a whole and not seeing the larger picture where these cameras can excel in.

Basically, you're blindly arguing to one side on the matter. Rather than spewing the ignorant notion that shooting with DSLR cameras is a worthless waste of time in all regards, it would be much wiser to argue along the lines of, "I vastly prefer dedicated HD cameras for the kind of work I personally do and feel DSLR technology just doesn't fit in my working model." If that was the case, we'd respect that, and understand that. But misinforming the audience that DSLR technology is worthless technology from all angles is completely erroneous.

For example, you wrote about ergonomics, saying, "The 'on the shoulder' betacam-style cameras are much better as the cam becomes part of you, not an appendage in front of you. To that extent, even these 'prosumer' cams have difficulties, but nowhere near the extent of difficulties of these DSLRs".

There isn't a person on this site that would argue that a Betacam-style shoulder-mount camera isn't the ideal form-factor when, well, shooting in shoulder mount form. But show me a person that shoots shoulder mount 100% of the time! If they do, they're not making a living in the business. As soon as the camera is mounted to sticks, a jib, a steadicam, a control rig, or whatever, then the Betacam-style form-factor goes out the window. These small DSLR bodies are widely loved for using them in odd situations that larger cameras just can't operate in. Furthermore, I have a lot more controllability with my 5D2 mounted to my 12' crane than I do with a full size ENG/EFP camera. Same goes for steadicam rigging. A DSLR camera is AWESOME on a steadicam-like rig. Even more so when I need to "fly" and "twist" the camera by itself, quickly around an object/person... easily done with a DSLR, not so with with a 35-pound beast.

Here's a prime example from the TV show "24". Chew on this for a minute:

http://vimeo.com/9243537

Now, you honestly believe that a full-size shoulder cameras would be a better solution in that shooting scenario? Seriously?

That's my point. To blindly say that a dedicated HD video camera is the ONLY solution to use, is one-sided, ignorant and entirely misleading.

Russ Stiggants wrote, "I really can't see how you can make a decent video with a DSLR".
Enough said. The tool doesn't make the creative masterpiece, it's the user using the tool.
Unbelievable.
Marco: The EX cameras all use
by Alister Chapman
Marco: The EX cameras all use 14 bit sensors with 14 bit A/D.s

While the Canons may be using 1920x1080 pixels that doesn't make them 1920x1080 resolution. Full 1920x1080 resolution on any correctly set up camera would be around 1000TVL, any higher and you get aliasing. The Canons suffer from aliasing, yet still fail to achieve 1000TVL, this is to do with the sampling and bayer mask. It is almost impossible to make any meaningful resolution measurements because of the aliasing yet you only have to look at side by side, like for like images from an EX and Canon to see the the big resolution difference. An EX resolves around 950 TVL, I would put the Canons quite a way below this at around 750TVL. I don't understand how Marco you are able to get greater latitude from a camera that you admit has significantly lower dynamic range? Remember 1 stop is twice as much, so you rate the Canon at 8.5 stops and the Ex at 10 which means the EX can handle a light range 2.5 times greater than the Canon. This suggests that you are being more careful with the way you shoot with the Canon than you are with the EX. Maybe the EX's downfall is that it's too easy, you turn it on and you shoot, with the Canon's you have to work at it. If you spent the time with the EX using the correct gamma for the scene you would be able to gain superior latitude.
site censorship
by Russ Stiggants
My response to Mads and Marco was reasoned and well weighted. I defend their right to be robust, but equally, my right of reply is equally valid. I trust the 'personal slams' perpetrated by Mads and Marco against me, which are far more inflammatory than my response, will also now be removed. The value of the Cow forums are in question if dissenting voices from professionals cannot be aired.


COW ADMIN RESPONSE: Read our Policies and Code of Conduct, Russ. We have moderated our forums for 15 years. Always have, always will. Especially when people come in and want to hurl personal insults as you did to Marco, Mads, and others who disagreed with your beliefs. You can say you didn't but that doesn't make it true. When you call people wannabees and worse, and belittle people's knowledge because you don't agree with it, then you are going to get moderated. Don't like it. Then go somewhere else where the policies are less onerous to you. We won't be changing our policies.
Nightclub footage and fast lenses
by Justin Goudreau
Hey Marco, Great article and I have been following your work for years. First as a digital guru in editing and now as we enter the dslr filmmaking era. I was wondering, looking at you night club footage I see the lenses it was shot with. Were you shooting wide-open on that 1.4? If so how was the quality on say a 1080p 46" monitor? I'm planning on shooting a friends short film and would love to shoot with available light but I don't want it to be to grainy. May I ask what ISO you were shooting at in the Night Club. I have a 7d and a 17-50 2.8 IS lens. I was probably going to stay fixed at around 25-35mm. The film is going to be one long take, handheld throughout a house. I could rent the 35mm 1.4 pretty cheap but I lose the IS which might help a bit with handheld/redrock shoulder mount.

Anyway I was wondering:
1. shot at 1.4?
2. What ISO
3. was it high quality enough on a big monitor to pass for an indie film at festivals?

