Becoming a Videographer with the Canon 5D Mark II

A week in, and I’m convinced that the Canon 5D Mark II is a truly great camera – and I’ll post more about taking shots with it soon – However, it is the video capability that is getting a lot of buzz with users. You can hardly move about the interwebs without bumping into an amazing video shot with it.

It is a big thing moving from photography to video, but the 5D II has really opened my eyes to the posibilities. Traditional handycams just left me cold, and there was no way I could justify spending 10,000’s on a pro-video set up. But with the 5D you really can get great footage from day 1, and without the need for post-processing – important to me, because that is one of the things that makes video production so time consuming, I’m shooting events live and can’t spend days editing before getting things uploaded.

Entering the world of the videographer means understanding pulling focus, if you want cinematic shots, and thinking about movement as well as framing. It’s a big jump, but a fun one. Using the 5D is a very different experience than running about with a miniDV camera, there’s more to think about, but it is also a very rewarding experience.

While I was at South by South West Interactive I spotted Tim Vetter across the floor. He was shooting vox pops using the 5D Mark II and his unusual home made rig caught my attention. Here’s an interview I did with him, shot on the 5D of course, and uploaded in Blip.TV:

And for reference here’s the same clip in Vimeo:

A Canon 5D Mark II Video Set Up from Benjamin Ellis on Vimeo.

To my eye the video looks a little better in Vimeo, but there again, lots of people have told me that Vimeo doesn’t play on their machines.

Tim’s obviously thought about his set up a lot, and his DIY rig gave me some food for thought. Personally I’m more than happy with the built-in sound (I have a sound engineering background and I’ve mostly been using an external stereo condenser mic from my studio). Using the 50mm lens and the 24-105 f/4 lens with image stabilisation got me very good results during the show, even shooting hand held (JetBlue managed to loose my monopod on route – the joys of international travel)!

  7 comments for “Becoming a Videographer with the Canon 5D Mark II

  1. April 7, 2009 at 12:47 am

    I’ve heard nothing but rave reviews about the quality of the video output… and I’m now looking forward to what people will actually do with new capabilities. I have a feeling that widespread video will expose the video & film industry to many of the same trends sweeping through photography, and will continue the “devaluing” of photography and photographers that we’re currently seeing.

    • Benjamin
      April 7, 2009 at 6:24 am

      I think you are absolutely right. I think back to what happened to the music (recording) industry in the 80’s as audio recording hardware plummeted in price and sky rocketed in quality. I expect we’ll see the same in video… The slightly better news is that it will open up a bigger market for corporate video, so unlike music, it shouldn’t be a zero sum game… He says hopefully.

  2. April 7, 2009 at 7:38 pm

    Corporate video? Meaning more companies will want to produce video? Or buy video? Or both :)

  3. Benjamin
    April 7, 2009 at 9:24 pm

    That more companies will want to produce video, both for internal use (training, internal comms etc), but also for external use, again training and marketing.

  4. April 7, 2009 at 10:14 pm

    Ah… btw, what do you think about microstock video? related conversation:

    (old post, but newer comment stream)

  5. Benjamin
    April 8, 2009 at 9:05 am

    Not had a chance to get into it yet – something to add to the ‘to investigate’ list :)

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