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Author Topic: Canon 5D MkII: almost there  (Read 46514 times)
pix2pixels
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« on: September 17, 2008, 10:24:22 AM »
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After the release of the Nikon D90 with its movie mode, I was checking everyday all the forums to see what is the 'competition' bringing out. Finally the new 5D came with a much anticipated movie mode, but alas at 30fps.
For now I have two points on my wish list:

1. Movies for theatrical release are made in 24fps. TV shows in PAL countries are shot at 25fps.
I know it is possible to convert from 30 to 24 or 25 fps but it is time consuming, not easy and the results are far from perfect.  Also, shooting at 30 fps in low available light (fluoro lights, street lighting) in countries with a 50Hz AC current cycle will result in an unpleasant flicker, making the shots totally unusable.
Is it possible in a future firmware upgrade to have options for 24 and 25fps as well? The camera is targeted at a professional level and people like us travel al over the place and have to adapt to the local conditions.

2. A full frame 24x36mm HD video recording is fantastic. Beautiful depth of field or better said, lack of it. But to achieve a HD movie clip where the focus is kept accurately on moving subjects, it is VERY difficult. Every movie production that is shot for theatrical release or TV, the frame size has a diagonal of ~32mm (much smaller than a FF DSLR). A highly trained focus puller is very valuable and impossible to shoot without it (or unheard of).
Would it be possible in a future firmware upgrade to have a one of the 'movie mode' settings cropped at the APS size or even Super 16?

Without these upgrades, RED ONE, SCARLET are still miles in front for digital cinematography, without mentioning RAW image capture as opposed to a heavily compressed codec that will still need a conversion if it will be used for editing.

If Canon is listening, please consider!
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Kagetsu
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« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2008, 05:16:03 PM »
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Hmm. That's true, but given one or two updates, I'm sure they'll address that in a firmware update.
On the topic of a focal puller... Canon did have contrast AF which is achieved in live view, and in movie mode (correct me if I'm wrong, that's what I think I read)... I dare say that it'll be suitable for most slow moving stuff...

Just to add, it has HDMI, and if it has live view over HDMI, then that will likely make focus and composition a lot easier.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2008, 05:20:29 PM by Kagetsu » Logged
pix2pixels
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« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2008, 07:14:58 PM »
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Regarding focusing when using the camera as ENG tool, I find it very difficult to have a smooth rack focus acceptable for broadcast or theatrical release with the in-built autofocus funtions. Even with proper cine manual lenses this is quite difficult at 35mm FF sensor size (I shot a lot of documentaries with ARRI 2C cameras). The higher DOF provided by 2/3" chips of the ENG cameras make them easier to use.

In my photojournalistic work, I am using 1DMk3, and also have a small TX1 camcorder for video aquisition, that is used only at VGA resolution. I'd love to have one that gives a better image quality in low light situations and Panasonic LX3 fits the bill better at this stage.

My hopes for this 5DMk2 model were for the possibility of using it in shooting drama, as I have a film in prep stage and we are still open to consider various digital capture formats for our small budget (including SI1920 or RED).

Nikon D90, due to be released tomorrow here in Oz, with its 24fps capture and if it confirms that the AE exposure can be locked, will be a strong contender. Carefully planning each shot, I think the rolling shutter issue can be kept under control, and the manual focus lenses from Nikon are a better option (although they can be used on Canon EOS bodies with adapters).
« Last Edit: September 17, 2008, 07:18:28 PM by pix2pixels » Logged
Ray
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« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2008, 12:09:52 AM »
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After the release of the Nikon D90 with its movie mode, I was checking everyday all the forums to see what is the 'competition' bringing out. Finally the new 5D came with a much anticipated movie mode, but alas at 30fps.
For now I have two points on my wish list:

1. Movies for theatrical release are made in 24fps. TV shows in PAL countries are shot at 25fps.
I know it is possible to convert from 30 to 24 or 25 fps but it is time consuming, not easy and the results are far from perfect. Also, shooting at 30 fps in low available light (fluoro lights, street lighting) in countries with a 50Hz AC current cycle will result in an unpleasant flicker, making the shots totally unusable.
Is it possible in a future firmware upgrade to have options for 24 and 25fps as well? The camera is targeted at a professional level and people like us travel al over the place and have to adapt to the local conditions.

2. A full frame 24x36mm HD video recording is fantastic. Beautiful depth of field or better said, lack of it. But to achieve a HD movie clip where the focus is kept accurately on moving subjects, it is VERY difficult. Every movie production that is shot for theatrical release or TV, the frame size has a diagonal of ~32mm (much smaller than a FF DSLR). A highly trained focus puller is very valuable and impossible to shoot without it (or unheard of).
Would it be possible in a future firmware upgrade to have a one of the 'movie mode' settings cropped at the APS size or even Super 16?