Anybody know how many stops a 5d benefits over a 7d?
Mads, thank you for your reasoned
by Russ Stiggants
Mads, thank you for your reasoned response. Yes I agree with you regarding your analogy regarding TV/PC use. And yes, I agree that low-cost HD cams do potentially damage the RED market and potentially the sales of the Sony and Canon dedicated video-cam markets, but I think the greater 'usability' of the dedicated vidcams will continue to win out. Interestingly, the Sony Z series and the Canon X series vidcams are in fact harder to use than the betacams and the like because you must 'stand behind' the camera, using the flip-out screens, or the eyepiece, both of which are not ergonomic. The 'on the shoulder' betacam-style cameras are much better as the cam becomes part of you, not an appendage in front of you. To that extent, even these 'prosumer' cams have difficulties, but nowhere near the extent of difficulties of these DSLRs - without mentioning the difficulty of getting the image right in terms of camera settings in the first place (the posts to this site are most illuminating in that respect). I really can't see how you can make a decent video with a DSLR -unless you let the action 'happen in the frame' - in other words just using the DSLR as a benign, unmoving camera platform. Most of the stuff I've seen shot on DSLRs show a 'locked off' shot - there is little dynamic camera movement - and the rigs I've seen so far to give the cameraman the ability to introduce movement are pretty ordinary compared with the more mature 'platform' market for vidcams. Overall, I think we're seeing 'value add' by the stills market, eg: buy this stills cam and you can make video too! Yes you can, but don't rely on it - that's all I'm saying. - and sorry - I see that I pushed the submit button twice on my last post.
I have not belittled anyone, David
by Russ Stiggants
I have not belittled anyone, David - if anything the vindictiveness against me is plainly on view. If you believe that Marco's comment of me..."you're the epitome of a worthless, hidden-identity troll" and Mads's comment..."Best Wishes for a speedy recovery..." in the context of his post uphold your 'standards of etiquette' then clearly your understanding of 'standards' are misinformed. Who has got 'personal' here? I invite you to read my first post which put the point that video cameras are far superior than stills cameras when shooting video, and I believed it was important to bring some sanity to the debate.
further, I have not belittled the qualifications of both posters, but merely put an opposing point of view. In my censored post, I made this point: The fact is that kids who are scraping together their dollars to make a not insignificant purchase (and others who may be making purchases for companies and the like) look at these forums for guidance, and it is legitimate for them to know that there are very much simpler ways of making video than using this hybrid technology. As a 'shooter' of video and not a 'knife' (editor) as Marco apparently is, I only want those contemplating a significant investment to think hard about their purchase. In my view as a cameraman over 30 years, this hybrid technology, purchased for its so-called 'video' capability, currently has pitfalls which the unwary, led by the unknowing, will likely result in unhappy outcomes. My intent has always been to make those who are looking at this technology to see the difficulties they are likely to confront. Want to shoot something decent? Use a VIDEO camera.


COW ADMIN RESPONSE: Russ, if we are to take you at your word that you have not been getting personal and demeaning others as you say in this post, then all we have to do is look at this post to see that is simply not true. Working from the back to the front of your post we find: You say "want to shoot something decent? Use a VIDEO camera" as if everyone using things you don't approve of are creating crap. I will never forget the day I called Jim Kelty (a FILM cinematographer who has posted comments to this article) and pointed him to Vincent Laforet's work with the Canon 5D Mark II. Jim was so impressed, he bought one and has using it. Does either Vincent or Jim shoot crap? No. (But you sure allude to that in this and other posts, so don't let facts get in the way of your opinions, Russ.) Then you state that articles like Marco's are for "the unwary led by the unknowing." Marco is one of the most savvy users we know. He is clearly much more aware of what's up than you are, Russ. You slap at these cameras as "hybrid technology" that require less simple shooting methods and then parade out things like the RED as a viable alternative. But we recall when RED had no audio support whatsoever and that users were scratching their heads in befuddlement as to how to work with RED files. It took many users a LOT of work to get it right. (Not saying that RED is a bad option; merely that many good things require work on the part of the user. Why did people use it? Because it gave great results at a far lower price point than the competition. Just like the new DSLRs.) As to personal attacks you called people wannabees and worse in this thread, Russ. We have removed the worst of it all, as we always do.
I agree with David
by Mads Nybo Jørgensen
Russ, for once I have to agree with David. It was the name-calling and the negative personal judgements, rather than of the subject that did it for me. If only you had been funny about, I might have understood you. However, you are absolutely right that using a digital still camera is as ridiculous an idea as people wanting to use their TV set to browse the internet with, to watch films & listen to music on their mobile phones and making phone calls through their PC - what will be next? On a more serious note; by launching a low-cost high-end HD camera will this not damage the RED market more than it will make in-roads into markets of the heavy-weights? And by reducing that market, will it not also split the R&D funding available to the low-cost camera producers? Or will Canon and its likes just continue to make very good Digital SLR's that happens to be able to record a bit of video and thereby miss a bigger market all together? Maybe that part of the discussion should be in the Business & Marketing forum?

All the Best
Mads

PS: Dear Mother Cow, I do miss having the generic layout of the forums in the comment section - easier overview and to see who has posted what.
Shot down!!!
by Tim Wilson
I've watched this quite a few times, and my heart bleeds for the brother at the 2 minute mark who goes down in flames. It's especially painful to see the women turn to each other afterward and shiver. Gruesome. Very well captured, though. :-) I was struck throughout that you made very little effort to preserve the frame, in the handheld version of a locked shot. While no whip pans or anything, you did quite a bit of moving through the crowd. The woman dancing as shown in the thumbnail above was doing a lot of moving, with a dress with LOTS of detail. Through it all, no anti-aliasing that I see. (Anybody out there - am I wrong? Not a rhetorical question - I really don't see any. Do any of you?) Marco, you have clearly followed your own advice for keeping anitialiasing under control! Again, lovely work both on the article and the movies. Thanks.
Russ Stiggants: "My response to Mads
by David Roth Weiss
Russ Stiggants: "My response to Mads and Marco was reasoned and well weighted."

