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The point being missed about DSLR video.

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Bill Davis
The point being missed about DSLR video.
on Apr 22, 2010 at 2:15:48 am


This is simple.

I've been shooting professional corporate video for nearly 20 years. 12 months ago I bought a 5DMk2 as a lark - primarily because I had a gig that needed both video and quick stills and my aging Sony 707 was getting long in the tooth.

After a few weeks, I finally got around to shooting some video. Put the card in the reader. Dragged the video clip to my desktop. Launched Final Cut Pro and loaded the clip...

And my jaw dropped. It wasn't just good, or even just "better" - it was AMAZING. Visually so incredibly superior to ANY video I'd ever seen on my computer screen that it stopped me in my tracks.

Prior to that day, that simply hadn't happend to me in a LONG time about ANYTHING in the video field.

The moving pictures on my desktop were ORDERS OF MAGNITUDE better than any video frames I'd ever been able to shoot before. Including the ones I'd produced and directed for TV stations on zillion dollar equipment tuned by top level technicians over the scope of my career.

Are there compromises in shooting a DSLR? You bet. Plus hassles, and annoyances, and gotchas.

But at the same time, it's been IMPOSSIBLE to get this kind of imagery - at this price point - in the HISTORY of the moving picture.

The reason this technology is "on fire" is that every day more guys do what I did. Try it and see.

And they apparently have the same reaction I did.

The images themselves instantly stopped me worrying about what it the camera might NOT do ideally ... and short-circuited me into starting to dream about what I now COULD do.

Which is pretty exciting again after all these years.

I'm not sure you can accurately understand this DSLR thing unless you've shot and edited this stuff on your OWN.

The very first time I did, ALL my thinking changed about video making. Simple as that.

Why? Because like it or not, there will be tens of thousands of new DSLR "videographers" out there by next year, if not next week.

Every "still shooter" will soon be carrying a functional RED camera equivalent.

Every corporate sub-department in the country can now buy a 7dMkii and a Mac at HALF the price of the copier on every floor of their building.

Yeah, it'll take some time for some people to get up to speed on audio, and lighting and direction and all the rest of the craft. And some, perhaps even MANY will fall by the wayside when confronted with the complexity of making consistent quality motion video content. But that's not the point.

The point is simply as follows.

So if you think the fact that you OWN and therefore have access to video making tools is gonna have ANY effect on your ability to work in the future - reset your thinking.

Totally.

That's just the way it is. And we're all going to have to live with it.





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John Davidson
Re: The point being missed about DSLR video.
on Apr 22, 2010 at 3:30:13 am

I agree. A few other moments where I had that experience were the first time I used VX100 with 24p look, the first time I reviewed footage shot with a Z1u, first slomo with HVX200, and then the HVX200 with Letus Extreme and Canon lens. With the 7D, I get all of that in the palm of my hand and little to no light. It's been my absolute favorite toy for months now.

Now when the el cheapo RED camera comes out things may change again.....it's a fantastic time to be in our industry. Cheap, amazing tools abound!


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Noah Kadner
Re: The point being missed about DSLR video.
on Apr 22, 2010 at 4:39:08 am

Yup- there have never been more choices and affordable ones at that for creating visually stunning footage....

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.
Watch Formosa- My indie movie shot with the SDX900 and finished with Final Cut Studio.


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Bill Davis
Re: The point being missed about DSLR video.
on Apr 22, 2010 at 8:42:42 am

Sorry, but not holding my breath for RED ever again.

Once upon a time I remember seeing an early MacWorld with a product called Wingz. The next big thing in databases. Big Booth. The following year, an even BIGGER booth. Year 3 - a HUGE booth. Year 4 - the booth AND the company were gone.

I know RED shipped (finally!) a very, very nice camera. MUCH more camera than they promised. Which was precisely the problem. They hinted, and teased at the second coming of video for EVERYONE - then delivered a beast that only the top few percent of the market could make sense of.

RED OWNED such a HUGE space of mindshare from shooters like me waiting for that great AND affordable camera - for so long - while satisfying so very few - that as much as the product, OUR disappointment allowed Canon the time to come in and BLOW Red, along with everyone else, out of the water with the 5d.

RED has lost me so thoroughly - that whatever they finally ship in the inexpensive camera space is pretty much gonna have to have wings and "out of the box" fly over a very high mountain of lost trust to earn a spot in my shop.

Canon, OTOH, promised me almost nothing - just a still camera that folks said also shot nice video. That when we discovered how insanely wonderful it's video was - it truly realized the promise that RED failed to deliver. Superb video for EVERYONE - CHEAP!

Red may redeem the line in the future. Who knows. Anything's possible. I keep an open mind. But trust is one of the hardest things to build in business, and one of the easiest things to lose. And they completely lost me long ago.

