Cinema 5D – Forum for DSLR filmmakers


Lucasfilm backs the 5D II

DSLR Workflow Seminar at MBS (5Dii, Final Cut Pro)

DSLR Workflow – 5DII, Final Cut Pro
Jem Schofield

Every DSLR uses a different type of compression:

Canon – H.264 compression

Panasonic – AVCHD & lite

Nikon – AVI, motion JPEGs (HD image is not as large as Canon’s)

Compression using H.264 is the preferred method of compression for web distribution (F4V).  Also used by BluRay.

MPG2 HD is the HD version of MPG2 (standard DVDs).

Canon cameras shoot at the highest data rate of the DSLRs.

7D vs 5Dii

The 7D sensor is smaller than the 5D (full frame) – less sensitive to light (not as good in low light); less shallow depth of field; crop factor (1.6x)

7D is more “weather proof,” but seems to overheat a little more that the 5Dii.

Color rendering between the 2 cameras is slightly different.

7D has a 60fps option which people use to create slow motion.

Frame Rates

24p – Produces more of a film look.

30p – More forgiving with motion.

To go from 23.98 to 29.97 is a fairly easy conversion.  Going the other way, from 29.97 to 23.98, is more difficult.

Canon has a new firmware update for 5Dii – 2.0.7

Longest term investment you can make with camera equipment – Tripod System.

Jem uses the Miller DS20 system (carbon fiber solo legs).

Next – Lenses  (Jem uses Zeiss ZE and Canon lenses with the Canon 5Dii).

Next – Audio.  See below.

Next – Camera Body (think of this as your CPU w/ a life-span of 3-5 years)

Hand Holding

Two biggest challenges with hand-holding a DSLR:

1)      Focus

2)      Shaking

What do you do?
Get a handheld rig (RedRock Micro, Zacuto, Cinevate) and a “loop” (Zacuto) to magnify your viewfinder.

RedRock uses a base plate system so you can transition easily from a tripod system to handholding.

Make sure to have a follow-focus system on the rig as well.

If you get a SteadyCam, make sure it’s a vest-based system.  If you don’t have a vest, it’s impossible to get smooth motion.

Don’t try to make your body steady.  Find a rhythm.  Create a stylized look where the camera is constantly moving (i.e. a slight sway).

Shutter Speed and Frame Rates (standard settings)

24p – 1/50  (there is no 1/48 on a DSLR like there is on a traditional video camera)

30p – 1/60

Rolling Shutter

DSLRs use a rolling shutter instead of a global shutter so the image is not recorded exactly all at once – the result is that if you move the camera quickly back and forth, you will get a “rubbery” image (like when you wiggle a pencil rapidly).  Nikon is worse than Canon.

Dolly Systems

CamTram system.

Slider system (sliding and panning).


Lapel mic – Sennheiser, Lectrosonics, Countryman

Shotgun mic – Sennheiser Me66/K6

When you boom, you generally want to boom from above (avoid AC noise, etc.)

Recorder – Zoom H4N – $300 (SD card system); record in WAV files; XLR input

Nasty Clamp for boom mic (to clamp on tripod, or elsewhere)

Nasty Clamp for Zoom recorder (also on tripod)

*Lenses with Image Stabilization produce motor sound in 5Dii audio (i.e. 70-200mm).  Make sure to turn off IS when shooting video.

Jem puts one shotgun mic into the 5D with a mini jack for reference audio (using the manual controls) and one into the Zoom via XLR.


ALZO 770L (very small, battery powered, outdoor balanced LED)

CL-LED 600 (48 watts)

***I don’t really like the look of the LED lights.***

LED lights skew green, so you have to use magenta (minus green).

Use a Light Meter

Post Process

On set, back up to RAID-1 two terabyte drive ($300).  At the end of the day, back up to G-Drive.  Client pays for both of these.

Keep FCP project on local drive and all media on external RAID drive.

***We should get a RAID drive that can be shared between our computers.***

Multiple formats? – Often, Jem will start with Compressor to equalize all formats into one codec.  If you shoot on P2, you’re automatically funked. Standard HD pixels are square.  HDV uses rectangular pixels. Transcode everything to ProRes first (square pixels), and then edit.

***Get Log and Transfer plug-in for FinalCut Pro from Canon.***


File – Log and Transfer

If you’re coming directly off of the card, you can archive the entire card (Archive to Disk Image), or just the contents (Archive to Folder).

You can also set the format that the Canon H.264 footage is converted to – i.e. Apple ProRes 422 (Proxy) – in Import Preferences.

ProRes 422 (Proxy) produces files that are slightly smaller than the camera’s.  This generally looks good.

ProRes 422 (LT) produces files that are about 2x as large.  Most of the time, you don’t need to go above this.  This is what Jem uses.  Jem doesn’t even keep the camera’s original H.264 files.

You can set In and Out points, and the plug-in also gives you timecode (from the time of day).

To sync audio, Jem uses the PluralEyes plug-in ($150) – looks for audio wave forms and matches them up.

Jem’s Output Workflow:

Export as QuickTime movie.

Use QT Pro to create M4V file (iPhone).

Use Adobe Media Encoder to create F4V file (.75 mbs/sec).  16×9 = 640×360 or 960×540.

Jem changes suffix to FLV from F4V.

Uploads everything to Blip.  Creates a player inside of Blip (640×360) w/ auto detect to detect whether someone is using a computer (FLV) or mobile device (M4V).

5Dii Inspiration – Kim & Adam’s Wedding Video

JoeSimonProductions — December 07, 2009

This was shot using the Canon 5D MKII and 7D, Glidecam 4000HD, Cinevate Pegasus.

15 f/2.8
24 f/1.4
24-70 f/2.8
50 f/1.4
70-200 f/2.8
85 f/1.2

Cinematographers- Joe Simon, Ryan Koral
Editor/Colorist – Joe Simon