You clearly have no idea of the standards of etiquette on The Cow or of the qualifications of the those whom you've attempted to belittle. The fact is, your comments toward Marco and Mads are personal and abusive rather than objective and helpful. Please, either add value to the conversation, or just go away.
Re: Letus
by Marco Solorio
To James Houk: Yes, you've brought up a very good point. It had escaped me that you were not referring to the Letus Extreme (which is what I have, and automatically assumed, to my own fault) and not the Letus Ultimate, which is in fact a much superior model indeed. With that said, it sounds like we're both in agreement however that it definitely needs pampering, but when done correctly, will produce excellent results. If only it wasn't such a massive conglomerate of gear. It's too bad they haven't invented a way to make the entire adapter the size of a pack of playing cards! Simply mounting a tiny Nikon 50mm lens is a monstrosity. But again, if done right, the results are much better than the fixed lens of the EX1 itself in most cases (and probably even more cases with the Ultimate due to its sharper image).

For me personally, I just don't really shoot with the Letus anymore. It's just such an event to put together, to control and to carry around. I can set up the 5D2 much quicker, with a much smaller footprint and in the end, acquire better looking footage. Still though, I can't bring myself to sell my Letus!
Re: Great article
by Marco Solorio
Hi JT,

Thanks! Yes, the steadicam-like device I'm using is called the Magiqcam, but sadly they're no longer in business. Some early models got a bad rap, but fact is, they made a pretty cool dual-arm rig for a great price. I have a Glidecam 4000 + Varizoom DV Sportster combo rig, but I personally like the Magiqcam better.
Great article
by JT Harvey Jr.
Marco,

Would you please describe the components of the rig you are wearing in the title photograph?

Thank you!
Re: Boolean Flag
by Marco Solorio
Much appreciated, Steve! =)
Boolean Flag
by steve martin
I love it. Thanks for the great article!
Re: Codec - price
by Marco Solorio
Hi Mads,

Happy to see you're getting some answers here! In all reality, the codec (whether EX1 or 5D2) will produce artifacts in post if you really push it. At 4:2:0 8-bit, there's just not a lot of room there. Compression blocking may become more apparent as well when pushing it. And by pushing it, I refer to sever color-timing/grading. Here are some things that will help you out though (at least with the 5D2)...

- Change your picture profile to a more linear setting. Reduce the saturation and definitely reduce the contrast. By default, the 5D2 is overly contrasty and saturated. Creating a more linear profile will help maintain some latitude in post for color-timing and such.

- If you're shooting mostly white in the shot, change the 5D2 to Highlight Priority Mode. This will increase your latitude in those whites from blowing out. Keep it in check though as it'll produce some added noise in the shadows, if shadows exists.

- Batch-transcode your shot footage to 10-bit 4:2:2 ProRes HQ. This will give you a tiny hair of added playing field when color-timing the edited footage. You shouldn't be editing in the native H.264 codec anyway, but regardless, using the higher ProRes HQ codec may help out a little.

Hmmm, I might be missing something here off the top of my head, but that should get you in the right direction!

Oh and FWIW, one option for "client dubs" of the raw footage for them to take would be the use of an external BluRay drive, if they themselves have a BluRay reader. If it's a repeating client and the need is high for such dubs, then that could be a viable solution. Alternatively, the client can buy their own CF cards to which you can copy the footage from your CF cards to theirs. Just thinking out loud.
Re: Codec - price
by Mads Nybo Jørgensen
Hey Marco,

Thank you for extensive reply to all if not most of the comments.

In regards to Codec I was after the quality of the image itself, which there has been several good answers to. But I was also after how it handles in post - i.e. I found in the early days that going from Sony Z1 HDV to HD-CAM created in certain circumstances noise to a level where it could be described as artefacts. So I was really after "real-life" experiences, including all aspects of the Post.

James Houk kindly covered the issue of cost. Quite a few of our clients like the idea of taking the footage with them. In our scenario there is not always time to copy or dub to another format, so to see cost of media drop to the same price as HD-Cam tape, maybe eventually the same as DV tape (if only :-)) is very encouraging.

Thank you to all

All the Best
Mads
Answers to some questions
by Marco Solorio
Andrew Laparra: Thanks for the kind remarks, Andrew. Glad the article helped you out!

Ed Fabry: Unfortunately 00:08-00:09 is not the EX1 shot, but thanks for asking! I actually have a lot of parts that I modularize together, depending on what kind of shoot I'm doing. I have a "beast" handheld rig (weighs a ton), a medium sized rig and a more compact rig that doesn't use a lot of parts. I personally prefer a 7" LCD screen when shooting; it doesn't mean my head has to be on the camera and I feel I can adapt to my surrounds a little better/safer, but that's just me. I know a ton of people love the loupe eyepiece concept.

Alister Chapman: I definitely wouldn't discount the aliasing (or the rolling shutter) issues. There are ways around it, but the point being is that they can be there and should be handled accordingly. And yes, the resolution is in fact full 1920x1080. Dynamic range is a topic that can go back and forth though between the EX1 and 5D2 however. The EX1 has about 10 stops and the 5D2 has about 8.5 stops. However, as an owner of both, I can achieve latitude on my 5D2 that my EX1 just can't handle, especially in low-light situations. The 5D2 also has a pretty good highlight priority mode if you're shooting overly white shots to help bring in latitude for those whites. Don't forget too that although the image is ultimately reduced to 1080 HD, it is in fact coming from an incredibly high sensitive 14-bit, 35mm full-frame sensor compared to the EX1's 10-bit 1/2" sensors. As far as latitude goes, I'd generally give the blue ribbon to my 5D2 over my EX1. But again, I feel this is a moot topic as they're both exceptional in dynamic range, depending on shooting variables.

