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Old January 29th, 2013, 05:02 PM   #16
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Re: DSLR production

Im planning on shooting one, been for a while but got sidetracked. It can be a pain that's for sure but the footage looks great in the right situations so overall I think it's worth it. Sound is prob the pain in the neck the most for me so. It's like every camera/system out there that has some limitations. There are days where I wish I had a typical camera, and even wonder if I should have just a video camera and skip the dslr, but so far I haven't been able to part with mine yet. It has given me great footage so far.
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Old February 4th, 2013, 11:55 AM   #17
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Re: DSLR production

We had shot a total of seven 15 minute episodes for a show/webshow, although we primarily used a Canon XH A1, we also used a T2i for more difficult shots, or for shallow DOF shots. Probably about 12 total hours of footage between XH A1 with/without Letus or Redrock M2, and 8 hours of just T2i footage. Half way through production we sold the RedRock M2, and about a month later decided to let the XH A1 go. I still wish we had kept the XH A1 and just sold the Letus kit. MUCH easier for so many things, but the image quality of the T2i's is worlds better if you can work around CMOS issues. This was around May of 2010, when the T2i was new and ML did not exist yet, and 35mm adapters were still riding high.

The show was never picked up and we decided against throwing it on the net, i might still have them around. Eventually we switched to all HDSLR's as most of our work is indoors and in controlled environments, plus they are cheaper especially used, but definitely a pain as they are clearly not all-in-one devices.

One thing i DO like about the DSLRs over prosumer camcorders like the HVX-200/XH-A1, it makes you learn about individual components, how they work, workarounds, and more technical aspects versus having everything 'baked in' a camcorder. Also that we could separate departments and jobs. For instance, our sound guy would be trying to mess with the onboard audio while our cameraman was trying to film; with the DSLR kit, we had the audio gear elsewhere, the field monitors and audio monitor with the director elsewhere, the boom op doing his job, and the cam op left to do his job, so no one was interfering with one another.
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Old February 4th, 2013, 02:24 PM   #18
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Re: DSLR production

Quote:
Originally Posted by Panagiotis Raris View Post
One thing i DO like about the DSLRs over prosumer camcorders like the HVX-200/XH-A1, it makes you learn about individual components, how they work, workarounds, and more technical aspects versus having everything 'baked in' a camcorder. Also that we could separate departments and jobs. For instance, our sound guy would be trying to mess with the onboard audio while our cameraman was trying to film; with the DSLR kit, we had the audio gear elsewhere, the field monitors and audio monitor with the director elsewhere, the boom op doing his job, and the cam op left to do his job, so no one was interfering with one another.
Isn't this how films are traditionally shot?
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Old February 4th, 2013, 02:38 PM   #19
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Re: DSLR production

yes, my point was that with the 'all-in-one' camcorders we had 3 people clustered around the camera, hence i prefer the DSLR way. it was really low budget, all my equipment and everyones' time when we had time.

if we ever decide to pick up where we left off, it would be much easier now.
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Old February 4th, 2013, 02:48 PM   #20
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Re: DSLR production

Quote:
Originally Posted by Panagiotis Raris View Post

One thing i DO like about the DSLRs over prosumer camcorders like the HVX-200/XH-A1, it makes you learn about individual components, how they work, workarounds, and more technical aspects versus having everything 'baked in' a camcorder. Also that we could separate departments and jobs. For instance, our sound guy would be trying to mess with the onboard audio while our cameraman was trying to film; with the DSLR kit, we had the audio gear elsewhere, the field monitors and audio monitor with the director elsewhere, the boom op doing his job, and the cam op left to do his job, so no one was interfering with one another.
Here is what I find objectionable with everyone using dSLRs for productions - overuse of shallow DOF. Not just for dramatic affect but on every shot. Overuse to distraction.

People that lack the knowledge of the language of cinematography grab this stuff and wield it with reckless abandon. Just because you can shoot at f/1.2 with a focus distance of 5' on a S35 sized sensor doesn't mean you should. If you find yourself larger than f/5.6 with a focus distance under 10' you should be asking yourself why.

At least when the cameras that gave you tremendous DOF control also cost huge dollars operators had to work their way up the food chain to get to use them. Along that journey they learned what it took to create a great images. Now anyone can grab a box and crank a knob to 2.8 or less then point it at something where no thought was given to lighting or background (because you can't see it anyway) and call it a film.

I may be in the minority with that opinion but I'll be glad when the shallow DOF craze is done and we can get back to seeing more of the world in our films again.
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Old February 4th, 2013, 03:08 PM   #21
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Re: DSLR production

And many who have bought one, suddenly call themselves DOP as well, with little to no film making experience.
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Old February 4th, 2013, 03:12 PM   #22
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Re: DSLR production

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Medico View Post
Here is what I find objectionable with everyone using dSLRs for productions - overuse of shallow DOF. Not just for dramatic affect but on every shot. Overuse to distraction.

People that lack the knowledge of the language of cinematography grab this stuff and wield it with reckless abandon. Just because you can shoot at f/1.2 with a focus distance of 5' on a S35 sized sensor doesn't mean you should. If you find yourself larger than f/5.6 with a focus distance under 10' you should be asking yourself why.

