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Not sure what to do... Please help

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Joe SeverinoNot sure what to do... Please help
by on Jan 28, 2010 at 12:17:05 am

I am looking at getting a new video camera that shoots HD (I currently rent for all my HD needs) and can't decide to get a canon DSLR that shoots video or saving my $$ and getting a panasonic tapeless. I know a lot about video cameras but know very little about the DSLR's that shoot video. Any advice or opinions in using DSLRs to shoot video on?

Mac Pro 3.2 GHz Dual Quad Core
6GB RAM (2x2GB top; 2x1 GB bottom)
OS X 10.6.1 (Clean Instal)
Final Cut Studio 2 (FCP 6)
Logic Studio (Logic 8)

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Mark SuszkoRe: Not sure what to do... Please help
by on Jan 28, 2010 at 4:03:14 pm

I consider the DSLR method to still be more lab curiosity and tinkerer's fetish toy, than a practical day to day media gathering tool. Yes, it looks gorgeous. But it requires a lot of extra add-ons to get there, the work flow is cumbersome, results are great if you can apply a lot of skill and patience to getting the most out of the gear. The costs are higher. If you were shooting thatricals, maybe it's a good way to go. But I think for an all-around performer, a camcorder purpose-built for that job is a better overall value and more efficient right now.

Now I expect the pure cinematographers will gang up on me for a beat-down, but it's my personal opinion, fwiw.

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Jeff MuellerRe: Not sure what to do... Please help
by on Jan 29, 2010 at 1:54:52 am

I haven't actually used one of the DSLRs, but I've been studying them and looking for an opportunity to rent one (Canon 5D Mk II or 7D). My impression (which isn't that different from Mark's) is that they make a great SECOND camera, for beauty shots and candids and getting in tight spaces quickly. Because of the wide availability of lenses and total manual control they can take some stunning images, but they are at their best in full manual mode, are not really intended for audio recording, are difficult to hand hold without a rig and have extremely limited record times. Plus there are some codec issues and I doubt they record timecode.

That being said, if you haven't seen the work of the Canadian guys Stillmotion, for example, you need to. I believe they shoot with Canon 5D Mk IIs on Steadicam Flyers. Stunning visuals, but that's $20K worth of kit per set-up! I shoot with an XL-H1 which is a great camera (XL-A1 isn't bad either), but I can't get this kind of stuff.

Hope this helps. Love to hear from anyone who's used these for Events.

Jeff Mueller
Santa Barbara, CA

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Matt TownleyRe: Not sure what to do... Please help
by on Jan 29, 2010 at 5:40:56 pm

I don't shoot anymore, but a good friend of mine used to shoot with XL-A1's and added a 5DMkII as an extra and within 2 months he was hardly using the A1's anymore. I think he shoots almost exclusively with the MkIIs now. Here is a link to his site: He also has a bunch of stuff on Vimeo (

I agree with Mark that a lot of this depends on what you are shooting and your style. If you shoot long-form events, then a video DSLR probably won't be for you. But if your style and your events are delivered as "film-like" pieces that are heavily edited, then a video DSLR may work fine. Both are great tools, just have to know what the job is you want it do do. That's my 2c anyways.

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Chip ThomeRe: Not sure what to do... Please help
by on Jan 30, 2010 at 5:42:46 am

I do agree with all that has been said so far. The limitations listed are accurate as is the potential quality as shown in the image quality of the wedding Jeff posted a link to.

BUT, I just watched a trailer from a different forum for a music video done with DSLRs and to be honest, I couldn't tell it from SD.

The DSLR is going to give you some pristine footage, if you are proficient enough to be able to adjust the camera accordingly. If you need to go for "cool" as in that music video, you are going to lose everything a DSLR is good for, and might as well use just about anything.

Another thread I have seen, brides are not crazy about their wedding videos where every sequence is starting out "out of focus" and then coming into focus. They have commented it is "bothersome" to watch.

As an all around camera, for me, not an option. Of course, YMMV.

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