Without these upgrades, RED ONE, SCARLET are still miles in front for digital cinematography, without mentioning RAW image capture as opposed to a heavily compressed codec that will still need a conversion if it will be used for editing.

If Canon is listening, please consider!
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=222081\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

The quality of video playback can be problematical. You need the right equipment and software. I believe that most modern TVs/Plasmas/Projectors can handle all sorts of different standards, NTSC, PAL, 50Hz, 24HZ, 30Hz, 60Hz, 100Hz, 3:2 pull down etc.

If the performance of the currently available video samples is anything to go by, there must be a lot of people who are disappointed at the results so far. This seems to be a new ball game.

The 5D2 movie samples I've downloaded so far are in Quicktime format. My Win64 bit computer is set to use Windows Media Player by default. However, the contrast is too great and the shadows too dark on my calibrated monitor. There also seems to be strong jaggies despite the clip being HD. And the file size certainly suggests it's HD at over 282MB.

Opening the file with the Quicktime player installed on the same computer produces better color and much better shadows, and the jaggies are no longer so obvious. However, motion is unacceptably stuttery and jerky.

These sample movies are simply not properly playable on my computer. What the heck's going on?

I tried changing the refresh rate of my monitor from 70Hz to 60Hz (1800x1440) thinking that 60Hz would fit in more easily with 30fps, but it made no difference.
« Last Edit: September 18, 2008, 12:38:31 AM by Ray » Logged
smthopr
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« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2008, 01:52:02 AM »
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Regarding focusing when using the camera as ENG tool, I find it very difficult to have a smooth rack focus acceptable for broadcast or theatrical release with the in-built autofocus funtions. Even with proper cine manual lenses this is quite difficult at 35mm FF sensor size (I shot a lot of documentaries with ARRI 2C cameras). The higher DOF provided by 2/3" chips of the ENG cameras make them easier to use.

In my photojournalistic work, I am using 1DMk3, and also have a small TX1 camcorder for video aquisition, that is used only at VGA resolution. I'd love to have one that gives a better image quality in low light situations and Panasonic LX3 fits the bill better at this stage.

My hopes for this 5DMk2 model were for the possibility of using it in shooting drama, as I have a film in prep stage and we are still open to consider various digital capture formats for our small budget (including SI1920 or RED).

Nikon D90, due to be released tomorrow here in Oz, with its 24fps capture and if it confirms that the AE exposure can be locked, will be a strong contender. Carefully planning each shot, I think the rolling shutter issue can be kept under control, and the manual focus lenses from Nikon are a better option (although they can be used on Canon EOS bodies with adapters).
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=222202\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Hey Pix,

I appreciate your wish for a $3000.00 camera to make a theatrical drama!

I don't think a camera designed for still photography will fit the bill though.  Auto focus lenses will never work for narrative filmmaking as they don't know who to focus on, even if they can track focus that well.  And auto focus lenses don't lend themselves to manual follow focus.  And neither do old manual focus SLR lenses as the distance scale is much too compact.  So if you want to shoot movies of moving objects with your 5dII, you'll have to stop down a short focal length lens.

Why not try something like a panasonic HVX camera.  I've seen movies shot with this camera projected on a very large screen and it looked quite good. It even includes a zoom lens and shoots at your desired frame rate.  And there's no problem with a rolling shutter either. And it records in a format that is easy to edit too.
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« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2008, 04:44:21 AM »
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Opening the file with the Quicktime player installed on the same computer produces better color and much better shadows, and the jaggies are no longer so obvious. However, motion is unacceptably stuttery and jerky.

These sample movies are simply not properly playable on my computer. What the heck's going on?

Sounds like codec issues to me.  Try playing the movies with another player such as VLC. I generally find that many issues disappear when I play with VLC instead of Quicktime. (On my Mac this is).

http://www.videolan.org/vlc/
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« Reply #6 on: September 18, 2008, 04:46:32 AM »
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Re Focus.  Cant you attach an extension handle to existing manual focus lenses and pull focus manually?

I bet a lot of historical cameramen had to do this. Assuming the camera is mounted on a suitable tripod/head, obviously harder to do hand-held.
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Ray
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« Reply #7 on: September 18, 2008, 07:38:59 AM »
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Sounds like codec issues to me.  Try playing the movies with another player such as VLC. I generally find that many issues disappear when I play with VLC instead of Quicktime. (On my Mac this is).

http://www.videolan.org/vlc/
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=222289\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I've downloaded all the optional software and hardware updates from Microsoft, yet the latest Media Player 11 (or Quicktime) cannot fully handle these sample 5D2 videos on my WinXP 64bit system with Matrox PCI video card and 6GB of RAM.

I've just tried VLC as you recommended, and that's even worse. I get no motion at all. Just a still image.

