Excerpts from Alister Chapmans update on his Canon 550
“OK, so it’s defiantly not just me doing something wrong. When in focus the T2i/550D aliases (as do all the current Canon DSLR’s). This is a grab from Philip Blooms latest Canon short. For once this is a daylight piece and as I expected it exhibits a lot of aliasing. The grab is actually taken from the thumbnail on his exposure room page. I’m really pleased to see this as it shows that aliasing is a problem for the experts too. You start to appreciate why so many of the Canon shorts are shot at night, with millimeter deep DoF… it’s to stay clear of having stuff in focus that will alias. there are filters from Caprock that are supposed to help, but you need a different filter for each focal length and aperture that you use, they also soften the picture somewhat.
If you want my opinion, then it has to be that the Canon’s are close, but still a mile away. The aliasing issue is a biggie. Sort it out and the skew, jello and overheating can be worked around, but if you have to worry about simply having a piece of wood in focus and whether it’s going to exhibit rainbows of colour or whether cobble stones will twitter and change colour (At 00.35 and this is from Canon) then it will limit what you can do. There is quite a lot of aliasing in Phil’s new daytime clip, basically anytime anything is steady, has texture and is in focus, it aliases. I’ve been shot down in flames on other forums for saying that this is a problem, but if even the experts can’t deal with it then what hope does everyone else have? I would love to have the option of shooting with the shallow DoF that the Canon’s offer, but not at the expense of having to avoid any kind of texture. Perhaps Red and Scarlet will be better, perhaps Canon will sort it out, or perhaps not, as the cameras are clearly selling like hot cakes, even with the issues. If they do fix it then the camera will almost certainly be for video only.”
HDW : Alister Chapman is an authority when it comes to technical issues involving video, it’s a shame he never came to the HDSLR table sooner. I am no way near as technical as Alister but have enough professional expertise to realise HDSLRs are not yet built for purpose. They are a compromise but as Alister has found out they are seriously compromised when using them for filming.
We never get to see true HD on the web once again it’s a compromise which is why a lot of these “pretty pictures to music” are passing by with glaring technical faults because we just don’t notice such faults on a 640 x 320 screen. Saying that a lot of HDSLR filmakers are either oblivious to the problem or are willing to put up with warts and all to get the SDoF.
Can I suggest the watching punter would not be aware of such issues but then do we need to see a further drop in standards as television today in the UK is swamped with poorly produced DV footage.
Are HDSLRs suitable for professional use…not YET in my opinion, the BBC, SKY, National Geographic channel etc will not accept footage from them…that’s got to ring alarm bells if you are hoping to use them professionally. I was reminded by Sean that the BBC have indeed used a Canon 5D2 to film a 30sec title sequence during Snooker last year but that was a trial period and have since been banned…or so they say !
Many of you will disagree with this statement telling me that you have taken the plunge well good luck to you, personally I would not compromise my professionalism let alone my client for a simple film effect such as a shallow depth of field. First generation HDSLRs are a fudge…video take’s second priority so you can’t expect “professional results” with equipment that is mainly built for taking digital photographs. Alister has confirmed this with his investigations though to be fair to him he is also looking into a solution to the problem.
Can I just add that Alister Chapman nor myself are NOT anti HDSLR, Alister is coming from a bedrock of technical expertise and is only pointing out why some of these HD pictures are unacceptable for broadcast and I come from a more practical hands on professional point of view. My father has a good expression “Cheap s dear” you can’t expect a full broadcast HD experience from a camera that costs £2000 or less, you get what you pay for which is why broadcasters are still using 35mm adapters clamped onto £15K upwards camcorders with Arri prime lenses.