The line between still and video cameras continues to blur. True, that’s a painful pun, but there is no denying this trend is most evident in top-of-the-line still cameras. If we could look at the names on the waiting list for the Canon 5D Mark II professional S.L.R. I would wager most of them would belong to filmmakers, not still photographers.
This is because the high definition footage from the Canon is mind blowing. It is full motion, 30 frame-per-second, 1080p footage captured on an image sensor the size of a 35mm negative, instead of the video camera’s fingernail sized CCD. Not only is the capture system vastly superior with the S.L.R., but the glass in the lens means the image in the $2,700 camera rivals that of a $100,000 HD camera used for features. Using Canon’s interchangeable lenses means the filmmaker is no longer limited to a zoom lens full of compromises permanently mounted to the camera. You now have a prime lens system with out Redrock. And you have a digital cinema solution without the hype of Red and their proprietary file format hassles. You have a filmmakers Nirvana. You also have a very long waiting list.
There have even been a few rumors of late that Red pulled their plans to release Scarlet because the 5DM2 chopped the legs out from under it. Honestly, that would not surprise me.
Sure there are compromises. There is no audio to speak of so you are back to double system sound. But heck, I could figure that out using an iPhone or a DVcam.
The Web was buzzing a couple of weeks ago when photographer Vincent LaForet spent a weekend making a short, wordless movie using an early Canon 5D Mark II. He hired a couple of models, grabbed a crew, rented a helicopter, pulled together $5,000, and made an absolutely astonishing-looking piece of video. It was hard to find the thing online—Vincent didn’t want to host it on his own site because of the massive bandwidth required to serve it. (Here’s his writeup, and here’s the “making of” video.)
Finally, David Pogue of the New York Times writes that, “the original video has finally found a place online, and you should have a look.” I could not agree more, you should have a look. And as Pogue writes, “Just keep telling yourself: ‘It was shot with a still camera. It was shot with a still camera….’”
LaForet | Visuals (in HD)