Alvin Remmers: Thanks for the kudos, Alvin. The article says I designed that mount, but I did not (note to editorial staff =). I bought that mount from FilmTools.com. It's called the Gripper 490 with 3/8 ballmount and 6" suction cup.

Suchet: You've hit the nail on the head. The possibilities are really endless with this technology. Sure there are some drawbacks, but the versatility is amazing and the quality is great for what it is and how much they cost.

Jim Kelty: These DSLR cameras have progressive sensors. There is no interlacing at all with these cameras. The easiest way to prove this is shooting something that moves quickly in the frame. Pausing said clip, interlacing would have horizontal fields to make up the moving object, but with the DSLR footage, the moving object is clean of that. No interlacing at all. If an app shows the clip as being interlace in the information, then the applied metadata for the clip (really just a boolean flag) itself is incorrect or corrupted. Definitely progressive!

James Houk: I too own an EX1 with a Letus adapter and a slew of Nikon F and Canon FD lenses that I can mount to it. In fact, I used that setup (and still own it) prior to owning the 5D2. I completely agree with your comments on the virtues of the EX1 over the 5D2, except for one, with regard to dynamic range, as noted above to my comments to Alister (not so much a disagreement, but rather a moot topic). And with the Letus, I introduce less edge-to-edge sharpness and stop-loss, as small as it is. If aliasing and/or rolling shutter isn't a factor in the shot, then the 5D2 produces a much better image for me than the EX1 does, Letus or not. And FWIW, XLR inputs are a moot point for me personally, since I'm using the Juiced Link device to gain said XLR inputs. Obviously not as ideal as my EX1's XLR inputs, but a solution nonetheless. To add to your other comment, the audio codec in the 5D2 is uncompressed (up from 44.1kHz to industry standard 48kHz with the new 2.0.3 firmware update). You wrote, "And the shallow focus of the 5D can be accomplished on the EX as well, with a DOF adapter. In many cases this combination is actually superior to the 5D." Unfortunately I have to highly disagree with this. My EX1 + Letus + Lens combo weighs a TON. A real pain in the neck actually. Couple that with stop-loss, edge-to-edge softness, battery swapping for the (noisy) Letus motor and the 5D2 is the clear winner for lens interchangeability, mobility, clarity and quality. I agree though that the EX1 can be a better ENG/EFP camera in most situations. I make that clear whenever any asks.

Mads Nybo Jørgensen: Yeah, comparing the codec qualities between the 5D2 and EX1 is a little tough only because, well, when it comes down to it, both are quite compressed (35Mb/s for the EX1 and somewhere around 38Mb/s for the 5D2) and both are 4:2:0. Purely from a codec standpoint though, I'd say the EX1 might have the edge in some areas, but it's kind of a moot point. What exact cost comparisons did you want to get info on?

Alister Chapman: Yup, I agree with what you're saying in your second comment.