However, I copied these video samples to a USB memory stick and tried playing them on my Dell laptop with Windows Vista Ultimate. No problem at all. Smooth, natural and HD video at the slightly reduced resolution of my laptop screen.

This is looking encouraging. Last time I went trekking in Nepal, in addition to a 5D and 20D, I took a Sony T30 P&S with me, mainly to shoot footage of Nepalese folk dancing in the villages and traditional dance shows in the restaurants. The results were rather disappointing. Nowhere near professional standard definition quality. Shadows rather noisy, resolution a bit mushy.

A 5D MkII should suit me fine   .
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pix2pixels
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« Reply #8 on: September 18, 2008, 07:50:53 AM »
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Regarding choice of lenses. as mentioned in my previous post, I will never try to use an autofocus lens. Older, non AI Nikon mount lenses would be one of the very few options for such a project if shot with a DSLR. The focus ring turns more than 180 degrees for full scale, as opposed to the modern ones that have a full scale less than 90 degrees.
There are adapter rings for 32 pitch follow focus devices (Red Rock Micro makes pretty good ones). Please note that even RED ONE camera has an option for Nikon F mount.
Unfortunatelly, 30fps, inter-frame compression codec used by the EOS 5DMk2 is a no go for now: a post production nightmare where the conversion to 24 or 25fps looks bad - with very strange motion artifacts, a.s.o.

The HVX is a fine camera but the DOF coming from a 1/3" chip is not what we are after.
« Last Edit: September 18, 2008, 07:53:12 AM by pix2pixels » Logged
smthopr
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« Reply #9 on: September 18, 2008, 10:47:59 AM »
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The HVX is a fine camera but the DOF coming from a 1/3" chip is not what we are after.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=222318\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Pix, I know you won't believe this , but, from my experience, short depth of focus is not what makes cinematography look good.

The most important factor is what is put in front of the lens to photograph. Good actors, good costumes, good set, good lighting, good composition.  After all that, I would consider depth of focus, but don't get fixated on the size of the chip.  As you pointed out earlier, it's hard to shoot a movie in focus with moving actors and very short depth of field.  Even for the professionals. Really, will your professional focus puller be using an ultrasonic tape measure during shots to help nail the focus?  Even with that, sometimes an operator has to try to fix it on the fly if they can see it.

Personally, I don't like movies that are largely "almost focused", but I've seen a few shot with 35mm still camera lenses (or cine lenses) on a Red Rock or other 35mm lens adapter.  I think the movie has to be pretty darned good to overcome being out of focus 85% of the time.

I seem to remember a lot of buzz about a cinematographer who managed to shoot an entire motion picture with everything in focus.  Magazine articles were written about this great achievement from 1940 which of course was "Citizen Cane".

Pix, just so you know, I'm not really answering your post directly,  I'm really reacting to all the people who insist to me that "we can't afford to shoot on 35mm film, so we need to use one of these Red Rock adapters to make the movie look good like film"  "Here, we can use this handycam (choose model/brand) with adapter and our $5000.00 feature film will look like we used a Panaflex and spent $20,000,000!"

Really worse than this are those that say "ok, were stuck with a 1//3 in or 2/3in chip depth of field so we'll shoot everything on the longest lens we've got to get that background out of focus. Then it will look like a real movie".  No, it just takes the viewer out of the action like they're watching the story on a telescope.

Rant over.  Pix, make a great movie!
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« Reply #10 on: September 18, 2008, 07:53:20 PM »
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I'm just hoping for a quick and easy 24P firmware update for the 5D2.  It will make the camera more "complete" IMO.  Right now, I look at the 5D2 and say, wow, it's such an awesome camera, but why, why, why 30P!?

Supposedly the RED DSMC camera specs will be announced at the end of this year.  That means I'm not going to buy a thing from Canon and Nikon until maybe after Christmas, unless the RED is more attractive.  
« Last Edit: September 18, 2008, 07:56:05 PM by T-1000 » Logged
Ray
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« Reply #11 on: September 18, 2008, 08:57:19 PM »
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I'm just hoping for a quick and easy 24P firmware update for the 5D2.  It will make the camera more "complete" IMO.  Right now, I look at the 5D2 and say, wow, it's such an awesome camera, but why, why, why 30P!?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=222509\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Because 30fps fits nicely into the NTSC 60Hz system which is a consequence of the American 60Hz AC electricity supply system. For judder-free images, an unmodified 24fps is not sufficient. Whilst movies may be shot at 24fps, playback always requires an effective doubling or tripling of that frame rate. I believe a modern movie projector employs a system whereby each of the 24 frames in one second of footage is flashed 3 times before the next frame is dispayed. We have in effect a 72Hz refresh rate which tricks the eye into a sensation of smooth motion.

Playing a movie shot at 24fps on the 60Hz NTSC system requires a complicated process called 3:2 pull down. How do you get 24 to fit into 60?

