Seeing Spots



This is how was seeing things after working until 1:30 am studying how best to shoot video with my Canon 5d Mark II. I was mostly figuring out how to get good, clear sound without line hiss and filter out as much background noise as possible, to do a video shoot for a client at the office. Even though, I’ve had my 5D for over a year, I had never bothered to learn how to shoot video with it, because I rarely do video. I had read about live view and video in the manual, but never bothered to try video. But now that we needed to reshoot a video session because of technical difficulties with the video camera used to shoot the video on Wednesday, and the videographer is out of the office rest of the week, my camera was it.

Before I started looking into the world of video with the Canon 5D Mark II, I hadn’t realized Canon had revolutionized the world of shooting video with a DSLR camera after they introduced the 5D Mark II around 4 years ago. While I think about the fact the the full-frame sensor (size of a 35mm negative) on the 5D is more than 20 times larger than most point and shoot cameras, the same is true for most video cameras, including video cameras that cost thousands of dollars more than a 5D. So I learned that Hollywood has been using the 5D for major motion pictures and TV shows  because of it’s compact size and HD video that can be seamlessly integrated into sequences shot on 35mm film. I also learned that because of the FAT 32 formatting of CF memory cards single files sizes are limited to 4GB, about 12 minutes of HD video or 30 minutes of lower res video. But even the lower res video will cut off by the camera at 29 minutes 59 seconds because of laws in the EU that say any camera that records 30 minute or longer segments cannot be called still picture cameras or DSLRs, but have to be called video cameras instead. So Canon has the 5D cut the recording at 29:59 no matter the file size.

It didn’t take long to get all the video details worked out on the camera, but the sound was another issue, because there is a lot of background noise in the office, and the mics built into the cameras seem to pick up all noises in the office. So I needed to reduce background noise as much as possible. Around midnight, flashlight in hand, I ventured out into the darkness to find my audio equipment stored in the shed at the far end of the property. Twenty minutes later I made it safely back to the house with a tangle of microphones, cords, connectors and adapters in my hands, and spent the next hour doing sound tests between 4 different mics, a half a dozen different cables and half again that many connectors and adapters before I found a microphone/cable/adapter combination that plugged into the camera and produced low noise, high quality sound.

All the trouble was worth it, because the video and audio came out great. The video is of a signer interpreting the reading of the master plan for a deaf culture center. With the fantastic video quality, the reader’s wonderful voice, and having a very handsome signer interpreting the reading, the video might just go viral.