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Old November 22nd, 2009, 03:29 PM   #1
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Can the 5DM2 really cut it?

I am about to upgrade to the Mk2 from the Mk1 as it is the obvious choice for my photography work, however I am also venturing into the world of low budget films (think Dead Mans Shoes). I already have most of the L lenses so could it really be used (with decent sound acquisition, impossible?) and other bits, or do I need to buy a 'proper' camera?

Or simply put, how will I be restricted, as I have seen some pretty impressive stuff on the oscars website.

If so Iam thinking the:
Sony HVR-HD1000E at 1200
Sony HVR-A1E at 1950
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Old November 22nd, 2009, 04:16 PM   #2
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The 5D Mark 2 is far better than the Sony A1 or HD1000. They HD1000 is just a consumer camera in a large body while the A1 is better than the HD1000 as it has some pro controls but is tiny so would offer no advantage over the 5D.

I could understand how a camera like the Z5 would sway you way from the 5D as it offers full manual controls, xlr audio and proper layout which is much more handy for everyday shooting.

But if your main aim is to produce short films with the camera then no doubt the 5D is by far the best camera for the job in the price range, even more so for you due to the fact you have a good collection of lens.

Get the 5D and by a Zoom H4 for the audio.

The main issue using a 5D for video is the audio and small size. But these aren't huge issues and have simple solutions.
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Old November 22nd, 2009, 05:16 PM   #3
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...or do I need to buy a 'proper' camera?
It depends on what's important to you. If you need low light performance and control over DOF, the 5D2 is the best choice. But if you dislike aliasing artifacts or you want real HD resolution (the 5D2 is less closer to SD than it is to 1080p), then one of the traditional cameras would serve better.
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Old November 22nd, 2009, 05:25 PM   #4
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by a Zoom H4 for the audio.
So this is acquisition with built in mics? But do I not need a seprate mic on a boom that is wired up to a dedicated aqusition unit, and thus not restricting me? Or can this unit be attached to a boom pole (can you tell Iam new to this...)
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Old November 22nd, 2009, 05:26 PM   #5
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Well, it just so happens that I recently shot two films of the same subject. The first with my A1E. The second with my 5Dmk2.
They are both great cameras but quite different.
The A1E will give fantastic results in good light and has all the controls/features that need to shoot on the run. It's small and inconspicuous. Very useful for action sports and fly on the wall documentary.
The 5D is fantastic in all conditions including very low light (the A1 is hopeless in low light) but takes a lot more time to set up. It's much more like a film camera. It generally gives fantastic images but it does suffer from some weird aberrations in certain situations eg moire patterns.
For low budget films the 5Dmk2 for the image and a separate sound recorder for your audio would be the way to go.
As these two films demonstrate the relative strengths of each camera I enclose links below in case they are of interest.
The first one is shot with the A1 singlehanded from a moving boat. The second is shot with the 5Dmk2. I hope they are useful to you.
ps These aren't really films. In each case I was testing the camera out with a view to making a longer film. But the results seemed to cut together well enough.
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Old November 22nd, 2009, 07:46 PM   #6
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Sadly, if you can't make a great movie on a A1E, you can't make one on a 5dMkii either.

Then again, if you can't make a great movie on a 5dMkii, you actually can't make one on an A1E either.

In fact, the really bad news is that if you can't make a great movie on ANY camera, you can't make one on any other camera either.

Movie's aren't made in cameras. They're made in the brains of people.

Those brains determine whether the movie is good or not. And 99.9% of the time, the movie is NOT going to be that good. At least for anyone who hasn't already made LOT of other movies and understands the WHOLE process around the camera. Just like you're piano playing is NOT going to be very good until you've spent a LOT of time playing the piano - your use of any camera is not going to be very good until you've spent a LOT of time learning how to do it.

It's CRUSHINGLY difficult to make a great movie. Perhaps because even tho it's so very easy to watch movies and know when something isn't done very well - understanding that during the production process from watching the parts prior to assembly is largely obscure and not very revealing.

For proof watch 10 cable movies at random and figure out which are actually "great" - then know that each of the less than great ones had casts, crews, and legions of highly paid professionals trying to make a great movie and yet they ended up with something that wasn't all that great.

