DPReview just posted a link to a conversation on PetaPixel in regards to the filming of the season finale of Fox television’s House program using a Canon 5D Mark II DSLR.
Generally speaking, making video with the 5D Mark II is kind of a pain in the butt: it’s hard to focus, the clips tend to be relatively short because of a file size limit of 4gb, manual audio control was only recently made possible, hand-holding the thing is a nightmare, and yet people make the sacrifices to use this tool because the resulting video is stunningly beautiful.
While it might not seem of much consequence to independent storytellers, like photojournalists, that major production companies are using “our” tool for commercial video, it is, in fact, extremely significant: it ensures that Canon will be “forced” to develop the video functionality on its cameras more so than if mere hobbyists and photojournalists were using their DSLR’s. Why? Well, who strikes you as a bigger client: Fox Television, or the Columbia Daily Tribune? The best part? We’ll all benefit.
While I think it’s awesome that House was shot on a 5D Mk II and I’m very much looking forward to seeing it, I do have a little concern that too much focus on video will detract them from possible advancements in the still frame aspects of the camera.
Not to mention…
Panasonic announced a video camera for $6,000 that takes their 4/3rds sensor and mount and attaches it to a modern video camera.
Sony is coming out with a 35mm frame video camera for the $10-20k range.
ARRI has announced a 35mm frame video camera around $50k.
RED Digital has 35mm frame cameras on the market starting at $18k and already has plans for cameras with medium format sized sensors upwards of $50k…
I’m not going to even begin to pretend I have a clue how any of this will unfold, but I will certainly say I’m ready to sit back and see how it all unfolds! It should be very interesting!
I saw Panasonic’s new push for a Micro 4/3’s video camera and I think that is, too, an important development. My point, however, is that if storytellers want cameras that can double as effective video cameras–to the point that we don’t need to invest in video cameras in addition to DSLR’s–we should be thrilled that studios are embracing the 5D II (and cameras like it) for the time being. Because, eventually, they will leave the DSLR’s alone in favor of the cameras you mention, but in the mean time, camera makers like Canon and Nikon are going to listen to what studios want and improve the video functionality to make as many sales as they can.