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How to choose a dslr for indi film shoot?

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joydeep Ghosh
How to choose a dslr for indi film shoot?
on Oct 3, 2011 at 5:41:30 pm

There are so many DSLRs in the market the most used are Cannon 5D MK2 and 7D for the indi film makers..... but in terms of resolution most of them has 1080P @24fps so what ever be the sensor resolution the video res of all the 1080p 24fps of all the cameras are same ( pls correct me if I am wrong) so how do I choose ? Iam bit confused when I see there is not much quality difference between Canon7D and Nikon D5100 but the price difference is huge> Pls tell what is that I am missing in Nikon which canon is giving I have gone through the video specs they are marginally different. Pls put some light on it I will be grateful.
regards
Joy


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Noah Kadner
Re: How to choose a dslr for indi film shoot?
on Oct 3, 2011 at 6:27:56 pm

Canon DSLRs are IMHO much better than Nikons- they have been doing video much longer and it shows. Not just image quality but ergonomics. Shooting video on a 7D or a 60D is pretty straightforward- on the 5100 it's a pain. Not sure what your budget is but I'd go with Canon hands down if the goal was DSLR for video.

Noah

Call Box Training.
Featuring the Panasonic GH2 and GoPro HD Hero.


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Peter Burger
Re: How to choose a dslr for indi film shoot?
on Oct 4, 2011 at 8:12:52 am

Since I have no experience with VDSLRs other than Canons, I can't compare the different brands.
I own a 550D (T2i) myself and did a lot of editing of "mixed footage" projects of various Canon VDSLRs. So what I think I can say is, that between the these there's not much difference in picture quality. Of course, the 5D MkII stands out a bit - mainly because of its full-frame sensor, but choosing between 7D, 60D, 550D or even 600D is more a choice of budget, ergonomics (the 60D and the 600D have a swivel screen which is very handy) and the question of how important still photography is to you.
On the video-quality side, IMHO the main difference is, that the "smaller" Canons produce a bit more noise when using high ISOs than the "bigger" ones.
If I had to choose one today for video, I'd take the 60D mainly because of the swivel screen and the possibility to use the Magic Lantern Firmware hack (which is not possible with the 7D).

Just my two cents

------------------------------------------
"Tragedy is a close-up; comedy, a long shot." - Buster Keaton


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joydeep Ghosh
Re: How to choose a dslr for indi film shoot?
on Oct 4, 2011 at 11:39:05 am

Dear Peter Thanx for such a candid opinion... will please tell me more about the Magic lantern hacked firmware ..how one loads it and what does it do?


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Brent Dunn
Re: How to choose a dslr for indi film shoot?
on Oct 4, 2011 at 2:44:51 pm

5D MkII has better color detail with the full sensor than the 7D or 60D. All are great camera.

If you have the budget, look at the Panasonic AF-100. Depending where you live, you should also consider renting a camera.

Brent Dunn
Owner / Director / Editor
DunnRight Films
DunnRight Video.com
Video Marketing Toolbox.net

Sony EX-1,
Canon 5D Mark II
Canon 7D
Mac Pro Tower, Quad Core,
with Final Cut Studio

HP i7 Quad laptop
Adobe CS-5 Production Suite





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Steve Crow
Re: How to choose a dslr for indi film shoot?
on Oct 5, 2011 at 12:11:35 am

I'm not all the interested in the swivel LCDs and won't pay extra for it, here's why.

In order to film shallow depth of field videos I have to use a Z-Finder that shields and magnifies the LCD screen so that it can be seen in bright outdoor settings. If the LCD swivels - I could use my Zacutto Z-Finder - it's only made to work when the LCD is in the flat/normal position.

There are external monitors you can buy to use with your DSLR and, in fact, Zacutto's latest version of the Z-Finder type device is that kind of form factor - so maybe with one of those I could then get away with using the swivel LCD - but for right now it's not a high priority at all.