Then understand that the camera in all those less than great movies was LEAGUES better than anything you can afford - and you'll start to understand that the camera you choose is just slightly more significant a choice in the process than is what you serve your crew for lunch.

The process can be a lot of fun, tho. And will certainly keep you occupied for a lifetime if you choose to let it.

Just don't underestimate what a camera is. It's NOT the difference between success or failure. It's one tool among truckloads of tools that if weilded by someone who knows how to do that - might get you results that fit well with everything else in the cinema production process.

And that's all it is.

Ever.

Good luck.
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Old November 23rd, 2009, 01:17 AM   #7
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...or you want real HD resolution (the 5D2 is less closer to SD than it is to 1080p), then one of the traditional cameras would serve better.
What do you mean by the 5Dii isn't "real" HD resolution?
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Old November 23rd, 2009, 02:09 AM   #8
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What do you mean by the 5Dii isn't "real" HD resolution?
Just that. Compare it side by side with any other HD video camera and it will make the 5D2 look like a badly up-rezzed DVD with aliasing artifacts and mushy detail. Here's one example:

http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/canon-eo...ml#post1132912

Notice how much more fine detail is in the EX1 shot.

Of course, resolution isn't everything. Some people are only need DVD output, and with proper filtering the 5D2 can do that perfectly.
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Old November 23rd, 2009, 02:43 AM   #9
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Mike: Dan Browning spends a lot of his time trying to tell us all that the pleasing results we think we are getting from the 5D aren't what we think. I am beginning to believe he has an axe to grind here.

Best way to judge if you want to shoot these DSLR cameras is to see the films that have been shot with it. You generally won't be shooting star charts, or trying to focus on lines on an aluminum sided camper. If thats what you do, you shouldn't use this camera, because it does alias. I like what this camera is able to do. This film is one that I did early on, and I did nothing but do a test shoot with various lenses... I know Dan will see the aliasing and the poor resolution, but I don't feel could not have shot as pretty film with my HDV FX1, and so it has been an improvement for me. Remember, there are those out there that are trying to justify their $ 7000 plus purchases, and not admit a decent film can be shot with this camera.

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Old November 23rd, 2009, 02:59 AM   #10
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Mike: Dan Browning spends a lot of his time trying to tell us all that the pleasing results we think we are getting from the 5D aren't what we think. I am beginning to believe he has an axe to grind here.
I just want to make sure everyone is well informed. The camera says "Full 1080p" on the box, so some people might be misled into thinking that it has more detail than 720p or less aliasing than SD, when in fact it doesn't. Several people have started new threads here asking about the poor resolution and aliasing artifacts because they were not informed of the problems beforehand. That's one reason why I think it's valuable to inform people.

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Originally Posted by Chris Barcellos View Post
I know Dan will see the aliasing and the poor resolution, but I don't feel could not have shot as pretty film with my HDV FX1, and so it has been an improvement for me.
Sometimes the 5D2 is the best choice in spite of its problems. No other camera in the price range offers similar low light performance or DOF control, so that can outweigh the aliasing and poor resolution. That's why I have one.
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Old November 23rd, 2009, 06:39 AM   #11
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Lake Tahoe on Vimeo
That is good enough quality for my requirements, really lovely film, cheers Chris.

So what accessories will I need in terms of video and sound acquisition, and editing software? I use the new mini mac for my photography:

2.53GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
4GB memory
320GB Internal + 500GB External
NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics
OS X Snow Leopard
and the apple 30" HD Screen.
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Old November 23rd, 2009, 09:18 AM   #12
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Look - I'm old, blue/green colorblind and not too smart. But I can still read and a few synapeis of my brain still function.

Richard Gooderick's excellent real world videos, to me, really summarize the disputes over the IQ of DSLR's.

To me the Sony's footage looked very consistent. The Canon's looked sharper in the closeup shots. The two should intercut smoothly.

Daniel Browning, Barry Green and others have pointed out that the IQ is really not as great as it looks. It looks great to some, myself included.

This reminds me of an experience from several years ago when flat screens were just hitting their stride. I went to my local purveyor of high-end electronics. They had a good sized room covered wall to wall and floor to ceiling with flat screen TVs.

