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  1. #1
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    Canon 60D/7D for video

    Am looking at a 60D or 7D for video, well be doing lots of Stedicam and wide angle action stuff, so am looking for some advice on:

    A. Lenses. I know nothing about lenses at all. I want to shoot for wide angle/HD tvs as I like planar staging, and i want a decent amount of depth in focus

    B. 60D vs 7D. Thoughts? Advice?

    C. A different DSLR thats not a Canon (am only going with those two models as it seems they are the most popular for digital video).

    D. Misc advice on any other accesories that are helpful (good stedicam brands, good lighting rigs etc)

    thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Moderator Skyman's Avatar
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    Re: Canon 60D/7D for video

    If wide angle is your thing, you will probably do better with the 5d. Its full frame sensor will give you a wider field of view. The smaller sensor of the 7d and 60d narrows your field of view. Any of these cameras is going to give you great video. I bought the 550d a while back for work with the express purpose of shooting video and I love the quality it gives.

    As for lenses the best glass your budget will allow. L series glass (canon's pro glass) if you can afford it. Or if not fixed focal length (non zoom) lenses will also give you great quality and go a lot easier on your budget. If you go with the 5d, a 20mm or 24mm lens will give you a very wide shot, but if you go with the 60d or 7d you would need to get at least 17mm to achieve the same level of wide.

    there are lots of different steadicam options, from tracks and dollies, cranes and jibs through to full steadicam rigs. Steadicam is a brand though so it might be worth going for that as opposed to one of the copies, you would have to check weights but you might be ok with a steadicam JR. If you need to go to a full steadicam, learn how to use it. They aren't exactly plug and play items and you need a very strong back if you are using it for any length of time. This is why cranes, dollies, jibs and train tracks are still popular, they are realtively simple to use.

    As for lighting, it really depends on budgets and what you want / need to achieve. You can get buy with several of the construction type floodlights on stands that are sold quite cheaply at most hardware stores if all you need is to flood your scenes with light. If you are looking to attach coloured gells, grids, softboxes or any other light modifiers you might still be ok if you are creative with how you mount them, but you will waste time fiddling with your modifiers. I would recommend a minimum of a 3 head 8000watt (redhead) lighting kit with stands, barn doors, at least two soft boxes and some daylight gels, but I have made do from time to time with much much less.

    The other thing to look at is sound. the mics built into these cameras aren't great. There are a good variety of hotshoe mounted mics around these days. rhode and sennheiser are the two standout brands. If you want something better than a hotshoe mic though, you have to either record sound separately from the camera (invest in a clapper board) or use an adaptor rig. These typically bolt underneath the camera and give you the ability to connect xlr microphones as well as have gain control over them and a headphone output so you can monitor sound as you are recording. These work really well and will let you connect anything from a standard cardoid mic to a boom mic and everything in between. The downside to them is that your camera rig becomes a mess of cables which can get in the way, particularly if you are using a steadicam for instance (where you would normally have an assistant there to help the steadicam operator in case they stumble or it gets too heavy for them as you really need the sound recordist to stand near the camera operator unless you have some way of not getting tangled in the long leads coming from the bottom of the camera. Ideal for a low budget film but not so good if you want lots of close miced diagetic sounds. It also works ok if you only have one operator, but then you have to set your levels carefully as you really don't want to be having to tweak them during recording.

    I hope that helps.

    have a look at my 550d video rig here:
    Canon 550d as a video kit

    the stand it is on is a manfroto modo steady, part shoulder mount, part steadicam and part mini tripod. Great for small video cameras but slightly too light weight for the 550d with any decent lens.
    Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum videtur


  3. #3
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    Re: Canon 60D/7D for video

    Heaps of good advice and food for thought here, thanks heaps mate.

    Ive found redheads on a local site here cheap as, so will probably get a couple of them and some gels and stuff, just enough to brighten up a shot a bit.

    Sound wise im pretty covered as i have a good sound engineer who does our band, I can probably borrow nice mic's off him, though may pic up a sennheiser just for my own use. These adapter things sound handy, but as I will be using it solely on stedicam (pretty much) those loose cables could be a pain as you mentioned.

    The biggest headache is lenses, all the different types really confuse me and I have no idea what is what...I got a lot of researching to do!

  4. #4
    Moderator Skyman's Avatar
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    Re: Canon 60D/7D for video

    Quote Originally Posted by BloodMoney View Post
    The biggest headache is lenses, all the different types really confuse me and I have no idea what is what...I got a lot of researching to do!
    All the marketing hype doesn't help either.

