Last year, we made a series of six educational videos with B&H to cover using the Canon 5D Mark II. Episode 2 addresses the challenges of the HDSLR platform and helps find solutions. These lessons apply to other cameras as well, not just the 5D.
HDSLR Educational Series for Cinema
Episode 2: Challenges and Solutions
Hi, I’m Shane Hurlbut, ASC and welcome to the B&H HDSLR Educational Series for Cinema. There are several challenges with this platform.
Challenge #1: Rolling Shutter
If you operate the camera like my son Myles here, you’re probably going to have rolling shutter issues. When you pan like that with this camera, you’re going to get stuff that bends to the side. If you operate the camera like normal and not too erratic, but still you could be action-oriented, you’re probably going to be okay on rolling shutter. Myles, you’re fired.
Challenge #2: Moiré
Let’s move on to moiré. Now, moiré is an issue with this camera that I battle on a daily basis. This camera skips every third line. By skipping every third line, you miss that information in between those lines. When you’re dealing with the pebbled beach, when you’re dealing with brick, fine brick patterns, one of the ways to work around moiré is to use depth of field to your advantage. You have a VistaVision sensor in this baby so you can take the foreground and make the background go out of focus. If there’s a fine brick building behind you and you’re in your wide angle lens and you’re outside and you’re shooting in an 8, bring it down to a 28 and you’ll see that brick building and its moiré issues vaporized.
Another way to combat moiré is to have your own Adobe After Effects painter who comes in and literally paints every frame moiré out of the image. The filters are only going to soften your image. You don’t want to do that.
Challenge #3: Buttons & Dials
Another one of the challenges is the fact that you can hit all these buttons so easily. I would advise taping this. What we’ve done is make a mark so you always know that you are on M. The assistant can see from the side. Some people just gaffer tape that baby so you can’t ever hit it. Another one that gets hit a lot is this. This is your shutter speed. That can get hit very easily, and there’s no way to lock it, no way to control it, no way to really tape it either. You can slap some gaffer’s tape on there but still, you need access to your menus with this, you need the access to your color temp, so taping it and untaping it is kind of counterproductive. When I turn my camera on, I always have it in my menu bar so in the bottom half of my menu bar, I can see my shutter speed. I can see my F stop, and I can also see my ISO. It’s very important, and this is what I use as kind of a double and triple checking.
Challenge #4: Overheating
I found overheating as one of the challenges. If I set up a scene where I’m lighting with a camera, before we go, I will change that camera out and put another camera in. If we light with A, we’re shooting with B, and by the time we shoot with B for 35-45 minutes, then we’d change B out and we go back to A. It’s kind of a leapfrog approach that I’ve done because what I found is that as the sensor heats up, the fixed pattern noise becomes more apparent.
For me if I take a 10-camera package out, I have 20 cameras because I’ve got back ups. That process is what I found is a recipe for success.
There are other ways to combat overheating. I tend to use only 8GB cards when I’m doing movies and commercials. That way, you’re constantly taking that card out after it’s filled to 10 or 12 minutes. That helps cool down the camera in general.
The last challenge is focus. Tune in to episode #3 where we go to depth of field with a VistaVision sensor, cinema glass, still glass, and all of their properties.
Shane Hurlbut, ASC
HDSLR Educational Series for Cinema
Julien Lasseur – Director
Karlyn Michelson – Producer
Shane Hurlbut, ASC, Lydia Hurlbut, and Brad Bitton – Executive Producers
Clint Milby – Associate Producer
Bodie Orman – Director of Photography
Edited by Karlyn Michelson
Sponsored by B&H
Production Coordinator – Anne Gaither
Camera Operator – Kevin Anderson
Camera Operator – Eric Wolfinger
Camera Operator – Valentin Vignet
Steadicam Operator – Hayden Houser
Key Grip – Fabio Newman
Hair/Makeup – Teddie Bergman
Sound – Vincent Fatato
Production Assistants – Brian Touhy, Lucas Petri
Special Thanks to Mole-Richardson
Watch episode 1 – Know Your Camera: Canon 5D MK II – Turning Your Still Camera Into a Movie Making Machine
Watch episode 3 – HDSLR Challenges: Working With a Still Lens
Watch episode 4 – HDSLR Cinematographer Starter Kit
Watch episode 5 – HDSLR Workflow and Etiquette