The outstanding model was a $19,000 Pioneer Elite plasma. My next favorite was a modestly priced Fujitsu - it really stood out from all of the others.

After closer examination, I found out why - the pixels were larger.

I was witnessing "perceived sharpness".

Isn't that what we are seeing here with DSLR's?
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Old November 23rd, 2009, 11:22 AM   #13
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That is good enough quality for my requirements, really lovely film, cheers Chris.

So what accessories will I need in terms of video and sound acquisition, and editing software? I use the new mini mac for my photography:

2.53GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
4GB memory
320GB Internal + 500GB External
NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics
OS X Snow Leopard
and the apple 30" HD Screen.
What we people are doing for sound acquisition, varies, depending on your needs and application. In some situations, I have mounted a Rode NTG-2 on hot shoe.

But the camera, with its current firmware has automatic gain control in place, and that cause the camera to search for audio, raising a hiss in quiet situation. You will get better sound by using a preamp to feed the camera. I have used my Sign Video field mixer with great success, as well as the the Juiced Link CX231, which set on highest levels will get you decent sound into the camera in normal recording situation. Those things do no not solve the AGC issue, though. Some doing narrative filming just use double system, per normal film making processes. Others rely on program called Magic Lantern, which you can read about here:

Magic Lantern Firmware Wiki

In addition to gaining better audio control it also provides zebras for better exposure control, as well as other controls and additions. I have been using it with earlier version, and the current one is probably going to see some changes after the first of the yeat.

Magic Lantern does nothing to flash the camera chip. It is just kept on the CF card in the camera, and if you invoke it, it becomes and adjunct or overlay to the camera's system.
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Old November 23rd, 2009, 01:18 PM   #14
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Just a final thought on this thread from my perspective.

One thing that it clearly illuminates is a trend I see a LOT of these days. In politics. In business. In life.

There is a perspective that concentrates on what a thing DOES.
There's another perspective that concentrates on what a thing DOES NOT do.

Both are legitimate questions. However, in the arts, you seldom see things evolve in a positive direction when the artist concentrates on what is currently NOT possible.

Artists, by their very nature, are exploratory. They investigate limits with the idea that if they encounter them, they look for a satisfying way to overcome them.

The other school of thought, perhaps more the "technician approach" seeks to solve problems by a close examination for flaws in order to purge those flaws and therefore clear a smoother pathway to success.

But clearing the pathway isn't the same as walking the pathway. At some point you have to give up perfecting and simply start walking.

We live in a world of amazing equipment. None of it precisely perfect. But most of it worlds better than that on which those who preceded us managed to create compelling works.

So if there's a limitation on creativity in the current video production environment, it's seldom going to be in the technology. It's much more likely to be a limitation on the WILL of the artist to push past their own personal boundries and keep moving forward.

THAT, after all, is what actually separates one videomaker from another.

FWIW.
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Old November 23rd, 2009, 01:30 PM   #15
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Just a final thought on this thread from my perspective.

One thing that it clearly illuminates is a trend I see a LOT of these days. In politics. In business. In life.

There is a perspective that concentrates on what a thing DOES.
There's another perspective that concentrates on what a thing DOES NOT do.

Both are legitimate questions. However, in the arts, you seldom see things evolve in a positive direction when the artist concentrates on what is currently NOT possible.

Artists, by their very nature, are exploratory. They investigate limits with the idea that if they encounter them, they look for a satisfying way to overcome them.

The other school of thought, perhaps more the "technician approach" seeks to solve problems by a close examination for flaws in order to purge those flaws and therefore clear a smoother pathway to success.

But clearing the pathway isn't the same as walking the pathway. At some point you have to give up perfecting and simply start walking.

We live in a world of amazing equipment. None of it precisely perfect. But most of it worlds better than that on which those who preceded us managed to create compelling works.

So if there's a limitation on creativity in the current video production environment, it's seldom going to be in the technology. It's much more likely to be a limitation on the WILL of the artist to push past their own personal boundries and keep moving forward.

THAT, after all, is what actually separates one videomaker from another.

FWIW.
I cannot find a better way to express the situation than that. Kudos.
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