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Responsible Filmmaking

When I stumbled onto this HDSLR technology, I realized within minutes of using the technology that it was a “game changer” and the rulebook had to be thrown out and a new one created.

I thought if we can start a new rulebook, what if it is done to make a difference.  There is so much waste in the film business that it boggles my mind.  Sets are built, torn down, thrown into a dumpster, never to be seen again; all the wood, glue, nails, labor, design, creativity thrown into the trash.

Recycling is such an easy concept. We consume more than any other country in the world.  When will we stop? When will we say no? Every little step that one single person takes adds up to a big change.

As a cinematographer I dislike curly-que fluorescent bulbs in my home because they are not warm like an incandescent lamp and their quality is very antiseptic.  But as one who wants to try and make a difference I went out and changed every light bulb in my house to a fluorescent one.  It cut my electric bill by 2/3rds and I am trying to make the smallest difference so that my children can experience a planet that will not be destroyed.

I moved my family way out of L.A. and chose to educate them at a public school, coach their sports teams and try to educate them about how our planet is sick and needs all of us to heal it.

Now to the point.  The HDSLR technology recycles, it is small, it requires less space, less crew, less light, less power, less fuel, and less food.  I can go on and on for a long time about how this technology produces less waste. The most important point is that with less waste also comes the power for infinite creativity.  I have coined the phrase “small footprint, big vision.”  Isn’t that what we want to teach our children and the world? Leave a small footprint, but have a big vision.

I ask all cinematographers, videographers, still photographers, directors, producers, agency creative’s, production companies, studios, actors, and technicians to embrace, push, sell, believe in, experiment, inspire, convince, persuade, not doing business as usual. Think out of the box to save our planet.  It starts with one and grows to many.  By the way, this HDSLR technology saves loads of money also.  I will lead the march and unite as many co-collaborators to drink the HDSLR Kool-aid.

Author: Shane

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74 Comments

  1. Hi Shane,

    Thanx for everything U bring to the community. Your input is very valuable, money and time saver.
    I totally agree with the ‘small footprint, big visions’…

    Post a Reply
    • Lazhar Gatt, You are so welcome. Spread the word!!

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  2. Go Shane! I’m with you, I had one of the first 5ds in Australia (longtime still pro photog)and started my first short movie in December 2008, running with the camera and moving around, sensed myself that here was something special…I watch with amazement as it is evolving, bought a 27inch imac the other day and final cut pro ..just love the whole thing.
    Keep up the good work, there are a lot of us out here hanging on every word!
    KInd regards Rod Hardinge Australia.

    Post a Reply
    • rod Haringe, thank you so much for all you kind words. These are incredibly exciting times, I love the shrink factor. Small camera along with editing and color correcting on a desktop.

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  3. Keep inspiring Shane!

    As an aspiring DP, there is nothing more gratifying than seeing someone like you embrace this technology and lead the way for others.

    I agree with your “small footprint, big visions” and will pass that along to anybody I work with. I met a few of your team members at the Createasphere conference and I could see that passion in them as well.

    Regardless of what others say, it’s a great time to be a filmmaker!

    Post a Reply
    • Scott David Martin, thank you so much. My elite team members and I will continue to lead this wave and we all can make a difference. Yes, it is the most exciting time I have had as a filmmaker. Because of shooting with the HDSLR cameras, our small crew all had a stake in it, they were personally, emotionally, and inspirationally involved.

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  4. Wow Shane. Truly inspirational. And, so true. Thanks for all that your bring to the community and for being so willing to share your thoughts, time and wisdom with us all.

    Post a Reply
    • Scott Parent, thank you, I think this is truly a creative revolution, global, inspiring and it will discover new talent.

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  5. Great article Shane, and very inspiring. I sold my HVX package and went 5D a year ago. There were plenty of people saying it was a bad idea, but I haven’t looked back. The game has definitely changed.

    Keep the great blog entries coming!

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    • slimchrisp, thank you very much for your comments and support, do not look back. A storm is coming and the paradigm has shifted. Believe in the revolution.

