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Lesson 29 from: Use Your Photography Skills to Master Videography

Jessica Dimmock

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Lesson Info

29. DSLR vs Non-DSLR

Lesson Info


In terms of, you know, DSLR verses the non-DSLR, there's a couple things that a camera like this provides you with some options that I talked through kind of the most important options for myself. The XLR, the Great Sensor, kind of all this flexibility impulse, but there are other things that the cinema line of at least the Cannon cameras does provide, which is that there are built in ND filters, or neutral density filters, which means that when you're in a situation like this, when it's very, very bright sun, you actually have two, four, and six stops of neutral density filters that you can add on top of your lens, that will cut down on some of that light, which does a couple things. One, is if it's super bright, it means your camera can just handle it, but also, it means you can add six stops of ND filters into your shot, which means you can then open up your lens and provide a shallow depth of field again. When we're shooting in a lot of bright light, we have to close down to allow ...

less light to come through our lens onto our sensor. If you are blocking some of that light, all of a sudden your aperture can kind of open back up again, and when it opens up it allows you to shoot at a much shallower depth of field. For a lot of people, that's a look they like. That's a look that I like. So having that built in, as opposed to being kind of a filter that you've got to screw on top of your lens, and then as soon as they walk inside you got to unscrew it, then they walk outside again, you got to screw it back on. This just allows you, through clicking some buttons on the C300, which is the one here, it's just pressing a button. On the C100 it's just a dial that you rotate. A couple of other features that are in a camera like this, the C300, which is the kind of higher end of the cinema line, provides some slow motion. Either 60 or 120 frames per second in the C100, the kind of lower end of it, it doesn't have that. For me, I thought, well, slow motion is not something that I use all that often, and if it is, in the case of that one piece that I showed you, where it was basically all slow motion, you can always rent a camera for a day. I didn't necessarily feel like I needed to make this huge investment to a C300 just for the fact that it was slow motion. Now that I've been playing with slow motion, I kind of like it a lot more than I thought. So the next step for me is that I might take, that might now be part of my list of like, these are the requirements for a camera. But C300 does it. C100 does not. To me that wasn't super important. And then there are a couple of other things that kind of happen once you move up to a cinema camera, which is the form of it, the kind of form factor and where things are located, just gets a little bit handier. It's not necessarily perfect, but it does make a little bit more sense for shooting, even in terms of just taking the thing off of the rig entirely. I started shooting with a rig, in part, because I was shooting on a DSLR, and I found that very difficult to kind of hand hold, and not get all kind of jittery and shaky. Once I moved into the cinema line of cameras, I'm just going to take it off the rig so you can see, this is actually got a lot of options for helping me be stable with the camera. I have a hand strap right here, as opposed to just a camera body, which really kind of helps me. There's a handle here, and a screen that I can kind of move to a variety of locations on the camera. I do a lot of, like if I'm really stripped out, just kind of using my hip, and with a camera like this, because of where things are also, I can get to the buttons that I need to very easily. This is not necessarily not an option for me, where as when it was the DSLR, and I wanted to hand hold it, it was really about just holding the thing out in front of my face, because the screen is there, as opposed to a screen, you know, in a DSLR, the screen basically lives here, so the only way I can shoot and see hand held is like this. Now that I've got a screen that can be in a variety of different spots, it gives me a lot of flexibility. There are a couple of other things, which is that your type of light metering system in a cinema camera isn't just about where your exposure fits on a line, but you're able to see a wave form, which is very much like a histogram. So while shooting, you're able to see if the majority of your information, in terms of lights and your exposure, it's hitting in this middle range, that you want to be hitting in, rather than at the upper or lower levels of your histogram. So being able to see something like that and have that as a built in feature, that you can get to very quickly is very helpful. And the last thing that I would say is that there's a viewing system here called peaking, which means that when you're looking at your LCD screen, which sometimes, you know, is a little hard to see. A lot of people like to use eye pieces, but if you're shooting not on a shoulder rig, an eye piece may not necessarily be practical. Peaking is a setting that you can turn on that allows you to see, by kind of drawing a little bit of a, like kind of a outline, it shows you what's in focus while you're looking through your LCD screen. So you're able, if you're shooting wide open, and you feel as though you can't totally tell by seeing here, peaking is kind of like an assistant to show you this stuff here, that has this little outline, this is in focus in your camera, and it's just an added bonus. To me, not a huge deal breaker, but something that I'm very, very happy to have in my camera, now that I'm using this. Yes? Can you tell us, again, if, this is for Terri, was that Cannon C300 Mark One, or Mark Two? Great question. So, the C300 Mark One does slow motion only at 60, which is like a little bit of slow motion. That's basically a little bit of float. The C300 Mark Two, does a full 120, which means very slow, very slowed down. Great question. The last thing I'd say about the cinema line is that for an entry level, the C100, let's say, isn't really that big of an investment. I mean, I thought when I was going to go to these types of cameras, that I was going to be shelling out tens of thousands of dollars. I don't remember what the exact prices these days are, but if you look at, like, what are we up to, the 60's these days? The 5D Mark Three, something