Thursday, 26 May 2011

Mixing it with the Canon 5DMkII




Good steam is even more fun than smoke machines

Particularly when you get your own locomotive to play with for a day, courtesy of Bill Tyndall and the Talylln Railway in Wales.

I shot this portrait of Bill with a Canon 5DMkII 24-105mm zoom and lit it with two Elinchrom Quadra's, one for Bill fitted with a Chimera Medium softbox, the other on axis in the background as backlight for Bill and the steam, this one with a barebulb head, both triggered via Skyport.

Simple lighting that WORKS.

A shot I'm very pleased with.

But I had to shoot video too......

I talk about shooting stills and motion quite a lot.

Infact I even made a digital download series about DSLR videography with Dennis Lennie.

I have to say though anecdotaly and through various online surveys, notably on dpreview, I think only a tiny percentage of us are using our DSLR's to shoot video.

Why?

Fair enough if you just like your stills and you don't want to shoot video.

But I think if you are a pro and you are not shooting video you just might be missing a trick.

With a tidal wave of new talent coming into the business, it pays to be open to new forms of creativity, and the revenue streams that accompany them.

Which brings me back to video.

The Canon 5DMkII was a game changer which ushered in this possibility DOES give an amazing look, filmic and all the rest of it.

But....but...

Although shooting documentaries and shorts on a 5DMkII is entirely possible, it can be quite a challenge with separate sound, full manual focus all the time.

A BIG handful and if you are shooting with a small crew you need to have your wits about you, as the opportunity for mistakes are many and manifold.

After two years of numerous video shoots with the 5DMkII and with an increasingly heavy video workload I decided on a different approach.

I have a Canon XF305 which is a lovely camera, which I use for all of my main video work.

It has many benefits, including all the high quality audio connectivity you can shake a stick at, and a silly super sharp 'L' Series zoom lens.

Its achilles heel is its very small sensor, which Canon have worked nothing short of a minor miracle wringing the performance they have from it.

But a small sensor brings with it a deep depth of field that there is simply no way around though.

Solution?

Shoot all the beauty shots and 'B' roll on my DSLR and all the rest on the XF305.

Is this an ideal scenario? Possibly not

But it IS working for me right now, but I do have my eye on integrated video solutions, in the shape of the Sony F3.

But it is quite an investment.

Will I go there ? Can the investment be justified? Time will tell.

Here is the finished video on the John Lewis partnership Website

I'm very pleased with the result.

Can you spot where the 5DMkII is at work? it's not too difficult.


2 comments:

Fred said...

Hey Drew!
I love this photo ! The blue of his jacket match perfectly with the red (you've been lucky on this !)
For the video, we already chat about it and I totally agree with you.
The F3 seems to be really promising according to what have been said on it ! But you will have to manage the shallower depth of field and be in perfect focus all the time where the XF305 is much more easier to use.
Compromises, always compromises .......
All the best
Fred

Drew Gardner said...

Thanks Fred!

I hear you about the XF305


Creativity is never easy.

Cheers

Drew