HDSLRs for Video: Beyond the Hype
Our lead Camera Op just picked up one of these
The Canon EOS 7D
The video quality is like something from a $40,000 camera.
The downsides are flicker when zooming (though not when panning or tilting), plus the footage has to be encoded before it'll work on our platform (PPro & Matrox).
It can overheat too, though it cools very quickly.
And like any computer, it can crash.
But the quality is a dream.
The world is changing fast, and I think Sony & Co will have to watch out.
It won't be long before somebody makes a film with one of these.
Thumbs up from me.
Rossiter & Co Video Multimedia Web for Business
"It won't be long before somebody makes a film with one of these. "
We purchased the 1st two 7D bodies in OC the second they were available, back in Oct? Tested them for a day, then canceled the 2 RED pkgs. we were supposed to shoot our feature with - so hopefully we will be one of the first 7D features to hit distribution soon (in post for a couple more months).
So it took about 72 hours after the cameras public release for "someone" to start shooting a feature with them. There are many more out there too.
Can't wait to see what's next in the HD DSLR realm...
What Canon need to do next is fix the EOS 7D video "zoom" problem with a firmware upgrade.
It appears (tho' I'm not sure) that the aperture starts clicking, and quickly opening and closing during zoom when shooting video.
This makes the footage look quite "interlace wacky", and unusable.
Excuse my poor description of these errors. It seems no one quite knows what they are yet.
Rossiter & Co Video Multimedia Web for Business
I thought the Cow article mentioned earlier was one of the best written on this topic. I've been shooting a documentary since last fall - for pay - and I couldn't be happier, although there have been some troubling moments.
The whole shutter-framerate discussion gives me a headache. I keep my shutter speed around 60 or 30 if I'm shooting 1080/30 - but I can also go up to 125 or higher.
I use half the watts I used with standard def video cameras. I now prefer natural light and use only a bounce card if I can get away with it. If I need a light - it's a very low wattage on a dimmer.
The learning curve is with exposure. This is where I need work. Some of my scenes have crushed blacks. I'm able to adjust in post.
I move the camera rather than zoom from a distance - for two reasons: the Canon 17-55 2.8 lens is a little short - and it makes for better quality videography.
I've had overheating problems - but not recently. Canon technical reps say not to worry.
I've had moire issues - but I tend to avoid shooting subjects that may create those problems.
Focus has been an issue. I tend to shoot with sharpness all the way down and I believe that affects how I see the scene in Live View. I use the zoom feature available and that helps. The Zacuto Z-Finder can help - but I often shoot low angles and the Z-Finder is useless for such purposes. I have an IKAN monitor - but i'm not happy with it. I need a Marshall with its focus assistant technology.
You'd be surprised how well you can focus using the LCD Live View.
I use FCP and Pro Res LT - and plan to use Color. I've tested some color correction in After Effects and I'm very excited about the potential.
I also use a a dual record system with spectacular results. My Tascam DR 100 records beautiful audio.
I do use the Rode Videomic - it sounds better than the on-board microphone - but I don't believe the quality is useful unless you're standing very close to someone.
I do endorse the Zacuto Gunstock/ Follow Focus systems. Used with the Z-Finder and you can shoot handheld.
You cannot use this system to shoot lectures or other video events that require long record times - not yet. I still use my PD 170 for that.
This is not a camera system you can pass to someone and expect them to capture high quality images right away. The system is far less forgiving than the typical video camera.
Find a framerate and stick to it. I started out shooting 24p and realized it would be difficult to match with my dual system audio.
Keep a notebook of each and every shoot. This is one of the best ways to manage the learning curve. (in fact - you should use a notebook for every piece of software, computer, and large investment you own - keep track of serial numbers, tech support numbers - whatever).
Pin down a good technical support plan. I bought my system from a local dealer who was able to give me the cell phone number for a Canon technical support rep. The same dealer also back-dated my invoice so I could get a rebate!
Canon has a terrific professional technical support program - where you can get service on your gear within a few days instead of weeks. But - you must own a certain amount of professional equipment - not consumer stuff. My Canon 17-55 lens and 7D camera qualify - but not my 55-250 or the 50mm 1.8 lenes I own.
That said - I'm not sure the 550D would qualify for the level of professional support mentioned above.
Buy the best glass you can. I cannot afford it right now - although my 17-55 cost more than $1,000.00.
I apologize for the length of this post - but i've been wanting to write down my thoughts for a long time.
I'm not sure of the wisdom of using cameras that only just produces 600TVL of resolution in either direction if you are shooting for HD.
Yes - it's a compromised image - and everyone knows it - but it's a spectacular image at an affordable price point. This is a temporary shift as the technology moves foward - this is the bleeding edge and there are all sorts of issues. But so what? It works. And whatever comes along based on the sensor and optics won't require a huge investment, unlike the typical video upgrade. So I guess that's the true wisdom.
Recently I shot 2 cameras for much of a day. A Sony V1U on a boom pointing down at tabletop activities and a Canon 7d on sticks. The primary shot was the V1, with the 7d locked down on a wide shot/safety. The two shots cut together nicely. The 7d shots look very nice indeed given the shallow DOF and rich colors and contrast range. Make me want to shoot with 2 7d's!
The native files load into Premiere just fine - playback is a but jerky but once rendered it is fine.