Steve Martin: As noted in my above reply to Jim, it has to be some kind of metadata error, me thinks. The footage is definitely 100% progressive. Either the boolean flag is corrupted in the file's metadata or it's just incorrect. I'm siding with the latter!
Re: Another layer of complexity
by Marco Solorio
To Russ Stiggants: Your closed-mindedness precludes you from really seeing the big picture here. For cost-to-quality ratio, these DSLR cameras provide, a gateway for many low/no-budget filmmakers to finally achieve cinematic looking HD video without the high price tag. Personally, it sounds like you're intimidated by the technology. And it's not just low/no-budget filmmakers adopting DSLR. The show 24 has been using the 5D Mk II and 1D Mk IV for their shows. Lucas Film is even interested in the 5D2 and is working with Philip Bloom to shoot a movie using just the 5D2 itself. Is the camera perfect? Heck no. But does it offer some features and functionality that even dedicated HD/4K cameras can't provide? Yes, it can. Comparing/dismissing DSLRs to a RED or an F35 or whatever your flavor is , is a waste of time and bandwidth. They're just completely different beasts at different cost ratios for different purposes. I think you'd be very surprised how much DSLR footage you've actually seen and haven't even realized it.
SDHC for SxS
by James Houk
Relating to cost per minute... If you're not shooting overcrank footage on the EX (or not doing more than 46fps), you can use SDHC cards on the EX1 and EX3. Both Hoodman and Sony make the adapter ($50 or $100 dollars respectively), and it's very reliable. You do have to use particular brands of SDHC cards that have tested well for this purpose, but the Transcend 16GB cards are about $50 apiece. 32GB Transcend cards are about $135 apiece. That's potentially cheaper than some CF cards (help me out here guys - I don't own a 5D yet, don't know which cards are preferred brandwise) for the same size. A 16gb card give you about 56minutes of XDCAM-EX recording in HQ mode. 32 is about 112 minutes. Granted, owning offical SxS cards is prudent if you need to shoot 60fps overcrank. Investing in one $500 or less card may cover this need. Also, a second Hoodman adapter may add flexibility for the second slot to your workflow in the field. So that's another $50. As for the XDCAM codec, I find it to be rock solid. I've never managed to break it. It has great lattitude, and doesn't fall apart with repetitive texture patterns (leaves, grass, waves). Also, the HD-SDI out means you can bypass the XDCAM-EX encoding, and record directly to a portable device or computer with the codec of your choice. On one set I recorded greenscreen footage directly to a computer using a Blackmagic HD extreme card and the ProRes422 HQ codec. This gave me more color information to work with for keying later. And the 5D *can't* give you that flexibility.
Better is definitely subjective
by James Houk
I concur with Alister here. And the shallow focus of the 5D can be accomplished on the EX as well, with a DOF adapter. In many cases this combination is actually superior to the 5D - better audio, higher dynamic range, no aliasing, and a rock solid recording codec. Where the EX1 and a DOF adapter fall short is in low light situations. For a video camera the EX1 has exceptional low light capabilities, but it simply can't compare the the 35mm sensor on the 5D. The EX1 is also very bulky (when used with a DOF adapter) compared to the 5D, and this can be annoying in tight spaces. Also, the EX1 is far more flexible than the 5D. For people doing narrative work where each shot can be composed and focus marks made, the 5D is fine, but if you do ENG or reality style shooting, the 5D's shallow focus can quickly become a liability. While I enjoy doing narrative work, and have served as a DP on three small feature films (HD Video), a large percentage of my paying work is not narrative. I shoot reality, documentary, and EPK footage where I don't have total control of the environment or timing of events. The EX1 allows me to get the shot quickly, and - if desired - to keep everything in focus at the same time. As for the issue of cost of shooting - the P2 camera media is expensive. But the adapters for the EX series camera mean you can shoot on inexpensive SDHC cards, and log them like tapes if desired. This means you won't pay more to shoot with the EX than with the Canon 5D. Granted - the cost of acquisition may be higher with the EX - but depending on what primes you decide to buy for the 5D, you could come out about the same. As Alister said, it's about picking the right tool for the job. I'm considering adding a 5D to my camera lineup because of it's low light capabilities, and it's flexibility to go unnoticed in places where professional video cameras are unobtrusive. But I won't stop using my EX1 anytime soon.
Hey Alister, That is interesting feedback.
by Mads Nybo Jørgensen
Hey Alister,

That is interesting feedback. However you didn't answer the question about codecs? - reason for asking this is that in my opinion the EX codec is just really a beefed up HDV signal, which doesn't do too well in the blacks. There is also the thorny issue of cost per minute? Agreed, neither of those two makes up for the "ease of use" - but there is always the flip camera if usability was to be my motivation. ;-) And one would assume, as we've already seen, that development would be thrown at the HDSLR cameras to develop tools to match that of their competitors.

All the Best
Mads
I like and will keep both types of camera
by Robert Mueller
I use a Panasonic GH-1 together with my Canon XH-A1 and as long as I have the audio inputs / controls, built in ND filters, 20x fixed Zoom lens on the canon PLUS the flexibility and light sensitivity of the Panasonic I am quite happy. I even mix the interlaced/progressive footage without a problem. It is getting deinterlaced in the end anyway, editing with Avid Media Composer 4. I could have lived without the HDSLR but now I that I am used to it, I want to keep it.
What is "better"
by Alister Chapman
There's your problem, how do you define "better"? When comparing a Canon DSLR against an EX, technically the EX is easily the better camera, higher resolution, higher dynamic range, no aliasing, selectable gamma curves etc. But the Canon's do bring shallow DoF to the table and for some this is their definition of "better". It really depends on what you are shooting and how you intend to use it. The DSLR's force you to take time over your shots, you have to work within careful limitations, you must think about it. If you have the time this is a good thing and brings back old skills which were being lost. But an EX used in the same way can also produce beautiful pictures. If your in a hurry, the EX is less likely to produce a "bad" picture as it is more tolerant of exposure and focus and won't alias. As always it a case of choosing the right tool for the job.
Very interesting posts on the subject.
by Mads Nybo Jørgensen
Very interesting posts on the subject. I understand and can see the aliasing issues highlighted. However setting the Aliasing aside which can be fixed, and I know I'll be kicking off a storm here, but in my opinion from the test shots available the material coming of the Canon 5D looks better than the EX1/3 codec?
What is other peoples opinion on this? And I am still curious as the cost of shooting on a Canon 5D v EX/P2?
Reverie Canons Demo Movie
by Jay Valentine
http://www.usa.canon.com/dlc/controller?act=GetArticleAct&articleID=2326

You need to add this for your article to be complete.

JR

EX1 vs 5Dmk2 & DOF Adapter Consideration
by James Houk
These workflow questions about the EX1/EX3 vs the 5D seem to be coming up more frequently. I'm an EX1 owner, and I have a Letus Ultimate adapter to boot, with Ziess and Nikon primes for it. The Letus, of course, gives me great shallow depth of field on the EX1. I don't have a 5Dmk2... yet. I love my EX1, and won't be selling it anytime soon, but there are several situations it doesn't compare well to the 5D in. For me, the biggest strength of the 5D would be low light. In daylight, or with film/video lighting, I can usually get great stuff from the EX1 with the adapter. But at night, or with a small lighting package and a need to overcrank to 60fps... and losing stops from the DOF adapter... the 5D would be appreciated. Also, the 5d has a smaller footprint, and can fit in corners and tight spaces better. This becomes ever more accurate if you use a Letus on the EX1.

