Last year, Popular Photography reported that DSLR video was coming as a serious tool for fllmmakers. Today, HDSLR cinematography, as it’s known in the industry, is here. And not just in independent productions: DSLRs are being used to shoot broadcast television and feature fllms. The season flnale of Fox’s House M.D. was shot using the Canon EOS 5D Mark II.
The good news about HDSLR: You have a platform for stunning cinematography. And you capabilities fllmmakers never had before, such as the ability to shoot at ISO 51,200, where only night vision could go before.
The challenges? While lenses designed for DSLRs are extremely fast and sharp, pulling focus—keeping your subject sharp when the camera or the subject is moving—can be a nightmare. The H.264 codec, the flle format Canon uses for recording movies on fiash media, can bite you with compression artifacts. Neither the viewflnder nor the LCD lets you adequately see what you’re shooting. And compared with motionpicture cameras, the controls are far from user-friendly.
But with new techniques and accessories, cinematographers have overcome such problems. You can, too. For instance, you can mount your DSLR on a cinematography rig, use an iPhone to pull focus remotely, drag your footage into the timeline in popular editing tools such as Adobe Premiere (included with Photoshop in the CS5 Production Premium Suite), then add some film grain in Adobe After Effects (also in CS5).