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Notes on a 7D shoot – Sam Morgan Moore

“Shooting video is easy”, was a quote on another post on this blog. Like many DSLR shooters, I’m from a stills background so just learning but this is what I know. Shooting video is engaging, challenging, testing, difficult and great great fun – anything but easy

Shooting 25p progressive is even harder than that because you need to be super smooth – a shocking leap from the 30p 5d or an interlaced video camera. The mind is busting with thought for every moment that you roll. Focus, pan speed, shooting angles that will cut, following the action or letting it move into the frame and of course composition, but as a DSLR shooter that is easy and has to be instant.

Shooting motion puts your thoughts under a microscope there is no doubt, I shot this for fun having shot stills of the gang for a magazine last month

Fight Club Truro – Canon 7d from Sam Morgan Moore on Vimeo.

We arrived at nine and departed by eleven, my edit was done by 3am having shot another job in the afternoon. The majority is done with a 70-200 nikkor G lens with the aperture jammed open at f2.8 , stuck on a good Miller tripod which has a wide choice of panning frictions right down to nearly nothing. Follow focus with the lens was the main challenge of the day particularly the lack of monitor and the minute adjustments that the small sensor and DSLR AF lens implies, I used a home made Follow Focus.

Other shots are done on my shoulder rig (www.halfinchrails.com) using both a 14mm nikkor 2.8 and a 50 1.4 nikkor at 2.8. Slo mo reallys cheats handheld moves, but it just doesnt look good with my 14mm – I think I need to stop down a little to sharpen it up

The 50mm lens sings for both perspective and sharpness at f2.8

The edit is probably a bit weak, it starts a little slow and I should change my POV more in some of the cuts – I hope the video is fun

Oh ? the camera – 7D – my initial appraisal is you need a lot of light to keep the ISO down and give yourself some options with aperture to sustain focus, especially in 50FPS mode – Im loving the look of the camera having been initially scared of a ‘small’ chip

I think what DSLR shooters can take away from this is the selection of shot angles and cut choices, Im trying to make an engaging sequence – not a moving slide show which is what I think a lot of DSLR shooters are tempted to do.

SMM

Sam Morgan Moore is a professional stills photographer who works for the ‘heavy’ newspapers and commercial clients in the south west of the uk
he is available to hire to create stills, motion or preferably both
www.sammorganmoore.com

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Posted on October 8th, 2009 by admin | Category: Camera support systems, Canon Eos7D, Journalism |

46 responses to "Notes on a 7D shoot – Sam Morgan Moore"

  1. Bela Says:
    October 8th, 2009 at 10:44 am

    “Shooting video is engaging, challenging, testing, difficult and great great fun – anything but easy.”

    SUGEGSTION: A reputable four-year film/video school will do wonders in mastering the tricky craft.

    “Shooting 25p progressive is even harder than that because you need to be super smooth.”

    ????

    “give yourself some options with aperture to sustain focus, especially in 50FPS mode.”

    ????

  2. Sam Morgan Moore Says:
    October 8th, 2009 at 12:39 pm

    Four years – at what cost – how would the market pay that back- if you want to sponsor me – lovely

    Also what course teaches you to become a DSLR News Shooter, – The skill is being invented right here on this site in front of your eyes

    ——
    ???
    25p can stutter during panning in a manner that smeared interlaced video or higher frame capture do not – causing a need of extra smooth operation of the camera

    ???
    If you have more light you can get a lower ISO which brings cleaner footage
    You can also stop down the aperture and gain a little depth of field to help keep a moving subject in focus

    S

  3. Bela Says:
    October 8th, 2009 at 8:36 pm

    Sam, isn’t it rather dangerous to be fencing in your spotted underpants? I’m just asking… :-)

    Yeah, good schooling costs money in this world, that’s for a fact. Nothing is free, see?

    I am sure that at the AFI, London Film School, Full Sail in Florida, NYU, etc, they profs and lecturers have also heard of this newfangled Cine-DSLR phenomenon. You really think that they hadn’t?

    “25p can stutter during panning in a manner that smeared interlaced video or higher frame capture do not.”

