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Old May 16th, 2011, 10:02 AM   #1
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5D footage for broadcast

I was reading I think in the 7D forum that footage from DSLRs is not permitted by most broadcasters (BBC and Discovery Channel ) as it is not interlaced.

I have been asked to shoot a music video with its primary target as the web, although the client would not like to rule out TV at a later stage. While this is a freebie, the talent has been featured on MTV before and was once hit #2 on the charts, so there is a chance things may progress.

I see a lot of Music videos are shot on DSLRs so my question is - do people shoot with two sets of cameras, or convert to interlaced and send off the DSLR footage?

Also, safe colour limits is important - anything else I should know? This is a signficant step for me and a steep learning curve, so any tips appreciated.
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Old May 16th, 2011, 10:57 AM   #2
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Re: 5D footage for broadcast

You can always create interlaced video from progressive. It's harder to go the other way around.

BBC is fine with progressive video, but they don't find the vertical aliasing and low horizontal resolution of DSLRs acceptable for broadcast.
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Old May 16th, 2011, 11:50 AM   #3
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Re: 5D footage for broadcast

And yet I believe they used DSLRs for the opening credits on the World Snooker Championships last year Jon.
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Old May 16th, 2011, 12:47 PM   #4
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Re: 5D footage for broadcast

Yeah, BBC and Discovery camera rules seem to be a bit soft. If you find archival footage of Princes Diana, they won't care what camera was used, let alone quality. Maybe the Snooker thing was produced by somebody who didn't know the rules, and by then it was too late.

If you're pitching them a new series, I wouldn't lead with, "we're shooting on a Canon 550D."

While I own and like the 5D2, I frankly agree with BBC's policy. You can shoot beautiful or horrible video with the 5D2. BBC and Discovery don't want to have to manually check every scene for quality and then need to reject things based on a judgement call. It keeps things simple and cost effective for the network.

That said, according to Rodney Charters at NAB, they use DSLRs whenever they want on "24". When the director says he wants a camera from the ceiling, they can just screw a mount into a stud, rather than building rigging. DSLRs aren't their prime tool, but their small size, lightweight, low cost, and DOF make them the right solution at times.
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Old May 16th, 2011, 04:06 PM   #5
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Re: 5D footage for broadcast

I understand the BBC tech department produce a white paper on what cameras are allowed and not allowed. The was a white paper saying no to the 5D2 when it came out. But still they accept work from it from outside production companies.

I like Rodney Charters' take on things. if it works for the job in hand just get on and use it!
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Old May 16th, 2011, 11:59 PM   #6
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Re: 5D footage for broadcast

I don't have anything other than a 5D and a 7D - Vimeo has lots of examples of music clips shot with them.

I'll use those and if he can get the song past a web showing then I will leave the practicallities of using the clip on air to the song writer and record company.

Thanks for the help and advice.
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Old May 17th, 2011, 01:59 AM   #7
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Re: 5D footage for broadcast

I suspect the 5D would come into the 25% non HD content that the BBC allows on their HD programmes. That would allow its use on specialised shots.

A one off drama was shot for BBC4 using the camera, but that channel isn't HD.
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Old May 17th, 2011, 02:03 AM   #8
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Re: 5D footage for broadcast

I shot some film only last month, of the Loch Ness Monster fighting with Lord Lucan and a Yeti just before a spaceship landed on them, but the BBC rejected it because it was all 5D2.
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Old May 17th, 2011, 02:26 AM   #9
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Re: 5D footage for broadcast

That would be news, you can use your cell phone for catching an international news event as it happens..
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Old May 17th, 2011, 08:01 AM   #10
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Re: 5D footage for broadcast

If you go to the BBC to get approval for a new program, they'll want to use a approved camera. But if you produce something that they want, they won't know what camera you used.
However everything goes through a quality control check and at that stage they can reject your material for a 'tech fail' such as aliasing or obvious rolling shutter.
That makes shooting on say a DSLR like a 5D2 possible, but a trifle risky.
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Old May 17th, 2011, 08:15 AM   #11
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Re: 5D footage for broadcast

I suspect they'd quickly spot a FF35 sensor camera, especially if you go in for a very shallow DOF. Some BBC programmes do have sequences with that effect and they do stick out.

Commissioned HD programmes have been rejected for shooting on EX cameras using the internal recorder, instead of say a NanoFlash,

Quite a few music video are shot on DSLRs, these are different to commissioned programmes. Although, I expect the fashion will shift to the next great thing that comes along.
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Old May 17th, 2011, 10:05 AM   #12
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Re: 5D footage for broadcast

The BBC will indeed bend the rules for DSLR's.

"The Road to Coronation Street" (the one-off Drama mentioned above) was shot primarily on the 5D Mk2. And even though it was broadcast on the non-HD BBC Four, it was also broadcast on BBC HD (according to Wikipedia anyways).

Also, the BBC Two comedy "Shelfstackers" was shot primarily on the 5D Mk2.

Interestingly, I've been seeing Canon DSLR's popping up in the hands of camera operators in the behind the scenes footage of Doctor Who series 6. It's possible they are being used as B cameras, but I can't be sure.
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Old May 17th, 2011, 10:33 AM   #13
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Re: 5D footage for broadcast

I suspect it'll be more difficult to justify using the DSLRs on the low budget dramas like "Shelfstackers" in the future now that lower cost large sensor video cameras like the FS 100 are becoming available.

From memory, a friend of mine edits Dr Who, the DSLRs are for used for capturing textures etc for the VFX
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Old May 18th, 2011, 02:23 AM   #14
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Re: 5D footage for broadcast

BBC rules are a joke.

They remind me of the stock photography agencies rules were they use to not accept digital camera files (even if they were Canon 1Ds). It took them a couple years to realize their mistake.
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Old May 18th, 2011, 03:02 AM   #15
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Re: 5D footage for broadcast

On their commissioned programmes they're paying the money, so you play by their rules.

Technology has moved on and DSLRs are no longer required for lower budget large sensor productions. Where appropriate, the BBC accepts the Pansonic AF100 with a Nanoflash and I suspect the FS100 will be in a similar position. The cost difference isn;t that great between these cameras and a DSLR kitted out for video.

They like having a robust codec because of the possible build up of compression errors during post and then the heavily compressed transmission chain i.e. what looks good on your computer monitor mightn't look so good on the viewer's television.
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