On 17/9/2008 Canon introduced the Canon 5D MK2, this camera has very quickly proved to be innovative for film makers all around the world – for the first time Canon announced an HD full frame DSLR that’s great for wonderful movie image recording.
This option was put in by Canon because journalists had been seeking it for quite a while and the unity between stills photography and video in the same product was rapidly becoming feasible.
Nobody was more surprised than Canon when Filmmaker Vincent Laforet was among the first filmmakers let loose on the innovative camera. His first effort Nocturne wouldn’t disappoint, in fact its no exaggeration to state that it set the field of film-making on fire.
The true reason for this is the way the enormous full frame sensor inside of the camera permits the operator to generate a truly stunning depth of field that traditional small sensor video cameras can’t reproduce.
The original film cinema look is tough to outline but one of the key elements is the depth of field that a 35mm film aperture creates. The Sensor (or film gate) within the Canon 5D is even larger than the sensor found in a 35mm movie camera, in fact it’s closer to shooting on 65mm.
Despite this awesome depth of field property and its very swift usage within the film making community, Canon’s 5D MK2 camera does have it’s hassles when filming video.
One of the major problems is line skipping or moire. The canon has to eliminate information from the tens of thousands of pixels that comprise it’s sensor so that it can produce a 1920 X 1080 HD image. It does this by throwing out every third line of data – line skipping. This may turn out to be catastrophic for anybody who is filming a subject that has a lot of horizontal or vertical lines as the image steps across the dumped lines of data it can look unpleasant. Normally I try to refrain from check shirts!
Another obstacle is picture skew, this is apparent when panning left to right rapidly – vertical lines bend and twist noticeably – this is a issue on all CMOS video sensors but significantly poor on the Canon because its scan rate from the top to the bottom of the sensor is very sluggish and there is no internal compensation. A solution to this is to quite simply steer clear of any quick pans!
Yet another problem may be the form factor. A DSLR is a very awkward form to film with, there is no professional eyepiece so only two points of contact – both hands. In a perfect world three points of contact are important to get a stable image when shooting hand-held video. In the past two years numerous incredible camera support systems have been made by a broad array of producers but they all generally do the exact same thing – furnish one more point of contact using a shoulder or chest support system.
The rear LCD screen could be tough to watch in vivid sunshine and there are numerous third party solutions to deal with this, from inexpensive hoods to pricey lensed eyepieces and additional monitors running off the integral mini HDMI port. There are numerous kinds of issues with the HDMI feed, most notably, it is quite vulnerable but there’s also a hold up when serving the picture from the camera to a monitor after pushing record, this means patiently waiting eight or nine seconds prior to acquiring a monitor image. This can be bothersome in a documentary scenario.
The camera records data in 8 bit quicktime H264 and despite the fact that this results in striking video it isn’t deemed to be a commercial recording format due to the H264 data compression. With that said the camera has been used for a multitude of TV dramas, documentaries and features. It’s artistic image charm ostensibly outranking its technological boundaries.
Even with the outlined drawbacks, many film makers (including myself) put up with these troubles simply because Canon have manufactured a genuinely awesome creative film-making tool. When they can resolve the stumbling blocks with the MK3 then they will have made a truly remarkable camera at a incredible price point.