"Under promise and over deliver", RED got that totally wrong. Canon got it totally right.

My view, anyway.




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Uli Plank
Re: The point being missed about DSLR video.
on Apr 22, 2010 at 10:47:41 am

OTOH, Canon doesn't give you alias-free images and RAW data.

The only ones I still trust to get these points right in a affordable camera any time soon are RED.

Don't get me wrong: The Canon is great if you respect it's limitations and carefully work around them. We own one, but we have a RED One too – for different demands.

Director of the Institute of Media Research (IMF) at Braunschweig University of Arts


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Noah Kadner
Re: The point being missed about DSLR video.
on Apr 22, 2010 at 2:03:38 pm

[Uli Plank] "OTOH, Canon doesn't give you alias-free images and RAW data.

The only ones I still trust to get these points right in a affordable camera any time soon are RED"


That's getting to be a bit of an outmoded mantra now though. :-) Most people don't care about or notice issues like aliasing, skew, codec aritifacting, etc or they understand how to mitigate them. The quality of the optics and the potential of the sensor greatly outweighs these concerns for most owners. And you can bet Canon is hard at work creating future cameras that will improve upon their already popular DSLR video product offerings.

RAW is a nice luxury but not a necessity. Half the time it becomes a liability due to dealing with it in post and the lack of deep support among a variety of apps. A lot of folks simply flatten RAW to 1080p ProRes clips at ingest and never go back to avoid the complexity.

As I walked the aisles this year at NAB 2010 I noticed just about every person walking by with their own camera was packing a Canon 5D or 7D rig. That speaks volumes more than anything anyone was saying in their booths.

The game is RED's to lose at this point. Especially with cameras like the ARRI Alexa that offer a greatly simplified workflow, comparable image quality, a reputation that many film purists highly value, and something RED has never bothered to set up: a worldwide network of dealers and service centers. If the Revolution doesn't shift gears a bit for some Evolution they might just be in for some trouble.

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.
Watch Formosa- My indie movie shot with the SDX900 and finished with Final Cut Studio.


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Arnie Schlissel
Re: The point being missed about DSLR video.
on Apr 22, 2010 at 2:45:38 pm

[Uli Plank] "OTOH, Canon doesn't give you alias-free images and RAW data."

Raw formats are too difficult for most 'pedestrian' users of these cameras. I think that a large number of people shooting on Red don't know how or don't want to use the .r3d format. They transcode to and finish in ProRes, DNxHD or some other format that 'just works' on their edit system.

Shooting with raw codecs implies using an offline-online workflow, or using a pretty high powered (and very expensive) system. Too much for most indie film makers, too much even for some smaller, experienced shops. Just give them a pretty picture and a workflow that doesn't make them sweat bullets because at the end of the day, it's about telling the story or selling the can of peas.

Arnie

Post production is not an afterthought!
http://www.arniepix.com/


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Lance Bachelder
Re: The point being missed about DSLR video.
on Apr 23, 2010 at 4:30:34 pm

Concur Bill. We were talking at NAB that it was 3 NAB's ago that RED had the cool booth showing Epic and Scarlet mock-ups that were coming "soon". Sadly, RED won't even pay for a booth anymore, just use the marketing goodwill of NAB in getting a 100,000 people to Vegas and saying off to the side "pssst... hey come over here to this crappy hotel and check out our stuff".

Aside from 3D everywhere you turned - it was a DSLR show this year. Seeing Canon footage on a 15' screen in the Canon theater just confirmed that these cameras are good enough for ANY kind of production - even with their issues. The ultimate moment for me was seeing a Zeiss 15-45 wide angle cinema zoom with a EF mount on a 7D! Thing of beauty.

Fun times...

Lance Bachelder
Southern California



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Gary Bettan
Re: The point being missed about DSLR video.
on Apr 23, 2010 at 8:04:52 pm

Great thread and excellent observations. We started getting links to DSLR videos from our customers late last year, bragging about what they could do with a 5D or 7D. I was blown away from the first one, and they just kept coming and getting better.

Back in late January we reached out to Canon and suggested they help us with a DSLR workflow guide. They came through and the guide has been a big hit on our website. I've just updated it for the latest NAB announcements.

http://tinyurl.com/DSLRguide

Gary

http://www.videoguys.com 800 323-2325 | We are the video editing and production experts!


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Arnie Schlissel
Re: The point being missed about DSLR video.
on Apr 22, 2010 at 2:57:11 pm

Interesting point, Bill.

