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Henry Vaughan
Using DSLR Video as a production company using a 550D/t2I
on May 13, 2011 at 11:01:10 am

Myself and my business partner Setup our business with the intention of using DSLRs to film the majority of our work and i would like to share the experiences we have had with our equipment and our work flow so far and i would like to start an open discussion about how DSLRs are maybe a serious competitors to the more conventional video camcorders within the video production arena.

When we decided to Setup the business we were running on a very tight budget of £9,000 that iswithout some of the grants that we toke advantage of...

the kind of equipment that we originally wanted to use was the

JVC GY-HM 700 - It was attractive to us due as the price was around £5,000 after watching Philip blooms tutorial i learned about how this camera worked a treat while using final cut

Also i was very familiar with previous Jvc pro cameras

Source:

http://exposureroom.com/members/philipbloom/3534a3149eed43dfbd283156f20ff56...

Sony EX3 - The Sony Ex3 after looking at endless videos of the footage i envied the quality of the footage from these cameras but at the time of the research you needed plug-ins for editing software to use the footage.

the extras such as batteries and other essentials where not cheep.

At the time the 5D Mkii was becoming quickly a very popular camera and many users/spectators commented on its flaws while using video such as... no colour bars, only 10 minute aprox due to 4gb fat32 file sizes and the list goes on

But the cameras were a lot more cheeper than its conventional competitors and the footage was broadcast standard.

I saw a lot of creative films been shot with the 5d mkii and could not understand why nobody liked them until i started my own company "Stray fox"

At Stray fox we use the 550D/ Rebel t2i which cost us £600 for the camera although about £3,000 for all the extras such as shoulder mounts, lenses, batteries SD cards. all which we toke our time to buy at the lowest prices we could find.

The reason why i think people do not or did not like DSLR film making is because the cameras are not intuitive so essentially at first glance to someone not trained to use DSLR cameras they may feel slowed down within there work flow.

with old editing software while editing your footage it is not a case of dragging and dropping the footage into the software a lot of people using DSLRS had to convert their files first and because of the costs of replacing editing software to use the cameras effectively didn't seem like a good idea.

all DSLRS are different, but with the canon 550D/t2i the camera works a dream when dragging and dropping the files into final cut 7, although if you want your footage to unlock some of the uncompressed quick time colour space you have to switch your sequence settings to a pro res codec.

These cameras are a lot more cost effective to run than conventional cameras although i believe a lot of production companies were not ready to throw away there current work flows. However as a camera operator of a video production company i see the DSLR as the camera of choice for video production companies and here is why....

I see the camera itself as a disposable sensor. the rest of the camera such as the shoulder mount and lenses can be used with other devices.

So the idea is that once you have set up your company up to operate as a DSLR production company the equipment upgrade costs will be very low due to only replacing the body of the camera.

Why i like the DSLRS better and what i don't like and what i think will be improved

I like DSLRs because they are small and they see a lot with its larger sensor.

I like them because they are HD with an amazing exposure latitude compared to MINI DV cameras and old digital cameras

they are affordable at a consumer level

They are stills cameras designed to achieve quality images

cheep HQ lenses which are reusable with your next camera

Light weight

The frame size of the image for the 550d/t2i is very similar to 35mm film.

the larger sensor allows a very harsh shallow depth and at the same time you can also achieve a large depth of field depending on how you use the camera and lenses available

Switching lenses is hassle free also there are a great amount of primes available for DSLRS some cinematographers such as wally pfister prefers to only use prime lenses

Long battery lifes

SD cards and cheep media

also i get excited when i see that programs such as house season 7 was filmed with DSLR

If you would like to learn more about DSLR film making view this program called shoot out they go into depth subjects regarding DSLR every episode


....

What i don't like about the camera

is that i am used to making films with larger digital cameras

My technique to making films has changed a lot

relearning through the design of the camera to get into the flow of filming took awhile

The sub sample rate is 4:2:0 which is bad for green screens

the data rate in these cameras are small compared to conventional video cameras so you get a lot less.


the future of DSLR

The 5D mkii was an amazing camera that is near the end of its shelf life and i believe canon has to come out with something to challenge its current tech specs to be the dominant HD DSLR as that is their new market.

i believe in the near future some of the next in line DSLRs will have a 4:2:2 sub sample rate

People will always design products to support DSLRS as long as they are popular

The exposure latitude of digital camera have been improving exponentially throughout the years due to moores laws i think these camera will soon have a better exposure latitude/dynamic range than film stock.

Because of the switch from DSLRS and video cameras is quite painful and film makers are the target market for DSLR producers i suspect that these cameras will have more attractive or familiar features.

Maybes we will see DSLR Outputs although and other features. but maybes the companies want to keep those features for there pro video camera ranges time will tell.

If you would like to see my company show reel visit http://www.strayfox.com/portfolio.html

These are just some of our first projects and within the first few months. the DSLR equipment and work flow was completely foreign to us at first and these are the projects we came up with.

From now on we are both confident with our productions and want to continue using DLSRs to create productions for small to large sized companies.

Thank you for reading.

