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Old February 4th, 2010, 10:37 PM   #1
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the probability of Canon fixing the 5D's biggest flaws..?

Greetings. I'm a filmmaker from the old days, back when we actually shot film, who loves the idea of the 5D and has shot a few short projects to get a feel for the camera. I would love to praise it as the next great thing, but there's a couple of major flaws with it that keeps me from doing so. I've read discussions about the flaws somewhat, but what I really want to know is your educated thoughts on whether or not Canon is going to address them with a future release that is coming soon. I can't afford to buy a camera now that I'll have to upgrade from in a few months; I also can't wait forever. Your wisdom is appreciated on the following:

FOCUS
If you could start recording video, then invoke that MAGNIFICATION feature that blows the image up in the viewfinder, focus, and then UN-MAGNIFY without a break in the recording, the 5D would be an infinitely greater product. But you can't- and the focusing, as many have pointed out, is crap. I've tried those attachments and they just magnify blurriness; when you're shooting handheld concerts or a documentary in the jungle, a separate viewfinder is not possible. The viewfinder on this is good enough, if only I could focus with video the way one can when shooting stills. I would think this is an easy fix- but maybe I'm wrong. Expert opinions?

SYNC DRIFT
I realize that, in theory, no two digital devices are going to sync up perfectly without a Word Clock. The reality, though, is that usually, this is not a huge issue. I've used enough different setups over the years to know sync drift in the digital world is often negligible, or at least easily workaround-able. Not so with the 5D, which seems hell-bent on drifting a ridiculous amount quickly. I shot a music video with the singer lip syncing to a cd; every take would drift a different amount of several frames by the end of the 3 minute song. THREE MINUTES! Not a big deal with a music video, I guess, but with the live concert, forget it, there was no way to stay on a musician for too long. I don't understand why the camera should be so off, other than, of course, it's not really a video camera- but still. Time-stretching the audio is not an acceptable workaround for the obvious reasons of quality loss, especially with musical performances. This seems like a glaring flaw, one that Canon would want to address soon... but again, maybe I'm wrong. Yes? No?

MEDIA
Not so much a flaw as just a concern, that SDXC seems to be the card everyone is turning to, which makes me think the compact flash format will be a thing of the past soon, which makes me think one should wait for the next Canon SLR with this media and start from there. Yes? No?

There's plenty of other "I wish it had this" features, like Timecode, but whatever- these are not deal-breakers. Focus and sync are. Without them, the camera becomes very clunky and useless to me- a compromise in the end quality. I'd love to jump on the bandwagon, but I can't... yet. If anyone has strong evidence that these features will or won't be addressed anytime soon, I would appreciate hearing it.

many thanks in advance!

-David
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Old February 4th, 2010, 11:21 PM   #2
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I manually sync live music from a second source to my 5D2 footage without incident on a regular basis. I'd wager a bet that problem has more to do with workflow than the camera itself.
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Old February 5th, 2010, 12:34 AM   #3
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I thought that perhaps something was happening in the conversion of the original files to Apple Pro Res 422, or it was something Final Cut was doing when cut into the timeline (some kind of automatic 30 to 29.97 conversion?) or some bizarre but simple answer, but all tests gave the same result, and another filmmaker I know who's been shooting live music often said this was a "known issue" and his solution was to always time-stretch the audio by some small percentage... if you think it's workflow, can you venture a guess where?

30 fps native H264 files from camera -> apple compressor into same-size Pro Res 422 (non HQ) leaving audio and fps the same (30) -> new project / sequence in FCP 6.x, sequence setting set to same - Pro Res 422, 30fps, 1080...

other complaints on the forum made me think otherwise...
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Old February 5th, 2010, 08:07 AM   #4
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David,
I think it's also relatively accepted to convert 30p to 29.97 and then you get a better synch. Don't get me wrong, it's a problem for me too but not that bad. I think keeping it 30p might be the workflow issue.
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Old February 5th, 2010, 10:27 AM   #5
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If you're dropping it into a 29.97 timeline, or cutting with other 29.97 footage, then you have to conform the 30p to 29.97 and tweak the audio. Get that right and you'll have no problem. I can't comment on your specific scenario, but I pretty much guarentee you that's the issue. Remember, audio has no framerate really. The 30p audio on the 5D2 is fine and will sync fine, but if your NLE or your workflow is changing it to 29.97, then of course, you'll have to do something with your audio. And yes, our lives would be easier if Canon would just release the firmware already!
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Old February 5th, 2010, 11:16 AM   #6
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Nice thing about NeoScene is they are conforming and synching sound to 29.97 for us when we convert to the Cineform intermediate file we use to edit.
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Old February 5th, 2010, 11:58 AM   #7
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I get the theory there, but wait- here's what's going on (FCP 6.0.5):

Clips are Pro Res 422, 30 fps.