But, here are things that make the EX a better camera:
*Better placement - using dedicated physical buttons - for video controls. As someone else mentioned, if you do ENG/reality style shooting, the EX will serve you better.
*None of the aliasing issues the 5D has
*Less of a rolling shutter concern. Yes, the EX is still a CMOS, but it has far fewer pixels to run through.
*Proper XLR audio inputs with mic/line and phantom 48.
*HD-SDI out. HD Component out.
*Timecode/Genlock on the EX3 (not EX1)
*EX series cameras have a great peaking function to assist with focus. Also, with the HD outs, attaching an HD focus monitor (like a marshal with peaking) is a possibility.
*The dyanmic range of the EX series cameras is excellent.
Canon D5 mkii
by jim kelty
I bought one and have done three shoots overseas with it and love it despite the ergonomic problems. However, this camera shoots interlaced, not progressive, at least that is the format the clips are in when you drag them into Final Cut, unless I'm missing something? Would love to know.
Re: hey, stills guy wannabee video guy
by Marco Solorio
Russ, you're the epitome of a worthless, hidden-identity troll that visits forums, purely to criticize and offend, as opposed to engaging in worthy, positive discussion. Nowhere did I say DSLR cameras are outright better than dedicated HD cameras. Ridiculous. I've always said they're different animals, holding their own merits in some perspectives. If you'd actually read these posts from everyone, you'd understand that very clearly. Every camera has had (or has) its own unique pitfalls and limitations. Even the Red One, when first released, didn't have any audio recording capabilities! But these technologies grow, develop, mature and blossom into great tools... can't say the same for you unfortunately. Well, except maybe for the tool part.

I'm intimated by video technology? Are you smoking crack? I've consulted for the likes of AJA, BMD, Apple and Pixar with a passion for this stuff. I live it everyday, man. Shoot, some of the hardware/software you buy and use may have been in direct reflection from my help to some of these companies. If I was intimidated by video technology, then I've wasted the last two decades in this industry nurturing my love of video, audio and visual effects production to share back to the community through forums, articles, reviews and speaking events. A wannabe? I think not, sir. Unless of course the 100+ clients I've served over the years think otherwise. I'll refer to them first before taking your 1¢ word for it.

As for your "heed" to all potential "stills guys who want to graduate to video production", it's completely misinformation you're spewing. Your close-mindedness is so thick that you're completely closing off a very viable option to the puzzle. Whether dedicated video, or DSLR, they EACH have their own merits and pitfalls. For some, a dedicated HD camera will clearly be a better choice. For others, a DSLR is the winner. It all depends on what you need to do and how to do it. If you had any insight in the matter, you'd know this, rather than completely cutting off a platform (DSLR) that has clearly won the hearts of so many shooters, both veteran and novice alike. More so than even the VX1000 and DVX100 revolutions, combined. If you can't see it, you're blind to the matter. I swear, you actually sound more like a corporate shill than anything else, afraid of what DSLR technology is bringing to the masses. There is literally no logic in blindly saying DSLR technology is a compromise technology and that one should, "hands down" use a dedicated HD video camera, period, end of story. The word for that is called, "ignorance".

Seriously, who are you? What do you have to show for yourself? Have you ever brought anything worthwhile to the video community as a whole?


COW ADMIN NOTE: We removed Russ Stiggant's posts as we grew weary of the personal slams -- again. Bye, Russ.
What planet?
by Mads Nybo Jørgensen
Hey Russ: Frankly you are talking out of your backside - you've got no clue. This semi abusive rubbish belongs in another kinder-garden. Either put a pro argument forward or take a hike. Out of interest, we've had these kind of discussions on HD High-end forum (the one you wouldn't know if you've spend your time on the VHS forum ;-)) since HD vs film, HD vs RED and now Video vs Canon - lets learn from this, rather than rubbish other peoples opinions! Live a little - you might learn from it :-)

Best Wishes for a speedy recovery
Mads
Amazing
by Suchet
This one is on my list of definite wants - Being able to film with different lenses at any time is a beast of an advantage over other HD Video products - as well as the advantage of switching to normal DSLR mode to take photos - this is perfect for event photographers and media journalists.
Letus
by James Houk
Marcos, I'll have to defer to your judgement. I have yet to get my hands on the 5D. As I stated previously, I'm seriously considering adding one to my lineup, as I do recognize it has some advantages. Regarding the Letus element, you make some astute points. However, I'm curious which Letus model you're using. I personally own the Letus Ultimate, which - from my experience and the reviews I've read is far sharper than the Letus Extreme. We're talking about spinning glass instead of vibrating. Likewise, the Ultimate is much quieter than the Extreme. With sharpness, I get excellent results when their is adequate light - but I haven't directly compared them to the 5D. Clearly, in a low light situation, using the 1.4 aperture on my Ziess 50mm is going to result in a sharper image than being able to get the same light level on the Canon at 4.0 or 5.6. That part comes down to the optics of the lens. My Letus ultimate is very quiet. But heavy! You're totally on the money there. As for the soft focus issue, I shot one feature with another DP who was using the Letus Extreme and Canon FD lenses. He didn't seem to notice, but his shots were never as sharp as mine (Ultimate with Nikon mount, Zeiss primes), and he refused to zoom far enough into the image to remove the vignetting on the edges. Additionally, the Letus has a problem with having too many parts. The back focus assembly can easily get loose, and if it has any give, the backfocus distance starts slipping, and this absolutely results in a soft image. The 5D may very well produce a sharper image than even a Letus Ultimate properly tuned - but it certainly will outperform a Letus rig that is not properly setup. I'm assuming that you used yours properly - but it definitely is a point in favor of the 5D - to not have to keep an eye on all those adjustments.
You can reduce the sharpness which
by Alister Chapman
You can reduce the sharpness which reduces the severity of the aliasing but it's still there, all the time. Take a look at this simple pull focus:
http://vimeo.com/7443352
You wouldn't expect a shot like that to alias but it does due to the lack of a suitable optical low pass filter. Hybrid stills-video cameras will always be a compromise, make the AA filter work for video and the stills will be soft. Only this morning there was a great example of aliasing rearing it's ugly head when an extract of a web episodic was shown on the breakfast news. The clip looks fine on YouTube but when the full res original was broadcast it looked terrible twittering and flickering all over the place. I'm sure it looked fine in the edit suite, but the high frequency harmonics caused by aliasing can't always be seen. All I'm saying is "handle with care".
to Russ Stiggants
by keidrych wasley
Russ Stiggants said: "Yep, great for you stills guys who wannabee video guys, but another layer of complexity which is not necessary....go out and buy a VIDEO camera! Get with the program guys - either shoot stills, or shoot video. I'm waiting for all the crap shot on a stills camera and all the excuses why it hasn't/didn't do what a dedicated Sony or Canon or JVC or RED can do, better, more simply and with no hassles."