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    • rawmeyn, then together we will begin to make a difference.

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  6. You’re the master. 2010 is the year of the filmmaker. No doubt about it, great stories will be told through the age old art of motion pictures.

    No excuses can be made. The HDSLR will most definitely weed out the talkers and allow the doers to shine.

    Post a Reply
    • Zack McTee, Thank you so much, I feel we are at the curl and the wave of this beautiful, inspiring technology is about ready to deliver the surf of a life time, the one they all talk about on shore with a Corona in their hands.

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  7. Shane you are truly heading this revolution! I am currently over at zacuto assistant editing the shootout, so i have seen everything from AFI, and i must say, you rock. I am a cinematographer/photographer in chicago. i am 26 and have been shooting pro photography for the last 3 years and am finally letting myself get back into film. Something i truly love more than anything. hdslrs have been the reason i came back into cinematography because for the first time i don’t need to spend hours trying to figure out how to manipulate a POS digital camera to make the look i envision.

    I know that no one but a select few has seen the afi video, but my friend, i truly feel you are a real inspiration to all talented filmmakers and amateurs a like. You have a great team around you and a great group of people who believe in your goal & vision. Know this, there are more of us out there that would jump in and kick ass anytime!

    -drew

    Post a Reply
    • Andrew Wehde, Thank you so much for all of your kind words and support. It has been a labor of love. You all inspire me to make a difference, to challenge the norm, and to think outside the box. I thank you and will call on your ass kicking very soon.

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  8. LOL. I had the hardest time, as well, switching over to the curly-que’s less-than-pleasing qualities. No sympathy from my friends and family who don’t see anything wrong with using a built-in flash. My reduced carbon footprint did help with my IWS (Incandescent Withdrawal Symptoms) though.

    Have you tried a dimmable CFL yet?

    Post a Reply
    • Joseantonio W. Danner, We all make a difference, no what is a dimmable CFL?

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  9. Thanks Shane for responding, I would love for some personal advice with which direction i should take next with my career. I am having trouble jump starting my DP career in Chicago, everyone loves my work but since none of the local directors have worked with me, Directors are hesitant to use me even when the ad/post/production companies want to. Would you be able to take a moment out of your busy life to help? I know giving out your email is not a question, but my website is: http://www.andrewwehde.com and maybe if you happen to stumble on a free moment you could email me?! thanks again for being so gracious!

    Post a Reply
  10. Shane, I recently came across your blog and I want to tell you how much I am truly enjoying it. This article on sustainability is inspiring. Thank you :)

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  11. Hey, not only do I like the CLFs, I even light films with them! This probably has more to do with my minimal student-film budget and iffy student apartment wiring than a carbon footprint commitment, but either way I really don’t mind the curley-Qs. Did you know that with a bit of shopping around you can get them in any colour temperature? Mine are very warm, truly just as pleasant as the old incandescants.

    Post a Reply
    • Eric Ferguson, yes the technology on the CLF’s is getting better everyday. Thanks for your support and comments.

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  12. Mr. Hurlbut,
    This is awesome. Ironically(?) my buddy and I made a PSA on energy saving bulbs on our 7D package the other day- full camera, sound, and G&E packages all in a couple of grandmas carts beautifully fitted in a cab, with 3 crew members and 2 casts. All night exteriors, few home made kinos, etc run by a solar-charged battery pack. Philosophy well exercised! Now going back to work on a tv show with 100+ crew members(10 people in full time camera dept alone)…

    Post a Reply
    • Sho1, that kicks ass. Yes. Thank you for the support, keep up the great work. Out of the box thinking. I love it.

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  13. So appreciate your loud voice on this subject and how you are pushing the industry to take on this challenge.

    Please consider me a NEW YORK CITY based Support and collaborator in getting this across…

    (you must realize that many companies and jobs will be lost or at least challenged… but the waste has got to stop…)

    Please check me out… been around for a while, always trying to make a difference and of course make images… ;-).