    I am surprised, since most of these young turk DLSR geniuses want to shoot at 24p anyhow, for that much coveted, Sundance-approved “film look” (ha-ha-ha-ha)! Seriously though, hadn’t the EBU approved for the EU an HDTV standard of 720/50p? And not 720/25p? If it is indeed 720/50p for the new Euro-HDTV transmission, wh shoot at anything other than 720/50p, Sam?

    We need deliverables for worldwide telly distribution, so we are actually thinking of shooting with the P2 Varicam at 720/50p, which would take care of all PAL area HDTV deliverables. Easy to go from there to 50i for SDTV PAL. I am just not sure how easy it would be to transcode/standard convert 720/50p to ATSC’s 1080/50i or 720/30p? In case you happen to know.

    “If you have more light you can get a lower ISO which brings cleaner footage.”

    MY TAKE; On film we shoot a lot of INT and EXT NIGHT stuff on 500 ASA film, which can easily be pushed one or two F-stops. Now, since these newfangled DSLRs are supposed to have such huge sensors, why is ISO such a big issue? If a digital camera cannot give you noise-free footage at ISO 500 setting, it is not worth shooting with, IMHO. Yeah, you need lights for INT and EXT NIGHT scenes. Welcome to showbiz, I gue$$.

    “You can also stop down the aperture and gain a little depth of field to help keep a moving subject in focus.”

    MY TAKE: I am with you there, Sam. We shoot action adventurters with chases, fights, etc. Even with S16 lenses we have plenty of soft focus shots. I can’t imagine any people are trying to cover an actual MOVING scene with a Canon 5D2 and a F1.4 lens at full open. That is plain stupid. For our use, the wider the DOF, the better. No out-of-focus shots. That’s what I call “artistic.”

  4. Sam Morgan Moore Says:
    October 8th, 2009 at 10:26 pm

    Hi

    None of your points are incorrect but you are missing the cultural phenomenon the is behind being a DSLR shooter

    We are not about shooting scripted drama – we are about shooting reality or a close version of the same in a manner that is aesthetically acceptable to us who have developed an eye for documenting the world with 35mm stills cameras an their lovely lenses and ‘chip size’

    I have shot stills over the years with a 25ISO Hasselblad, in stills terms I suppose this is similar to the top panavision or whatever

    The work involved in producing images from this camera was ‘film set like’ all heavy lights, slow and formal

    Basically that camera is culturally and commercially dead – I shoot 90% of my work on a nikon D3 now

    Because the images are 80% of the quality of the Blad

    But that 80% is ‘good enough’

    and the ‘grip requirement’ is 98% less

    and my productivity 200% higher therefore

    and the relationship with my subjects 200% more natural

    and my cost per image to the client is cut by maybe 75% due to increased speed of operation

    The financial argument for the D3 over the blad is a no brainer

    To replicate this simple cheap workflow to capture motion is the dream

    That dream is maybe two cameras away from realisation

    If you cannot see what that will do to ‘hollywood’ then get with the program – maybe study the history of commercial stills shooting and its digital revolution

    Think about the implications that with a DSLR moviecam one can shoot close to cinematic images with a package that can almost fly ‘hand lugguage only’

    I work in an environment often where the EX1 is too big and heavy!

    This miniturisation will have a magnetism to clients that will have an unavoidable pull

    Did you see the 5d doco from afghan, this was possbile because the operator could move like a soldier not like a film set – amazing vision of the future

    I remember the fist motion assignment I tried, the first words from the subject where ‘ok lets jump on the RIB’ – thats not tradition cinema its traditional photojournalism

    Back to some technical points

    Im using 25p because it seems flexible to me (maybe im wrong)

    25p does not flicker under UK artificial lights

    25p can be coverted very fast for UK broadcast

    25p can be slowed to 24p for ‘cinema’ and then a pulldown can be made for 60i

    Maybe this is duff thinking

    On apertures I have just kitted out this camera properly the lenses I have chosen are 16-50 2.8 and a 70-200 F4

    even though I already own those fast primes

    I choose zooms to cut lens changes down and those smaller apertures because they give more lattitude for pulling focus

    ps real names are nice

  5. Dan Chung Says:
    October 9th, 2009 at 4:16 am

    Bela, bear in mind that this is news and features we are talking about here on Dslrnewsshooter.com (clue’s in the name). How many TV news cameramen and women went to film school? how many BBC documentary shooters did? Would they have benefited from doing so, very likely, but that is not the market as it stands.