30fps has its advantages.
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timescapes
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« Reply #12 on: September 18, 2008, 11:38:34 PM »
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no 24p??
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Ray
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« Reply #13 on: September 18, 2008, 11:40:43 PM »
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no 24p??
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Why 24p??
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James R Russell
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« Reply #14 on: September 19, 2008, 09:55:14 AM »
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We tend to put all of these cameras into categories designed for past think.

35mm still cameras for action, larger still cameras for static images, video cameras for eng and home movies, cinema film cameras for high end production and theatrical.

All of this is merging and the web is the common denominator and allows for multi media and viewer interaction that traditional broadcast and print can't come close to.

Step back for a moment and think what the role of a visual artist is because regardless of the medium, we're entertainment producers.

Our role should produce work that makes people stop, look and hopefully enjoy, not just keep playing the same old predictable tune.

It's somewhat funny to me that these forums have people comparing images on the sub atomic pixel level, beating each other over the head about what brand, format, lens is the absolute best, without a single mention of why any artist would think of purchasing a new camera. . .  which to me is  "will this camera let me do what I couldn't do before?".

I think the 5dII does that and in fact I can see so many possibilities with a camera that can shoot a high quality still and any form of motion with the same pov and framing it amazes me.  At the price it's almost laughable.  Had this camera come out 5 years ago it probably would be $50,000.

Is it perfect . . . no and of course no one is going to shoot their next cinema feature with a 5d, though a lot of artists with talent will take this camera and do something very interesting.

Today since the western economies have tightened up, there is a contraction of creative approval. It's a natural tendency to play it safe.    Getting a new or even close to ground breaking concept through the chain of command is very difficult.

Comparatively look east and see what is being shown in China, Japan, Korea.   It's more than interesting and gives a look into what is possible and where a camera like the 5d can allow you to produce imagery that would be 4x's more complicated using traditional cameras.

http://www.levi.com.hk/

JR
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« Reply #15 on: September 20, 2008, 08:56:10 AM »
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I think the 5dII does that and in fact I can see so many possibilities with a camera that can shoot a high quality still and any form of motion with the same pov and framing it amazes me.  At the price it's almost laughable.

Hear, hear.  I can't wait to try this out and find out where the boundaries are.

As its the first release I imagine a lot of the issues about video output and standards will be refined in future firmware releases and in successor products.
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« Reply #16 on: September 20, 2008, 06:40:51 PM »
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Laforet:

http://tinyurl.com/4oc8je
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Ray
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« Reply #17 on: September 20, 2008, 07:51:01 PM »
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Looks like the 5D2 could be the best selling full frame DSLR in the history of mankind   .

I thought maybe this Christmas might prove to be expensive. However, I expect the pre-orders for this camera will be so huge, I'll stand no chance of getting one for Christmas 2008. Maybe Christmas 2009.
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« Reply #18 on: September 20, 2008, 09:29:18 PM »
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Because 30fps fits nicely into the NTSC 60Hz system which is a consequence of the American 60Hz AC electricity supply system. For judder-free images, an unmodified 24fps is not sufficient. Whilst movies may be shot at 24fps, playback always requires an effective doubling or tripling of that frame rate. I believe a modern movie projector employs a system whereby each of the 24 frames in one second of footage is flashed 3 times before the next frame is dispayed.

Any decent HDTV capable of 1080P can refresh the screen at either frame rate--the engineering reasons for linking the vertical scan frequency to the power supply frequency have been obsolete for several generations of CRT-based TVs. Note that computer monitors have offered a fairly wide range of vertical refresh rates for quite some time now...
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« Reply #19 on: September 20, 2008, 11:06:11 PM »
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Any decent HDTV capable of 1080P can refresh the screen at either frame rate--the engineering reasons for linking the vertical scan frequency to the power supply frequency have been obsolete for several generations of CRT-based TVs. Note that computer monitors have offered a fairly wide range of vertical refresh rates for quite some time now...
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=222960\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

But not necessarily in a high quality manner, Jonathan. Video enthusiast have and do spend thousands of dollars on additional equipment to take care of conversion that is seamless and natural, and if they no longer do this, they are still very aware of these conversion issues when selecting a display or projector. LSI chips have traditionally done a better job than software, but whichever system you have, 30fps progressive represents more data than 24fps progressive and therefore has potentially higher quality.

There seems to be a misconception that 24p is better than other systems because that's the frame rate of traditional, filmic movies. However, as Jame Russell has implied, there's no need to be bound by traditional methods of doing things. We're into a new era. The 5D2 is not designed or intended as a tool for converting 24fps filmic movies into a 50Hz, 60Hz, 100Hz or 120Hz refresh rates. It takes it's own movies at a higher frame rate than a filmic movie camera and is better in that respect.
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