    Best wishes – Richard

    Post a Reply
    • Richard Numeroff, It is great to have a friend that is behind pushing this industry to change and challenge itself to be more eco friendly and more financially responsible. Thank you

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    • Tyler Bjorkman, I am trying my best to. Thank you for your support.

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  14. Shane – I am thrilled to have been led to your site by someone I trained. I only came here to absorb your knowledge on what others are doing with this brave new technology and I will now return for more sermons on the mount.

    As an indi-filmmaker I have had the good fortune to recycle studio sets, props materials and general production trash for several of my movies over the past ten years. Unfortunately – I just returned from a shoot in China where the amount of senseless waste was staggering. As it turns out my role as the token American director on this would be epic bore me little say over the powers that be and my push for a greenscreen (and GREENER) production fell on deaf ears. We ended up with massive, wasteful sets that were never even re-purposed and easily could have been.
    All this to say I am excited to be home and now exploring DSLR motion pictures as a part of the good fight to make a difference. Thank you for doing this and for the newsletters.

    Post a Reply
    • Jonathan Lawrence, I am glad to have you back, lets blaze this trail together, green; good. Waste; bad!! You are so welcome. Thank you for the support.

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  15. Hi Shane,
    Followed your link from DSLR Shooter.
    What you’ve written is so right!
    And the phrase “Less is More” can also be opted for the new wave of HDDSLRs. It’s amazing what quality footage can be achieved from such a small and affordable package. It means more aspiring artists can tell a story that’s more visually appealing and with tapeless technology, there goes a lot of packaging and waste going into landfills.
    Cheers,
    Bernard.

    Post a Reply
    • Bernard Lau, Thank you for your support and wonderful comments. Cheers

      Post a Reply
  16. Shane,

    I have seen in some of your pictures, that your cameras have what appear to be 1:85 frame lines. How are you bringing the footage with this framing? Is it being resized or some other method?

    Joe

    P.S. I was at the Herb Ritts exhibit at the MFA, way back when (shooting for ET) Small World!

    Post a Reply
    • Joe, wow, I wish I had met you then, it is a Small World. I put my white tape on the screen and then we use a 1:85 or a 2:35 matte in the edit bay to duplicate our frame lines.

      Post a Reply
    • Joseantonio W. Danner, both work very well. I do prefer the Anton Bauers for their lightweight and the fact that they will last all day.

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  17. Hey Shane

    It’s funny I always struggled as a director with the camera & lighting setup times my DPs would require when we were shooting high end broadcast stuff, that I felt I couldn’t shoot myself. As the tech got better, I started bringing along my PD150 to BetacamSP shoots then my ZIU to the HDCAM shoots. I’d shoot sequences between the large camera angle changes – laying new dolly track etc. I’d get different reactions from different DPs as I’d strap on rollerblades picking off the coverage I needed. Most DPs had become my friends over the years and just smiled knowing I’d make it all work. A few, though, saw it as a threat and were not shy in verbalizing their repulsion with my ‘toy’ cameras. The snob factor amazed me, but of course, on set, I’d keep quiet, not the time or place for Alpha male behaviour, I’d just grin and say… ‘soooo, are you ready yet, or do I have time to grab a few more shots?’ trying to keep it lite!

    Now that I’m shooting on the 5D I feel I don’t have to defend the smaller ‘footprint’ and kit involved because of the quality that’s achievable. We travel fewer & lighter, shoot more in a day because of less complicated lighting and, frankly, get better stuff overall – and not just better quality – shallow DOF and all that – better stuff from people in front of cameras! Whether it’s actors (who love the spontaneity and quick setups) or ‘real’ people who are intimidated with big cameras and big crews so tend to freeze up – and, truth be told – I don’t miss carrying 20 C-Stands back to the van at the end of the day!

    All that to say, I’m glad when someone at the highest level of this field such as yourself embraces these smaller cameras, and goes even a step further to say ‘Hey, why would you want to turn it back into a big camera?’ it goes a long way in convincing producers & clients what can be done with less.

