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View Full Version : Thoughts on the 7d on a narrative shoot



j
10-27-2009, 10:55 AM
We shot a spec trailer over the weekend with the 7d, and here are some of my quick thoughts:

I just got this camera and went straight into production without having much time to study the manual and test. I may have missed some details in the manual, so correct me if I got something wrong.

Why does the viewfinder shut off ever couple of minutes, why?

I didn't miss the articulating monitor as much as I thought I would.

I really like the quality of the viewfinder - it's very good.

I *love* the TTL viewfinder, It's been so long since I've shot film that I forgot what it felt like to look through the lens. Too bad it the mirror flips up while filming, but it's nice to be able to check framing and focus without having to turn on the camera!

HDMI video out sucks - basically unusable. I only ended up using it for framing on jib shots. I took the camera home and hooked it up to my 720 plasma and was horrified with the quality of the clips. I was mildly terrified that the footage looked like that until I brought it into a computer and looked at it.

I *love* the footage. I never saw any moire. I was worried about jello, but it never really appeared. It only showed when we mounted the camera to a Datsun 280Z and drove forward down a a country road.

The low light capabilities and color rendition (shot in standard mode) remind me of Kodak 16mm Vision2 500 stock (7279). We were able to shoot into twilight at f3.5 and had to stop filming about the same time as if I were shooting 7279 with zeiss super speeds. We switched to a 1.8 50mm and it looked like daylight again!

It seems like the back focus was off on my kit lens, zoom in, focus and zoom out seemed to give sporadic results.

I love the x5 and x10 focus check feature. Awesome.

Thanks to the DVX User list I was able to stick to the "good" ASA points and get a clean image.

The "take a still to check the histogram" technique was very helpful.

I also like the fact that it's an awesome still camera. It was so easy to flip a switch and get high quality production stills - no need for a set photog any more? It was also fun to spin the camera around and shoot BTS crew shots while waiting for makeup or props or whatever.

The buttons take some getting used to. I was constantly taking stills when it was time to roll camera.

I was also getting the shutter speed and iris dial confused all the time - you really have to watch it.

Setting white balance is a pain, I hate navigating sub menus, but I do like that fact that you can dial in the exact color temperature, that's cool.

Bottom line: The footage looks flippin awesome - no one has said otherwise.

Well, those are initial thoughts. I haven't been this happy about shooting video since the DVX came out.

Kholi
10-27-2009, 11:11 AM
We shot a spec trailer over the weekend with the 7d, and here are some of my quick thoughts:

I just got this camera and went straight into production without having much time to study the manual and test. I may have missed some details in the manual, so correct me if I got something wrong.

Why does the viewfinder shut off ever couple of minutes, why?

Why go into a shoot without knowing your camera????

j
10-27-2009, 11:38 AM
Agreed.

Lack of time.

Andrew Brinkhaus
10-27-2009, 09:49 PM
No external WB dial/button? Huh.

morgan_moore
10-28-2009, 06:01 AM
It seems like the back focus was off on my kit lens, zoom in, focus and zoom out seemed to give sporadic results.

I love the x5 and x10 focus check feature. Awesome.

.

Still zoom lenses dont sustain focus through a zoom, that method wont work

use the X5 and X10 feature

S

Kholi
10-28-2009, 10:39 AM
Still zoom lenses dont sustain focus through a zoom, that method wont work

use the X5 and X10 feature

S

That's incorrect. SOME don't, some do. If your backfocus is set properly, a lot should and will retain focus through the zoom range. A poorly produced lens adapter will kill the chances of this happening.

j
10-28-2009, 07:07 PM
Is there a way to set the back focus with the kit lens?

noplacia
10-28-2009, 08:41 PM
Thanks to the DVX User list I was able to stick to the "good" ASA points and get a clean image.