At least when the cameras that gave you tremendous DOF control also cost huge dollars operators had to work their way up the food chain to get to use them. Along that journey they learned what it took to create a great images. Now anyone can grab a box and crank a knob to 2.8 or less then point it at something where no thought was given to lighting or background (because you can't see it anyway) and call it a film.

I may be in the minority with that opinion but I'll be glad when the shallow DOF craze is done and we can get back to seeing more of the world in our films again.
i agree. for our production it was used mostly to insinuate things in the background, without directly showing them. one of the characters was constantly engrossed in video games, and in the background, blurred just enough you couldnt tell, it appeared his girlfriend was having sex with his room mate, then the focus would shift and they would be actually moving furniture. we never did the 'shoot half the show at f1.4' thing; it was used for creative masking/effect, and insinuation.
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Old February 4th, 2013, 04:56 PM   #23
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Re: DSLR production

And with bad operation and application of shallow DOF we also get the new media styles of search for focus and wobblycam to justify the poorand sloppy operative ignorance!

Along with that comes the re-inventing the wheels and in built arrogance that has totally de valued TV and film teaching by the uni's in the UK!
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Old February 4th, 2013, 04:57 PM   #24
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Re: DSLR production

There are tools and then there are those who use the tools.

An ASP-C DSLR has roughly the same sensor size as traditional S35 film. Don't blame the tool. It's just that the S35 size just became democratized.

Overly shallow DOF is probably the least of the problems out there. Some shoot fast action handheld with a back-lit scene, poor exposure, bad white balance, a high-contrast profile, and no grading and then ask why it doesn't look like film. There are more sins than shallow DOF available to the novice filmmaker.

DOF, is an artistic choice but it also offers great freedom. I can shoot an interview in a cluttered office, open the aperture, and remove distractions. We once built a cave interior out of chicken wire, grocery bags, and a bit of spray paint, and with some mixed temp lighting and shallow DOF, it looked fantastic. Last week I shot interviews over a black background, but there were some creases in the cloth and some spill from the fill. Shallow DOF to the rescue!

Not to mention that I can shoot with low noise on a modest lighting budget. The DOF might be shallower than ideal, but a large aperture can make a naturally-lit night shot possible.

Can shallow DOF be used poorly? Of course. But thank goodness it's now available when we want it. :)
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Old February 4th, 2013, 05:23 PM   #25
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Re: DSLR production

actually i personally detest CMOS related issues the most; jello on every video users send into news programs, banding/half over-exposed frames with strobe lights/police lights, banding/flickering on vacuum fluorescent displays, MORE banding/sync or flickering issues with televisions or screens, even in films.

Actually the weather channel in the usa is the worst; its as if they intentionally show 320x240 15fps video for EVERY 'user uploaded' feature, and their giant tv screen on their normal programming is not only WAY off in terms of WB (i understand why, but it SHOULD be adjusted to show correct colors) and it flickers. It is so annoying i never watch that channel. also it appears they have far too much lighting directed at their talents.


...and CSI miami. STOP with the filters. seriously.
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Old February 4th, 2013, 05:32 PM   #26
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Re: DSLR production

This is personal, but I didn't go exclusively to DSLR for any of the reasons mentioned above.

I adopted it for one reason and one reason only. Image quality verses cost.

I don't shoot, (nor do I have any desire to shoot) features or documentaries or any other typical long form video productions. I see those industries as tremendously over-crowded and with only marginal room for growth and profit. They have long production schedules and significant waits before you can expect to recover any investment. (And if the project fails, you often don't recoup anything at all!)

In the movie business, the goal is to put butts in seats and sell them tickets and vastly overpriced popcorn and soda - and then to move into the stream of NetFlix or the iTMS, or other secondary markets to keep generating revenue from the original work. And that's well and good, even if very few movies ever recoup their production investment.

I find that a tiresome and risky way to use these tools to generate a living in that arena.

OTOH, the use of video for general video purposes is exploding. Part of that is the web, but it's just as prevalent in general business communications.

At it's heart, video solves problems by allowing one to craft and reproduce a beneficial message for a client. I'm much more interested in using the power of video to solve smaller real-world problems like training, motivation, and driving efficiency in repetitive operations.

I think it's a much more fertile reef than the tremendously over-fished shoals of movie-making.

The DSLR is a fabulous tool for that because it produces sumptuous imagery at an extremely modest investment. It's light and agile and not only solves the need for motion content creation, but also lets you refine your skills in the still image arts - which is in some instances can be a superior communications tool to video.

To get a video device as good as a DSLR that's better suited to video I have to either jump to a C-300 type device and spend 3 times the price (which means I have to treat it as more an investment and less as a simple expense) or I have to go the Black Magic Cinema Camera route and dig into it's RAW workflow hassles and lose the still imaging ecosystem that my 5d gives me.

I think DSLR and FCP-X is still a wonderful production sweet spot for the kind of work I do.

That has NOTHING to do with shallow depth of field aesthetics. It has to do with securing the ability to make more money off a smaller, less risky investment.

Simple as that.
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