    Thanks,

    Jeff

    Post a Reply
    • Jeff Lively, Copy that, Thank you for your kind words and support. Let’s together lead the charge.

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  18. Shane,
    Thanks for being a straightforward, filmmaker’s field resource on DSLRs, and especially for cutting through the mix, and acknowledging these cameras as the revolutionary tools that they are. I myself am really excited about the future of LED technology (rather than flourescent) both in lighting and in backlit displays. LEDs are truly green, both in their phenomenal efficiency, and non-toxic construction. Watch out on those CFLs–I broke one once, unaware of the mercury vapor emitted–they should be recycled properly at end of their life and probably not used in lamps or places where they are likely to be broken. Alright, green freak rant over…thanks for sharing so much. Was really inspired by your story on a podcast I heard recently (crossing the 180, I believe). Keep up the great work and thanks so much again for sharing he knowledge you have gained in your headlong adventures in production with these cameras; all best, Joe

    Post a Reply
    • Joe, you are very welcome. That was my Jerry Maguire mission statement. Thank you for those kind words. I had a great time on that Podcast, Ron Dawson was very cool. Yeah those CFL’s are not good when they break. I will take a look at where mine are located again.

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  19. Incandescent light bulbs will soon be phased out because they waste a lot of energy.-*,

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  20. hello Shane. i saw your interview at macvideo.tv, i totally share your sentiments regarding the 5d mk2, if the pictures look good then the numbers dont matter!!!…i got the 5dmk2 in 2009,i believed in that camera so much, i just had a feeling that this is the one. since then i’ve been shooting commercials and documentaries with it. and fighting with client!!!”are you going to shoot our ad on that small thing!!!”
    ..and after hearing you say and do all those good things with the 5dmk2, i feel very confident and safe. thank you. great website.

    mohamed zain

    Post a Reply
    • mohamed zain, yes, I think that this platform has potential. We just need to continue to educate clients, agencies, and studios that this is here to change everything. Thanks for the kind words.

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  21. Hi Shane:

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge it has been one of the most important things in my cinematographer career. I support 100% the DSLR format since I started using it 2 years ago…I learned a lot ad thanks to all of you out there studying ad researching the format has evolved tremendously. One question for you;
    _With all these new cameras RED MX, Alexa etc…do you still think the DSLR´s will still give a look that my commercial rival these big cameras? Thank you again for all the knowledge you share…Hope it continues.. :-)

    Thank you

    Post a Reply
    • Augusto, absolutely. This camera to me delivers the most cinematic, filmic, digital film image out there. I shoot either film or 5D. The sizes matter so much. You can build these cameras as small or as big as you want, you cannot do that with the RED or the ALEXA. They are huge and heavy. The 5D also gives you a depth of field that has never been seen before. I would love a 10 BIT colorspace but I have learned to embrace this 8 BIT compressed colorspace by using my experience on exposing film negative, getting it close when it was only a photo-chemical finish.

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  22. Hey Shane, I now follow you regularly since I saw your article in HD VIDEO PRO, and your push for the Technology is amazing, giving all doubters reasons to re-consider. I build my own rigs, from a full 4 wheel seat dolly, and one thing I did with this particular unit is I attached a stabilizer arm from a steadicam on the dolly, so there is no need to put the dolly on an actual track, its all ready to go and sits on lawn mower wheels, looks very sharp. Also built a snorricam, another dolly system similar to the one you have pictured in the HD magazine, I just love creating rigs, that will create shots that I need to better tell a given story. Few questions I had; I understand that getting the right exposure is key when filming with the 5dii, in post, what would you see is fixable, meaning if I am 2 full stops off, is that something that can be corrected? or maybe just 1 stop off is all that can be corrected? — I just purchased the new sekonic 308dc, I’m not sure if I should stick with this one, or if I should get one with a spot meter, what is the best way to get the correct exposure, or close to it? — My last concern is on low lighting. basically talking about movies like wolfman with Anthany hopkins where the forrest scenes are very dark and you see the actors, but you know your in the forrest, Im not talking about low light where you have a kitchen room for example and the lighting may require you to pull the iso up to 6000. In these kind of situations is it ok to underexpose a scene to get the darker tones?