I am more jazzed about my new 4 foot mini crane/jib that is arriving today...whoppeee!!! Gonna get my camera flying!


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Peter Burger
Re: How to choose a dslr for indi film shoot?
on Oct 5, 2011 at 7:19:45 am

Glad, I helped a bit!

In short: Magic Lantern is an enhancement that adds a lot of features to Canon VDSLRs. Almost all Canons except the 7D are supported. AFAIK 7D support is still under development.

The cool thing is, it is installed on the card and not the camera itself, so you don't have to replace your original firmware. If you format the card or insert a card without ML, Magic Lantern is gone.
I'm using it with my 550D (T2i) for a couple of months now and it is more than useful! I'm very happy with it.

Installing is a bit tricky, but not too complicated. You'll have to make your card bootable, copy the ML files to your card and do a "firmware update" with that card the first time you're using ML. This will not actually update the firmware of your camera, but "convince" the cam to boot ML from your card every time a ML-card is inserted. You'll still have access to the camera menu and all features but a ML menu with all the ML features is now available with the "Erase" button.

The only real problems can occur if you insert a bootable card, that doesn't have ML installed. At least that's what I read.

Problems I had: Sometimes the camera hangs. Even switching it off won't change anything. Taking the battery out for a couple of seconds and then restaring helps.

You might take a look at this link, it includes installing information and a feature list:

http://magiclantern.wikia.com/wiki/Magic_Lantern_Firmware_Wiki

------------------------------------------
"Tragedy is a close-up; comedy, a long shot." - Buster Keaton


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Jim Hagan
Re: How to choose a dslr for indi film shoot?
on Oct 11, 2011 at 6:31:08 am

Question for Peter Burger. I'm just about to pull the trigger on purchasing the Cannon T2i (550D)by the recomendation of the DSLR Cinematography Guide from nofilmschool.com. Somewhere I read that the
T2i could only rsolve to 680 lines but it has to be able to resolve to 1080 lines woudn't it? I was wondering about your experience with the T2i(550D). Can you get what would be considered broadcast quality at 1080p/30fps? I'm planning on doing mostly static camera shots but most of the antialiasing and moire patterns I believe I can fix in post with AfterEffects. Good Quality at 1080p /30fps?


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Steve Crow
Re: How to choose a dslr for indi film shoot?
on Oct 11, 2011 at 7:08:06 am

I believe what the 680 lines posting may have been about is image sharpness as evaluated by someone filming a resolution chart and evaluating how many lines they could see clearly or something like that.

Would it surprise you to learn that most DSLR video pros turn the sharpness of their cameras all the way DOWN to zero? Sharpness is a quality that photographers really need but when applied to video the opposite is almost (not entirely) true. A sharp picture is like bad video from camcorders where everything is in perfect sharpness - cinematic film has a much softer look - therefore it's not meant to be sharp.

Bottom line, you will LOVE the look of the T2i with a good fast lens attached...


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Jim Hagan
Re: How to choose a dslr for indi film shoot?
on Oct 11, 2011 at 11:53:06 am

Thanks for the advice Steve, Could I also ask about the speed of the lens. I'm looking at an ebay deal( Canon authorized dealer )with 18 to 55mm lens f3.5 on the fast end 5.6 on the other end. Will this be fast enough to get me started or will I need something faster?


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Steve Crow
Re: How to choose a dslr for indi film shoot?
on Oct 11, 2011 at 2:22:57 pm

That is the kit lens I believe and unfortunately it is too slow and is not a constant aperture - a great starter lens is either the Canon 50mm 1.8 for about $100 or the Canon 50mm 1.4 for $300 which is beautiful and easier to focus than the 1.8...starting with prime lenses is a great way to learn your camera and you will be very happy with the 50mm - over time you can get other lenses but start with this one!