like that. If you look at, basically, the most recent Cannon DSLR, and the C100, let's say, they're pretty close in price. There's not a huge difference. So, this is not a stills camera. I'm not shooting stills on this. This is not something I would take out for a magazine assignment, but if I was going to be using my DSLR mostly, or just for video, I think I'd much rather go with something from the cinema line. I think they've made it affordable. It's not out of reach any longer. Yeah? A couple more questions. One is about, well, a couple people asking about the length of time that you can record, given the sort of traditional DSLR verses the cinema cameras. Is there a limitation? I don't know that there's a limitation in the cinema cameras, other than you're limited by your card links, and they will jump from one card. You have two cards in your camera. They will jump pretty seamlessly from one card to another, so even if there's a break from card one to card two, you can match them right up. I don't know that they're so seamless that, like, a blink would not be missed, or you know, they get very close, I'm not positive. Once you go to an external recorder, you can just keep going until that thing runs out of batteries. In a DSLR, I think they keep updating, but I think we're capped at about 13 minutes of shooting. Something in that range, before it shuts off. And some of that is just about, you know, this smaller camera, it takes a lot of processing power to do what it's doing. It's one thing when it's taking stills, we're running all of this information, getting it compressed and onto that card is a lot for that camera to do. At a certain point, it just kind of reaches it's limit. Okay, yeah, one more? Question from Terri is do you ever wish that you could shoot in 4K video, or do you have any thoughts about that? So, 4K is great. 4K is a much larger resolution. It's 4,000 pixels, and it is great and we're going to be seeing it a lot more. There was definitely a moment when my co-director and I thought about shooting 4K for our film, because it gives you a lot of opportunities in post. You can kind of frame, reframe and zoom in without losing any kind of HD quality, because you've got so many pixels that you're dealing with, that even cropping in zooming in on part, you're not starting to fall apart. You've got just as much resolution. It also meant, we're photographers. We have, Chris and I both have a book. We've both done many exhibitions. We really think about projects in terms of books and exhibitions, and we thought, if we shoot in 4K, we can take stills out of the material and print them, because they're large enough to actually make large prints. And we can have this kind of other world of the project. The issue with 4K is that you are basically shooting files many times the size of what you would be shooting normally. So, our 800 film, our 800 hour film sits on 32 terabytes worth of hard drives. Had we shot that all in 4K, that would have been like however many, it would have tripled, quadrupled, something in that range, and that is just a lot of processing power. It's also expensive. Every time you shoot, you're not only backing it up once, you should kind of be backing it up twice. So, where are all these hard drives coming from? Those cards, it also limits your shoot time. If we're saying oh, on an SD card, the 32 gigs, you only have about half an hour of shoot time. All of a sudden, at 4K, you've got like 12 minutes, or something like that. So, it definitely decreases your shoot time, and all of a sudden, you're dealing with a lot of materials. That's a lot of stuff to download at night, but this is definitely the future. They're going to start making faster cards, faster processing power, larger hard drives for cheaper. We're all going to be shooting 4K, probably soon enough. You want one more? Sorry. One more. And this is, I know we touched on it a little bit yesterday, but in talking about DSLR verses the C100s and 300s, focusing is hard for DSLR's when you are not in a stationary situation. How do you find that the focusing compares with the C100 verses C300? I think it's great, in part, because even in this type of situation, like let's say I'm hand holding it, which as you know from yesterday's lesson, I don't do a lot of, but let's say I'm hand holding it. I've got, like, some really, really kind of sturdy options for where I'm holding it because of where my LCD screen is. So, if I'm holding it here, and it's kind of slammed into my thigh, and I've got my left hand on the handle, this is not a huge move. I'm not necessarily taking my hand away from something that was keeping it up. In the same way that this would be, you know, this is a very different situation. But part of the reason I use the shoulder rig is because it allows me to use the follow focus and that's something I can do on a DSLR or a cinema camera. That's just about kind of how you want to rig your camera up.

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a Creativelive Student

I have been waiting for a course like this. Purchasing it was a no-brainer. Taught by an accomplished professional in the field, with a strong track record of high level work, Jessica Dimmock, I feel, is exactly the type of instructor Creative Live should be giving air time to. I have watched other Videography classes on Creative Live, and this was the first one that I felt was worth purchasing due to how much info was being shared, in a very methodical, easy to follow (but not dumb downed) fashion.

a Creativelive Student

This class has left me feeling very encouraged and inspired about getting into videography. Jessica has made some great work, in her short career with video, and was able to share what she learned through those experiences. She started out as a photographer and has now incorporated video into her skill set and it seems to have expanded the diversity her opportunities and has enriched what she produces and shares with the world. I look forward to doing the same thing in my own way. Thanks CL for another wonderful class.


Simultaneously broad and deep, the information Jessica covers and the way she delivers it really give you the feeling you can jump into video right away. Professionalism in every area, from prep steps to workflow in the field to clean organization and processing, inspires confidence in the value of her methods. She clearly learned most of this in the field over years of work, which means the rest of us now have a huge leg up on our first projects. Thank you so much!

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