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Canon DSLR vs. EX-1R for documentary

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jim brodie
Canon DSLR vs. EX-1R for documentary
on Jun 6, 2010 at 3:29:28 pm

Greetings,

I'm shooting a documentary with an EX-1R, however, both the producer and myself are entranced with the shallow focus and rich look of 7D and Mark5 II Canon cameras. I've heard about the moire patterns, the heat issues etc. but thought I'd open the floor to see what people see to be the chief disadvantages of using the DSLR camera over a video camera.

My chief concerns relate to the adapters needed to recording sound, the difficulty of staying in focus (without a focus puller and subjects that can hit their marks). I see all the add ons necessary to make this still camera function like a video camera and I wonder how robust this would be in a situation where you are racing from setup to setup. I'm not afraid of new technology but hesitant to be on the bleeding edge when we are capturing moments spontaneously and where we don't want the technology to get in the way of the process. I'd hate to have to interrupt with: "we've got a little technical glitch here, can we just redo that question about your first alien encounter OR can we just stop and shut things down for ten minutes to prevent the camera from spontaneously combusting." (wild exaggeration)

Cheers,

Jim


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Alan Okey
Re: Canon DSLR vs. EX-1R for documentary
on Jun 6, 2010 at 5:46:57 pm

[jim brodie] "thought I'd open the floor to see what people see to be the chief disadvantages of using the DSLR camera over a video camera. "

Postproduction workflow for DSLRs in some NLEs can add a significant amount of time to the process. For example, editing in a Final Cut Pro environment would require you to first transcode all of your DSLR footage to a proper editing codec like ProRes 422 prior to editing. If you have the luxury of time, then it may not be enough of an issue to make a difference to you, but if you're on a tight deadline and need a short turnaround time, an XDCAM EX workflow would be much faster.


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Noah Kadner
Re: Canon DSLR vs. EX-1R for documentary
on Jun 7, 2010 at 12:21:19 am

I don't see a major time difference between ingest on DSLR's vs. XDCAM based camcorders assuming you have a fast computer running FCP with performance hard drives, ram, etc. If anything the DSLRs are faster if you crash drop directly and edit H.264- though transcoding to ProRes is greatly preferred. IMHO it's more the operation/ergonomics of the camera itself where the camcorder outdraws the DSLR, though this is mitigated by the greater flexibility you get in the optics. Best case scenario is both- camcorder for the meat of the work where you need ergonomics, better audio and reliable operation. DSLR for the beauty shots. Worth hitting a camera shop and learning more for yourself.

Noah

Check out my book: RED: The Ultimate Guide to Using the Revolutionary Camera!
Unlock the secrets of 24p, HD and Final Cut Studio with Call Box Training. Featuring the Sony EX1 Guidebook, Panasonic HVX200, Canon EOS 5D Mark II and Canon 7D.
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Bruce Rawlings
Re: Canon DSLR vs. EX-1R for documentary
on Jun 7, 2010 at 7:07:05 am

What is your delivery format criteria? The client/broadcaster may have their own ideas as to what they will take.


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Clint Fleckenstein
Re: Canon DSLR vs. EX-1R for documentary
on Jun 7, 2010 at 4:13:07 pm

Sounds to me like you need to do some experimenting first before you handcuff yourself to an entirely different workflow. For instance, some still lenses "breathe" as you run through the range. I just got my 7D (for still photos, imagine that) and haven't messed around with video too much...but I've read a lot and it sounds like it presents its own unique advantages and disadvantages.

Cf


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Nick Righton
Re: Canon DSLR vs. EX-1R for documentary
on Jun 8, 2010 at 5:57:48 am

I believe that DSLRs have a place in digital cinema but not necessarily live / reality / documentary type video production. These cameras require manual focus and exposure control. For planned shots with marks, lighting, and environmental control I believe the DSLRs can create an amazing product. Throw any "Live" video variables in the mix and the video cameras (EX1) will reign supreme.

I wish I was good at one thing rather than average at many, but oh well.


