In 2008, the Nikon D90 became the first DSLR to offer HD video recording, a feature that has become pretty standard on new DSLR models. Third-party companies have also taken advantage of the HDSLR craze by offering a boatload of specialized HDSLR filmmaking products, including camera rigs that are constantly becoming larger and more crazy-looking. DSLR film school Neumann Films created this funny short film poking fun at huge and expensive rigs.
The gear game of DSLR cameras is getting out of hand. When a camera rig costs more than your camera something is wrong. These were the thoughts that fueled the creation of our latest video “DSLR Camera Rigs”. [#]
So this is what goes on at the brainstorming sessions of rig makers…
About a year ago, engineer and photo-enthusiast Morten Hjerde began brainstorming ideas for the next generation of photographic lighting after concluding that most of the lights used by photographers these days are simply glorified light bulbs.
Using embedded electronics and microprocessor programming, he set out to explore ways to create a different kind of light. A light that would go where the current lights could not go. Exploring the possibility and feasibility of actual digital light. Light that could be pushed and tweaked like you push and tweak the pixels on your computer screen. [#]
He set up a company called Rift Labs, and decided to open source the design and software involved in creating this digital light source. The video above provides some interesting background on the project.
High quality video on consumer DSLRs is changing how journalism is being done. Kevin Roach, the VP of In this video interview by Beet.tv, Kevin Roach — VP and Director U.S. Broadcast News at Associated Press — called the Canon 5D Mark II “game changing” when asked by Beet.tv about the future direction of the AP.
This music video may not have the suave nature of the single-take Old Spice commercials, but then again, neither do the unlucky men who fall victim to their runaway love interest. Plus, musician Tim Halperin had this video made for his song, “She Runs,” with a budget of a mere $500. The video was shot with a Canon 5D Mark II.
We took 3 days to build and 1 day to shoot. Most of the wood for the rolling stages was donated/lent as well as the set items. Most of the money went towards casters so that the stages would roll properly when we started putting set decoration and actors on top of them. We had an average of 10 people on the build days and a total of about 40 people (including actors) on the actual shoot day. This still didn’t seem like enough. Everyone pulled double duty. We had actors holding set pieces, running to do their scene, then running to hold more set pieces. Brooke Peoples (our leading lady) had 3 wardrobe changes and 4 scenes. She also had to make most of these changes within seconds so she could be in her back to back scenes. Tim had 2 wardrobe changes and three scenes. The biggest move was the ending shot. By that time we’re 40 yards away from where we started so the red curtain, stage, piano, and audience all had to be moved in behind the dolly. It was mass chaos outside of the frame.
You can read more from Jonathan Combs on Planet 5D and watch the behind-the-scenes video below:
Gail Mooney and her daughter Erin Kelly are about to embark on a three month documentary project around the world using Canon DSLRs, and the above photograph shows the kit they’re bringing along. Check out this blog post to see everything they’re bringing. What’s amazing is that everything here fits inside two backpacks. Whoa.
The resulting film will be titled, “Opening Our Eyes”, and you can follow along on this blog.
If you need a 2 minute dose of relaxation, check out this video by Jeff Scholl of GravityShots. It was filmed with a Canon 550D/T2i-equipped helicam Whitefish, Montana Scholl used a 14mm lens, filmed at 720p, and rendered at 24fps. This kind of helicam footage reminds me a lot of dreams in which I’m flying, since the helicopter glides so slowly while everything on the ground moves at normal speed.
When asked how he stabilized the video, Scholl responds,
For stabilization I have a KS2 gyro on the mount plus I’m using Mercalli on PPro CS4, but the default settings on Smooth (FCP) should do a better job.
When I go out the door I’m probably carrying $25,000 worth of gear, but I’ve spent way more than that just figuring out these machines the last 9 years.
Man. Someone needs to come out with a cheap remote controlled helicopter designed for compact cameras and DSLRs. Think we’ll see an affordable one anytime soon?
P.S. In case you’re wondering, the music in the background is an instrumental version of “Mad World“.
One of the biggest stories last month was that an upcoming episode of the popular TV series House was filmed entirely with the Canon 5D Mark II. I know a lot of you are looking forward to seeing how it turned out, but now you can get a sneak peek: Fox has uploaded a short teaser of the episode to YouTube. It’s not HD, but it’s a pretty neat glimpse into what they were able to do:
In his recent Twitter Q&A session regarding House being filmed with a 5D Mark II, director Greg Yaitanes answered a question about differences of the new setup by saying, “focus was hard with these lenses but more “cine-style” lenses are being made as we speak.” Lo and behold, new cine lenses are being announced!
Carl Zeiss has just announced the first set of prime and zoom lenses designed specifically for HDSLR cameras. The new Compact Prime CP.2 and Lightweight Zoom LWZ.2 lenses have interchangeable mounts and can be used on F (Nikon), EF (Canon), and PL (traditional cine camera) systems.
The primes range in focal length from 18mm to 85mm and can be used on full frame cameras, while the zooms are limited to crop sensor bodies. Here’s an interesting quote from the press release:
The trend of filming in high definition using a digital SLR camera is unstoppable. Moviemaking today is unthinkable without this technique, whether for independent filmmakers, television producers or professional still photographers who wish to expand their services.
Pricing was not unannounced, but the lenses will be available starting June 2010.
Earlier today, photographer Chase Jarvis announced his partnership with creativeLIVE, a free, live online class site. Each class presentations is filmed live, to an in-person audience in Seattle, and streamed on the creativeLIVE website.
“The goal here is to help democratize creativity,” Jarvis wrote on his blog.
Jarvis said that he had been working on the site for the past year, in order to create a live, interactive classroom. As an innovative model, Jarvis is offering the actual live, streaming footage for free, but the recorded versions of past classes must be purchased. The revenue goes towards supporting the site and the instructors.
The growing list of instructors boasts some pretty big names: Vincent Laforet tweeted that he will be leading a live three-day HDSLR workshop at the end of the month, and Zack Arias said he will be leading a studio class.