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Old May 3rd, 2011, 05:59 AM   #1
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Why DSLR ?

Folks.

I'm perplexed about the DSLR video craze ... especially when i see examples like

* Full episode of HOUSE shot on Canon 5D Series II
* A wedding videographer on Ebay claiming they are selling their NX5 to move to DSLR video

Really !!

The Sony NX5; its a dedicated video capture unit with 3 Exmore chips, a great lens, excellent manual controls, picture profiles, etc, etc
The DSLR is a convergent device (photo/video) that's primary purpose is photography, its form factor is a traditional photo frame and has a single sensor. yes you can change lenses and probably have better shallow DOF... but I still do not see why you would move to DSLR for professional video work over a dedicated semi-pro/full pro camera setup.
If i was a Wedding Videographer(which i am not) , I would have thought that turning up to a shoot with a couple of EX1R's would look far more impressive and Pro vs turning up with a couple of DSLR's ?

Happy to hear why folks are moving in this direction and what is the killer feature of DSLR over the afore mentioned dedicated semi/full pro rig.

regards

Justin.
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Old May 3rd, 2011, 07:32 AM   #2
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Re: Why DSLR ?

In short, because they offer an amazing image. Maybe not techinically excellent, but aesthetically amazing.

The dynamic range and colours you can capture with these cameras absolutely blows away any 3-chip pro camcorder I've shot with (FX7, XHA1, Z1, Z5). Not to mention the stellar lowlight performance and great control over depth of field, as well as excellent lens selection.

They are also much cheaper than Prosumer camcorders such as the NX5, particularly if you need a collection of identical cameras for perfectly matched footage at events (ie weddings). Sure, a DSLR and a couple of good lenses will cost as much as an NX5, but another body (assuming you are not going to duplicate lenses) is only another $1000.

I didn't really understand the craze until I shot some footage for myself side by side with a Sony Z1. Then when upgrade time came around and I started pricing things up, I really started to understand!
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Old May 3rd, 2011, 10:31 AM   #3
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Re: Why DSLR ?

It provides a filmic look compared to a more video look that adds to the romanticism of a wedding. Also, looking professional at a wedding is not what a bride wants, what she wants is to not even know you are there. These camera's allow you to blend in better and guest get more comfortable having a camera pointed at them. I feel like I get more authentic captures of people, compared to the videographer that is wearing an entire stabilizer vest.

Don't know anything about the sony, but a canon 5d mark II with a 1.4 lens and 1/30 shutter speeding is seeing in the dark at a reception which is where a lot of your footage is going to come from. With a touch of noise reduction software the footage looks great.
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Old May 3rd, 2011, 10:35 AM   #4
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Re: Why DSLR ?

Yep, what he said. Even the mighty EX3 looks mushy in comparison to my 5D mkII. I'm trying to figure out right now how to move to all DSLR because the footage is just that good. Also, I no longer have to worry about dark receptions or wedding venues. It cuts through darkness like butter. Sure, they're hard to shoot with VERY HARD. but the result is amazing and it honestly makes you a better shooter.
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Old May 3rd, 2011, 04:18 PM   #5
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Re: Why DSLR ?

Part of the allure of the DSLR is that it ISN'T easy to use. That is, one has to think more about how and what they are shooting, with framing, lighting, steadiness, focal length, etc. For us, it makes us better shooters. Oh, and the image looks amazing, nothing like any of the video cameras.
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Old May 3rd, 2011, 09:33 PM   #6
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Re: Why DSLR ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Grant View Post
Even the mighty EX3 looks mushy in comparison to my 5D mkII.Bill
Bill, how can you say this? I have both of these cameras and in terms of detail, in my experience the 5D is mushy compared to the EX series. What stops me from going in head first is the massive compression of the 5D footage. It does not take much color correction to get posterization. Also the colors are for the RGB color space so getting a MacBeth chart to look proper on a YUV broadcast monitor is quite difficult. I have been playing around with color styles and have improved but it is still pushing the camera quite far. Imho the output form these cameras looks better over the internet that in a broadcast format.

Still, I am trying to make room for these cameras (which I use for still work) into my video work especially for an interview camera.

I really think Canon could still make a huge dent if the Mark III would ship with the XF 50mbps codec and not have the image issues of the current sensors.

Last edited by Tim Polster; May 4th, 2011 at 12:53 AM.
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Old May 3rd, 2011, 10:54 PM   #7
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Re: Why DSLR ?

Shoot Technicolor Cinestyle, grade in post.

Technicolor & Canon USA Form Strategic Alliance To Leverage Technicolor Color Science for Canon EOS DSLR Cameras, 2011, Press Center - Technicolor
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Old May 4th, 2011, 01:35 AM   #8
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Re: Why DSLR ?

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Originally Posted by Tim Polster View Post
I really think Canon could still make a huge dent if the Mark III would ship with the XF 50mbps codec and not have the image issues of the current sensors.
Yes, but it wouldn't be a DSLR as such, more an AF100 or FS100 with a better codec. I don't think the stills photographers would want to pay for that, since the 5DII is fundamentally a stills camera that shoots video, To keep them happy you want something that doesn't add to the cost, doesn't affect stills resolution and is good enough for some lower end video work.
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Old May 4th, 2011, 11:04 AM   #9
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Re: Why DSLR ?

