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adamhanlon

Choose your weapon: SLR versus video camera for filmmaking

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And bullet time.....it is amazing now anyone could do this technique...compared to the DSLR array used for the matrix and other movies....

 

Go pro definitely has a place in the imagination of the story creator.

 

 

 

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A little Birdie told me that there was controversy in paradise. LOL

Overall, Jonathan has tried to simplify what can be a complicated issue and also with the generational leaps in equipment, such articles tend to be quickly outdated. 4 years ago, 4k/UHD, 422 10bit large sensor capture was in the realm of 5 figure cameras mostly. Nowadays, the GoPro and even cellphones can shoot 4k.

It really comes down to priorities and the best rig for the needs of the user. List down your needs for the camera then choose the rig which most fits those criteria. There is no right or wrong. Shooting as principal camera for the BBC in a major series? You will almost always need high fps and 4k capture, especially for big animals. Cetaceans like dolphins don't usually swim that slowly! :) For BTS, no one is going to complain about DSLR/GoPro clips.

GoPros are awesome and there are broadcast TV shows which use them for UW 4-10 second clips all the time. Hawaii Five-O is one such show.

I'll add to Simon's posts.

 

Audio - apart from a few niche situations who is worried about this for underwater use? Audio on the newer mirrorless cameras and DSLR's is absolutely fine and certainly comparable to the results you'd get from a camcorder's internal microphone.

 

Don't forget they also add fake animal sounds to the track!


Blue Planet - was filmed mostly on 16mm film.

 

Actually a lot of it SD DV (remember what's that ? LOL) for underwater stuff. :) And this "era" was when the "advanced amateur" was born. The VX1000 was the equalizer as DV with the little ⅓" sensors essentially matched the ½ and ⅔ betacam big boys in quality. The industry was basically shocked by it's own progress and the sales hit on production cameras.

 

Macro vs WA - If you want to do this properly you will always have a dedicated set up for macro and wide angle on a video camera. If you want to swim around and film what you come across then a video camera offers an advantage. Also you can get decent range of zoom through with dome ports on most WA DSLR zooms, which is at least comparible to what you'd get from a standard dome port/dome on a video camera housing.

 

Also the WA adapters tend not to be full zoom lenses, so you don't always get to use that 10-20x zoom. One still needs a macro flat port for serious macro and once you are using that, your wide end is somewhat limited, even with the widest on camera lens. Obviously the same pitfalls are exacerbated with DSLx cameras. Then again if someone is looking for a swim around and shoot camera, then obviously a video camera has more flexibility. Then again, setting up for medium to macro flatport and having a go-pro on top of your rig can pretty much cover bigger things like saltie crocs and whale sharks swim-bys. You're just not going to sell it to the BBC, unless you catch a whaleshark eating a saltie!

 

Stability - Yes DSLR housings are not normally initially well balanced, but this can be resolved very easily by adding buoyancy in the same way you'd add trim weights to a traditional video housing. The only time you should be getting shaky footage is if you can't hold the camera still and if that is the case then you'll get this regardless of what you are using.

I will admit that filming on a DSLR and getting good results is more difficult than filming on a video camera where you can just set everything to auto and press record. If you tried to do that on a DSLR you'd be wasting your time so you do need to learn how to film with full manual controls to get the best out of them. I've seen some truly awful underwater footage filmed on a RED, footage that you'd be utterly embarrassed to show others that you'd shot, while on the flip side I've seen jaw droppingly awesome footage shot on a first generation DSLR. I've seen awful footage shot on a EX1 while on the same dive amazing footage shot on an GoPro1.

 

Well, that's where skill as a shooter and diver comes in, no? Having the best camera doesn't cover up skill levels in both diving and camera work, although shooting 5k RAW can be useful in cropping and stabilizing clips.

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What si missing from this discussion for me is the 2k RAW footage from the Blackmagic Pocket Camera. From the samples I have seen I think it looks nicer than 4k. I would love to see some well graded underwater footage from it but can't find any.

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A member here, Edmond from HongKong, had (has?) both the GH4 and the BMPCC with housings

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What si missing from this discussion for me is the 2k RAW footage from the Blackmagic Pocket Camera. From the samples I have seen I think it looks nicer than 4k. I would love to see some well graded underwater footage from it but can't find any.

There are some examples generally due to the issues with lenses and crop factor plus ergonomics this is not popular choice

I would not agree it looks better than GH4 and even some normal HD either

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The underwater samples that I have found have all been shot on prores. The out of water RAW samples I have found have been posted by people who honestly admit they are not really experienced colour graders. I think it would be nice to see what the camera can produce in the hands of experts.

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The BMPCC doesn't support features like distortion correction and chromic aberration making its use on land with lenses designated for underwater use almost impossible hence you won't find much out there. Let alone lack of white balance manual focus etc etc. for those who still endure it there was a sample in the share section one month ago or so. But you won't find much more

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