Once upon a time, when every cinematographer was shooting on film stock, you had to make many choices. Every single element you were using, including the make and type of the film you were using, could give your work a specific look or quality. You could have a look at a film and guess who the director of cinematography was.
But with digital cinematography the work of the many cinematographers looks the same. Since I joined the digital world, my concern has been preserving my own way of working and finding ways to control the look of the films I shoot. Of course, the problem starts when you have to use an affordable solution and there is no budget for the high-end equipment needed to get a decent result.
Of course now there are digital solution solvers in order to get a certain kind of look that I like for a project with them. I am using both Adobe CS 5 (that I have to admit, surprised me by its power and handling of different kinds of media) and Avid Media Composer 5 for editing and achieving the right results. But the golden rule is that you should have high quality footage to start with and most of the so called “affordable solutions” fail to deliver that kind of quality.
When CWB asked me to check out Canon EOS 5D Mark 2 for DSLR high definition shooting, I was not that optimistic about the outcome. However, after using it for three weeks, I started to like what I was seeing. Each shot that I took was sharp and rich enough that after being hammered with different effects in Premier CS 5 it still looked good on a large screen and had a broadcast quality. Due to the quality standards in the independent filmmaking world today, depending on your subject, it is worthwhile to shoot a film with Canon EOS 5D Mark 2. I am sure there are many professional filmmakers and directors of photography that may not agree with me and believe such cameras are only good for armatures. But in the world of independent filmmaking, where subject is the king and what you have to say and your filmmaking talent are more important than cosmetic of your film, there are no rules limiting you to certain kind of quality.
I am sure other CWB reviewers will concentrate on technical aspect of Canon EOS 5D Mark 2 but I judge anything related to filmmaking with my own eyes and I can say that without a doubt you can use Canon EOS 5D Mark 2 for shooting any project you have. There are plenty of canon lenses that you can use with this camera and it means you can get the results you need. A friend of mine, a professional photographer, allowed me to borrow his canon lenses for testing Canon EOS 5D Mark 2 and I have to admit since joining the digital film crowd, this was the first time that I was not missing my film camera.
I just shot nature and indoor shots and I must admit I did not have much to complain about. I am a bit old fashioned and unless the story requires a handheld shot, I have always my camera on the tripod, therefore manual focusing was not a big deal and I got used to it fast. I have been using manual focusing all my life as a cinematographer and I personally do not like the autofocus feature of digital cameras.
Canon EOS 5D Mark 2 does magic in low lights and I am sure with a little bit of experimenting great looks can be achieved.
If you need handheld shots, you better have experience with handheld shooting as even with stabilization features on some canon lenses you may have a little bit of problem controlling the camera. Here, I am advising CWB to review the existing Canon EOS 5D Mark 2 control devices that look very promising as they open new horizons for serious filmmakers that may want to use Canon EOS 5D Mark 2 for shooting their films.
The reason I looked at Canon EOS 5D Mark 2 was to find out if this is the real deal and could work a high quality camera for shooting short or feature films. My answer, after checking my shots on a large screen, is yes – Canon EOS 5D Mark 2 can do the job. But it may not be an affordable solution for many young filmmakers.
CWB editors have checked and reviewed Cannon EOS 5D Mark 2 photo and video editing features on a HP Z400 Workstation.