I both agree & disagree. I've seen footage from the 7D, just shot in the camera store, and I was blown away by the look. It's not just the shallow depth of field, there's a different gamma, which is much more film like.

but the physical difficulties of shooting video really limits these cameras. They're great for what they're designed for, which is shooting stills on the streets. The video feature was added mainly for news & event photographers to expand what they were already doing into moving pictures. Neat. Cool. Useful.

But if you really want to shoot a doc on a DSLR, you should have your head examined. Maybe for interviews on tripods, OK. And for steadycam, jib or dolly shots, fine, as long as you don't want to shoot longer than the sensor can go without overheating. But run & gun is where the ENG and prosumer cameras shine. And many of them produce damn good pictures, too.

But it looks like the camera makers are seeing the light, too. Panny is introducing a video camera build around it's 4/3" chip. Sony and Cannon are rumored to be working on similar ideas. These large SLR imagers are being made in pretty big numbers, so they're very cost effective, and companies like Panny, Cannon, Sony, Nikon, etc have the resources to work this out.

Arnie

Post production is not an afterthought!
http://www.arniepix.com/


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Noah Kadner
Re: The point being missed about DSLR video.
on Apr 22, 2010 at 3:51:20 pm

[Arnie Schlissel] "But if you really want to shoot a doc on a DSLR, you should have your head examined."

On the other hand, Frontline, the BBC and even some network TV shows have been shot on 5Ds.

http://www.dslr-cinematography.com/news/2009/10/3/obamas-war-amazing-docume...



http://www.petapixel.com/2010/04/09/house-season-finale-filmed-entirely-wit...

I think the main limitations to these cameras is mindset. If you are willing to work around the fact that they're not intentionally designed for user friendliness to the video shooter you can make great looking stuff at relatively dirt cheap pricing. That's a trade-off we haven't really had access to before in this industry. It's always been cameras that are fast, cheap, or good- pick one. This is dang exciting.

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.
Watch Formosa- My indie movie shot with the SDX900 and finished with Final Cut Studio.


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Bill Davis
Re: The point being missed about DSLR video.
on Apr 22, 2010 at 7:42:24 pm

Arne,

Not wanting to extend this discussion too far, but you're going to have to confront a peculiar reality pretty soon.

The ONLY people who I hear arguing about the lack of effective video making ability in the DSLR space are people who ARE NOT CURRENTLY SHOOTING CONTENT ON DSLRs.

It's a little bit like sex. Attempting to judge it's value based exclusively on READING about it is doomed to miss the point.

It's really as simple as that.








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maurice jansen
Re: The point being missed about DSLR video.
on Apr 22, 2010 at 8:19:38 pm

well

as a senior videotech and photo enthusiast i bought a 5D as a replacement of my older DSLR just for my photo hobby. i never wanted to buy a consumer/prosumer video camera because i was afraid that i would be disappointed by the result's and the lack of control. i experienced the WOW factor also when i tried the video feature. because i am a tech i off coarse took my camera to the office and shoot some nasty testchart's and difficult scene's and i had the WOWfactor again. off coarse it got some real disadvantages in ergonomic's and also in technical things but never forget it's price!!!!!
in a professional way i don't look at it as a replacement of a camerasystem but much more as a extra tool next to your mainstream gear.

grt
maurice



People saying they don't make mistake's often make nothing at all!


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Norman Pogson
Re: The point being missed about DSLR video.
on Apr 23, 2010 at 2:27:19 am

Some people are carrying such heavy bags of preconceived ideas, they cannot embrace change. While others are rushing to produce quality images their bank account would have never allowed previously, thanks to dslrs.

I'm not a video guy, but from a cynical point of view how did the professional video camera manufacturers get away with charging $10k+ for such tiny sensors. ;D

I love what I can do with my 7D and keep getting the WOW!



My Canon 7D Blog


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Ryan Orr
Re: The point being missed about DSLR video.
on Apr 23, 2010 at 2:06:52 pm

I would love to experience the "Wow" factor...someone please buy me a 7D and some lenses...please???

I love the content these DSLRs are making, and I feel like I'm missing out on a great era.


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Noah Kadner
Re: The point being missed about DSLR video.
on Apr 23, 2010 at 3:38:14 pm

Go into credit debt- that's the American way!

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.
Watch Formosa- My indie movie shot with the SDX900 and finished with Final Cut Studio.


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Ryan Orr
Re: The point being missed about DSLR video.
on Apr 23, 2010 at 3:49:59 pm

If I go into debt., can I be bailed out?


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Richard Harrington
Re: The point being missed about DSLR video.
on Apr 25, 2010 at 3:34:47 pm

Charge the bill to Dennis

Richard M. Harrington, PMP

Author: Video Made on a Mac, Photoshop for Video, Understanding Adobe Photoshop, Final Cut Studio On the Spot and ATS:iWork


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