    I appreciate all the help.

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    • I just scrolled up and saw the picture of you with 5D, on the hot shoe there is a device, looks like two cones. I saw the same unit on the article in the HD magazine is that some type of microphone or is that a distance reader for the remote follow focus? when ever I see new gadgets I get excited. I actually use a ZOOM to get external audio, but what I do is split the line out, I feed one into the 5D and use one to monitor with my headphones, so I basically use the Zoom as a mic for the 5D as well as recording pro audio onto the zoom unit itself. I do all my syncing with plural eyes, and I found that the on camera mic is so noisy at times that plural eyes doesn’t sync up properly.

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      • Avi B. Romanovich, that is a sonar focus device. I helps the focus puller with distances. It has a little box that velcro’s onto the mattebox that gives a digital read out of the footage the actors face is away from camera.

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    • Avi B. Romanovich, first off, thank you so much for those kind words of support. On your first question, 2.5 stops under, maybe 1 stop over in regards to getting your exposure close. Second question, I light to my eye and use the HP 2480 Dreamcolor to light with in this platform. I feel it shows you the complete latitude of the DSLR. I underexpose my 5D most of the time, I starve the sensor of light. So yes, underexposing will give you that low light feel like you have to squint to see something.

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      • Appreciate all the help and for responding Shane! So busy with my schedule, but as soon as I am able would love to sign up for the Bootcamp. take care for now.

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  23. Hi Shane,

    thanks for suggesting the blog.

    What I wanted to ask is:

    With the coming of the Lumix GH2, what is your opinion on it and is it possible to create film-like looking images like with the Canon’s for example?

    Thank You

    Best wishes,

    Marc

    Post a Reply
    • Marc Iancu, I have shot with the Lumix, I feel that it looks a little to plastic and polished, it lacks the digital film quality that the Canon’s deliver.

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      • Ic, but if you was to work with it for examle and you didn’t have another choice, how would you work with it to get a decent film-like look?

        I already have it and now I am struggle again if I did the right investment.

        Thanks for taking time.

        Marc

        Post a Reply
        • Marc Iancu, I have projected this image on a 60 ft screen and it holds up. “The Last 3Minutes was all Canon L series glass and it projected amazing.

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          • Hi Shane,

            I saw “The Last 3 Minutes” a while ago and it really looks amazing – have read about it in a book, about DSLR Filmmaking.

            I caused a misunderstanding here. What I meant was that even if the GH2 has a plastic look and you prefer more the one of the Canons, how could I get same results, as a GH2 owner. I unfortunatly don’t find any professional material about the GH2 – besides forum comments and some tests.

          • Marc, Thank you so much for your comments about “The Last 3 Minutes.” That was a labor of love for all of us. I find that the GH2 has a voice but nowhere near the quality of the Canon. I do not like not having manual control as well as different lens options.

  24. Hello Shane once again. I was looking at the Remote Follow focus system you guys use for your productions, is that demo model or is that one on the market? I can’t seem to find anything like the one you mount to your cameras.

    Thank you.

    Post a Reply
    • Avi B. Romanovich, we use the analog Bartech Follow Focus system with the M-One motor.

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  25. I can’t believe I forgot to ask one of the most important factors, How do you do you custom white balance the 5D, I’ve tried several different ways, from the white card, to the lens caps with the spheres, problem is doing the white balance with the card, and getting the 5D rig close enough to get a full white picture even at 200mm focal, you have to be close to the subject/talent. All the things I tried are not practical. If you have a word of advice that would be nice, thanks.

    Post a Reply
    • Avi B. Romanovich, don’t ever do it. Use the WB at the top of the camera and dial it into eye by scrolling the Kelvin temp. wheel. I never white balance the 5D.