    Dan

  6. Manus Says:
    October 9th, 2009 at 4:20 am

    nice video sam.. i guess bela is worried, frustrated and agressive about those who didnt spend huge amounts on a 4 yr course catching up on him.. (just a thought!)

  7. Andy Whitehall Says:
    October 9th, 2009 at 5:53 am

    Bela, you’ve been posting comments on poor Dans new site for a while now, most of them have been unprovoked attacks on the filmmakers or other people posting comments..
    I’m wondering are you only here because you’ve been thrown out of the other dv sites for your behaviour?
    I don’t know if you act like that in real life or just when hiding behind your 100inch screen, but friendly suggestion would be perhaps a vacation or to seek some local professional help for your agression..

  8. Sam Morgan Moore Says:
    October 9th, 2009 at 9:49 am

    I think there are some fair points, the other blog entry describing video as easy was a little narrow minded

    It is easy to grab a 5d and an 85/1,2 and make some beauty

    There is far more to the game than that

    I refer to my opener

    “engaging, challenging, testing, difficult and great great fun”

    I would encourage DSLR shooter to practice contructing complete ‘works’ and short sequences that cut

    There is indeed a lot to learn – but it doable if you have solid background in PJ work and most important understanding situations

    That it gained in the field and not at school

    S

  9. Bela Says:
    October 10th, 2009 at 12:48 pm

    @Sam #4, I am not quite sure what 35mm “full frame” size has got to do with motion pictures and video production? Anything at all? Granted, the sensor size in a Canon EOS 5D Mark II is close to the film frame size of the rather obsolete Vistavision format, but so what? Big-budget Hollywood movies like “The Fighter” recently shot on 2-perforation 35mm film, wich the 2-ferm 35mm film frame being smaller in surface area that what even the Canon 7D provides, let alone the 5D2.

    If bigger is indeed better, the we should all wait for even larger sized sensors and Red’s long-ago promised 128K resolution digital sensor.

    Sam, you may be the first person out there comparing a Hasselblad still photographic cameras with a Panavision film camera. They both have bodies and lenses go up front of them, but likely that is where the similarities end, no?

    Shooting still pictures will do nothing to Hollywood, nor using any of the newfangled video-capable DSLRs. Hollywood is not afraid of them. In fact, Hollywood is probably not even noticing them as any sort of competitor.

    Unlike film cameras, a video-capable DSLR does NOT shoot “cinematic images.” Rather, it shoots 1920×1080 or 1280×720 pixel size video images, using not even cine-class lenses, but 35mm still photography lenses. These are truly big differences, see?

    Also, whenever anything moves front of the DSLR camera, or else your camera itself moves, you will somehow have to “work around” the fact that these newfangled CMOS sensor cameras exhibit rather nasty motion artifacts caused by their electronic rolling shutter.

    Sam, if you are indeed working in an environment where a fixed-lens Sony XDCAM-EX1 prosumer video camcorder is considered “too big and too heavy,” you should maybe consider switching to one of those credit card size cameras… Easy as peasy carrying and setting up with one of those.

    I am not all that sure that “miniturisation will have a magnetism to clients.” However, I am pretty sure they will be bitching pretty good when they see those nasty rolling shutter artifacts, especially when projected onto a big screen. Nasty!

    Moving on long, before the invention of the Canon EOS 5D Mark II, photojournalists have moved about on the world’s battlefields with 16mm and 35mm cameras pretty damn good.

    I am not sure what the UK broadcast refresh rate is these days, but on Contienental Europe, and according to the European Broadcasters Union, it looks like that for HDTV it will be 50p.

    “25p can be slowed to 24p for ‘cinema’ and then a pulldown can be made for 60i.”

    MY TAKE: Good luck with your audio staying in sync doing it this way.

    BTW, do you really think that stuff shot with a Canon or Nikon or Panny DSLR camera will be shown at 24fps in any cinema soon? I seriously doubt that.