    Sharpness and contrast are the important things to look for in a lens, but without an advanced understanding of optics and the time to test different lenses then we have to resort to generalities.

    Typically more expensive lenses are better than cheaper lenses but there are exceptions. Zoom lenses are harder to make than non zoom (prime) lenses so cheap prime lenses are often as good as expensive zooms.

    Canon has a series of lenses called L lenses which it uses to denote lenses of higher quality.

    The focal length of a lens is without getting into theory and optics, a way to describe the angle of view that is captured through the lens. A longer focal length (telephoto) will also appear to compress distance making objects further apart appear closer than they really are. A wide angle lens tends to do the opposite. Generally speaking the amount of an image in sharp focus will be greater with a wider lens than a telephoto lens.

    As I alluded in my first post, the size of sensors in a camera vary and this varies the effect of the focal length. This stuff is steeped in the history of photography so most of the theory assumes that a film plane with a diameter of 35mm is a normal frame (as is the case with the 5d) most digital cameras have a smaller sensor so to work out 35mm equivalents you multiply the figures by 1.5 – 60d and 7d

    With a 35mm camera, 50mm represents roughly the angle most people can see from one eye and depth perception equivalent to what we consider normal. Anything Wider than this is called wide angle and anything longer than this is called telephoto. Now as a generalisation anything below 35mm is ultra wide and anything about 200mm is super telephoto. Typically for portraits, the range between 85-135 (or sometimes 70-200) is considered the portrait zone as these lenses flatteringly compress facial features and allow the photographer to take a head and shoulders portrait at a distance that is comfortable for the subject so as to help them look more natural (as opposed to the look you would get if you shoved a camera in their face) anything beyond 200mm is usually used for wildlife and sport, where you are unable to get close to your subject.
    You said you are interested in wide angle. These days most point and shoot cameras start at about 28mm so anything between 28-50 isn’t really that wide. 24mm and lower is where it starts to get interesting. However remember that crop factor? Well 24mm X 1.5 is 36mm – which really isn’t that wide, so if you go for the smaller sensor camera you would need a lens that is at least 18mm (18 X 1.5 = 27) – you will also have to remember that not all lenses bend light the same way. Pillowing and pinching are effects from lenses that are not able to bend light uniformly. What this means is that if your film plain (or sensor) is parallel to a brick wall, the lines would appear bent. Mostly this is an optical error of the lens however there are lenses that do this deliberately and they are called fish eye lenses. They provide that curved ultra wide but distorted view that is popular with MTV. You need to be aware of this as a 17mm lens and a 17mm fish eye lens are greatly different. You also need to be aware that the wider you go with a zoom the more likely there will be some pillowing on the wide end of the zoom (sort of like fish eye) and the longer the zoom goes the more likely there will be pinching (a slight bend in the other direction) However this is more true of older and cheaper zooms than newer and more expensive ones. It is also more true of lenses that have a longer zoom range, like say an 18-300mm lens, than say an 18-55mm lens.
    Another guide to the quality of lens is it’s F number. F is the mathematical symbol for light, and the F number is a mathematical calculation of the amount of light transferred by a lens. A lens with a smaller F number – often called a stop or f stop(F2.8 for example) will transmit more light than a lens with a higher f number (F5.6) In the old days changes in F number represented a halving or doubling of the transmission of light and worked in the following sequence 1.8, 2.8, 3.5, 5.6, 8, 11, 16, 22. These days lenses are capable of splitting these definitions even finer so this sequence doesn’t mean as much, but it is worth noting that not all lenses will have the same minimum f number, but all lenses are capable of changing their f numbers to a degree, as this is one way to control exposure. Also with zoom lenses, the F number can change dependent on the zoom, so it is not uncommon for a lens to say it is f3.5-5.6. – There are zoom lenses that have a fixed minimum f number rather than a variable f number and this is an indication of a better quality lens

    Follow this as it is about to get counter intuitive. The smaller the f (f1.8) number the more light is transmitted to the sensor, but this also means a bigger hole in the lens. The bigger the f (f32) number the smaller the whole in the lens and the less light it transmits to the sensor so it is not uncommon for photographers to call a larger f number smaller and a smaller f number either faster or wider. Typically anything below F4 is considered fast and is another pointer towards a better quality lens.
    That is hopefully not too much to take in, and it is a very very rough overview.
    Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum videtur


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