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Canon EOS Full Frame for HD
All about using the Canon 1D X, 6D, 5D Mk. IV / Mk. III / Mk. II D-SLR for 4K and HD video recording.

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Old November 22nd, 2010, 02:43 AM   #1
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Melbourne, Australia
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Need some advice

I'm a long time reader first time poster.
I have just recently graduated from my film degree and I'm in the process of writing a couple of scripts for some short films I want to make next year.
I currently own a Canon XH A1s and Letus Extreme Adaptor which has served me well even if it has it's limitations.

One of my planned shorts is going to be mainly shot at night in some dark suburban streets which my currently setup will be problematic without using much additional light.
Now, getting to the point of this post, ever since I first saw footage of the 5d especially in low light I absolutely fell in love with it. Even in day situations I have to say that I even prefer the look of it to my current camera. I have done a lot of research into the camera and I just feel it could benefit me in the style of work I want to do.

I am seriously considering selling my setup and making the plunge into the world of DSLR filmmaking. I hear people saying that HDV is a dying breed and it has made me think maybe I should sell it now while I can still get a good price for it? Now I know the 5d has limitations but so does every camera.
On the other hand, I'm also thinking that perhaps these two setups could be used together in a short film and could complement each other well but I haven't had experience using the 5d along side the XH A1s with Letus to say if they can be cut between.

I guess I'm just not sure what I should do and I would love to hear some advice.

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Old November 22nd, 2010, 08:27 AM   #2
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Simon welcome to DVinfo nice to have you aboard.

Why don't you rent the 5D for the low light shots, if you can't afford both?
Paul Cronin
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Old November 22nd, 2010, 12:27 PM   #3
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Well, I kept my XH A1 because I thought it would still be my main camera, but I haven't taken it off the shelf in over a year. I've been thinking about selling it, but I think the prices have already dropped pretty far. I did use it one time for a Steadicam shot because I was having trouble balancing the 5D, but now I've got that under control.

HDV does seem to be dying out, as well as most tape acquisition. Still the XH A1 looks very good. I did intercut that Steadicam shot with the 5D and nobody noticed it but me. It looks a little softer and grainier, but you can get by with it in some instances--such as going from an interior to an exterior.

My feeling right now is that if somebody comes along and offers me enough so I don't feel stupid, I'd sell the XH A1. But if I have to go too low ,I'll just keep it in case I ever need it. I thought it might be good to keep as a second camera, but I can buy a T2i as a second camera for 800 bucks.
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Old November 22nd, 2010, 02:34 PM   #4
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Location: Sutton, Australia
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Hi Simon - The weak point in your setup is the Letus. Adapters became redundant when DSLRs came out. APS C sensors are practically identical in size to academy 35mm, so a 5D2 might be overkill. You can pick up a brand new 550D body for under $700, and probably fit your Letus lenses with an adapter. You don't mention your audio setup, but if you haven't got anything else, just keep using your XHA1 for audio and get handy backup footage at the same time.
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Old November 22nd, 2010, 02:54 PM   #5
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Location: Vancouver Island, Canada
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Hey Simon,

I have an XLH1 that collects dust now. I wouldn't sell it because I use it when I need stress-free audio when there is lots of light, but the 5d2 is my go to camera 90% of the time. I recently shot a short that had a lot of night scenes and was amazed at the low light ability of this cam.

You can always go the 550d or 7d route to start as the 5d2 is more expensive and you may be able to keep you XHA1 that way. I haven't used either of the 2 less expensive Canons, but the test footage looks pretty good.