    You make mention of the zooms you are using on the Canon. The maximum you can get is about a 3x zoom range. Over on the video camcorder world, you can get a 20x and even 100x zoom range. But at least a 12x range. The SLR/DSLR zooms are okay for still photography, which is what they were designed for. Less so for moving images. Also, in the film and pro video world, a lens will likely have a T2 opening or wider. Not so with the SLR/DSLR lenses, some of which are at F5.6 at their widest. Again, not all that good for video work.

    Lastly, you go to shcool to learn things. So when you leave school, you can utilize the knowledge by gaining actual field experience. Sometime I believe I am the only one here who did not miss “schooling” as part of personal development.

    @Dan #5, I was sort of joking with the 4-year film schools, you know that, right? Although, I would hope that at least a few people working in the field of news gathering and television production have gone to some related schools or training courses at some point in their lives. Or do they just finish grade school, grab a Canon or Nikon DSLR, and hop on over to Afghanistan to have their buttocks shot at by the inconsiderate enemy every time they see sunlight reflected from the lens?

    @Manus #6, I am netiher worried nor frustrated about the fact that apparently your parents did not send you to any school. Thereby spending “huge amounts” on your education. But why come out and brag about a lack of education, eh? Is that something to be proud of, you think?

    @Andy Whitehall #7 sez: “Bela, you’ve been posting comments on poor Dans new site for a while now.”

    MY TAKE ON THAT KEEN OBSERVATION: How very observant of you, Andy. Thanks for noticing it, I guess. BTW, why do you suppose Dan is poor?

    Regarding “unprovoked attacks on filmmakers,” why do you ask? Are you one of those? Filmmakers, I mean?

    Listen, Andy, you have added nothing useful about the 7D footage and text that Sam was most gracious to provide for us, so as a filmmaker, do you have like any useful, technical or artisitic input to share with us?

  10. Chris Gibbs Says:
    October 10th, 2009 at 1:17 pm

    Hi Sam,
    Nice work (I’m a stills guy too). So much for us to learn here, my thanks to all you & Dan especially for sticking your necks out and posting stuff for critique!
    My take: Nice camera work, interesting edit – but didn’t like the music.
    Music, for me is the toughest part of this whole *moving image equation!*
    Keep them coming mate.
    Cheers,
    Chris

  11. Sam Morgan Moore Says:
    October 10th, 2009 at 1:27 pm

    Bela

    You are missing who us people are : professional stills photojournalists making steps into recording the same stuff ‘in motion’ under the same harsh circumstances and timelines as daily press photography entails

    We are doing this mainly because our clients newspapers now deliver both in print on via the web

    Once again you are not technically incorrect !

    Some points

    Schooling

    Dan and I are schooled. We went the best be school for stills photojournalism in the world, served our time on the regional press and are now hired by, or staff of, the finest UK newspapers

    The UK press is virtually staffed by our aluminii

    Hasselblad

    There is a ‘big production culture’ when shooting this camera driven by its requirement for light

    The industry (corporate brochures, glossy magazines) etc would expect maybe 10 pics per day from that camera and production values

    The same industry is now expecting more images for less money, possible through cameras like the D3 that are fast and simple to use

    The same thing WILL happen in time to motion production – but remember is took 10 years of digital stills development to get to digital stills cameras to meet corporate and glossy expectations – would you argue Red is doing nothing to the motion industry?? (Even is it is not as good as film)

    The EX1

    I am used to traveling alone and unassisted, I will of course be fully kitted with a stills DSLR rig and lens set, adding a 7d adds a minimal burden to that load, in a way that an EX1 does not

    Adding a FLIP instead of a 7d would also keep the weight down too but is probably not such a good solution

    Cinematic Images

    In look and feel at low resolutions the images from the 7d with wide primes are similar in perspective to 35mm, or Red, in a way that a Flip, or EX1 are not

    As quality image makers our compositional skill are up there with DPs

    This creates (we hope) a cinematic package, admittedly at a resolution that is not IMO suitable for theatrical projection, although worse cameras have been used fortheatrical projection of course

    Lenses

    Most of us here are talking 2.8 zooms for DSLRs, yes the zoom ratio is way less and the lack of powered zoom does affect the shoot style making it more cinematic where zooming in shot is rarer than the zooms in shot we see in television

  12. Bela Says:
    October 10th, 2009 at 10:36 pm

    @Sam #11, okay, if you are right. Everybody here is strictly a still photographer, having until late 2008 never even heard of videography, let alone captured any film or video clip?

