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A new Canon DSLR and an amazing project

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Michael Lavis
A new Canon DSLR and an amazing project
on Jun 9, 2011 at 10:49:26 am


I work for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution a charity in the UK that saves lives at sea. I have taken over a new position in the company as there Cameraman and editor to help save money by doing all our work in house.

One of my projects that i am starting to work on is to film all our different lifeboats and also lifegaurds to create a good stock library of HD footage, this is to update our old footage that is all in SD.

So far i use a JVC HM-GY 700, as our main camera but for this project we are in the process of buying two gopros and a Canon 7D.

One of the reasons i am keen to use the DSLR is that i want to use a lot of slow motion in post and i have been amazed by what i have seen online. I will be using FCP and Twixtor to create the edits.

Ive never shot video on a DSLR but am familiar with it as a still camera. I was wondering if any one could give me any tips on the best way to use this camera especially to film from beaches, piers and even in the water or on boats. I know this is going to be tricky but im up for the challenge.

So if there is anyone who has done similar action shooting on a DSLR and could recommend lenses, shooting settings, best way to get nice slow motion and even tips on using it in waterproof bags in the sea would be amazing.

I hope someone can shed a little light on this new but exciting medium.

Kind Regards


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Greg Brand
Re: A new Canon DSLR and an amazing project
on Jun 9, 2011 at 1:13:42 pm

Hi Michael.

Sounds like a great job!
I have done a few shoots off of boats and love using twixtor.
i have a few posts on my site that may help.
we recently had a shoot in Greece for Mark Warner Resorts which meant a fair amount of content shot out on the water following sailing boats and windsurfers. I would suggest a good shoulder mount and a good IS or OS lens. You could consider going for the 550D or even the 60D which both shoot 50 and 59.97 fps but are a bit cheaper than the 7D.
For our Underwater shots we used an EWA Marine bag, which is not the easiest to use as it has no weight or stability in the water but for the price, you can manage to get some great shots. unfortunately anything wider than a 15mm and you will have to crop the footage to avoid seeing the EWA's font ring in the shot.
but the wider the lens the better when using something like that.

For on the boat i used a canon 70-200mm f4L, but i am really finding my sigma 17-50 2.8 very useful for stuff like that. It's good to get a zoom lens that has a constant aperture as you dont have to move the boat to get as many different shots as possible.
For shots from the beach make sure you have a good fluid head tripod.

here's a few post on my site that may help
the mark warner project (sorry not 100% complete yet) -
there is a small section about the EWA Marine there.

and on using twixtor -
the most important thing i learned when it comes to using twixtor is to shoot your subject on a plain background, for eg. a blue sky.

hope that helps
sorry i couldn't be more specific, but shout if there is something specific you need to know.


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Danny Grizzle
Re: A new Canon DSLR and an amazing project
on Jun 10, 2011 at 5:06:43 am

My immediate reaction is that rolling shutter may be an issue for handheld work aboard ships, and particularly with smaller craft like lifeboats.

You should probably include Lock & Load in addition to Twixtor.

Since you are planning to shoot with a crop frame sensor Canon, you can save some money on a wide angle zoom with the Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L, purchased used. Canon has replaced this lens with a second generation "II" design, and the supply of the original version is good since a lot of owners are trading up. The Mk II version of the lens is clearly superior for full frame cameras, but the improvements are mainly manifest in the corners of full frame cameras. For crop sensor cameras, the discontinued original works great.

Weigh this against your own needs - you may find something like the EF-S 10-22mm or Sigma 8-16mm may be a better fit, although both of these lenses are significantly slower.

Finally, I think I would get my hands on Final Cut Pro X before spending a lot of money on Twixtor and Lock & Load, or at least investigate what kind up protections the publishers are giving. I'm holding back on a number of purchases right now until we see what the upgrade path is going to be. I've sunk too much money into dead end products such as the recently discontinued TC Electronic Powercore platform. Even the crossgrade path often stinks -- for instance, TC has negotiated a special offer for Powercore owners to switch to the competing UAD system by Universal Audio. But UAD is Firewire-based, and in my opinion, Firewire is on its deathbed also.

Moral, if you have an immediate need that justifies the cost, go for it now. But be careful and plan your transition carefully, or chances are you will buy everything twice.

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