Friday, 14 January 2011

New Corporate Video & DSLR's

A bit of a late New Years update here. My latest video is now on line, A corporate how to video for Ian Kenny Framing Ltd. It is by no means the most exciting video ever made but it served as a good opportunity to work using a DSLR and assess its strengths and weaknesses. So here's my take.

First of all the pros. It is small and light and because it is a stills camera it doesn't freak people as much as a prosumer cam corder. You have the ability to change lenses which is huge if you are a no budget filmmaker. You have full 1080p at 25fps and 720p at 50fps. You also have a small file size due to it using the H.264 compression standard, so you roughly get 47mins on a 16GB HCSD card or compact flash.

Now the Cons. Useability is the main problem. Your hand has to be really steady when attempting handheld. I tend to strap a monopod to it for a bit of a counter weight. Most serious DSLR users buy a rig to combat this issue but this eliminates the compactness of the camera. Also the controls are hard to work with at times. Since you are working with white balance presets it is common to not have your balance correct. This happened a couple of times in this video and it is easily rectified in editing so its no biggy as long as the balance isn't way off. The biggest and most limiting con for me is you can't control the sound levels. So if you want seriously good sound you need to invest in a digital recorder like the Zoom H4n or if you are loaded a 4-channel Marantz. This again is a problem because you'll have to make sure to mark your shots every time (which you should do anyway) and realistically you'll need a second member of crew to act as a sound operator. It could be possible to do all of this yourself but it would slow you down and I guarantee that you'll fuck something up at least once. The final issue is that you are limited to a 12 minute clip length. This is only an issue in some instances when working on a documentary but when filming live it can cause a lot of fucking about trying to get the synch correct in editing.For a live performance I would not even thing about using a bunch of DSLR's to film the entire thing.

My overall impression is that DSLR's are another piece of the puzzle for a professional looking video/short/documentary. They are not the answer and anyone who says otherwise is just a fanboy of the tech. If you view yourself as a professional you have to look at equipment with an objective eye. I think the closest we have to the total solution is Panasonics new prosumer model but at £4,000 is it really that much better than a £700 to £1,300 DSLR I am unsure. Rant over now back to the video.

As you can see the video quality is immense. What you see is more or less unaltered from what was actually shot. As for the actual content of the video it does the job. It shows what it needs to and fits the brief. I think I actually liked the making of it more than the end result. It was pretty laid back and meeting the guys Andrew and Craig was fun. The only other thing I'd like to add is that you can tell by the Rangers shirts being mounted that it was filmed in Larkhall. I was tempted to colour replace the shirts with green in editing. I'm sure that would have went down well with the locals. Till next time, cheers.