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Old February 10th, 2013, 06:16 AM   #1
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Setup shooting ENG-style with the 5D Mark III?

I'm starting a new documentary project and am seriously considering buying the Mark III with the 24-105. I tried shooting a doc on a GH2 last year but wound up using my Sony EX3 for handheld because it was just so much faster/more practical. (To make things worse, I don't work with a soundman)

But I want that shalllow depth of field and the lowlight performance that only the Mark III provides.

I'd like to hear about your experiences when shooting ENG style with the Canon 5D Mark III. What's your setup? What lenses and accessories? (I obviously prefer a basic approach, if possible)
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Old February 11th, 2013, 11:27 AM   #2
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Re: Setup shooting ENG-style with the 5D Mark III?

Hi J
I am a documentary maker and have moved from the JVC gy-hm700 camera to a mkiii.
I loved the JVC, ergonomically it is great and is very easy to use in general terms (still have it if anyone is interested!), however it can't compete with the mkiii on image.
Since the move over to DSLRs I have loved and hate this camera.
Basically you need good support if you are going to use it handheld - I bought a Genus shoulder mount rig, which is OK but not great for the money imo.
Also sound is the one big issue with these cameras and there are more learned people than me on here who have discussed this - just search out the threads.
Incidentally I use a Røde NTG3 with an old Marantz pmd660 and synch in post, which does the job but there are newer, cheaper, better and more portable audio devices out there of you want to go the separate audio route.
I also invested in an Alphatron EVF, which for nearly £1000 the jury is still out on that one.....an EVF is great for critical focus etc, but this was overly expensive. With that I bought a follow focus rig.....which is very useful. That serves me right for docs, but it certainly aint the run and gun set up I was used to with the JVC.....but that is the price you have to pay for lovely images :-)
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Old February 11th, 2013, 01:02 PM   #3
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Re: Setup shooting ENG-style with the 5D Mark III?

I use the mklll for documentary work, and I have two national advertisers who oftentimes want a "handheld look" for some shots I do in their ads.

I don't use the cage rigs. I use a beefy monopod w/fluid head. It bashes less people in the face, and, especially if you have an IS lens mounted, produces some handheld shots with very natural-looking eye movement. Plus you don't look like you're carrying a Borg battle star on your shoulder. Your 24-105 will work wonderfully with it.
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Old February 11th, 2013, 01:30 PM   #4
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Re: Setup shooting ENG-style with the 5D Mark III?

For ENG, I would get a T3i and add the Mosaic Engineering ani-aliasing filter: VAF-TXi Optical Anti-Aliasing Filter Why an APS-C camera rather than full frame? Because you can use the 17-55/2.8 IS lens. Why the T3i? Because it offers a 3x digital zoom. That gives you 51-165mm at the push of some buttons. In full frame terms the range is equivalent to 27.2-264mm. All with image stabilization.

With the 5D3, you can either get the 28-70/2.8L without IS or the 24-105/4L IS without f/2.8. Of course, the 5D3 has much better ISO performance and doesn't need the additional filter. The larger sensor makes f/4 look like f/2.8 on the T3i (in terms of DOF), so it might be the better solution, except for the lack of 3x zoom and overall price. I see that the focus ring rotation is 122 degrees vs. 90 degrees, so this is a slight advantage for the 24-105.

For sound, I recommend the Rode VideoMic Pro, as it has built-in gain. (Add gaffers tape to the back to reduce wind noise.) Of course, this is on-camera, so sound won't be ideal. As a step up, I'd get a juicedLink preamp that accepts both XLRs and 1/8" inputs. You can then use the standard VideoMic (using the gain in the juicedLink) as well as the XLR mic of your choice, when on-camera isn't the right solution.

For support, I've made home-built rigs, have a RedRock Event, and have since moved to a mono-pod. DSLRs are very front heavy compared to shoulder mount ENG cams, so simply getting a shoulder rig doesn't balance the weight. Yes, you can put lead plates behind your shoulder, but that makes your light DSLR heavy. I prefer the mono-pod as I can rest it on the floor for interviews, tuck it in my belt for "human tripod" work, and hold it near it's balance point to walk with a faux Steadicam. It's very flexible, portable, and ergonomic. Adding a tripod baseplate allows me to use the monopod along with the RedRock handles and follow focus for a more complete setup. Of course, a good loupe is a must-have.