    HINT: video camcorders have been out for some 50 years know. Yes, some 50 years BEFORE the very first video-capable hit the marketplace last autumn.

    Decades ago, I took still pictures with a still camera. And moving images with a film camera. But I can see how all of this moving image stuff can be brand spanking new and rather confusing for some people. No big deal either way, trust me. I am absolutely not floored by the fact that a still image camera can also take video clips. Cameras like these, doing dual function still and moving images, have been out for a good 15 years in the merketplace, just not in the SLR form factor.

    “would you argue Red is doing nothing to the motion industry?”

    MY RESPONSE: Nothing at all. Also, the Red has really got nothing much to do with the motion picture industry (but see below).

    For starters, if you had ever seen any Red footage projected onto a big screen using the 8.8MP 4K rez Sony SXRD-series 5K lumen or 10K lumen projector, you would have known that it looks like crap. Pure video, nothing film-like about it. It is a video camera that nobody really needs, either, since this is not a 4K world. There may never be a 4K world, either, as I believe the next resolution jump from HD/2K might be right to 6K or 8K. Red’s 4K is not anybody’s standard resolution, except Red’s own. Same with 3K rez, 5K rez, and indeed all other resolutions dreamt-up by Red and nobody else.

    In case you had heard of the British Society of Cinemtaographers (abbreviated as BSC), along with their US colleagues at the ASC, they tested all video and D-film cameras earlier this eyar. Unfortunately, the Red One did not even make it out of the first round! Bang, it was that bad. The most filmic images were captured by the Arri D21, followed by the Panasonic HPX3700 Varicam with the CCD sensors and global shutter.

    Personally, I would not even take a Red One camera with all acessories to the battlefield, let alone a movie set.

    Regarding the Sony EX1and EX3 camcorders, are you saying that those cannot take single images? Because if they can take single images, then they are also combination still photo + video cameras. Just like the video-DSLRs are. In my opinion, the Sony EX-series camcorders are somewhat better for video clips, and the DSLRs are definitely better for still photos, but I am sure you can argue with that assessment.

    Sam, you keep comparing images captured by a 35mm film camera to images captured by the Red. But there is no similarity at all between them. Film captures a filmic image, have you seen one of those? Whereas the Red One captures video images that, well… look rather videoish. Pretty awful, actually. Look up the ranking of the recent ASC and BSC camera test shoot-outs to see where your precious Red One was slotted by ASC and BSC cinematographers. Nowhere near the top, I’m afraid. Heck, even the Canon EOS 5D2 ranked higher on the totem pole than the Red One did, yeah! Check it out, friend.

    Most cameras used so far to put a series of moving images to a screen were either film cameras or video cameras. Not with digital still camereas. That is brand new.

    Finally, with regards to lenses, what Canon, Nikon, etc. make for their SLRs and DSLRs are what is known as SLR/DSLR still photography lenses. You change focal length with the zooms, just not while you are capturing the images. For that, you need a rather large F opening, a long-range zoom for varifocal, dead silent zooming and focal adjustment, 270+ degree of focal ring turn, servo zoom, and so forth.

    Zoom shots are rarer in projects in which the cameraman either has no proper cine-style or at elast video zoom lens to put on the camera, or else does not know how to zoom properly. But for the rest, varifocal optics are a great invention indeed.

  13. James Dodd Says:
    October 11th, 2009 at 11:26 am

    wow… bella, you really like to try and sidetrack things!
    tho I do agree with you on the use of prime lenses over zooms… while they are incredibly useful in press photography for keeping the kit a tad lighter, it’s just far to easy to go back to playing with that ring during video which can produce nasty effects…

    anyway back to the subject…

    I’m not sure what this video was meant to be? it felt very much like a simple technical demonstration of the capabilities of the camera as opposed to some sort of news piece?

