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Old December 9th, 2012, 05:29 AM   #1
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Tentative step into DSLR filming - some advice please?

Hi All - I'd like to maybe start using DSLR for certain parts of the wedding day (Prep/Couple's photoshoot etc) and I'm completely new to it.

As I'm upgrading my standard video cameras as a priority early next year, I don't have a huge budget for a new DSLR but I do have a 5D Mk1 so would like to still be able to use my 'L' series EF lenses.

A 5D MkIII is a little out of my budget but a MkII would be ok or what about the 7D? APS size sensor but I think I can still use my lenses.

Also what rig would you recommend to make it more like a normal video camera to handle? Also I'm a big fan of the flipout screens on my Sony video cameras so an external monitor will be a must.

Some tips would be great - thanks

Last edited by Peter Rush; December 9th, 2012 at 06:01 AM.
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Old December 9th, 2012, 07:09 AM   #2
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Re: Tentative step into DSLR filming - some advice please?

I would look at the T3i or T4i same sensor as the 7D Just takes less pictures per second.
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Old December 9th, 2012, 07:15 AM   #3
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Re: Tentative step into DSLR filming - some advice please?

Hi - I should add the the camera I choose would also double as a worthy emergency stand-in for my 5D for stills work. So also will have to use my existing EF lenses
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Old December 9th, 2012, 07:29 AM   #4
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Re: Tentative step into DSLR filming - some advice please?

For what it's worth, I think most wedding DSLR people don't use them shoulder mounted! It's usually tripod, monopod, jib, slider, steadicam.

Re what gear, I think the main question is budget.

Camera choice -- nothing wrong with pretty much any DSLR camera, and you can use full frame lenses on crop sensor. But your investment in glass might bias you towards Canon. In this case, I think if you get a used MkII, you won't regret it. Will give you better light sensitivity than a 7D, shallower depth of field, and will overheat less. But no high frame rates. And no flip screen.

Or, for a little more money, wait till the 6D comes out. Might be the best option if you want something under a MkIII.

Rig choice -- there's a bewildering array of choice. Can't really help you here. Top brands probably include Letus Master Cinema series, Edelkrone Modula rigs, Zacuto, Redrock. Work out a budget, avoid anything Indian, and I think you can't go too far wrong.

Monitor -- maybe Small HD's new OLED monitor is the best. But are you really after a monitor, or an EVF? Zacuto EVF seems popular, works (apart from occasional dodgy cable) and is cheap as these things go. Cineroid EVF is probably better, but pricier.
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Old December 9th, 2012, 07:44 AM   #5
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Re: Tentative step into DSLR filming - some advice please?

Thanks Adrian - regarding a rig, my cams (soon to be retired) are Z1/FX1 and I rarely shoot from eye-level. So I was not looking at the shoulder mount, but something more like the cam caddie scorpion that I can pick up quickly and attach accessories to.

The 6D seems to be not much less price than the MkIII at the moment.

What are the benefits of the MkIII over the MkII? I've read moiré is a real problem with the MkII

Pete
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Old December 9th, 2012, 09:45 AM   #6
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Re: Tentative step into DSLR filming - some advice please?

TBH moire is not a really big problem on the 5D2. It happens sometimes but for wedding videos generally I think that we can live with it. We are not producing work for broadcast & our clients are pretty forgiving of moire anyway as they see it on newsreader's stripy shirts on TV.

None of the people that I know shooting weddings with DSLRs regularly use a rig. A monopod is the standard means of stabilisation.

While the 7D is a better stills camera it is not a good choice for video as it is much more expensive than the 600D/650D while the video quality is identical.

Currently the 6D is a bit of an unknown quality. The video is apparently no better than the 5D2 but it does have some other advantages e.g. video recording limit is 29min 59sec instead of around 12 minutes. It is the newer model but doesn't have the same build quality & weather proofing of the 5D2.

