Still and video are different. Here is yet another way I've discovered how they are different.
This was the first video that I've shot for a college client. The design firm, for obvious reasons, was adamant that I separate the days I was shooting one or the other. With the 5D however, I often slipped, shooting stills with my subject, then switching to video capture. I love that it is so easy to do that with this camera.
Oddly, I find shooting video to be more connecting. That wouldn't seem obvious. I use a camera to deepen my awareness of a place, of the energy of the people around me, and of my internal sensations in response to my surroundings. My entire theory of how photography operates as a mechanism of mediation between inner and outer awareness is based on this notion. But still photography is also a witnessing medium, as opposed to a participatory one. Part of you needs to stand apart from the moment in order to capture it.
Video requires more cooperation from your subject, at least when your subject is a living, breathing person you've asked to reveal something with the camera running. There is a negotiation (can you help me with my video project?) a question, a cogent answer (if all goes well), and a goodbye. It is a dip into a brief, intense and sometimes intimate exchange. It turns out I am really liking it.
When I dip back into still mode, my participation is suddenly quiet and unspoken. I use my comfort with the medium and my awareness of the energetics of the situation to recede into the background. Even with two huge, honking cameras, standing in the middle of the action, I am able to disappear. I witness and record such that I am not generally a piece of the event.
I don't disappear in video. What I bring to the relationship is what gets recorded. I need to be involved in as significant a manner as my subject. It turns out I really like that part.Maybe I'm ready to become more visible in my work.
Canon 5D Canon 5D Mark II 24-105mm lens 16-35mm lens 70-300mm lens 15mm fisheye lens 16 CF cards, 1-8gb ea. Mini-LED light w/ CC gels Sennheiser MKE-400 microphone Blower for sensor dust Gaffer tape Lots of AA and AAA batteries WhiBal card Sunglasses Antacids Pens reading material for plane iPhone Garmin GPS
In the suitcase:
Gitzo tripod light stand umbrella canvas bag for tripod/light stands 2 Firewire hard drives Sennheiser wireless lav mike Extra camera batteries and chargers 2 Lexar CF card readers Bag 'o cables 3 shirts 1 pants 1 shorts 3 underwear 3 socks pile vest toiletries vitamins
I don't like to think of myself as someone who cares about a television. I'm embarrassed, actually, to tell of this journey. I still identify with the man I was 20 years ago, when I didn't and wouldn't own a TV. I still cringe when I see family rooms set up with an enormous plasma screen as the center of the universe, and there's not a book to be seen. Is your life that vacuous, I think? Have you no intellect left after you pay your cable bill?
Rigid ideology has a way of biting one in the behind, and the universe appears to be laughing at me lately.
Our decade-old television (tuned, of course, to appropriately edifying stations like BBC—to watch Torchwood and Doctor Who, but don't tell anyone) needed replacement. Robin's birthday was coming up—she hinted more than once how nice a new TV would be for the Inauguration Day party.
I bargained 25% off a 40” Toshiba at Best Buy (checking Consumer Reports on the iPhone to make sure it had a good rating), then went to Ikea for a cheap stand. This is where everything started falling apart.
The stand was up to Ikea's usual standard, meaning it looked crappy and cheap. A coat of paint just made it look worse. And it wasn't deep enough to hold our other components. After two days of alterations I admitted defeat and we found a nice media table at Cost Plus.
Then I entered the world of video cable components, connectors, multiple remotes, and archaic ancillary equipment. At last, I cobbled everything into one Entertainment Center. And we sat down to watch some TV.
A standard def signal displayed on a 1080i screen looks dreadful. The sound out of a contemporary television is tinny and weak. It appears the TV is the least of the changes, and cash is about to begin hemorrhaging. To get this system up to snuff we apparently need: a new Direct TV receiver, an HD subscription upgrade, some kind of external speaker array, a new DVD player, and probably a new amp for the stereo. Nothing we have now has contemporary outputs, like HDMI.
It is extremely tempting to go back to the old Triniton. Or just read a book.
Here is what I shot with the 5D at the Lake City Dance the other night, the one where I whined on about the display. These are most of the in focus bits, tossed onto a single track of the musicians. For you contra dancers and callers out there, don't try and figure out what dance it is. I swiped pieces from several.
I have applied no color correction to the footage. This is what it looks like out of the camera.
As I approach my 500th frame taken on the Canon 5D Mark II, I am starting to have some opinions.
Things are placed just a little differently on the new 5D. Now I have a lot of hard-won unconsious patterning that is going to be upset the first time I go on a job, which will be in a couple weeks. There is an issue with using two not quite identical cameras simultaneously. For example, the position of the exposure compensation scale is just a little different on the new camera. Because it's one of those things I unconsciously register, I can already anticipate the possible errors when that indicator is in a different position depending on which camera I'm glancing at. I really ought to have two new 5D's, but that's a bit out of reach at the moment.
I love that there's a My Menu screen, where I can plant just the functions I use all the time. Like Format. And now RAW file size, as I don't necessarily want to be producing files that are 5616 pixels wide when I'm shooting for the web. Love that.
12800 is the new 3200. Shooting in the extended ISO range is a stretch. Last night I shot at 12800. For web use, no problem. For printed use—well, if it's bigger than a quarter page I'd be hesitant. But it's great that I have the reach when I need it. Just like 3200 on the old camera.
Now, video. This camera is a real hassle if you're trying to make it be one. Focus is the culprit. If your subject is immobile and you can carefully set the focus point, fine. But if your subject is immobile, why are you taking a video of it? The camera shoots wide open, which means your depth of field is about an inch. There is no autofocus when it's running. You have to rack the focus manually, on that screen in the back that you can't see because you're middle-aged and wear progressive trifocals. It just doesn't work folks. I'll need a pair of reading glasses dangling from my neck if I'm going to use this thing as a video camera.
It does, however, auto-expose while you're shooting video, so you get that amateurish bright-to-dark-to-bright thing when your subject changes brightness.
Below are some frame grabs from the video I shot last night. In a day or so I'll to have some footage posted.