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Dean Sensui
Re: Canon DSLR vs. EX-1R for documentary
on Jun 8, 2010 at 10:28:24 am

Someone just talked to me the other night about their experience using a DSLR. They ran into two problems: Overheating and clip limits of 12 minutes.

You might want to check into those issues before committing.

The EX3 or EX1 are proven workhorses for long-form, reality-based projects. DSLR's might not be suited to that purpose.

Dean Sensui -- Hawaii Goes Fishing


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Clint Fleckenstein
Re: Canon DSLR vs. EX-1R for documentary
on Jun 8, 2010 at 1:33:34 pm

I hit the twelve minute limit too. I believe it's a FAT32 file size limit.

Cf


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Dean Sensui
Re: Canon DSLR vs. EX-1R for documentary
on Jun 8, 2010 at 5:55:52 pm

[Clint Fleckenstein] "I hit the twelve minute limit too. I believe it's a FAT32 file size limit."

The people who were working with the DSLR said it was a limit imposed by some European import control. Any longer than 12 minutes and the camera would be classified as a videocamera and subject to certain import taxes.

I've read that the tax threshold is actually something just short of 30 minutes.

Silly bureaucracy.

But aside from that, the overheat issue was just as serious.

Dean Sensui -- Hawaii Goes Fishing


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Don Greening
Re: Canon DSLR vs. EX-1R for documentary
on Jun 8, 2010 at 6:09:39 pm

I believe I'm in the same camp as Noah Kadner: use the EX camera for the majority of your shoot and save the Canon 5D (or other good DSLR) for the beauty shots. I have a fellow videographer friend who has this exact workflow and edits in FCP. His work really stands out from the crowd.

- Don

Don Greening
Reeltime Videoworks
http://www.reeltimevideoworks.com


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Rafael Amador
Re: Canon DSLR vs. EX-1R for documentary
on Jun 9, 2010 at 2:02:40 am

[Don Greening] "I believe I'm in the same camp as Noah Kadner: use the EX camera for the majority of your shoot and save the Canon 5D (or other good DSLR) for the beauty shots. I have a fellow videographer friend who has this exact workflow and edits in FCP. His work really stands out from the crowd. "
This when you can carry two cameras.
When you can carry only one?
rafael



http://www.nagavideo.com


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Don Greening
Re: Canon DSLR vs. EX-1R for documentary
on Jun 9, 2010 at 6:29:10 pm

[Rafael Amador] "This when you can carry two cameras. When you can carry only one?"

Good question. I guess it depends on what you're shooting and how portable you need to be. It's easier to carry a smaller camera like the 5D but you're limited to the 12 minutes per clip thing, overheating and marginal audio. If it was me I'd save the 5D for the artistic stuff and use the EX1 most of the time, even if I needed to carry minimal gear.

- Don



Don Greening
Reeltime Videoworks
http://www.reeltimevideoworks.com


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Clint Fleckenstein
Re: Canon DSLR vs. EX-1R for documentary
on Jun 9, 2010 at 4:03:58 pm

I've read that the cameras are limited to 29 minute, 59 seconds for the reason you describe...but since the codec they use to record video hits the FAT32 file limit of 4GB at around 12 minutes, that's the hard limit you hit first.

So we're both right :)

Cf


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Don Greening
Re: Canon DSLR vs. EX-1R for documentary
on Jun 9, 2010 at 6:30:45 pm

[Clint Fleckenstein] "So we're both right :) "

"it's two (click) two (click) two mints in one!"

- Don



Don Greening
Reeltime Videoworks
http://www.reeltimevideoworks.com


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Dean Sensui
Re: Canon DSLR vs. EX-1R for documentary
on Jun 9, 2010 at 8:19:38 pm

[Don Greening] ""it's two (click) two (click) two mints in one!""

Whoa. From the 70's I think.

I doubt I'll be using a DSLR anytime soon. 'Cause I ain't got one! :-)

Dean Sensui -- Hawaii Goes Fishing


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