Where’s the 5D?

Remember reading Where’s Waldo when you were a kid? We had so much fun playing a similar game to test your vision and your response was overwhelming! Thank-you for taking the time to play and making it so hard to choose a winner!



In this Mio sequence from our current Navy SEAL film project, we used two HD cameras the Canon 5D Mark II and the Sony 950. We also shot some of it with the Arri 235. There are subtle differences between 10 Bit HD with the Sony 950 and 8 Bit color space with the Canon 5D!

The Navy asked as to scrub the footage, so the contest is now over. However, the person who guessed it correctly will receive a prize from Hurlbut Visuals.

We will announce the winner on Monday November 2, 2009. Thank-you for participating!

  1. Shane 6 years ago

    Jon, Yes this is a theatrical release, 3500 screens in the U.S. and 300 IMAX screens across the country. 60ft screen, yeah baby!!! I have 8 5D’s and 3 7D’s, I love the 5D sensor, it feels less contrasty and holds more detail in the highlights. But on the Navy Seal film the 7D enabled me to use all of the Panavision Primo prime arsenal. I can use a 10mm Primo prime now, where I was limited with the sensor size to a 35mm Primo on the 5D. With the 7D I will take the downside of the camera to gain the quality of the Panavision glass. The difference is night and day in resolving power. Shane

  2. Shane 6 years ago

    The other Shane, I will be down in San Diego the 2nd thru the 6th. I would love to meet as many people as you can get together. My elite team will be down there and everyone could get a hands on peek at the Hurlbut location pkg. I would have 1.5 hours available on one of these three nights 2nd,3rd,4th to talk to everyone. I am staying in the Gas Lamp District.

  3. Victor 6 years ago

    Interesting. So far I’ve only looked at the first two scenes (have to go back to work). The first scene from the air of the boat is 5D (this is clear from the severe moire on the boat). The first scene of the model looks like film, judging by the grain. However, I’m not familiar with either the Sony or the Arri. I’ll educate myself on these two cameras before posting my full analysis.

    Some of the artifacts, like hue discontinuity around clouds could be controlled somewhat by choices in workflow. I’d also be interested to know how the film was converted to digital. It may be film, but it’s also digital. The analog to digital step is relevant, I think.

  4. Gene-o 6 years ago

    I’m not going to go for the gold, but in general, my guess is that most (but not the last) of the silhouettes during boarding are film (too much detail in blacks and whites in water not blown out). The last silhouette looks a bit too contrasty for film.

    Also in general, the “video” footage has this weird grain in bright areas (girl slowly coming down steps… there are others). The longer the shot, the more annoying this is. On newer network dramas shot on video, this “pixel” grain is usually most evident in bright blown out windows. Unless… this is an artifact of newer cine chains during transfer. Hopefully not. Either way, the effect drives me bats, it’s so un-film-like.

    That all being said, of course fast cutting does help prevent the eye from settling in too long. Although the long wide established shots could be either, it’s not really an acid test. It’s just a matter of what camera mount is best for aerials.

    I also saw the “tearing” in some shots. I assume that was 5D? Or was that caused by your conversion software?

    Hey, but don’t get me wrong. I am very impressed by this film. Years ago I was a VERY early pioneer of trying to make video look like film (and using video to create special effects from stabilized film layers). That this comparison is as hard as it is is a game changer in my opinion.

    I don’t think that the 5D and it’s ilk are quite up to not needing careful amounts of fill light added “around the practicals” (you still can’t quite throw a bare bulb in the scene and shoot it) but it’s getting damn close.

    Nice work !!! Congrats for being so bold!!

  5. Stefan 6 years ago

    I’ve watched it quit a thew times and from my experience with the 5d, I had an idea what 5d footage looks like. The two other cameras I’ve got actually no clue but I can guess that the sony is a cam mostly used for TV and the Arri for Cinematography.
    So this is my guess:
    All shots taken near people (bikini Girl and soldiers) war taken with the Canon 5d Mark II.
    Shots taken wide open with the sony 9as the one out of the water.
    And last some shots where the helicopter appears was shot with the Arri.

