DSLR or not to DSLR … the question for video!

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Since last post I have been testing out the DSLR. About 18 months ago I purchased a Canon 550d for stills photography. The portrait photo on this blog was taken using this camera. Really wedded to the Sony Z1 and it’s ‘log and capture’ workflow, it took a lot of convincing for me to start using the 550 for video. I have been filming a 3 minute short recently and been relatively impressed I must say. So much so that I purchased a 600d body and plan to shoot a client’s music video using it!

What’s the difference between both cameras. First, the 600d comes with a flip out screen which will allow me to use a shoulder rig to follow action whilst getting some stability. Framing shots from interesting angles also is made simpler. Second, improvements to audio functions means it can now be readily monitored and controlled (without the aid of third party firmware). All the advantages of the budget 550d remain.

I’ve also discovered some picture style settings (Marvels’ Cine and CineAlta) that have been specially developed for Canon’s DSLR video function. Some argue that the basic photographic settings are not suited to video. These styles were mainly developed to assist with color grading in post. The more neutral setting that can be used in any video or digital capture device the more headroom there is for experimenting with colour and feel during the edit process. On my Z1 I use neutral settings for similar reasons – capturing HDV in any other form is difficult to grade. 

I think the development for me will be to accurately gauge exposure balancing this with ISO settings to avoid too soft or granular images.

At some point upgrading my Z1s and the Canons to a single camera that will be useful for both film as well as documentary is something I’ll have to consider. For now I rest assured that my laggard attitude to technology means that I will not be making a rash and therefore regrettable choice.