Posted tagged ‘technology’

Convergence of Video and Still, Part 2

June 24, 2010

Canon 5D MK II being used on the set of "House". Photo Courtesy Greg Yaitaines and Philip Bloom.

OK, last time I talked about my experience using a Canon 5D MK II DSLR on location to shoot both stills and video.  The 5D is an amazing tool, shooting both high-definition video at a number of different resolution and frame rates and huge, beautiful 21 megapixel still images, switching between the modes almost seamlessly.

Since the introduction a few years ago of professional video/still DSLRs, a community of filmmakers and bloggers  has sprung up, using these cameras to create amazing work.

One of my favorites is Philip Bloom, a UK-based filmmaker who makes films using DSLRs, primarily Canons.

Another is Shane Hurlburt, ASC, cinematographer on this fabulous short, “The Last Three Minutes,” shot entirely on a Canon 5D MK II.   Almost as entertaining is his story of the making of this film.

Equipment manufacturers such as Zacuto are also turning out all kinds of specialized equipment for DSLRs, and adapters to use the cameras with more traditional film and video equipment.

And, recently the Canon 5D was used to shoot an episode of the Fox medical drama, “House“. Pretty impressive for a camera that sells for about $2,500.  The picture above was taken on the set of this episode, and is used courtesy of  Greg Yaitainis and Philip Bloom.

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The Convergence of Video and Photography

June 17, 2010

Marines conducting field medical drills at Camp LeJeune, NC.

I’m very excited about how motion media and still images – video and photography – are converging in the latest generation of hybrid cameras that shoot video footage as well as do traditional still photography.  Cameras such as the Canon 5D Mk II, the Canon 7D and the Nikon D300S break down the boundary between video and stills and provide truly amazing capabilities at a reasonable price.

Last week, I shot my first video/still assignment using a Canon 5D MK II DSLR, and it was wild. Non-stop, run-and-gun video at Camp LeJeune of Marine medical drills staged in an open field under blazing sun, running in and out of medical tents following  stretchers that were carrying make-believe patients. The 5D performed like a champ, delivering beautiful, well-exposed hi-def video in conditions ranging from bright sun to near darkness. A great feature of the 5D is that you can take a still photograph while it is recording video, and return automatically to recording video. Very cool!

The new equipment does, however, upset the established division of labor for both video shoots and still shoots. Before hybrid cameras, you needed a still camera to capture stills and a video camera to capture video. On location, this usually meant a video crew of at least two or three people: camera operator, sound recordist, and producer/director; and a still photographer. Now, agencies are trying to squeeze this down to one person with a hybrid DSLR tasked with both jobs.

Shooting both stills and video with a DSLR can be challenging for one person to do, especially in a fluid, fast moving  environment where that person has no control over events.  When to shoot video? When to shoot stills?  Shooting stills with a Canon 5D while it is shooting video is easy, but it interrupts video recording for about one second.  Will that second contain important action?

As well, the on-board microphone is really only good for recording a background sound track;  it also picks up all of the camera handling noise.  A remote microphone is needed for a good sound track, either a wireless or a directional mic that mounts in the camera’s hot shoe. Now, that one lone photographer/videographer has a lot of balls to keep in the air!

Nevertheless, I’m convinced that this is the future of video/photography, and photographers and videographers will need to learn each other’s  job and become good at using the this new equipment.