FWIW, I bought the Slik Pro Pod 600. It fits in rollaway luggage and was as solid and light as any of the 20 or so monopods I tried at a local camera shop. I was prepared to spend four times as much, but it beat everything except one carbon fiber model that cost nearly $300 - and the weight and stiffness of those models were nearly identical. Great value purchase.
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Old February 12th, 2013, 03:33 AM   #5
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Re: Setup shooting ENG-style with the 5D Mark III?

Thanks for all of your input.

And Jon made an interesting plea for the T3i. Do you actually use the T3i for ENG-style shooting, Jon?

Obviously you're not getting that fullframe look and lowlight performance of the Mark III. On the upside focusing is less of a problem...

Going handheld with a DSLR camera is my greatest worry. I have a Gini rig and I have never liked working with a rig. Too much clutter, too heavy, my DP4 EVF never stayed put when I pressed my eye against it...

What about just the camera with a simple magnifying loupe, a Rode videomic on top, a wireless lav mic for the talent and my Sennheiser receiver connected to my Zoom H4n in my pocket/on my belt?

And the Manfrotto 561BHDV monopod (with feet) for support. (plus a proper tripod in the car for long shots/establishing.)

And I forgot to ask: how do you feel about controlling aperture on an electronic lens? I'm so used to manual control rings, I cannot imagine following someone around and having to fiddle with small wheels or knobs at the same time...
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Old February 12th, 2013, 03:38 AM   #6
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Re: Setup shooting ENG-style with the 5D Mark III?

Quote:
Why the T3i? Because it offers a 3x digital zoom.
Important to know is that if you use that function the image quality takes a significant hit, nice if you must have a shot and you don't carry the right lens with you but otherwise it's best left alone.
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Old February 12th, 2013, 05:26 PM   #7
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Re: Setup shooting ENG-style with the 5D Mark III?

Jeroen,

I use the 5D2 with VAF filter. And I use primes, rather than a zoom. I'll often shoot ENG-type events with just a 35mm lens. But ENG isn't my main target.

I've used the EF 24-105/4L IS and it's a very nice, conservative lens. It's not all that fast. Shallow DOF is limited. That said, it has few faults and has nice corner performance at f/4. It's not a good choice for cinematic use, but would be excellent for documentary applications, like ENG.

The EF-S 17-55/2.8 IS will give you similar DOF as the f/4 lens on the 5D, though it looks like the full frame setup wins slightly:

* 80mm f/4 @ 5ft -> 0.27 ft DOF
* 50mm f/2.8 @ 5ft -> 0.32 ft DOF

You get an extra stop of light, but the crop sensor cam has higher noise.

And this is where my thinking might be obsolete. With the T3i vs. 5D2, there might be a stop or so of noise difference. With the 5D3, you get another couple stops or so of performance, so f/4 isn't as limiting as it is on my 5D2.

So, yeah, you'll get better performance with the 5D3 + 24-105 than the T3i + 17-55.

And here's more obsolete thinking: we have another lens option recently available. While Canon's latest 24-70/2.8L II didn't get IS, the new Tamron did: DxOMark - Tamron SP 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD: A uniquely versatile pro-worthy alternative

For ENG, keeping focus can be more important than shallow DOF. In that case, the 24-105 might be the ticket. But if you want shallow DOF as an option and value IS, the Tamron might be the ticket. The DxOMark claims that vignetting is a weakness, but it's flatter than the 24-105 at similar settings.

Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM Lens Vignetting Test Results

Note that the focus rotation on the Canon is 122 degrees, while the Tamron is 100.
Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD Lens Specifications and Measurements

Given the cash, the 5D3 and Tamron might be the best ENG solution. A T3i with 17-55/2.8 is the budget solution.
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Old February 13th, 2013, 09:17 AM   #8
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Re: Setup shooting ENG-style with the 5D Mark III?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeroen Wolf View Post
Thanks for all of your input.
What about just the camera with a simple magnifying loupe, a Rode videomic on top, a wireless lav mic for the talent and my Sennheiser receiver connected to my Zoom H4n in my pocket/on my belt?

