Vincent Laforet DSLR shoot

Vincent laforet shows what one of his DSLR shoots looks like…

Vincent Laforet – So what does an HDSLR hybrid shoot look like?

Blimey!

Cheap bokeh

I had a thought provoking phone call from a friend of mine today who pointed me in the direction of Simon Wyndham’s Bokeh-Porn rant from a few months back.

In the post Simon talks about how shallow depth of field has become an obsession and the huge amounts of “test videos” that now populate vimeo. I read the article with mixed feelings. On the one hand I know I’ve enjoyed my fair share of bokeh and contributed a few of those videos, but even though I agree with a lot of what Simon says about the lack of narrative in these videos I still think people have a right to be creative in their own way.

I’ve been a bokeh addict for around three years now, and I haven’t touched a drop for around 24 hours!

I would love to shoot a narrative piece, but the reality is that so far I’ve either been too lazy or too busy to make the effort to organise such a project. So does that mean I should have refrained from shooting at all? I think not, to me these “test videos” were an important part of my progression. If you create such a video and are proud of it for whatever reason why shouldn’t you share it? After all, thats the beauty of the Internet for us as content makers.

The reason I’m a little bit torn over this whole subject though is that I can’t help feeling that Simon does have a good point regarding the DSLR revolution as it’s become known. The DSLR has resulted in a flood of shallow depth of field montage style videos, much like the kind of thing I’ve enjoyed making too. It seems that what was once a visually interesting and thought provoking project for me now looks like 1000 other videos on vimeo.

Simon is definitely wrong on one count though, I’ve seen numerous narrative films shot on DSLR that look gorgeous and deliver a fantastic story at the same time, he is right however that they are very much outnumbered by montage pieces. Hasn’t that always been the case though?

I’ve also been re-evaluting my 5D shots in comparison to some of the footage from my EX1 and I realise I’ve been drawn into this DSLR thing and lost sight somewhat of the other factors that make a good quality image. It’s worth taking a step back sometimes and looking at the bigger picture.

Am I going to stop shooting on the 5D? Lord no! I’m still addicted to bokeh! I am however starting to have a better idea of it’s limitations.

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Bad day with the DSLR’s

Like I’ve done so many times before with my EX1 / 35mm adapter setup I decided to spend today shooting on the north Norfolk coast, only this time I was using two DSLR’s.

I’ve recently picked up a 7D to use as a second body to save me swapping lenses in the field. One of the benefits of the 7D over the 5D is the fact that it can shoot in various frame rates including 1280×720 at 50 or 60 frames a second which can then be slowed down to create slow-mo.

Sylvi trying out the 5D

I love shooting over-cranked at 720p on the EX1 and since shooting for a while on the 5D I’ve really missed slow-mo so I couldn’t wait to get out and shoot some more with the 7D.

I have to say that I’m not very happy with the results, the quality of the images the 7D is capturing is really poor at 1280×720 due to terrible line twitter / aliasing, any areas of sharpness in the shot shimmers and draws your eye to the problem. This is something that happens with the 5D too, but nowhere near as bad as I’m seeing at 720p on the 7D. The noise on the 7D is also different than the 5D, it’s has less visible vertical bands, but also shows more of a dancing type noise pattern. I’ve read a lot that the difference between the 7D and 5D is minor, but to my eyes the difference is huge, especially when shooting in low light with higher ISO.

7D on sticks

I shot of a pair of telephone boxes last night on the 7D, I had the ISO at 640, nothing too high but the shots are unusable due to the extreme noise in parts of the shot. I’m currently transcoding the footage but as soon as it’s done I’ll post some examples of what I’m talking about.

On top of the quality disappointments I also had a Compact Flash card go weird on me. The mac wouldn’t read it, and my Nexto NVS2500 also reported an error and wouldn’t offload it. The weird thing is that the 5D had no trouble reading it at all so in the end I managed to offload the shots by connecting the 5D to the mac via USB and offloading using aperture.

Maybe I just had a bad day, but this has put a big dent in my confidence of the DSLR’s ability to handle commercial projects, I’m glad that none of these 720p shots were essential!

London BVE – DSLR & 3D

I visited the BVE (Broadcast Video Expo) yesterday in London as I have done for the last few years. I always enjoy these shows because it’s great to put faces to names and check out all the latest gadgets.

Walking around the show this year it was amazing to see how much attention was being given to DSLR’s. There were so many stands that had a 5D rig of some kind or another set up, each with loads of people intrigued by these little cameras and the array of support systems being built around them. Last year the only one I saw was on Canon’s stand.

What’s so interesting about this is the fact that the BVE is normally so broadcast driven, The DSLR revolution is obviously a really big thing but I didn’t expect to see so much interest at the BVE.

Dennis and the guys from the F-STOP Academy put on a great seminar in the afternoon, I thoroughly enjoyed watching Seamus McGarvey’s piece – he seems an extremely nice bloke and the clips shown of his current project being shot with the 5D looked amazing.

The other big thing at the show was 3D, the show floor was littered with giant contraptions that had two EX3’s, Red’s and various other cameras sticking out at 90 degree angles.

It’s amazing how quickly things move on, last year almost every stand had a 35mm adapter of one type or another on display, this year I spotted two!