The 5D3 if you can afford the extra money is to my mind well worth it. It has outstanding low light capability (at least two stops better than the 5D2) also has the 29min 59sec recording limit & has a total lack of moire & aliasing. There are a whole load of other little features that all add up (locking Mode dial) dual card slots gives choice of Compact Flash or SD, headphone socket etc etc). The 5D3 is also a vastly better stills camera than the 5D2 with of course the low light performance but also fast reliable AF plus the ability to shoot to both memory cards at once for maximum reliability.
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Old December 9th, 2012, 10:09 AM   #7
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Re: Tentative step into DSLR filming - some advice please?

Hi Nigel - I was thinking of using a DSLR more for handheld work (sticking with trad video cameras for ceremony/speeches) so not sure about using a monopod (I'm currently having a play with a borrowed 600D) - how do you deal with rack focus shots - adjust on the barrel of the lens? even after a few days practice it still introduces too much movement for me.

The downside of the rigs I've been looking at is that they look large and cumbersome - as a single shooter I don't need to be weighed down with something that looks like it comes from the set of a transformers movie :)

I like the look of the scorpion as I'm very much used to holding my Sony cams by the top handle. I suppose there should be no real difference between adjusting for focus on my sony lens than the DSLR but somehow it seems 'shakier' Maybe the canon lens has a 'looser' focus ring or the sony has better stabilisation - I'm not sure.

Having said all that I love the quality of footage from the DSLR and it's going to add to my production values - so I will be investing for next season
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Old December 9th, 2012, 03:35 PM   #8
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Re: Tentative step into DSLR filming - some advice please?

Get this and it will save you a lot of regrets down the road:

Manfrotto Fluid Video Monopod W/Head 561BHDV-1 B&H Photo Video


It's not even a matter of preference. If there's one piece of equipment that any half-decent dslr shooter in the industry would have in their kit, it would be it.
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Old December 9th, 2012, 03:47 PM   #9
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Re: Tentative step into DSLR filming - some advice please?

Forget about handheld with a DSLR except with a very wide lens & where you can use some extra support like bracing with the camera neck strap. When I am shooting my 5D3 is either on a ultra lightweight tripod, a monopod, slider or Steadicam. I will jump in the middle of the dancing with a 16-35mm or 14mm & brace the camera against my body but only get away with that because the lens is so wide & there is a lot of jostling & other movement going on so camera shake isn't apparent.
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Old December 10th, 2012, 02:50 AM   #10
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Re: Tentative step into DSLR filming - some advice please?

Hi Long - I already own the Manfrotto monopod - an essential piece of kit!

I suppose It now boils down to the question of 'is the 5DMkIII worth the extra £1K or so, over the MkII/7D?'

Pete
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Old December 10th, 2012, 03:37 AM   #11
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Re: Tentative step into DSLR filming - some advice please?

I would try not to be influenced by my ownership of Canon glass and look outside of the Canon dSLR range for video. The Panasonic GH3 comes to mind.

Its well worth spending some quality time exploring cheesycam.com for affordable solutions that work:

CheesyCam DIY Video and Photography Projects

I use a lightweight carbon fibre monopod that collapses really small, the Gitzo GM5561T, but at almost £300 its not everyones 1st choice:

Gitzo GM5561T Mountaineer Monopod - Carbon Fibre

I often use a Manfrotto 701 head on it and this enables you to stabilise it against your shoulder using the head's arm and with the monopod base against your waist - so you don't need to have the monopod extended to ground level and that is a big plus in confined spaces like getting ready.

I don't really see the point of feet on monopods, its not as if you can leave the rig standing unattended. For that you can use a small Cheetah lightstand which has legs which fold up on lifting and spread when placed down - a much neater solution. Use the C8:

https://www.cheetahstand.com/category-s/1862.htm

The C12 is much heavier but is man enough to be a full-on tripod replacement.

However it is very hard indeed to get more than a few seconds using a monopod without movement becoming obvious. You see movement all day every day in TV shows though so it does have acceptable limits.