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Originally Posted by Justin Hewitt View Post
I would have thought that turning up to a shoot with a couple of EX1R's would look far more impressive and Pro vs turning up with a couple of DSLR's ?
no, not even close,
because I am shooting weddings, I still keep one EX1 just for the sound and steadicam, but for any other than run and gun situation I would pick DSLRs only, (we're talkin low/no budget productions)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin Hewitt View Post
Happy to hear why folks are moving in this direction and what is the killer feature of DSLR over the afore mentioned dedicated semi/full pro rig.
like other people say dynamic range and DOF control plus ability to shoot with fast lenses make DSLRs a very nice tool to have for many different types of production;
Unfortunately, no one can be told what's the 'DSLR video craze' is, you have to see it for yourself :)
try it.
But i really hope that RED scarlet will change things
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Old May 4th, 2011, 12:00 PM   #10
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Re: Why DSLR ?

I'll add a few that I've discovered that don't seem to get thrown out there a lot.

The image has a "still camera" look that people really seem to respond to. It of course can be graded to get a very "filmic" look but I've also had great luck going with a "Canon photograph" look and clients really seem to dig it.

Access to a huge stock of great rental lenses. Depending on where you live there is already a very established pro still camera rental ecosystem and the access to cheap and gorgeous glass is very handy. There are also a TON of lenses available to try out.

Since the cameras are so cheap a one camera shoot can become a "multi" camera shoot. I've done a fair number of projects where what 2 years ago would have been a single camera project is now a 2 or 3 camera project.
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Old May 4th, 2011, 02:32 PM   #11
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Re: Why DSLR ?

Tim,
I don't shoot charts, I shoot people. That's just my opinion. I can tell video from a mile away. Again, just my opinion. I would also say ESPECIALLY in low light.
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Old May 4th, 2011, 05:22 PM   #12
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Re: Why DSLR ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Grant View Post
Tim,
I don't shoot charts, I shoot people. That's just my opinion. I can tell video from a mile away. Again, just my opinion. I would also say ESPECIALLY in low light.
Bill
A camera doesn't care about charts or people, so charts can still be used to compare cameras. And charts show that DSLRs aren't as detailed as they might seem. (Or as a EX1R/3)
Charts don't care about opions either: they are used to collect facts :-p

A 5D is great for low light shooting. At night it beats most cameras.
If you like a shallow DOF a DSLR is great.
Both charactaristic come from the large sensor.

I do a lot of corporate stuff and most of the times a shallow DOF is not what the clients want.
Shooting with an EX1R gives you zebras, peaking, a live histogram, proper XLR inputs, non-stop recording as long as your memory doesn't run out, a viewfinder that can be adjusted, ND-filters, etc
So I wouldn't replace my camera with a DSLR, but a DSLR can be a great addition to your gear.
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Old May 4th, 2011, 05:37 PM   #13
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Re: Why DSLR ?

Correct, right tool for the right job. There is a big market for indi filmakers that want to make a movie, on a budget that can compare to the quality of movies on the big screen. Those same movies are not detailed (film is soft by comparison) and have a filmic look (DOF, brokeh, etc). Its not the nfl, its 24p and a particular look.

That same look appeals to brides in our particular market. They don't want the 4 hour long home video that their mothers want. They want their day to look romantic like what they are used to seeing on the big screen with the fat edited.
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Old May 4th, 2011, 09:07 PM   #14
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Re: Why DSLR ?

Agreed Greg.

I would never argue that an EX1/3 image is techicially far superior to HDSLR's. Better compression and a video optimised sensor block ensure sharp, crisp images.

But the DSLR's have a very aesthetically pleasing image. Smooth gradients, wider dynamic range, better sensitivity in lowlight, amazing colour reproduction etc combine for an image that is just so... well... dramatic! Which is great for some things (weddings, indy films, etc) but not so great for others (broadcast, news, corporate etc).
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Old May 5th, 2011, 02:53 AM   #15
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Re: Why DSLR ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Greene View Post
Part of the allure of the DSLR is that it ISN'T easy to use. Oh, and the image looks amazing, nothing like any of the video cameras.
Jim's nailed why you should think twice about using such a camera on a real-time, live-happening, shoot-it-or-lose-it situation such as a wedding. It's all well and good getting an image that 'looks amazing', but if in any way this is at the expense of missing shots on a never to be repeated day, then I say beware.

I'm with Tim on this one - the EX3's video footage is miles better (technically) than the 5D's, a point that John Wiley agrees on. But artists don't all use 0.3 mm camel-hair brushes, and some are strangelly successful.

So - Justin. Grab the NX5 if you don't want to miss a trick. As you run from the room onto the lawn ahead of the bride you'll be switching in ND2, clicking out the gain and snapping the w/b to daylight. You know the auto-focus will silently track her and the Steady-shot will unobtrusively go about its business. You have an amazing selection of focal lengths at your disposal, all less than half a second away.

Rewind. Go back into that room with your DSLR with its bolt-together Heath Robinson rig. Bride announces she's going to greet guests on the lawn and take a pace towards the door. What's first - a change of lens? Shall I stack a few NDs or let the ISO ride? Must remember to manually focus and switch off the IS because of the on-board mic. Probably best to ask the bride to give you 5 minutes.

tom.
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