Stray Fox Newcastle video produciton - "Transforming Ideas Into Engaging Experiences" -


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Noah Kadner
Re: Using DSLR Video as a production company using a 550D/t2I
on May 14, 2011 at 4:37:38 am

That shoulda been a blog post... and I mean that as a compliment.

Noah

Unlock the secrets of 24p, HD and Final Cut Studio with Call Box Training. Featuring the Panasonic GH2 and Canon 7D.


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Henry Vaughan
Re: Using DSLR Video as a production company using a 550D/t2I
on May 15, 2011 at 10:35:52 am

Thank you. It was just an endless rant although i think i got a few of my core points down.

Stray Fox Newcastle video produciton - "Transforming Ideas Into Engaging Experiences" -


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Isaac Brillant
Re: Using DSLR Video as a production company using a 550D/t2I
on May 16, 2011 at 3:56:42 pm

Hi Henry-

Curious, since I'm buying a camera now. Did you choose the 550D/t2I because the 60D wasn't out yet, or because it has magic lantern, or for $$ reasons?

thanks


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Noah Kadner
Re: Using DSLR Video as a production company using a 550D/t2I
on May 16, 2011 at 9:37:02 pm

Both of which just got a serious price cut btw... 60D FTW. :)

Noah

Unlock the secrets of 24p, HD and Final Cut Studio with Call Box Training. Featuring the Panasonic GH2 and Canon 7D.


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Henry Vaughan
Re: Using DSLR Video as a production company using a 550D/t2I
on May 21, 2011 at 4:02:27 pm

I bought the 550D because the 60D did not exist at the time, as a company we love the camera, i will post up an event i shot recently with the 6400iso after the edit as an add on to this post. we are looking to upgrade the camera we have but it will most likely be a next generation DSLR

Stray Fox Newcastle video produciton - "Transforming Ideas Into Engaging Experiences" -


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Matt Surf
Re: Using DSLR Video as a production company using a 550D/t2I
on May 17, 2011 at 7:45:45 pm

Funnily enough I just posted asking for DSLR tips as I've just made the switch from Sony Z5E to DSLR. Maybe you could comment on my post above or perhaps share which bits of kit in particular you have found to be 'essential' as part of your corporate strategy??

Great post by the way, inspired me that I made the right decision anyway! :0)

Matt


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Henry Vaughan
Re: Using DSLR Video as a production company using a 550D/t2I
on May 21, 2011 at 4:29:31 pm

Yeah sure the equipment we bought with the dslr was a external sound kit because we like the idea of having the camera free instead of linked together with xlr. the more freedom the better.

il write a list of essential equipement we use.

a tripod any make would come in most handy.

also we bought a shoulder mount called dslr kit 3 from here.

http://www.thecinecity.com/eshop/

despite the site not looking great and professional the service was amazing and the equipment arrived in days, i highly recommend buying from here as they offer cheep nicely working equipment.

other equipment as for sound...


Fostex FR-2LE - sound recoder

Sennheiser ME66/K6 with Rycote Softie, Pistol Grip and Mount package - shot gun mic

xlrs cables

i wouldn't get lights if your just setting up. just hire them in per project, most projects we have done so far we have not needed a lighting budget.

Stray Fox Newcastle video produciton - "Transforming Ideas Into Engaging Experiences" -


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Matt Surf
Re: Using DSLR Video as a production company using a 550D/t2I
on May 21, 2011 at 5:57:07 pm

Thanks for the tips!! Just been checking out that Cine City website, looks like some great stuff there at not a bad price - wonder if they ship to the UK??

Thanks again


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Henry Vaughan
Re: Using DSLR Video as a production company using a 550D/t2I
on May 22, 2011 at 3:30:45 pm

I'm from the Uk they shipped to us in Newcastle they said it may take a month to arrive, but the equipment for us came earlier i believe it was about a week.

Stray Fox Newcastle video produciton - "Transforming Ideas Into Engaging Experiences" -


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Matt Surf
Re: Using DSLR Video as a production company using a 550D/t2I
on May 22, 2011 at 9:17:56 pm

And just to confirm, you're pleased with the DSLR shoulder mount from them? Was also looking at Glidetrack Shooter HD as a possibility so not sure which to go for now?

Decisions, decisions :0)


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Henry Vaughan
Re: Using DSLR Video as a production company using a 550D/t2I
on May 24, 2011 at 4:32:39 pm

I'm happy with the shoulder mount but i have not ordered anything else from them.

i got the Dslr kit 3 -

my kit came through fine, but i've heard that the matte box on some of the kits delivered to people i know personally are a little flimsy however i remember before i bought that kit myself i read some reviews online with people saying that they're customer service will help you out as much as they can.

They seemed to be quick with emails when i was enquiring about buying one cause i was using grant money and needed a invoice to prove the sale before hand in the uk.

hope this helps. i don't have any affiliations with the company so you should give them a email if you have any specific questions to be honest. they are based in India.

Stray Fox Newcastle video produciton - "Transforming Ideas Into Engaging Experiences" -


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Matt Surf
Re: Using DSLR Video as a production company using a 550D/t2I
on Jun 5, 2011 at 7:47:55 pm

Thanks for the tips (just back from hols so apologies about the delay)


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