    So I didn’t wan’t to analyse each shot but mostly just in general.

    This is very inspiring. I love the work and effort.
    Hope to see the results of this contest.


  6. Tim 6 years ago

    Shane, thanks for the hint earlier. Here is my breakdown. I’m sure there are a couple of 5D vs Sony shots I reversed but I hope I got the film vs digital correct. I’m in the “OC” so hanging out in San Diego sounds good to me ;)

    I based it on the Quicktime player time so no frames just minutes/seconds, hope the numbers are close enough to match the shots up.

    00:00 – 00:15 > 5D

    00:15 – 01:00 > Arri
01:00 – 01:02 > 5D

    01:02 – 01:03 > 5D
01:03 – 01:05 > 5D (Could be Sony but I see slight Aliasing)
01:05 – 01:06 > Sony (5D could pull this shot off too based on my use of the camera so 50/50)

    01:06 – 01:07 > 5D
01:07 – 01:08 > Arri

    01:08 – 01:09 > 5D
01:09 – 01:10 > 5D (Could be Sony but I see slight Aliasing)
01:10 – 01:12 > Sony (Could be 5D but I would expect to see more in the shadows due to the sensor size)

    01:12 – 01:13 > 5D

    01:13 – 01:14 > 5D
    01:14 – 01:18 > 5D
01:17 – 01:18 > Arri (Based on other low water shots I say this is the Arri but the strange rippling on the boat make me think this is the 5D or is that water on the lens causing that?)
01:18 – 01:20 > Sony (Some highlight aliasing – 5D?)

    01:20 – 01:23 > 5D

    01:23 – 01:24 > Sony (Some highlight aliasing – 5D?)
01:24 – 01:26 > 5D
01:26 – 01:29 > Sony (Some highlight aliasing – 5D?)
01:29 – 01:30 > 5D

    01:30 – 01:31 > Sony (but Based on Shot at 1:18 – 01:20 – 5D?)
01:31 – 01:33 > 5D
01:33 – 01:39 > 5D
01:39 – 01:40 > Sony
01:40 – 01:50 > 5D
01:50 – 01:51 > 5D
01:51 – 01:52 > 5D

    01:52 – 01:54 > 5D

    Thanks for doing this btw. You are a great asset to the film industry.

  7. Shane 6 years ago

    Tim, that is impressive, wow!!! I love it. I am so sorry we had to pull this down. My elite team and I are going to review all the entries this weekend and we will announce a winner Monday morning. Then after the winner is announced we will give you all the answers to the contest. Good luck

  8. Shane 6 years ago

    Nathan, it looks great to me and my elite team will figure it out. Thanks so much for your expertise and commitment. Good luck

  9. Shane 6 years ago

    Nathan, it looks great to me. My elite team and I will figure it out. Thank you so much for your time and expertise. Good luck

