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Canon EOS Crop Sensor for HD
APS-C sensor cameras including the 80D, 70D, 7D Mk. II, 7D, EOS M and Rebel models for HD video recording.


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Old February 28th, 2010, 09:20 PM   #16
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I have done two documentary style corporate productions with the 7D recently. By documentary style I mean interviews and lots of locations and setups in minimal time frames, real people doing things instead of actors, and shooting mostly by myself or with an assistant. It is more of a hassle than a traditional video camera but the results are worth it, in my opinion.

Shooting double system sound is not a problem and syncing sound is not a problem. What is a problem is logging things properly so you know which sound clips go with which video clips. If you have enough people on a shoot, it gets much easier.

After shooting my first interview, I bought a 28-75 Tamron 2.8 lens just for interviews. Unless you're on a dolly, it's difficult to do interviews without a zoom. I generally will move in to change area during questions. You really can't shut down the camera and switch prime lenses fast enough to do that without interrupting the flow, and often I'm in a setup where it's also not feasible to pick up the camera and move, even if I could do that in a short time period. So a zoom lens for interviews is a necessity, for me.

While I think the 7D is good for documentary shooting, if you have it properly equipped (ie., a rods support system for hand helds, the lenses you need, and the right sound gear), some people consider documentary shooting to be more like TV news shooting, ie., run 'n gun, all handheld, no lighting, etc. If you're doing that, then the 7D is not ideal. If you've used fully manual cameras before, or shot film, you probably would have an easier time adapting to the 7D than if you come from the "prosumer" camera world.

As far as the specific questions, the OIS is in the lens. If you want OIS, you have to buy a lens that has it. Even then, you really need a shoulder mount type system for any decent hand held shooting. The jellocam is sometimes there in fast pans, so you need to learn to work around that. There is no autofocus during video shooting. You can use the auto focus button to set focus before you start recording if you want. There is a headphone jack, but most everybody does double system sound because there is no gain control in the camera's audio, although Magic Lantern will fix that whenever it is ready.

Finally, there is the DOF issue. You do have to be aware of depth of field calculations when shooting with a big chip camera. There are going to be times you want more depth of field than you can get shooting at 100 ISO with a 2.8 lens. A really fast 35mm lens is nice, as well as a fast 50mm. Also, with the 7D you can actually shoot at higher gains with no serious degradation of the image. I've routinelly shot in low light conditions at 320 ISO and even at 640 one time. Some people are going even higher with very good results. And for outdoor shooting you'll have to buy ND filters because they aren't built in with thumbwheel to use as in traditional video cameras.
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Old February 28th, 2010, 09:32 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post
You'll still want to pay attention to that background--a low contrast, flat background won't look good just because it's blurred. I put just as much effort into designing and lighting and backgrounds for interviews whether shooting with small or large chip cameras.
I don't. A deep focus background requires more thought for me. That book better not be the Bible or the yellow pages or anything the draws too much attention, that diploma better not be for "6th grade homework completion month of April 1987" and that photo better not be of John Holmes. Not to say you can ignore the bg, but for me at least, shallow focus makes things easier.
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Old February 28th, 2010, 11:15 PM   #18
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I've found that for shooting static interviews, my 7D has totally replaced my old XH-A1. On the sticks, and with my 85/1.8, I can get some amazing stuff. My clients noticed "the new look" right away. For pick-up b-roll shots, it's pretty handy, too.

Since 85% of my productions are exactly those types (talking heads w/ supplemental b-roll), the DSLR workflow really suits me. Being able to review takes instantly, has saved some time, and frustration, on-location too. I know immediately whether I got the shot, nailed the move, etc.

Here's one I shot entirely w/ the 7D:
YouTube - The Orange Door in downtown Longmont Colorado

Certain shoots just won't lend themselves to the DSLR... long-form, obviously, and anything that's at all uncontrolled... sports, competition, "reality" stuff, etc.

You can rent a Canon body and some decent glass for almost nothing at a local camera store. I wouldn't use it on a paying gig without a lot of practice, so fake up some shoots for a day and try it out. If it suits you, and your work, I think you'll find it a great too to keep in your quiver.

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Old February 28th, 2010, 11:19 PM   #19
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I have shot interviews with these cameras with an abstract-style background but even then I take pains to makes sure that the values and tones around the subject's head are what I want them to be, which requires the same amount of lighting as if they were in focus.