Russ, i think you should consider opening your mind to what is possible with these cameras. Shane Hurlbut, who shot Terminator Salvation, is using the 5D/1D to shoot his latest action navy seals feature film for general release. The footage will be printed to 35mm. These cameras are fantastic in low light, they are extremely maneuverable, meaning a new and exciting visual language is possible. They leave a small environmental footprint. They require less crew, less lighting, less grip equipment etc., etc. They are capable of stunning results in the right hands and as Shane has described, "intercut beautifully with 35mm". There are problems of course but in the right hands are they good enough for a 40 foot screen? YES.
Another layer of complexity
by Russ Stiggants
Yep, great for you stills guys who wannabee video guys, but another layer of complexity which is not necessary....go out and buy a VIDEO camera! Get with the program guys - either shoot stills, or shoot video. I'm waiting for all the crap shot on a stills camera and all the excuses why it hasn't/didn't do what a dedicated Sony or Canon or JVC or RED can do, better, more simply and with no hassles.
Car hood mount
by Alvin Remmers
Hi Marco,
Nice balanced reportage on the MkII. Where can I find a camera mount like the one on the car hood? I want to shoot some Hwy 50 toward Tahoe footage with my 7D without a windshield in the way. TIA!
Progressive
by steve martin
Jim Kelty said: "I bought one and have done three shoots overseas with it and love it despite the ergonomic problems. However, this camera shoots interlaced, not progressive, at least that is the format the clips are in when you drag them into Final Cut, unless I'm missing something? Would love to know."

From what I hear this camera is shooting progressive, but if I drag a H.264 file into a FCP browser, it's listed as upper(odd). A 442 clip brought in magically is listed as none? No one has been able to explain what's going on here to me, yet.
Yes, aliasing can be an issue, but...
by Iain Anderson
Aliasing can be an issue, but there are a number of factors governing how serious a problem it will be. If you shoot with low or no sharpening you can reduce any effects, and if you want shallow DOF (a big draw for many) then it likely won't be an issue. If you take a look at my sample video @ 0.30-0.35, I was trying to produce aliasing effects by filming flyscreens, but couldn't. That said, here's an example of bad moiré on a 550D:







The first and last shot of this video has some more typical (ie. not so bad) jitter in the building in the top right corner:

http://www.vimeo.com/9840579

Somewhere else, someone mentioned that they had to push sharpness to +2 to produce moiré effects. I'd like to see more tests too, but it's at least somewhat avoidable.
Don't dismiss aliasing
by Alister Chapman
The aliasing issue is big one. Aliasing is not just the colored moire that appears over textures and patterns but it also appears on edges as stair stepping. While you can de-focus backgrounds etc to prevent them from aliasing, anything that is in focus will contain alias artifacts. This can make pull focuses look bad or subtly change colors as you focus. In addition alias edge artifacts (which may not be easily visible) tend to move in the opposite direction to any true movement in the image and this really messes up long GoP codecs, eating up bandwidth. So IMHO for broadcast work the Canon DSLR's are not suitable as you don't know how the alias artifacts will work the way down through the production chain unless you use an antialias filter such as the Caprock. BUT you will need different filters for different focal lengths and exposures. Hopefully Canon or a third party will bring out a behind the lens AA filter.

I also don't think the resolution is anywhere near full 1920x1080 and cameras like the EX offer greater dynamic range, but if you want shallow DoF on a budget the Canons are hard to beat.
GH1 + fast C-mount lenses
by Sébastien Farges
Thank you for your work.
I'm a happy owner of Panasonic GH1 since 10 months, I've done a lot of test with different lenses, especially C-mount fast lenses such as Cine-NIKKOR 25mm 1.4 and Angenieux 25mm 0.95.
You can watch my work here :
vimeo.com/sebfarges
EX1 shot in 'Singularity'
by ed fabry
So Marco, which is the singular EX1 shot in 'Singularity'? I'm guessing its the wide shot at :08-:09 with the group of 4 guys walking right to left?

Also, what's your preferred rig for handheld work with this camera? Are you using a monitor or an eyepiece on the LCD?