This VF-3 viewfinder is very well made and I use it in preference to my early Zacuto unless I want to alternate between video and stills

VF-3 Universal LCD View Finder by Carry Speed | Carry Speed Store

This GB-2 Gearbox cage also works great. You can extend the verticals using standard spigots and adapters such as those from Manfrotto:

GearBox GB-2 - Video Accessory Cage w/ 15mm Rod Adapter by PNC | Photography and Cinema - Store

If you do go the shoulder rig route the PR-1 is a very solid well thought out piece of kit and affordable:

PR-1 Prime Video Shoulder Rig Kit by PNC | Photography and Cinema - Store

As to whether the 5DII or III is the best ..... in my opinion the III is an incremental improvement not revolutionary. Much depends on how you use them. I would say the focusing improvement it totally irrelevant; I use the centre focusing point then recompose rather than use the outer points - the centre is far more sensitive than the outer ones. Plus I use the * back button to focus NOT the shutter button - this enables you to lock focus at any point you want without locking anything else. The one biggie would be the longer record time on the III, but its still only 30 minutes and thats not long enough for unattended in a church ceremony; not that that matters to you personally as you plan to use video cams at that point anyway.

Pete
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Old December 10th, 2012, 03:58 AM   #12
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Re: Tentative step into DSLR filming - some advice please?

Thanks for that comprehensive reply Pete! I haven't come across the Gearbox Cage - it seems it will do the job better for me than the Cam Caddie Scorpion. I find myself filming from a variety of angles - very rarely from eye-level so will be wanting to have a small monitor (currently looking at a Marshall) mounted. I like the side grips - they'll be better for hand held work than the top handle of the scorpion.

I like my 561BHDV for during the ceremony but for a DSLR I might also look at the Manfrotto Neotec - I've seen a few photographers use them and they're extremely quick to adjust for height - anything that gets my shot framed quickly is a friend of mine!

Pete
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Old December 10th, 2012, 04:45 AM   #13
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Re: Tentative step into DSLR filming - some advice please?

Hi Peter,

When shooting DSLR forget about most of how you operate with a regular camera. There is absolutely no way you should ever shoot handheld. You would need a gunstock type rig at a minimum. Our main goto is a Monopod, occasionally a Steadicam and then tripod for ceremony and speeches. We shoot only DSLR now.

We use 5DMK2 and 7D and love them both. The MK3 doesnt have enough to tempt us to pony up.

The beauty of DSLR is its ultra small form factor. Adding an external monitor can be a bit cumbersome for weddings and I would just recommend getting down on your knees. Its the reason I dont wear a fancy suit ;)

The 7D is a great camera and I personally enjoy the crop as I tend to be down the back of the church while Julie is up front on the 5DMK2.

I know a few people who switched from the traditional camera to DSLR and all of them had to adapt their style of shooting to accomodate the DSLR quirks. Not in a bad way though, for many it made them stop bad habbits like shooting handheld when the situation required a little more stability.

Have a look at our education blog. We have some great tips on DSLR shooting, technical write ups for some of our shoots and other bits and pieces. The Society Of Movement | Minty Slippers
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Old December 10th, 2012, 05:45 AM   #14
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Re: Tentative step into DSLR filming - some advice please?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Riding View Post
I don't really see the point of feet on monopods, its not as if you can leave the rig standing unattended.
The feet are not intended for supporting the monopod unattended. On the Manfrotto 561BHDV linked to above there is a nice little joint that allows you to do smooth panning. It is a feature that is missing from the Manfrotto Neotec that in other ways is better because it can be quickly adjusted with a trigger. The little foot on the Neotec is for you to put your foot on while pulling the tubes up or down to get the desired height.
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Old December 10th, 2012, 06:02 AM   #15
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Re: Tentative step into DSLR filming - some advice please?

If you want to stay in the Canon camp all canon dslr's up to the (and including the) 5dII will give you moire and aliasing, there are ways to work around that but if you don't want to do that get the 5DIII. If you don't have the budget for the mark 3 but still want full frame get the 6d as it can handle higher iso better then the mark 2 but still shows moire and aliasing and if you don't care about full frame and want to have 2 dslr's for the price of one 7D get a pair of T4i's, they are not as waterproof or solid as a 7d but if you are careful about your material they last just as long.

I still use two t2I's and while I don't like the moire and aliasing and their limited resolution they have been a good investment. I have one constantly on the steadicam and one on the tripod or monopod.
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