J
can you or anybody show me a link about a "good" asa list threads for 7D?
and maybe for 5D and also GH1?

thanks

j
10-28-2009, 11:33 PM
Actually not on DVXuser, but pointed to by a DVXuser discussion:

http://www.cinema5d.com/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=4736&st=0&sk=t&sd=a

Duke M.
10-29-2009, 05:04 AM
There is one on DVXuser that is slightly different, with similar results.

http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/showthread.php?t=185471&highlight=noise

xbourque
10-29-2009, 09:27 AM
HDMI video out sucks - basically unusable.

When setting up the shot, make sure you press the "info" button until the overlays dissapear. Resolution should go from approx. 480p to approx 720p. Very useable.

Clip playback over HDMI is full resolution. If it's not, maybe the camera doesnt handshake with your TV properly and thinks the TV is SD only? (Wild guess...)

-X

j
10-29-2009, 10:37 AM
I'll try that, thanks. (on my field monitor DIT 10")

It could also be because the plasma is a 720 instead of 1080. (on my samsung home TV)

JMG100
10-29-2009, 03:03 PM
I just want to confirm something- unless I'm mistaken, you can't use the x5/x10 zoom magnification to focus while recording video- is that true?

William_Robinette
10-29-2009, 03:13 PM
I just want to confirm something- unless I'm mistaken, you can't use the x5/x10 zoom magnification to focus while recording video- is that true?

Yes that is true.

JMG100
10-29-2009, 03:56 PM
Gracias.

j
10-29-2009, 04:02 PM
Looking forward to the Barry Green book...

RichW
10-29-2009, 11:13 PM
I just want to confirm something- unless I'm mistaken, you can't use the x5/x10 zoom magnification to focus while recording video- is that true?

Just got my 7D. I thought the above was true, but let me clarify: You can use the x5/x10 magnification for focusing shots for movies - before you roll. You just cannot focus while rolling. So it's workable.

Therefore, I don't see why there is a need for a Z Finder.
Other than to be a shade over the LCD, it gives you only a x3 magnification.
What am i missing?

What i have not yet found, and would really like, is the ability to set it on manual focus, but have a button to do an instant autofocus and then lock it, like on the DVX 100 and a lot of others. That is really useful.

But it is very clear that if you want to do any kind of focus change while shooting you'll need a follow focus. If you want to use a shallow DOF (which is why we all want this camera), you need some way of keeping the subject in focus as they move.

A question for fellow 7D owners: When I put the camera in movie mode by turning the dial button, there is a big clunk that shakes the camera. Is this normal?

mhood
10-30-2009, 05:45 AM
Looking forward to the Barry Green book...

Why would Barry want to write a book about a camera that he has described as "awful" and "unprofessional"? In fact, he has plainly said that none of the vDSLRs are up to his professional standards. I wonder why he even comes on this 7D forum at all...

smelni
10-30-2009, 05:51 AM
the "clunk" is the mirror flipping up to let the sensor "see"

totally normal

uh oh - have we found the new clunk question for the boards :)

j
10-30-2009, 06:25 AM
Ha!

Barry_Green
10-30-2009, 09:14 AM
Why would Barry want to write a book about a camera that he has described as "awful" and "unprofessional"? In fact, he has plainly said that none of the vDSLRs are up to his professional standards. I wonder why he even comes on this 7D forum at all...
Because perhaps when you understand what the thing can do, you're then prepared to get the best results from it. I've gotten some very good footage out of the 7D. And I've gotten some very bad footage out of it too. It is not a product I would trust to a paying gig. Others will feel otherwise. It is not a product that performs consistently in a good fashion, and it can be awful. Sorry you don't like those words, but they're true.

It is priced appropriately.

It is very, very good for the price. When it's in its happy zone, it renders gorgeous imagery.

I, for one, will never advocate that anyone stick their head in the sand and just pretend, really really hard, that the problems don't exist. I will point them out so that nobody else gets surprised and bitten by them. If you find that offensive, you and I will just have to agree to disagree.

mhood
10-30-2009, 09:59 AM
So you have donned a cap and spandex suit and are playing the role of the champion detractor of all things vDSLR? That's a good use of your professional effort? You've just said again that you wouldn't use a 7D professionally, yet you plan to publish a book that trains readers in the use of the 7D. That isn't disingenuous to you? Of course, you have every right to do whatever...that goes without saying. It just doesn't make much sense to me...that's all.