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      • I figured that’s probably what method you use, I’m about to purchase the “DSLR Cinema: Crafting the Film Look with Video” My friend suggested it to me, incase this detail is not in there, what if I have a mix of tungsten and daylight balanced in one place, I don’t have a large enough production where I can always have my lighting options to my liking.

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      • When you dial the kelvin, are you using any kind of metering or other technical method to get the appropriate kelvin temp to get the proper flesh tones. Or are you just going by the Kelvin temp range, and doing your changes by eye.

        Post a Reply
        • Avi B. Romanovich, I have a Minolta color meter which is my go to meter for this. But I do a lot to eye off of the back LCD screen and dial in the WB.

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          • I did just get a light meter, One thing I noticed on the 5D is that the range starts at 2500 on the dial wheel, I have seen some reading on my meter around 2300, I guess if it is under, you have to go to the nearest which will be 2500? Have you ever come across where the color temperature is below 2500, any solutions?

  26. I asked you last week about how you do your exposure readings, and you told me your 22″ HP, which I saw in the Making of one of the films. I had a situation where I was out on the field, daytime, and I got pretty close to correct exposure, in post I bring up the whites and down a tad with the blacks, But I found it hard to keep the exposure of the same scene close throughout the scene, even though It took me an hour at the most to film each scene, the sun shifts, causing me to adjust either ND filters, F-Stops, and ISO…. any Suggestions on the best way to go about getting more accurate close exposures to each take?

    Post a Reply
    • I have to retract this question, I don’t always have a 20+ inch field monitor, I am using the Small hd monitor, and a 5.6″ screen is still tough to keep a consistent exposure throughout a scene. I ended up purchasing the Sekonic 758, Properly calibrated, even if I am a stop off, I figure At least I will be a stop off throughout the whole scene, So I take that question back, lol, not too bright of me. On a side note, Looking forward to the second HB/Shane Webisode, 1st was great.

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  27. Hello Shane, I wanted to ask a question regarding the 7D’s internal metering. Recently I bought a SmallHD DP4 and made a series of tests using two different 7D bodies. We found out that the handheld meter readings and the false colors of the DP4 (which represent IREs) matched pretty closely, while the internal meter on the 7D underexposed from a two thirds of a stop to a full stop (the readings where slightly different on the two different bodies). We double checked the footage on Apple Color, DaVinci Resolve Lite, and Adobe After Effects vectorscopes, to compare, and again it matched. We also tested dynamic range on the camera and got a 5 stop useful range, from the darkest to the brightest, checked with the IREs of the DP4s, and with the mentioned vectorscopes to be sure. Have your experiences with the 7D, regarding exposure, been similar? or are we doing something wrong? On a sidenote, I keep looking forward the the DSLR bootcamp this year.

    Post a Reply
    • Ruben Fernandez, 5 stops, that seems very low. I have gotten somewhere near 12 stops out of my 5D, 7 stops in the under and 5 in the over. The 7D is more contrasty because of the smaller mega pixels. Harder to receive light.

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  28. Hi Shane,

    First time visitor to your website and really enjoying the content! However, for you own sake, I urge you to research the energy saving light bulbs … many of them contain mercury (Hazmat disposal) and can have other negative health consequences. Yes, I know, we’re just talking about light bulbs!

    Information here:
    http://www.naturalnews.com/031276_fluorescent_light_bulbs_mercury.html

    Totally agree with the sentiment of your post. Frankly though, the waste is at the top and the guilt is passed down below (for example, the banking cartel is doing as much damage as the energy cartel). The same people that are increasing your taxes to deal with these issues, create these issues and continue to profit from the sad state of our world.

    Anyway … thank you for the wonderful blog and the information contained here.

    Post a Reply
    • James, you are very welcome. Thank you so much for all of your thoughts. Much appreciated.

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  29. This is really a concept I can get behind, as an avid outdoors-man I really like minimizing my impact. It is amazing when leave no trace meets convenience. While this equipment is way out of my price range as of right now,I can definitely applauder anything that reduces waste.

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