And the Manfrotto 561BHDV monopod (with feet) for support. (plus a proper tripod in the car for long shots/establishing.)
That's a very solid setup you're proposing (with props to Jon for the advice). Any of the Rebel models will save you heaps of $ over the 5D3 (which I have, and LOVE). Being "out and about" with a $500-$700 camera vs. a $3000 one would make ME much more focused on my work and much less worried about babying the thing!

I too prefer a monopod setup over shoulder rigs. With some practice, you can even pull-off some simple stabilizer moves.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeroen Wolf View Post
And I forgot to ask: how do you feel about controlling aperture on an electronic lens? I'm so used to manual control rings, I cannot imagine following someone around and having to fiddle with small wheels or knobs at the same time...
Invest in a variable ND filter, and you won't have to worry about adjusting aperture. Many examples will take a slight hit in terms of sharpness and color fidelity, but well worth the convenience of it IMHO. Another potential issue is that most of them use a different-sized outer element, which means your stock lens hood won't work with it. A good workaround is a rubber lens hood to the proper diameter (watch for vignetting at the widest focal length, of course). The upside to that setup is simply rotating the entire lens hood to dial-in your exposure. Cameras that feature a real-time histogram should factor heavily into your decision for gear above (I assume the T3i has this).
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Old February 13th, 2013, 03:20 PM   #9
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Re: Setup shooting ENG-style with the 5D Mark III?

I believe that you need Magic Lantern to get a real-time histogram. The variable ND is a great suggestion for ENG work. I prefer fixed NDs, but for run-n-gun, I'd go variable.

Regarding an H4n on the belt, I've developed some personal guidelines for recording audio internally or externally:

* For solo work where you are on your feet, record into the camera. I once filmed over 70 people saying their names using an external recorder. I got out of sync on two of them - I started recording the image while just putting the audio recorder into standby. The problem is that an audio recorder often needs two presses to record while the camera needs one. And since you're looking at the camera for framing, you can't see when you're not recording, or when the batteries have drained. Recording into the camera is more reliable, under pressure.

* When you are in a crowd or on the street, recording into the camera using a good preamp (or the Video Mic Pro) is good enough. The noise floor is well below the noise on the street.

* When sound quality really, really matters (like when recording a concert) record externally. With the 5D2, Magic Lantern, a juicedLink, and a source with a reasonable sound preossure level, I can record a signal to noise level that gets very near the limit of the 16-bit recording. But with a good external recorder, I can record at 24-bits. Also, the preamp/DSLR is slightly harsh sounding. Not bad, but not pristine. For most ENG, however, it's more than good enough.

* Note that the S/N of the 5D2/ML/preamp (I haven't tested the 5D3) is better than the DR-100 (original version) or H4n. Many step-up recorders, like the FR-2 LE, are bulky and hang from the shoulder, which would be terrible for run-n-gun. The DC-R302 would be ideal for run-n-gun, if it's in budget. To summarize, there's little advantage going with an inexpensive recorder, many step-ups have the wrong form factor, so if you want external run-n-gun sound, budget $1k plus mics.

We have an FR-2 LE and it's great when you have a crew to run it. I use it solo on a table or floor for sit-down interviews in quiet locations (with a wired COS-11D lav), but I constantly worry that the audio isn't recording while the video is. At least the DC-R302 would be mounted with the camera, so I could glance at it when I feel my blood pressure rise. :)
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Old February 19th, 2013, 04:50 AM   #10
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Re: Setup shooting ENG-style with the 5D Mark III?

Very helpful suggestions, guys. Thanks for your input. As far as the variable ND is concerned: I use one on my GH2 but there's a one stop loss even when completely turned down. (LCW Mark II) So that's not very practical when shooting inside ie in poor lighting, it seems... (particularly when considering the f4 on the 24-105)

For outside, the variable ND's are perfect.

What's your experience shooting inside with variable ND's? Wide open, turn up the ISO. Maybe with the 5D Mark III that's perfectly acceptable...?
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Old February 19th, 2013, 04:59 AM   #11
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Re: Setup shooting ENG-style with the 5D Mark III?

I never use an ND indoors.

I either unscrew the filter, or swap out the lens (to a wider lens with no ND filter).

Of course thats no good for transitioning from outdoors to indoors while rolling.
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Old March 31st, 2013, 07:59 PM   #12
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Re: Setup shooting ENG-style with the 5D Mark III?

