Pro video blog…Produced by Philip Johnston DoP/Editor

CanonBloom-V2It was a comment on Phil’s Facebook that brought this article into sharp focus Q “Anything us XD 700 users could learn?” R “Yes on the Saturday we have two different classes. DSLR and film look. Come to film look, but actually come to both because seeing what the DSLR is capable of is worth coming to for anyone. Tomorrow I shoot a commercial with Kevin Spacey using the 5d. The camera cost £2000.”

You have a cameraman having spent the best part of £23,000 on a Sony XD700 being told that a camera used mainly for 35mm digital stills work costing £2000 is bringing in as much work or possibly more than the man with the top end Sony kit. How times have changed, I had a brief conversation with Phil this morning…

PJ “Hi Phil how are you finding the Canon 5D Mk11 ?”

PB “Great I am getting a fair bit of work with it now”

PJ “What type of work are you looking at ?”

PB “Everything from commercial work with Kevin Spacey promoting a top end housing development to filming in India for a Greenpeace commercial for television.”

PJ “I presume the sheer compactness of the 5D compared to the bulky, heavy video/film using letus adapter is the main bonus ?”

PB “The main bonus is when your flying, keeping down the weight when you are on a 15-25Kg weight limit is so important and you can take some of the kit as hand luggage”

PJ “What are the down sides using the 5D ?”

PB “The audio is the the 5Ds achilles heal, yes, you have an audio input via a 3.5mm jack socket but the sound is unusable, making the need to record separate sound via a solid state audio recorder. The other problem is finding focus even using the Zacuto loupe which definitely helps sometimes finding critical focus on a pull focus can be tricky”

Phil-with-5D-Mk11PJ “What’s you favorite lens ?”

PB “The Canon 50mm f1.2 L lens, this allows great low light shots… way superior than you could achieve with even the Sony EX-3”

PJ “What type of tripod suits the 5D”

PB “The Miller DS20 carbon fibre tripod is a great compliment to the 5D”

PJ “Getting back to your Kevin Spacey shoot what did Mr Spacey think of you using the 5D ?”

PB “It never came up in conversation, he was concentrating on his delivery to camera, a true pro.”

The Canon 5D Mk11 is far from perfect with no audio metering, gain control, everything needs to be converted from H264 to ProRez, the sound needs to be re-synced with an external recorded sound source…and the camera has a 8 minute recording limit due to the fact it’s a photographic camera and would incur import duties if it recorded more than 8mins at a time. You can record as many 8min sequences as you like but it’s very limiting.

Philip Bloom has started the ball rolling using the Canon 5D Mk11, he has already clocked up 4 commercial jobs with it and on the whole is delighted with it’s performance especially in low light situations, I suspect these jobs are helping to pay for some of his expensive Canon glass in fact he told me his next purchase will be the 85mm f1.2 L lens at £1600.


Having been working in the video business since 1988 I have amassed a great amount of knowledge of both the kit and production values over the last 30 years.

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