A lot of this is based on one's aesthetic and what one considers the right look. Just as many insist on shooting as shallow as possible with these cameras, I prefer to pick and choose my depth of field choices depending on the circumstance. For certain interviews I might be inclined to use a much deeper depth of field if the environment and type of interview called for it, where it is just lightly out of focus.
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Old March 1st, 2010, 12:20 AM   #20
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I'd go with EX over 7D. Here's why. Consider your start to finish workflow. For each additional step or process required, your time spent on a project jumps exponentially. With the 7D, in most cases you'll have to transcode your footage first before being able to edit. You also need a double audio system. In post, you'll have to sync up every cut. How much time do you think you'll need to transcode, then sync up 200 cuts?

By comparison, in most cases you can drop your raw EX files directly onto your timeline, and edit instantly. You'll have 2 audio tracks in perfect sync, every cut.

I've heard 7D users say it's worth all the effort, but in my opinion, I think they're just hyped over being able to achieve a new look without fully understanding how much more work it is, compared to the EX. This is especially true if you're doing long projects with many cuts that require audio sync.

The 7D is great at making terrific images, but in my opinion it's not the right tool for long form projects with many cuts.
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Old March 1st, 2010, 01:26 AM   #21
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To me the nice thing about the blur is that junk in the background - like in a messy office - just doesn't matter as much. As Charles said, composition, lighting and color still matter. But unless the junk is right behind the subject (is that a pencil sticking out of his head?) shallow DOF makes it much less distracting.
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Old March 1st, 2010, 03:19 AM   #22
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The 7D is great at making terrific images
Isn't that the point...
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Old March 1st, 2010, 04:33 AM   #23
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Not always Liam. If you miss the shot due to type of camera system used, then it is the wrong tool for the job. And both Warren and Bill offer some very valid points.

In my opinion, and at this stage, I think Peter would be better off with a T2i and EX1 combination to see how he gets on.
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Old March 1st, 2010, 06:07 AM   #24
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I can't disagree with you there Tony - I seem to use a different camera on pretty much every shoot I do these days! The choice is always a simple equation between quality/budget/time, but I never put ease of use in that equation. I guess that was the point I was making. I believe if you can go the extra yard to make a better film, you should do. Either that or go work in a call center:)
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Old March 1st, 2010, 11:21 PM   #25
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You also need a double audio system. In post, you'll have to sync up every cut. How much time do you think you'll need to transcode, then sync up 200 cuts?
200 cuts would be QUITE the project for me. Feature-length maybe.

On my productions, I find on headshot interviews I have maybe 3-4 takes of interview to sync.

Most of my b-roll is shot MOS (no sound), so there's nothing to sync. In fact, sometimes I don't even use the headshot video once I've established who the speaker is (just roll on the b-roll), so I don't even worry about those videos or syncing them. And the audio-only files take up a LOT less space than sync video ever would.

Again, look at your projects and workflow and see if a DSLR is a good fit. It simply WON'T be a good tool for shooting a lot of things... but other projects it simply makes for jaw-dropping visuals. To each his own, but I haven't got THIS excited about shooting video in a very, very long time.
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Old March 2nd, 2010, 04:55 PM   #26
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This info has been helpful. It does seem as though people are using the DSLR for a variety of things. Although they are getting good results, it is still a touchy workflow.

If I got the Sony and a T2i and cut between them on the same interview (wide shot/head shot), would there be a really noticeable continuity issue?
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Old March 2nd, 2010, 05:47 PM   #27
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Sure, DSLR's are a valid tool for professional filmmaking. However, don't be fooled by the low price of the DSLR bodies. You're going to need a nice selection of lenses, an external audio solution, a viewfinder or monitor, and some sort of stabilization device. When all is said and done, you're right back in the price territory of the EX1.
True, I ended up spending $7,000 and still going. It's really endless when you consider all the expensive stabilization rigs.
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Old March 2nd, 2010, 06:46 PM   #28
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True, I ended up spending $7,000 and still going. It's really endless when you consider all the expensive stabilization rigs.
You can be up and running for way less than $7,000.
Personally I think it's a little crazy to spend $9,000 accessorizing an $800 video camera and defeats many of the advantages of getting a 7D in the first place.
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Old March 2nd, 2010, 07:37 PM   #29
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I'm sure everyone's seen this thread by now...
http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/canon-eo...on-7d-rig.html
If it's good enough for RR...it's way overkill for me and way too expensive! HaHa!
Can't wait to see what video this turns out to be!

So there ya go OP!
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Old March 2nd, 2010, 08:28 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by Peter Telian View Post
This info has been helpful. It does seem as though people are using the DSLR for a variety of things. Although they are getting good results, it is still a touchy workflow.

If I got the Sony and a T2i and cut between them on the same interview (wide shot/head shot), would there be a really noticeable continuity issue?
An interview is about the easiest task for a DSLR - static camera and static subject. The limitations of a DSLR won't really show, especially if you get all of the sound from the Sony.
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