  10. Victor 6 years ago

    0:00 5D
    0:05:07 5D (aliasing)
    0:08:06 5D color moire
    0:14:19 Arri
    0:22:02 looks different maybe a key frame?
    0:22:06 still Arri
    0:26:03 5D (aliasing)
    0:29:04 Arri
    0:30:13 reflection of camera between two glasses
    0:30:23 reflection of camera left of glass, above hand
    0:32:11 Arri
    0:36:12 Arri
    0:42:19 Arri (dust specks from scanning film?)
    0:45:13 Arri (more dust)
    0:57:15 Arri (more dust)
    1:00:16 weird artifact from frame changing software? Digital color noise, so must be 5D
    1:00:22 5D (more frame change artifacts)
    1:02:04 5D “”
    1:03:07 don’t know but I’ll guess Sony because it doesn’t look like anything so far
    1:05:04 not 5D (rotors would be give-away) guess: Arri
    1:06:07 5D (frame change)
    1:07:06 same as 0:15 (Arri film grain?)
    1:08:03 5D (blown highlights, frame change)
    1:09:16 Same as 1:03:07 (CA, colors)
    1:10:21 5D frame change artifacts
    1:12:08 5D
    1:13:14 5D rolling shutter, sensor dust (time for cleaning)
    1:14:17 5D (no more sensor dust issue)
    1:16:23 Arri
    1:18:10 Sony (maybe Arri)
    1:20:14 5D
    1:22:02 5D
    1:23:09 Arri
    1:24:14 5D with dust on sensor again
    1:26:12 Sony
    1:29:21 5D
    1:30:14 Sony
    1:31:22 5D
    1:33:04 5D
    1:34:17 5D
    1:39:04 Sony
    1:40:10 5D
    1:41:21 5D
    1:44:21 5D
    1:47:21 5D
    1:49:05 Arri
    1:50:12 This seems different from everything so for, but I’ll guess Sony because of color noise
    1:51:01 5D (aliasing)
    1:52:04 5D
    1:53:16 5D
    1:55:01 5D
    1:55:16 5D rolling shutter (different settings from previous shot)
    1:57:00 5D

  11. Jim Goldstein 6 years ago

    My best guess is the panning sequence of the girls on the deck (including the rise out of the water to see the armed man on the boat).

    I’m also thinking the last sequence of the men walking on the edge of the boat.

    Both have a clarity to them that I associate with digital still photography. No noise or grain. Just my best guess.

    Whether right or wrong a fun exercise. I look forward to seeing the answer.

  12. black hattitude 6 years ago


    thanks for the great quality of your blog, each time i come here, i’m amazed.

    black hattitude.

  13. Shane 6 years ago

    Jim, thanks for playing, I’m glad you like it. The winner will be announced on Monday morning, answers to the contest to follow.

  14. Shane 6 years ago

    Black hattitude, you are so welcome, more great stuff to come, check out the new BMW short.

  15. The Other Shane 6 years ago

    Shane that’s awesome! You’ve got some very excited 5D fanatics here in San Diego who can’t wait to hear / see what you guys are doing. I’ll reach you via your website but the 4th would let me get the most people together. Thanks very much for volunteering your offwork hours. A few of us missed the Collision Conference and have been majorly bummed as a result. This will be the perfect antidote.

  16. Shane 6 years ago

    The other Shane, sounds great. I am shooting at the National Cemetery, until 5:30 pm on the 4th. I will be back at my hotel by 6:00pm. I could meet everyone in the lobby at 7;00pm. Thoughts? I hope to see you then.

  17. The Other Shane 6 years ago

    Sounds good. I’ll need to figure out a location close to there – I’m still trying to get a rough head count. People are excited!

  18. Daniel 6 years ago

    Very interessting question and nice sequence.

    From the production logic the 5D II will be perfekt for the action szenes with little space to shoot – lifeboot szene and many of the szenes when naviseals assult the ship.


  19. Shane 6 years ago

    The other Shane, I am staying at the Indigo, what if we set up something there. On the 4th I will have done a 16 hour day and would love to stay around. Thoughts? I am very excited about the response. YEAH BABY!!!!!

  20. Shane 6 years ago

    Daniel, the size of the camera is one of its huge strong points, I love the way it moves in handheld mode, it has subtle vibration that adds to the intensity of the action. This camera is developing a new film language of movement. I am glad you liked the sequence.