Something new to consider for ENG style shooting and audio is the new Tascam dr-60d audio recorder. Unlike previous recorders, this one can mount on the bottom of your DSLR and has 4 channels of audio. Pretty impressive considering the price is only $350.

tascam dr-60d| B&H Photo Video


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Old March 31st, 2013, 10:28 PM   #13
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Re: Setup shooting ENG-style with the 5D Mark III?

Hey! Lots of info in here, thought I'd just quickly throw my 2 cents in.

I just got back from 10 days of shooting with a medical team in Haiti, thanks to LensProToGo I primarily shot with the 5diii, 24-105is, 70-200is, and 35L. For ambient audio I had my Rode VMP, and for Interviews I ran a sennheiser g3 into an h4n on top of the camera with a hotshoe adapter. I had a mad cheap $15 var ND off ebay, and a redrock micro rig. I own a Jag 35 rig, but I was super impressed with the red rock rig. Super light, comfy to shoot with, and solid as a rock. Redrock Micro - Universal Handheld Bundle

Now, depending on exactly what you're shooting you certainly have options. I've been a DSLR guy for a while now, and I've done events with just the Rode VMP including interviews, and they've been beyond adequate audio wise (tip: get close!). When running around in Haiti a lot of the time I was doing lens swaps on the fly so I took off the follow focus and the vari-ND, and would just crank shutter. Some people dont like that, but I've never had a normal human being (ie: not video expert) mention anything about it looking different. As far as electronic lenses, you get used to the controls pretty fast.

The 3x zoom on the t3i is junk, I wouldnt really factor that in, as you can just crop the 5diii in post and accomplish the same thing. The other big thing the 5diii has that no one has mentioned is a headphone jack, which can be a giant lifesaver when doing run-n-gun.


I also have a Glidecam, Manfrotto 561 BHDV, and tripods that I brought, and they each got used for other purposes. When it makes sense, the monopod can be a sturdier/less tiring option, but the redrock rig is a heck of a lot faster and gets through tight places easier.


If you havent shot 5diii, I'd highly recommend renting one (i have a lensprotogo bias, check them out!) and trying it out. The low light performance is insane. The t3i becomes unusably noisy at anything past iso 1600, the 5diii can shoot at ISO 12k no problem. This makes things like ND filters etc much less of an issue, as unless it's REAL dark the camera can keep up.

Just for the heck of it I'll tag the haiti video on here, if you follow that back to my vimeo you can check out more stuff of my stuff, and it's all either 5dii or t3i footage in general. Don't get me wrong, for what it is the t3i is a great camera, but for an A cam I'd rather have the 5diii every time.

Feel free to contact me with any other questions/thoughts!

Thanks,
Evan

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Old April 8th, 2013, 05:00 PM   #14
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Re: Setup shooting ENG-style with the 5D Mark III?

To the OP - I've gone through a lot of different rig configurations and could never find anything that didn't add a ton of bulk/weight or create some crazy set of rods and such that just killed the form factor of the 5d3. So I pared everything down to as little as possible:

I use a combination of the 24-105L, $30 Cowboy Studio shoulder mount, the Manfrotto fluid video monopod and a modded Steadicam Smoothie (which negates the need for a shoulder mount with my style of shooting) for stabilization. The monopod sees the most use, the shoulder mount the least and the Steadicam somewhere in between.

For audio a Rode Video Mic Pro mounted on cam and a Zoom mounted to the left-side pan arm mount of the Manfrotto head with a Sennheiser wireless lav/handheld.

If I need on-cam light, I swap the Rode for one of the Z96 LED lights. I have a vari-nd that's always on the 24-105 and when I'm indoors I use a Sigma 35/1.4 (about 80% of the time) or 85/1.4.

Simple, easy to pack, fits in a carry-on size camera bag and doesn't draw a lot of attention. YMMV.
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Old April 8th, 2013, 05:52 PM   #15
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Re: Setup shooting ENG-style with the 5D Mark III?

Literally the only thing I use the digital zoom on the T3i for is to fix my focus without an external monitor: we do all manual controls and felt the auto focus is too slow on these. A nice prime lens will help with the low light situations.

Aperture, shutter, and ISO are all controlled by a wheel next to the shutter, with aperture and ISO requiring an easy button tap first. All can be adjusted easily while filming.
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