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5D or 60D for green screen shoot

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Kevin Gonzales
5D or 60D for green screen shoot
on Dec 22, 2010 at 7:35:57 am

I'm getting ready to shoot a commercial and we are contemplating using the Canon 5D or Canon 60D for the shoot. My only concern is part of the shoot will be on green screen. Does anyone know how these two cameras do on green screen shoots especially when it comes time to keying the footage in AE?

Yes we have a ton of light and know how to use it and yes, we will be converting the footage to Apple Pro Res HQ.

Any thoughts would be great.


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smith david
Re: 5D or 60D for green screen shoot
on Dec 30, 2010 at 9:00:48 am

If you're looking for an excellent, full-frame DSLR, the 5D Mk2 is very, very good. It's at least 1 full F-stop more sensitive to light than my Canon 1DS Mk2. A setting of ASA 800 or 1000 yields about the same noise level as my older camera at ASA 400. It's autofocus system is very fast and accurate on single shot mode.
The new LCD screen is gorgeous. 3" diagonal with 900,000+ pixels. It's possibly the best quality LCD screen ever put on a DSLR. The menus are easier to understand and navigate than the 1DS Mk2's menus. "Live View" is an excellent way to do critical focusing.
-Full frame = Real wide angle. My 17-40 lens can now work as it's supposed to.
-High ISO with amazing quality. The noise level at ISO 12800 (H1) in 5D ~= ISO 1250-1600 in 40D.
-High quality LCD with a light sensor, so no need to adjust LCD brightness from time to time. It's neat.
Autofocus microadjustment by lens.

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Jason Myres
Re: 5D or 60D for green screen shoot
on Dec 31, 2010 at 3:11:18 am

I am very new to keying (green screen), but I have a 60D and have been researching this, too. While a great camera, lenses, and lighting are all important, what great keying really boils down to is the color sampling used in your recording format. Its the color sampling that will determine how accurately the software you're using will be able to differentiate the green or blue screen background from your subject.

Good info on color sampling can be found here:

and here:

Ideally, the format you'd be working with would use 4:4:4 or 4:2:2 sampling. However, when shooting with any Canon DSLR, you're going to be recording to H.264, which is a great looking, but heavily compressed delivery format that uses 4:2:0 sampling. So, essentially, while the 5D MKII is an amazing full frame camera, it has no real advantage over the 60D where it really counts, since they both record to 4:2:0-sampled H.264.

Transcoding H.264 to a 4:2:2 or 4:4:4 format like ProRes or uncompressed HD, won't improve the situation, since the original is already heavily compressed. One way to get the best possible result would to be to record to an external 4:2:2 recorder like an AJA KiPro or NanoFlash using any camera with a "clean" HDMI output, which I believe includes the 5D MKII.

If buying/ borrowing/ renting an external recorder is out of the question, you can still possibly get a useable result out of your transcoded H.264, you just won't have the control you'd have with a less compressed format.

But, again, this is all based only on what I've read so far :)


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Adrian Jans
Re: 5D or 60D for green screen shoot
on Jan 4, 2011 at 9:44:38 pm

I've used a 5D mk.2 for green screen many times, and it actually pulls out very clean keys. The biggest issue to worry about is your focus, make sure the edges of your subject are focused and clean looking, if there is too much of a blur, your going to have an annoying outline effect on your subject.

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Teresa Seito
Re: 5D or 60D for green screen shoot
on Mar 2, 2012 at 10:26:39 am

Did you transcode your Canon 60D footage? If so, to what codec? I'm trying to key Canon 60D footage and I want to make sure I have the best footage I can have. I need at least 4 2 2 bit depth and not 4 2 0. I am working with AE on a PC.

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Kevin Gonzales
Re: 5D or 60D for green screen shoot
on Mar 2, 2012 at 2:34:49 pm

Hi Teresa:

We actually opted out and used the Red 1. But what I can tell you is that if you do shoot with ANY DSLR convert the footage to PRO RES. I know it may sound bizarre but you'll get a better key. We've done a few tests on converting H.264 4-2-0 footage, which is what DSLRs shoot on, to pro res and the key was much better. We could control the edges much easier on the keyed subject.

What I will tell you is light the green screen really well and make sure you have no spill on the subject, meaning no green reflection on the thing or person you are filming. If you can record to an external device that does 4,2,2 color sampling it will make your life much less stressful in post.

All the best on your shoot.


Kevin Gonzales

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Luis Cosme
Re: 5D or 60D for green screen shoot
on Mar 20, 2011 at 9:55:18 pm

@Jason Myres,

What you read and found out was awesome information from what I can tell, but I have to disagree on one part of what you wrote.

After you transcode what the canon recorded at 4:2:0 to 4:2:2 you are still working with the original compressed footage I agree on that part but I don't agree on the part where you say "it does not improve the situation" Because when you transcode you brake down the pixels into smaller sections and I think you will get a cleaner key (less staircasing) than if you were just keying the straight 4:2:0

Now is it worth transcoding to key it?
Maybe loosing quality while transcoding is not worth it and then ending up with the same results.

What would make sense is if the footage can be transcoded to 4:4:4 without loosing any quality at all from the original compressed and then key that. Then that would yield the best results in my opinion.

I don't transcode my 60D footage because I edit in Premiere CS5 but I haven't shot green screen with it yet and I'm planning to, that's how I ended up in this topic.

As of right now I'm still using my HVX for green screen.

But this is an interesting subject!
We need to put all this to a test :-)

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Peter Burger
Re: 5D or 60D for green screen shoot
on Jan 9, 2011 at 5:24:45 pm

You should have no problems when lighting the greenscreen properly and if you try to avoid spill. Since you are trancoding to ProRes, you'd be save.
I'm working on a PC with After Effects and did quite a lot of greenscreen work with the T2i and 5DMkII (transcoded to Quicktime as PNG or to AVID DNxHD), works pretty fine. The only two things I had problems with, were motionblur (very hard to key) and sometimes too shallow DOF, when the outlines of the talent was blurred (also hard to key).

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shur harewood
Re: 5D or 60D for green screen shoot
on Oct 22, 2012 at 5:59:53 am

I found using a reflecmedia set up perfect with the Canon 5d Mk11 or 7D or 60D see article link here for info or video with an explanation here hopefully this will provide a useful reference

Shoot Edit & Enjoy
United By Photography

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