James Price Point and shooting video with the Canon 5D Mk II

Recently I finally found some time to get creative with video editing, something I have wanted to do for a very long time. The result of my video editing baby steps is just a very basic little movie of the absolutely gorgeous pristine coastline of James Price Point, Western Australia. Edited entirely in iMovie from a Canon 5D Mk II recording and featuring a few of my landscapes from James Price Point and the wonderful music of James Newton Howard from Blood Diamond soundtrack; this is Images of James Price Point:

Images of James Price Point, click to see larger on Vimeo

I use Vimeo.com for hosting videos although I feel out of place as Vimeo has so many extremely talented videomakers uploading absolutely magical videos. Have a look at my ‘likes’ on Vimeo and you shall see some amazing stunning work by people like Tom @ Timescapes and Mike Fletcher.

The first of my video editing attempts but definitely not the last. Now that I have experienced how much fun video shooting and editing is I wish I had shot a lot more on my previous trip and will surely shoot a lot on upcoming adventures!

Shooting video with the Canon 5D Mk II

Finally; I want to share some of my experience with shooting video on the Canon 5D Mk II on an actual production. During a corporate shoot in Malaysia and on Borneo in June 09 with Michael Rastrup from Danish Tv2 and Georg from Livingfilms.com we used my 5D Mk II quite a bit for the video as it soon became apparent the quality blew the JVC proHD camera away. Here’s a few of my experiences:

  • It is fun! It is an incredible amount of fun to be a still photographer and suddenly finding yourself shooting video on your still camera! I loved it!
  • Can’t do both simultaneously. Video shooting is incredibly time consuming and it is hard to try and do landscape photography at the same time.
  • The firmware allowing complete manual control of video shooting had just been released and I installed it on day 2 of shooting. It is absolutely essential, giving you complete control of exposure and aperture during video shooting.
  • Mounted on a great Sachtler tripod with a fluid head you forget it’s a still camera. The 5D Mk II becomes a video camera – but a good video tripod is essential for any sort of shooting and panning. The 5D is really terrible to handhold while shooting video, impossible to keep steady.
  • We were a bit perplexed at first trying to get footage from the 5D to co-exist in Final Cut with footage from the JVC. The 5D footage kept skipping. 5D shoots at 30 frames, cannot be changed, JVC shoots at 25 or 50 frames. We ended up using MPEG streamclip to convert all 5D footage to 25 frames and that solved the problem. There are rumours of an upcoming firmware for the 5D allowing us to shoot at 24 and 25fps also – highly needed!
  • Internal microphone is useless and the mini-jack microphone line input probably not a lot better. You really need a separate recorder I think. We actually recorded the audio on the JVC as that had XLR inputs and a headphone monitoring option, essential.
  • Shallow DOF created by 35mm sensor and shooting at f/4.0 is amazing on video! We shot some awesome close ups and over the shoulder shots.
  • High iso rocks! We shot indoors in offices, blinds closed, just a tiny spotlight and got beautiful results.
  • Shooting video eats the battery quickly as is to be expected and I only had one battery, this was back when Canon could not produce batteries. Re-charging at every chance possible was essential.
  • I can’t show the footage so you will just have to take my word for it – video on a 5D shot at 17mm from the back of a jeep driving through a palm plantation looks mindblowing! 17mm looks amazing on video as well as stills.
  • Oh one final tip, mostly for myself, try not to walk into tripod while you shoot (something I did several times)!

12 Comments on “James Price Point and shooting video with the Canon 5D Mk II”

  1. Cool vid Flemming, I would like to take advantage more of the HD Video.
    You may know, with Tom @ Timescapes videos, are they just heaps of long exposure stills put into a video and sped up, I wouldn't have thought you could get that much light into a video at night.

    1. Thanks Thomas!

      The work Tom @ Timescapes does is mindblowing. It is digital timelapse photography, like you say, a bunch of stills. Not sped up, as they are shot using an intervalometer that shoots an image automatically every say 5 or 30 seconds or whatever you like. Tom also pans and does movement during the timelapse as you can see, he has a motorized computer controlled dolly that moves the camera on a dolly a bit in between exposures. Amazing stuff. Digital timelapse is actually becoming a big thing, lots of examples on Vimeo, lots of usage of digital timelapse in commercials, documentaries etc.

  2. i always wondered when we'd see you make a mistake such as having your shadow in frame- and we got it. hey, it may be video, but it's still there 😛 haha.

    nice work, the still shot's are stunning. I really like the 2nd. with the lead in lines working very nicely 🙂

  3. The music and sounds are very soothing. They compliment the images really well.
    I have to agree with Stephen though, your shadow is a distraction.
    Look forward to your next one

  4. Good little clip Flemming, I agree with you in that it is pretty hard to shoot stills and vid at the same location.. more so if it's at a magical twilight and you have limited time within to work. In fact sometimes I even struggle to shoot 6×17 and 5D2 when it's like this.
    But in saying this it is very fun and I have shot bits and pieces of video since i got the 5D2 almost a year ago now… I just need to find the time to learn to edit it well (and shoot it better).


    1. Thanks Tony, and yes with limited time at twilight it is impossible to do both – untill I get a 7D as well 😀

      Editing takes a lot of time I have learned but is heaps of fun. I look forward to exploring this much more on my travels.

  5. Hey Flemming… playing with video is fun and like you said trying to do both is too much. The new firmware will be great to have especially for integration with editing software. When editing with MPEG stream Clip I exported the 5D footage using the AIC codec and got great results.

    I just got a whole heap of gear to shoot video. External shot gun mic, motorized pan head, lav mic, no fluid head as yet. I have Final Cut Express and will soon have Final Cut Pro. Express is good , but I'm some one who hates looking for a feature on a program and then finding out it is in the more advanced version. So I will get FCP now.

    I also heard FCP handles the 5D footage better without all this need to run it through converters. I have a HD tape video camera and I will be combining both so that will be interesting to see how FCP handles it. Next year will be fun with a heap of video coming out. Just need more time in a day. 🙂

    1. Hey Matt. Look forward to seeing and hearing about your work with video, it is a whole different ballgame and takes a lot of time and work – but is incredible fun. I was fortunate to work with some real experienced video shooters and learned so much from them although it is still baby steps for me of course. The fluid head is incredible, I loved working with that. Panning is super smooth.

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