Super helpful
by Andrew Laparra
Thanks so much! This helped answer some questions about the HDSLR workflow. Just purchased the 7D and I'm using a 50 mm 1.4 for now and that helped me figure out some major issues I began to experience.

Drew
Thanks for the info!
by Iain Anderson
Just echoing that the EOS 550D/T2i is dirt cheap (AU$1250 including the kit lens!) and as good as the 7D (if not as tough) for video. Make sure to get fast flash memory (Class 6 for SD cards) or you won't be able to shoot for very long. However, even a 16GB class 6 SD card can be had for AU$50 these days.

The *great* joy of shooting with these is that you just copy the files off (.mov!) and you can play them instantly. Normally you should transcode to ProRes or equivalent for easy editing, but you can edit at full frame rate in a *native* H.264 sequence on a Mac Pro if you just want to see what a very rough cut looks like. Transcoding doesn't take long, but keeping the original footage in Final Cut Server is wonderful.

There are many, many sample videos out there on Vimeo and elsewhere, so take a good look around. I'll try to use some of my 550D footage in my next tutorial video here (well, after the *next* one, anyway). :)

So, here's my sample footage video:

http://vimeo.com/9987266

...part of this much larger group:

http://vimeo.com/groups/rebelt2i/videos/

And here's Philip Bloom's site, with lots more:
http://philipbloom.co.uk/
Canon 5D Mk II Firmware update JUST RELEASED
by Marco Solorio
Wow, that was fast. I said within 24 hours, but it looks like it was within 24 minutes!

http://web.canon.jp/imaging/eosd/firm-e/eos5dmk2/firmware.html

This easily touts the 5D Mk II as the most capable, high-quality DSLR camera on the market today for shooting HD Video. The new firmware updates includes features that other Canon cameras (even from other DSLR manufacturers for that matter) do not have.

Exciting times!
Re: Very informative Marco
by Marco Solorio
David,

Much appreciated, coming from an industry rock as yourself.

(LOL, thanks for all the stars!)
Re: Cost
by Marco Solorio
Hi Mads,

Thanks for the kind words. Am happy to help you with any questions relating to this article.

1) I have not gone to a film-out or digital-out. Highest deployment format has been 1080 HD.

2) I have not done the per-minute production cost-comparison for varying camera types. For our clientele and work-flow, film just isn't a viable solution. We haven't needed a RED for any of our productions, so that leaves us with our 5D2 and our EX1, which has worked well for us. For the record, we use our EX1 less and less, but not to the point to where I want to sell it.

3) Our EX1 is a little more suited for run-and-gun ENG/EFP type production, namely for its form-factor, it's built in XLR/trim audio hardware and the like. I should note that I enjoy shooting with the 5D2 more, solely because of its image capabilities. The work-arounds that are involved with the 5D2 that aren't present with the EX1 (or EX3) are worth it in many ways because of the 5D2's exceptional image characteristics. If you plan on a lot of ENG/EFP, then maybe an EX1/EX3 is a better option. But if you have time to compose your scene/shot, and add some helpful accessories to make the camera more for controlability, then the 5D2 might be your solution.
Re: Cost
by Mads Nybo Jørgensen
Hey Marco,

You just saved me 2 days worth of research here - thank you very much for that :-)
I hope you don't mind me asking a few questions?
1) Have you done any large screen projections of your material - either digital or film out?
2) Have you looked at the cost of shooting per minute on your Canon 5D versus that of EX-1/3, HD-CAM, RED, 16mm & 35mm? (Not to forget the cost of processing in that comparison too)
3) And what is the advantage specifically of a EX-1 over your HDSLR camera? (Our company is currently considering either the P2 or EX cameras, but the attraction of HDSLR is there) - I'm assuming that the Nightclub shots was shot at low-light, and assume that this would have been difficult to do on "traditional" video?

There are plenty of questions more, but for a technology developed for stills it is looking very good. Thank you again.

All the Best
Mads
Very informative Marco
by David Roth Weiss
Nice piece Marco.

I'm about twice as fast on uptake as Mads, so you saved me just 1 day of research, but I'm most appreciative.

Regards,
David
Article Updates
by Marco Solorio
A few notes regarding my article since its first publication in the Creative Cow Magazine print issue...

The original article was submitted in late December of 2009, shortly prior to Canon's announcement of the T2i/550D mode. This model would be the least expensive HDSLR camera you could buy for a paltry $800 (body only) that includes 1080p30/25/24 and 720p60/50. Specs are very similar to that of the 7D with regard to HD video mode. Still not as impressive at the 5D2, but an incredibly viable and *inexpensive* option nonetheless.

Canon is releasing the highly anticipated 5D Mk II firmware update sometime within the next 24 hours. Very exciting stuff. New features include 24p/25p (namely, 23.976, 25 and 29.97, fixed from straight 30), as well as new audio input/metering features.

The print version of the Creative Cow Magazine inadvertently has the wrong sensor size diagram in it. The Magazine shows the megapixel size comparison diagram (as used from my DSLR time-lapse article) instead of the sensor size comparison image, as found here in this article. Unfortunately the print article with the wrong diagram went to presses before I could see a review of it first. Doh!


COW Admin note: Unfortunately, while your article was ahead of the curve, Marco, many of the others came in so late that the magazine needed to get out to the printer right away to make the press deadline. Normally, we do our approvals after we layout the issue. This time, unfortunately, there was no time. Our apologies for missing the update on the picture. Looks like March/April's issue gets an 'Errata' box this time, eh? (Like that's never happened before in this industry. Heeheee.)


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