I don't think HDV is dead, but I sure like card-based media over tapes. Though it is nice to store important footage on a tape as opposed to re-formatting cards.
C100, 5DMk2, FCPX
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Old November 22nd, 2010, 03:02 PM   #6
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That's the only thing I miss about tape--the original can go in a box up on a shelf. I load all my 5D original to a USB drive, then send the ProRes 422 to a firewire drive before ever reformatting a card. Then as time permits, I make Blu-rays of the original as well as all my project files...although I'm not as religious about that as I am about making sure my footage is in two different places before I ever format a card. When I'm traveling on a shoot, I load to a laptop (new Air) and to a portable USB drive.
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Old November 23rd, 2010, 01:35 AM   #7
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Melbourne, Australia
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Thanks for all the replies and taking the time to do so, very much appreciated.
I guess I'm at the stage where I am thinking of upgrading but still a bit nervous about it.
For what I'm shooting and the style I shoot, the DSLR limitations won't really worry me and as far as paid work goes I have been doing a lot of 'webisodes' for different groups and bands where I record behind the scenes of them recording in the studio and such so I don't see why a DSLR wouldn't be okay for this sort of work.

I shot on predominantly film during my degree and so the whole concept of shooting a movie on a DSLR is relatively new to me so I guess that's why I'm a bit nervous about upgrading. I just look at the film cameras I was using and then look at a DSLR and its hard to contemplate that people are shooting films on them! Though I look at the pros of doing so with the quality of the image and the low light capabilities (which is a massive plus for me) and it seems like a smart move.

If I go ahead and buy a DSLR I can't really see myself having the need to pick up my A1s and Letus again so I figure instead of having this equipment sitting on the shelf collecting dust maybe I'm better to sell it before the price drops even further.

I guess I just have a bit to think about
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Old November 23rd, 2010, 07:24 AM   #8
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Having shot film at film school gives you SUCH an advantage over most. Hopefully, you shot some reversal as well as print film.

Shooting a DSLR is a LOT like shooting reversal film. The entire workflow is the same, and really a large departure from shooting with a videocamera, which is the experience most people come to DSLRs with.

If you take your film workflow, and insert a 7D or 60D (or even a 550D) you'll find everything very familiar. Sync sound, metering, lensing (FOV is nearly the same as S35), everything. the card that goes in the camera is your reel, last about as long as a reel, etc. Easy transition.

The 35mm adapter still has a place. But on something like an EX1 where you can use the HDI outputs and get uncompressed HD to an external recorder. That is still a far superior solution to a DSLR in many cases. But the cost to outfit it will be north of US$10k. The new Panasonic AF100 is a quite good compromise, but again, it's near the cost your Canon was new if not more.

So a lot depends on where you want to go with this.
DVX100, PMW-EX1, Canon 550D, FigRig, Dell Octocore, Avid MC4/5, MB Looks, RedCineX, Matrox MX02 mini, GTech RAID, Edirol R-4, Senn. G2 Evo, Countryman, Moles and Lowels.
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Old November 24th, 2010, 04:37 AM   #9
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Melbourne, Australia
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I shot a short on 16mm reversal film so there you go :)
Having DSLR filmmaking compared to shooting on film is actually a real pleasant surprise. I know a lot of people love to be able to just point and shoot these days but there is just something about the whole process of shooting on film, just every bit of work that goes into it that makes me really appreciate the final product a whole lot more.
Thanks to everyone for your replies. I think I'm going to make the leap. I guess we are going to see a lot of exciting changes in digital video over the next few years as companies are going to start putting these sized chips in actual affordable video cams but a DSLR is something that I think is going to benefit me right now so it makes sense for me.
Thanks again,
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Old November 29th, 2010, 10:12 AM   #10
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I came to video from a film and also a still photography background, which may be why DSLR video was easy for me to adapt to. It seems a lot closer to film shooting than video (hence, the phrase "digital film" that lots of people seem to be using now). For instance:

-Double system sound
-12 min. max. takes vs. 400' magazines
-No auto stuff, ie., manual focus, aperture, etc.
-Use of prime lenses over zooms for most things
-24p and the need to make slower pans to avoid strobing, as well as avoid jellocam
-Better latitude
-Shallower depth of field due to chip size
-Use of external ND filters
-The need to process your original (ie., transcode)

There are probably a few more, but those come to mind quickly.
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