Collection of shots from Chile and Argentina. This was my first 5D film. Here are some lessons I learned...
-- 5 Mistakes to Avoid when Moving from Still Photography to Video --
I spent a good amount of time shooting still photos with a DSLR - flic.kr/s/aHsjsFzCLY. And I decided to make the move from Nikon to Canon when I upgraded to a full frame image sensor camera. The reason... 1080p "full" HD video. The camera... Canon EOS 5D Mark II (5D).
The first thing that I learned is that video is all about moving the camera, and moving the camera fluidly. It's the first thing that separates professional from home video. Think of the shaky amateur style film in Blair Witch. Cinematographers use creative methods to move cameras; the most commonly used devices are steadicams (balancing stabilizer), sliders (rails that a camera slides on), jibs (cranes) and dollys (wheels). None of them are easy to use, especially a steadicam, which happens to be the most mobile, affordable, and capable of the set. So, I picked up a steadicam and started filming. ;)
Next, I learned that throwing the camera into aperture priority, dropping the aperture to a beautifully fast f/1.8 and adjusting on the fly doesn't cut it in video mode. As a matter of fact, the 5D treats aperture priority the same as "automatic". Ahhh... shit. So manual mode it is, which works the same, except there is more watching the meter dial in the viewfinder.
In video, you generally can't shoot with the super tight depth of field that photographers use for emphasis. You have motion for that. I've had to learn the hard way that it is HARD to keep a subject in focus with a f/1.8 aperture on a 50mm lens. Stop it down a little more and compensate with ISO; the 5D does remarkably well at high ISOs. Not quite as well as some Nikons, but effectively nonetheless.
Next thing is you don't have near the shutter speed range in film. A general rule of thumb is to set your shutter speed to the reciprocal of twice your frame rate (1/60s shutter speed for 30fps film speed). This is called a 180° shutter. (See Tyler Ginter's article on the 180° shutter with video DSLRs, and the conversation that follows in the comments. - blog.tylerginter.com/?p=385)
Finally, is the issue of white balance. This is a non-issue shooting stills in RAW mode, because WB can be adjusted in the post. In non-RAW video, it is important to get it right as captured, though. One solution is to have the camera automatically set custom white balance settings. You can leave your camera in auto WB, but that is unpredictable. The more consistent option is to set the WB manually. One way to do this is by shooting a photo of a white surface and then telling the camera to set the white balance using that image. You can buy white balance cards to carry with you for this, but it is way easier to turn on the live view screen and adjust the white balance until it looks best.
So those are the key lessons I've learned so far. Tons more to learn about moving cameras fluidly without compromising the mobility of an SLR. I hope this is helpful to you. Please comment if you have questions.
Apple Final Cut Pro 7 / Quicktime Player 7
Adobe Photoshop / Bridge / Camera Raw CS5
Canon EOS 5D Mark II Camera Body
Canon 24mm f/2.8 Lens
Canon 50mm f/1.4 Lens
Canon 16-35mm f/2.8 Lens
Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 Lens
Canon PowerShot S95 Camera + Gorillapod
Glidecam HD-1000 Stabilizer
Vanguard Alta 225CT Tripod
Calumet Pro-D 7046 Ball Head
Zacuto Z-Finder Viewfinder / Loupe
Pearstone ShutterBoss Interval Timer
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