I was hired to do a marketing piece for a company that does high-end digital sales training, and when I told them I could do not only photographs (as I have done for them before) but video, too, they jumped at the opportunity. I decided that I would commit to the Canon EOS 5D Mark II to film this piece for a few reasons.
- The gig was in New Jersey, and the complexity of flying out all my video gear (based around the Canon XL2) would be expensive, complicated, and probably require an assistant on-site.
- The 5D Mark II would double as my backup stills body, further reducing the weight and quantity of gear
- The phenomenal low-light capability of this camera also meant I could leave all my lights at home
- The 5D Mark II will work on a small, lightweight fluid head I have
- I just wanted to do it.
Overall, I was extremely pleased with the results. And my clients were flabbergasted when I was not only able to show them results in near real-time, but I was able to edit together a fun slideshow recap with about 10 different video clips embedded in the show.
- I found it very easy to “fool” the camera into using wide apertures when I felt like it would be an advantage (the snipped below was shot with the Canon 35/1.4 wide open using a technique I cobbled together on the forums).
- I decided to transcode all the H.264 video into Apple’s ProRes format because it was really hard to edit the raw camera files in Final Cut Pro on my Macbook Pro. And I’m really glad I brought out a pair of 500GB Firewire drives. I ended up with nearly 250GB of ProRes video files, which corresponds to only around 25-30 minutes of video!
- The quality of the video was exceptional. I found it easy to adjust the white balance before shooting, and I shot in a wide variety of situations, including hideously a dark and weirdly-lit bar and classrooms with combinations of window light and fluorescent light.
- The one huge downside (which cost me some time) was the complexity of using wireless mics. On two occasions I lost entire interview segments, once because I forgot to plug the XLR adapter into the camera, and a second time when I forgot to take the body pack off standby. Epic fail. I want a headphone jack on the camera to monitor the audio!
Anyway, here’s a photo of the rig perched on the camera. It’s an Azden dual-mic receiver with two XLR outputs. I ran its outputs into a BeachTek XLR-Pro adapter, which in turn has a stereo miniplug output, which works nicely with the 5D Mark II’s audio input.