New timeline. I cut a 3.5 minute take into it- FCP tells me the sequence settings don't match the clip, should it make the settings the same as clip? Yes. Okay. Clip looks great. Check my sequence settings now- ProRes 422, square, 1080i with 16:9 un-checked. Timebase is 30, and there's no option for me to change this- it is SET at 30.

option 2- new timeline, and I manually set it to ProRess 422, HDTV 1080i, square, 29.97, 16x9 unchecked. I tell FCP to leave the settings alone. Everything is the same as sequence 1 except the frame rate.

In both cases, the singer is in sync at the start, and behind by 5 frames 3.5 minutes later. If I slide the audio over 5 frames, in both cases, the end is fine, and the beginning is now off (obviously.)

I must be missing something obvious, if you guys have no (or minor) sync issues. But what?
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Old February 5th, 2010, 12:01 PM   #8
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I think its the clips at 30fps. I am on a PC but when I convert to cineform using neoscene, the clips become 29.97...
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Old February 5th, 2010, 12:12 PM   #9
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okay, sorry, i was misunderstanding. convert the original clips when re-compressing to 29.97 and hope canon fixes this!

got it. if anyone has any clue as to how long we have to wait, feel free to chime in!

thanks, y'all...
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Old February 6th, 2010, 02:26 PM   #10
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The sync problem is a bug in FCP that relates to how it interprets audio on import based on the current timebase you have selected. It's an easy fix, you just need to create a custom easy setup with the correct settings - Bruce Sharpe has details in this blog post:

25 Hour Day: DSLR Dual-System Audio: The 99.9% Solution

The really key part of this that I don't feel is completely clear in that post is that once this is screwed up for a project there seems to be no way to fix it in FCP. For this to work you need to select the correct easy setup and then create a new project from scratch - changing it after the project has been created won't fix things.

Once you have things set up properly you won't have to worry about sync at all, it just works. I've synced over 30 hours of footage this way over the past year without a problem. It won't help if you're mixing timebases (i.e. 30 and 29.97 in the same project) but as long as you are editing just 5D footage it's all you need to do.
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Old February 6th, 2010, 05:45 PM   #11
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Yes the audio sync is a known bug in FCP.

Absolutely no drifting issues with on-camera audio or audio recorded by a 2nd unit regardless of it being a 1min or 15min clip dropped in to Premiere Pro on a Mac, but I do get those issues in FCP what little I used it.

Canon will never change media since compact flash is the standard for still photography and this is first and foremost a still camera.

I totally agree with the LCD zoom and wouldn't think it would be hard to actually have work you would think. But since you're a filmmaker from the old days when you used film, you wouldn't think this be an issue for you anyways since you could never do this on what you used to use back in the good old days.
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Old February 7th, 2010, 11:52 PM   #12
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thanks for the responses- very helpful. It's true that 16mm cameras did not have LCD monitors, but they did have viewfinders that worked very well. Can't really do that with the 5D. I'm not stuck on film, I just want something that works well enough to replace it at a fraction of the cost! We're ALMOST there...
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Old February 8th, 2010, 06:13 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David St. Juskow View Post
It's true that 16mm cameras did not have LCD monitors, but they did have viewfinders that worked very well.
That's not my experience -- the 5D LCD with a Z-finder along with the 5D's magnifying tool beat any of the 16mm I've used.

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Old February 9th, 2010, 11:38 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David St. Juskow View Post
thanks for the responses- very helpful. It's true that 16mm cameras did not have LCD monitors, but they did have viewfinders that worked very well. Can't really do that with the 5D. I'm not stuck on film, I just want something that works well enough to replace it at a fraction of the cost! We're ALMOST there...
Well, actually, at least for prefocusing you can. Just don't turn on live view, and look through the view finder to get a true through the lens look, just like on a 16mm camera.
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Old February 10th, 2010, 02:41 PM   #15
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As Peer mentioned though - focusing with the LCD & magnifying functionality is far more effective than focusing through the viewfinder. I just don't think the focus screen in this camera is really intended for manual focus, not sure if you can get a classic ground glass screen for it - although that would probably cause problems with autofocus for stills use.

Edit: looks like you can get split-image focusing screens: http://www.focusingscreen.com/index....727b3b265450fb
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