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Shooting video on a DSLR: The next Mac/PC, FCP/Avid-type flame war?

COW Blogs : Andrew Kimery's Blog : Shooting video on a DSLR: The next Mac/PC, FCP/Avid-type flame war?
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There's a somewhat lively debate going on in the COW Final Cut Pro forum about vDSLRs (still cameras like the Canon 7D or Panasonic GH1 that have HD video recording ability) and their viability as HD video cameras vs more "traditional" HD prosumer level video cameras. A few reasons why the vDSLRs (or HD-DSLRs depending on which acronym you prefer) are a hot topic is because of the low price, interchangeable lenses, and shallow (film-like) depth of field that has been sought after by so many people using sub-$10k cameras. Some downsides to vDSLRs are non-standard frame rates (7D withstanding), need for dual system sound, poor ergonomics for video shooting, conversion from H.264 etc.,.

In this current generation these cameras are still cameras first and foremost with the HD video recording ability kinda tacked on. The original intent was for photojournalists who, by changes in their industry, are getting pushed into taking video for the web but DV Rebels have pounced and there are numerous examples of good looking video from these cameras (Philip Bloom for example). Given how much people are typically gushing over these images an interesting note is that according to an article by Barry Green on vDSLRs and aliasing these cameras, when recording video, only resolve detail at a level somewhere between SD and 720p video. When I read the article I found that truly surprising because of how much people were lauding the quality of the vDSLR footage. A common retort is, "I don't shoot test charts for a living" and if the footage looks good in the end does it matter what the test chart says? Yes and no, IMO. The test chart gives you an objective, standardized look at how the camera performs which can be helpful in choosing the right camera for the job, but it shouldn't be the end-all, be-all of your decision making process.

So, in the end, horses for course, IMO. A vDSLR might be perfect for some and horrible for others and that's okay. The sub-$10k market is so packed with cameras that have different strengths and weaknesses that with a bit of research almost anyone shopping in that price range should be able to find a camera to suit their specific needs. I think that video and still cameras will continue to converge and it will interesting to see what Red's Scarlet does to this market place when it lands sometime next year. Scarlet will be unique in the playing field in that it was designed from the ground up to be a still *and* motion video camera (as opposed to a DSLR that can record movies or a camcorder that produces good stills).

Posted by: Andrew Kimery on Oct 30, 2009 at 1:41:54 pmComments (4) highdef, vdslr, technology, scarlet
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I think what Red is doing
by Andrew Kimery
I think what Red is doing is people who owned a Red One prior to Oct. 30th can either buy Epic at a discounted price and keep their Red One or trade in their Red One body for 'full credit' ($17.5k) and pay the difference for Epic (which I think is around $10k). Announcements regarding Scarlet are supposed to be at the end of this month.
Red and it's exchange policy...
by Jiggy Gaton
It also seems Red is not "traditional" in the way it sells stuff...it is true that if you invest in today's tech, tomorrow's tech is delivered via an exchange program, ie. they just replace your camera?
I'm not familiar w/the 35mm adapters
by Andrew Kimery
I'm not familiar w/the 35mm adapters so I can't help you out there, and w/regards to Red that's just the way they've always been. Red One was declared vaporware but it obviously came out. Unlike 'traditional' companies that only make announcements when products are pretty far along in the development phase Red talks about everything from square one. I have no doubt that Epic and Scarlet will come out, but exactly when and what the specs will be is anybodies guess.
Nice post, but let's not forget to mention the adapters!
by Jiggy Gaton
Perhaps going out of fashion now for getting shallow depth of field are the adapters for many sub/super 10k cameras. We have several aging XL1s and an XL2 that we are looking at fitting with one of these:

Cinevate Brevis 35

RedRock Micro

P+S Technik Mini 35

to take advantage of our still-glass closet. I have no experience shooting with any of these, but all the boys here want one (or the other). Can anyone recommend?

On the Scarlet, that sounds good but what's up with Red and their vaporcameras?!? If they can pull this off, they may have a hit however...



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