  21. Victor 6 years ago

    Tim, I just compared your analysis to mine, and it seems very similar. We differ on these time frames:

    Time You Me
    00:26 Arri 5D
    01:03 5D/Sony Sony maybe
    01:05 Sony Arri
    I ruled out the 5D based upon the rotors of the helicopter not being curved. I couldn’t decided between Arri and Sony. Interesting that you ruled out Arri but thought 5D could have done it.
    01:10 Sony 5D
    01:17-01:18 you actually have covered by two cameras. I assume the 01:14-01:18 should have been 01:14-01:17, in which case, I think we agree.
    01:23 Sony Arri
    01:49-01:50 you didn’t separate this out. I did — I thought Arri.
    01:50 5D Sony

    Perhaps unfair to the 5D, a dead giveaway is the artifacts that appear from converting from 30fps to 24 fps. Assuming Canon’s firmware update next year contains 24 fps, this issue will go away. These artifacts usually look like smudged lines or distortions of elements in a picture. For example, a straight line will appear curved. Since I’m not familiar with either the Sony or the Arri, I just guessed at those based on the Arri being a film camera. If my guesses are right, the Sony seems to have some CA that is absent in the Arri clips. The Arri clips also reveal dust and emulsion imperfections that are absent on digital. These aren’t very noticeable at full speed, though.

  22. Shane 6 years ago

    Victor and Tim, keep it up, I love your analysis. You guys are getting close. Winner to be announced tomorrow, Monday the 2nd. Answers to follow. Good luck

  23. Tim 6 years ago

    Hey Victor, I double checked those shots.

    00:26 > Sticking with Arri – I see texture from the grain.
    01:03 > I still think 5D because of some aliasing on the boat but the Sony could have this too.
    01:05 > Still Sony for me. It doesn’t seem like film to me and the highlights in the water look too clipped/sharp.
    01:10 > The cockpit is so dark, still expect more from the 5D here but could be either.
    01:17-01:18 > Yes should have been 01:14- 01:17. So we agree here.
    01:23 – 01:24 > Def not the Arri. The highlights are way to harsh and you can see the compression working over time. Still say Sony but could be the 5D.
    01:49-01:50 > There is what looks like lint on the image which would make you think it was film but there are some distortions on the ceiling lines that should be the 5D. So still 5D for me
    01:50 > Sticking with my first answer but could go either way.

    If you can manage the 5D faults it can look as good or even better that the Sony, this really shows you how much this camera offers. How much more money is the Sony? Amazing stuff. I love my 5D2. Film still holds up well but comes with a cost, production and logistics hit.

    I would also love to know what lenses were used on what shots because they bring certain textures and characteristics to the image. Like those shots of the helicopter landing from the boat pov seem to have much more contrast to them.

    I racked my brain on this stuff and found it a fun little test. What happens if we tie or get close Shane? :)

  24. Victor 6 years ago

    Taking another look:

    00:26 It does seem to be similar to the previous. I decided 5D due to aliasing, but I’m changing my mind due to similar look to the previous and lack of frame change artifacts. This clip, however, could have been slomo without a problem to avoid the artifacts. I choose to believe, though, that it’s not. I also just noticed the camera’s reflection may be visible in the clapper of the bell. It’s too small for me to discern anything, though.
    1:03 I think I see the aliasing you are referring to. That aliasing reinforces to me that it is not the 5D. If it were, there would be color aliasing there. Instead of color aliasing, though, it’s just aliasing. I stick with Sony. Since I believe it’s Sony, the color in the whitecaps gives hints for other clips. Several clips I’ve identified as Sony have similar CA. This could be a lens-specific thing, and lenses could be swapped for all cameras involved, so this might be a red herring. Still, I’m sticking to it. The Sony uses prisms to separate the color channels, right? Does that technique introduce this sort of artifact?
    1:05 I’m switching to Sony on this one. It took me a while to decide on whether the film grain was right. I waffled between film grain being hidden by compression artifacts in the darker colors. On second look, there are some brighter colors in the scene that still don’t show the film grain I expect, so I’m switching to Sony. Definitely not 5D or I’d expect curved rotors.
    1:10 Look at the waves through the windshield along the dashboard. They are distorted. The distortion is not from imperfections in the windshield or you’d see them throughout. They’re an artifact from the software changing from 30fps to 24fps, hence the camera was the 5D. I suggest the poor quality of the very dark areas inside the cockpit are from the compression algorithm and not from the camera.
    1:23 On closer inspection, I’ll go with Sony due to the aliasing (again not color aliasing that I would expect with the 5D).
    1:49 I agree. 5D.
    1:50 I missed the distortion caused by changing frame rate before but see it now (look at the nose vs. bar in windshield. So I’m revising to 5D for this shot. Probably done at the same time as other cockpit clip.