Barry_Green
10-30-2009, 10:09 AM
You seem to have a penchant for putting words into mouths.

I've donned the cap of pointing out when cameras might fail someone. I did it with long-GoP compression, and I did it again with rolling shutter, and now I'm doing it again with aliasing sensors. And every time, folks have screamed and complained, but in every case I stand firmly behind my words, and I believe it's fair to say that once the hype dies down and people settle in to using the products, they find out that what I was telling them was true the whole time.

And, I'm confident that will happen again.

Secondly, where did I say I was going to publish a book on the 7D?

Third -- whether it meets MY professional standards or not, has no bearing on whether it meets OTHERS' professional standards. And if people want to use a product professionally, I will certainly do what I can to help them understand the situations that they can get themselves into that would ruin a shot.

Because my focus is on the people, not the equipment. This is dvxUSER,com, not DVX100.com.

If you think that makes me a "champion detractor of all things vDSLR", I think you might want to re-examine your premises.

mhood
10-30-2009, 10:15 AM
In all fairness, you didn't say you were going to publish a book about using the 7D. I was responding to another poster saying he was looking forward to your book about using the 7D.

I still feel it is disingenuous to critique the 7D beyond the conclusion that it is a camera you would not use professionally. What's your point?

Barry_Green
10-30-2009, 11:21 AM
The point is to show what it does, and what it doesn't do, so that people can make informed decisions about what they're getting into.

We have just emerged from a situation where there was nothing but unbridled praise for all these products, with nobody looking behind the curtain to find out what wizardry they were employing.

I looked. What I saw wasn't pretty. I pointed it out.

I always do that, and will continue to do so.

j
10-30-2009, 06:43 PM
No book? :-(

Dang.

BTW, we screened the footage for the director and post FX guys, and everyone is *very* happy with the choice of camera, myself included. We just had to toss one shot out due to camera quirks: a whip pan with noticeable skew. I'll post some stills once I get them from the editor. There's even some green screen work which will be interesting.

j
11-01-2009, 09:38 AM
Here are some screen grabs from the shoot, uncorrected.

Kit lens with a BPM #2:
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2504/4055703979_1b76183b6a_b.jpg

A chroma key shot should be interesting:
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2731/4055704311_2f069cf326_b.jpg

The detail on this is amazing:
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2511/4055703735_d02fd1a70a_b.jpg

The low light resolving capability of this camera is amazing. This is well after sunset, I should not have been able to capture an image. We finished filming and called it a wrap, then these amazing red clouds came out. We decided to grab a post-martini shot. This was shot with the cheap 18-55 Rebel kit lens (f3.5) and an even cheaper .5 wide angle adapter attached to the front of the lens (hence the horrible chromatic abberations at the edge.) Take note this too is uncorrected:
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2721/4056445618_baab69274a_b.jpg

Bucknfl
11-11-2009, 04:25 PM
Barry,

I own 2 HMC-150 s. Do you think the canon 7d would be a suitable b-roll or 3rd camera for a 150 shoot? Would the 7d come close to matching with all cameras in 24p?

Thanks

Barry_Green
11-11-2009, 05:15 PM
7D has a very different look to the footage. It's a lot smoother and less gritty/"organic", more like HPX300 or EX1 footage (which is to be expected, it's CMOS and all). So I don't know how well it'll match up. Color-wise, it's not too shabby, you can tweak the colors enough in the 7D to get it reasonably representative, but it also depends on how much you want it to match. If you want to do a three-camera shoot and have it so that nobody can tell the difference between them, then no way, you'd need another HMC150 or HPX170 for that.

Bucknfl
11-11-2009, 05:21 PM
Thanks. I prefer the sd cards anyway.