    “This is a fencing academy – every one is trying for the Olympics 2012 or 2016″

    it didn’t feel like that… I would loved to have seen something a little more personal, interviews, maybe following a single individual, maybe from the coaching perspective? I don’t know it just didn’t hit the mark for me?

    But is that because this is very early on in a project with them or because you didn’t want anything extra?

    would love to know more.

  14. Sam Morgan Moore Says:
    October 11th, 2009 at 12:50 pm

    Bela

    “Red is crap” we are just in different places not wrong not right just different ENDS

    James

    Indeed this is a ‘camera test’ as denoted in the vimeo description, to give the 7d a spin

    There are some interviews (that I am not that happy with) – hopefully this will indeed become a project or a least a completed ‘piece’ in time

    S

  15. James Dodd Says:
    October 11th, 2009 at 12:54 pm

    do you mind me asking what was wrong with the interviews?

  16. Sam Morgan Moore Says:
    October 11th, 2009 at 1:19 pm

    To be honest I have not even really gone through them

    But the sound in the hall was crazy

    And outside it was pXssing with rain drumming on the roof

    it needs to be properly miked and monitored

    Mainly I failed to capture emotion

    Of course this was just a test of the cam that may lead to greater things

    I find it hard to pull focus, monitoring the back screen and be an engaging interviewer at the same time

    If this had been a paid gig I would have done those on my EX1

    S

  17. James Dodd Says:
    October 11th, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    interesting on the EX1. would that have just been for interviews or the whole whack?

    I think doing interview, sound and camera can acheived, I’ve done it myself, tho admitadly there is some tradeoff in quality. For me it was that it was a static shot since I didn’t have anything to should mount or stabilise the 5D!

    regarding the lighting:
    I’d love to hear some thoughts on the position of continuous lighting for press work.

    it’s something I’ve been considering for a while now.

    obviously it’s a little different when you’re wanting to present something to be as “real” as possible, but when it comes to press/news or things more along an “art” line.

    I’d just expect it to be becoming a more common element in a press kit.

  18. Bela Says:
    October 11th, 2009 at 2:24 pm

    @James Dodd #13. On the last feature shoot (on S16mm film) we had two zooms and four primes shared by two cameras. I would say that the DP used the zooms some 90 percent of the time, and then the primes for the remainder 10% of the scenes.

    Of course, if you only have a 2x or 3x zoom range lens, as most of the SLR/DSLR lenses are, there isn’t a whole lotta impressive zooming you can do with them.

    Amazing how you can put any PL-mount cinema lens on the Panny GH1 with a simple adapter and shoot away with real cine lenses (i.e. not SLR/DSLR still photography lenses).

  19. Sam Morgan Moore Says:
    October 11th, 2009 at 3:00 pm

    James,

    EX1, I dunno about the whole thing, the location having clean backgrounds could have suited the EX1, some more DOF would be handy for FF and peaking on the monitor would help

    Of course an EX1 doesnt slip into my stills kit, but this was a static, secure location so carrying not a problem

    For monitorable sound in a toughy situation EX1 is a clear winner, maybe that on sticks while rolling the Canon HH

    Light, well I have a PhotonBeard Kino adding fill in this, it is not ‘press portable’ – I dont see a (moral/reality) problem with adding light if the situation allows

    25p will allow me to experiment with light that would not work with 30p

    S

  20. guanyu.liu Says:
    October 11th, 2009 at 11:29 pm

    Hello, I am a Chinese director and preparing for a film. I like your works very much and want to see if we work together on the film.
    Here are my contact your details.

  21. guanyu.liu Says:
    October 11th, 2009 at 11:31 pm

    Hello, I am a Chinese director and preparing for a film. I like your works very much and want to see if we work together on the film.
    Here are my e-mail address: guanyu__7@tom.com

  22. Sam Morgan Moore Says:
    October 12th, 2009 at 12:12 am

    best to contact via http://www.sammorganmoore.com

    S

  23. Mr. Doofus Says:
    October 14th, 2009 at 5:44 am

    Hi Bela,

    As you’re clearly years ahead of Sam and Dan in all this new fangled video malarky could you post a few links to work you have done? I don’t think we’re getting the full picture on this site, and I think we need a proper discussion about it all, with less guesswork!

    Thanks
    D

    Thanks

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