According to the recently updated BBC HD Production Guide, the Canon XF300 (and 305) are approved for independent productions. These Canon’s are now the first 1/3″ chips allowed in HD shows, even though their guidelines require a 1/2″ sensor.
Are small-chip cameras just getting that good, or are standards being loosened?
According to Alex Buono, DP for SNL, the new show open for Saturday Night Live was shot on the Canon 5d and 7d. In addition, some of the commercials and shorts normally shot on film were accomplished with the dSLRs. Normally these segments would be shot on the Cinealta, Varicam or HVX-200.
As most people have, Buono found some details that could be improved with the cameras, and passed his opinions on to Canon.
The MacGyver of digital video cameras, Philip Bloom can shoot beautiful images on just about anything. And his string of video product reviews, world travels and active blog somehow leave him time to try every new camera that is released.
This weekend, Bloom took a break from his F-Stop Academy in Dublin to shoot with a pre-production model of the new Canon 7D. I realize the SLR form factor may not be the best for video, but ever since I witnessed the 5D video from Vincent Laforet, I’ve been fascinated by what these cameras can do. I know it’s blasphemous to utter, but I believe film is dead.
When I was a kid, I discovered my mother’s Yashica Twin Reflex camera in the attic. I had no film for it, but it was still the coolest toy. The lens projected a moving image on its huge focus screen, and the image had a special quality that made it look like film. Before VCR’s and camcorders, it was my first experiment with motion pictures.
It would be years before I finally understood what made the image in that Yashica look “cooler” – what made it look like film. It turns out the effect I loved was a narrow depth of field. Seeing moving images with a tight focus allows things to POP. It’s the effect that makes good cinematography work.
After years of shooting video, I’ve found ways to mimic that look, but never to my satisfaction. The nature of modern video cameras doesn’t allow for really nice depth of field without highly compressing the shot, or cranking up the shutter.
All that changed when I ran into Eddie Enciu at a shoot in DC. He had a self-designed adapter on his Canon HF10 camera – called the EnCinema 35mm – that allowed him to use standard Canon still lenses. Basically the still lens focuses the image on a focus screen (much like my beloved Yashica) and the video camera macro focuses on that screen. When combined with an AVCHD camera like the HF10 and a 24P frame rate, the look is a “film-like” as you’ll ever find. It’s almost like doing a real-time telecine of a 16mm film camera.