  25. Shane 6 years ago

    Victor and Tim I love that you went back and re-analized it. Well if there are two people that are close, then maybe you are both visiting the set. We will see I have my judges looking it all over tonight and will post the winner by Monday afternoon. Thanks again for you commitment and passion.

  26. mane 6 years ago

    nice work

  27. Author
    Shane 6 years ago

    mane, thank so much, more cool footage coming your way.

  28. Jeff Simmonds 6 years ago

    Hi. I’m looking at producing a adventure show for Discovery Channel. I was thinking of using the Sony EX3 camera, but am very interested in the 5D. I am aware that the BBC rejected the 5D camera, and I am interested to know your take on the 5D’s “broadcast quality”.

    I am sorry if you have already answered this kind of question already.

    I am especially interested in questions of compression, codex and artifacts.

    Do you think that the 1DS will be more acceptable to channels like the BBC than the 5D? Do you think that Canon will put out a firmware upgrade to allow recording in a different codex, something more akin to HDcam? Do you think that the Canon is comparable to, or better than the EX3 and that the BBC (and, presumably, Discovery) are unfairly dismissing the 5D?

    Also, relatedly, can you see the day when you could shoot a commercial feature film that is going to go to 35mm movie film on the 5D? The Terminator promo clips, after all, only went onto the internet. Is the quality of the camera anywhere near enough to get put up onto the big screen?

    Thanks for your time and help. I appreciate your work.


  29. Author
    Shane 6 years ago

    Hi Jeff, I am doing a film right now for Warner Bros. that is 75% 5D and it is going to be on 300 IMAX screens across the US along with 2200 Digital theaters. I feel that Canon will come out with a different codex, but the beauty of this camera is that it records onto a compact flash card. The 8 BIT color space is limiting but I have been doing some amazing things with it. It holds up very well. I have bought 9-5D’s and 2-7D’s. I have 4-1D’s on order. I am going to Croatia to lens a movie for Fox called Medieval, it is a 157 million dollar action movie and I plan on shooting a lot of the action sequences with this camera. I feel that the BBC nixed the camera not because of its quality, but because that is does not generate timecode. That defeats there whole post work flow. Also the post is difficult at this time, but things are a changin’. The camera is 10 times better than the EX3 if you want your HD to look like film, if you want it to look like HD then go for the EX 3. Yes, I can see the day that 35mm movie film will be shot on the 5D, I am creating the wave, I hope you are inspired to catch it.

  30. thalasso 6 years ago

    Really nice blog !
    I’m one of your rss user ;-)

  31. William Russo 6 years ago

    This is the first time I stop by this blog. I discovered a lot of useful stuff in your site especially its discussion. With the numerous comments on your articles, I assume I am not the only one experiencing all the enjoyment here! Keep up the excellent work.

    • Author
      Shane 6 years ago

      William Russo, thank you so much for your kind words. I will continue to push the envelope.

    • Author
      Shane 6 years ago

      William Russo, thank you for all those kind words, I am glad that you are enjoying it.

  32. Amaj 5 years ago

    nice works,
    i am trying to film a new project and for the first time i am going to use 5D.

  33. Harry 5 years ago

    Hello Shane,
    I have been shooting Pentax since 1965, now I wanted to buy their new K-5 but it is HD@25fps which is PAL. I need 23.976 for NTSC here in North America. Or at least 29.97. The bad joke – Japan is NTSC. I use CS5 and Lightroom 3. How can I convert frame rates or do I jump ship and buy a Canon 7D…? Really enjoy your wisdom and tutorials. Blue skies, Harry

  34. Nikon d5110 5 years ago

    I just spent the last few hours lost in this site. I have subscribed to your feed and will be coming back for sure!

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