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joydeep Ghosh
Re: How to choose a dslr for indi film shoot?
on Oct 11, 2011 at 12:35:16 pm

Thanks steve

Another issue, other than 2 Digic 4 processor for 7D and in case of 60D or T21 1 Digic 4 processor is there any major difference between the two as far as video is concerned? How do u compare the Espeed 2( Nikon) with Digic4 ( canon)?

best

J


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Steve Crow
Re: How to choose a dslr for indi film shoot?
on Oct 11, 2011 at 2:30:48 pm

In terms of video performance the 7D and the T2i are very similar - I don't know the other two cameras you mentioned
Steve


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joydeep Ghosh
Re: How to choose a dslr for indi film shoot?
on Oct 12, 2011 at 6:35:45 am

Espeed 2 is processor which Nikon use and Digic 4 is the processor which canon use


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Peter Burger
Re: How to choose a dslr for indi film shoot?
on Oct 12, 2011 at 10:22:42 am

[Steve Crow] "In terms of video performance the 7D and the T2i are very similar"

I can confirm that. We do a lot of "mixed"-footage videos with the 7D and 550D (T2i). The only difference I can see is a slightly better low-light performance of the 7D, in terms of less noise..

[Jim Hagan] " Somewhere I read that the
T2i could only rsolve to 680 lines but it has to be able to resolve to 1080 lines woudn't it? I was wondering about your experience with the T2i(550D). Can you get what would be considered broadcast quality at 1080p/30fps?"


Yes, all the Canons seem to produce a more 720p'ish picture in 1080p mode, if this was your question. Since I don't have too much experience in (tv-)broadcast, I can only write, what I read and heard from colleagues and that is that DSLRs are more and more accepted in broadcast. You maybe want to look at this article:
http://philipbloom.net/2010/09/02/bbc/
What I can definitly say is, that there is next to no difference - quality wise - between the different Canon VDSLRs. Exception: The 5DMkII with it's full frame sensor and the before mentioned better low-light-performance of the "bigger" Canons.
If I had to choose between the T2i and the 7D for video, I'd definitly take the T2i. Not only is it lower-priced with nearly the same video-performance "out-of-the-box", but with Magic Lantern you have features, that the 7D (presumably) never will have, like higher video bitrates (= higher quality video), focus peaking, rack focussing, ...

------------------------------------------
"Tragedy is a close-up; comedy, a long shot." - Buster Keaton


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joydeep Ghosh
Re: How to choose a dslr for indi film shoot?
on Oct 12, 2011 at 2:09:48 pm

Steve and Jim

Thank u

You see Iam looking for making films which are projectable on big screen and even transferable to celluloid... you see 1080P @24 giving me a film look as well as it a little lower than 2k. 1080P is 1920x1080 whereas 2k will be 2048x1080 and the Full HD footage is upgradable to 2k actually Digital images require a red, green, and blue value for each pixel to be displayed or printed, but one individual pixel in the image sensor will only supply one of those three pieces of information. The image has to be interpolated or de-mosaiced to produce all three colors for each output pixel. is there any info on that?


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Jim Hagan
Re: How to choose a dslr for indi film shoot?
on Oct 21, 2011 at 5:36:41 pm

Thanks for the advice Steve. I purchased the T2i with a 50mm f1.8 lens. You mentioned the Magic Lantern firmware, is that available for the T2i ? If so will that allow me to defeat the audio auto gain control ? I'm thinking I would need the juiced linked d454 for on camera audio right?


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Steve Crow
Re: How to choose a dslr for indi film shoot?
on Oct 21, 2011 at 9:42:37 pm

Good choice, I think you will be very happy. Yes Magic Lantern is available for the T2i, I rented the JuicedLink box for a documentary assignment but in the end I wasn't that happy with it.

The problem was more that it made the "stack" of gear under my camera too unstable and everything was kind of twisting to the left and right making for a very unsteady rig.

The Zoom H4N allows me to monitor the sound I'm recording so that was a major reason for having the JuicedLink - so I was okay without it. Ofcourse the JuicedLink box offers other functionality including defeating the AGC but now Magic Lantern does that so you're good there too! :-)


Steve


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