VW Spec AD Posted with Behind The Scenes Video

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A few months ago Canon came to me asking if we could do a shoot together that demonstrated the unique capabilities of their newest HDDSLR cameras – in this case the Canon 1D Mark IV.  We decided to shoot a spec ad for the VW Bug.  It was shot over two days in downtown Los Angeles with a Canon behind-he-scenes crew on site that documented each step along the way.

Go check out Canon's really great site with behind the scenes footage.

Today, I am happy to be able to share the final product with you, as well as a link to the Canon Digital Learning Center. Canon has just published the first installment of their behind-the-scenes series on this project, and are planning on releasing a new episode each week for the next five weeks.

Following my initial shoot with the 1D Mark IV on “Nocturne” – which highlighted the camera’s incredible low light performance – I decided to explore another facet of its capabilities with this project.  I wanted to show how the camera could perform on a multitude of platforms – in this case the Filmotechnic crane mounted to a car.  I really wanted to see how this camera would work on the crane when connected to the zoom and focus controllers and live feed – confirming that Canon HDDSLRs could drop into a system designed to house motion picture cameras and pull off the same cinematic results.  Another goal was to show that the camera performs well while in motion and with moving subjects, and I found that 1D Mark IV has significantly corrected the jell-o effectrelative to the 5D Mark II.

The Canon 1D MKIV on a Steadicam

While the “jell-o effect” exists with any CMOS sensor given their design, I didn’t find it to be a factor in this project – or for that matter – or on any of my other productions.  Its important to keep in mind that any camera out there, film or digital has limitations on how fast you can pan it – especially when projected onto a large screen.  In general, a DP will always plan for this on any camera moves they are directing the speed of the camera’s move.  It’s important to remember that a pan may look just fine on a 17″ monitor – but the same pan may be a bit painful for the audience’s eyes on 50 foot silver screen.    Unless you are doing dynamic and fast moving action sequences, where you are purposefully moving the camera at extremely high rates (whip pans, running sequences, etc.),  I would say its unlikely you will encounter issues with the “jell-o effect”.  In the end its the DP’s responsibility to know the strengths and weaknesses of their tools, and to make sure they know how to shoot around those limitations.

The Filmotechnic Crane mounted on a Mercedes AMG.

Aside from finding there were no issues with camera motion, it was great to see the Canon 1D Mark IV fall right into place on the Filmotechnic crane.  We fit a Preston motor on both the zoom and the focusing rings of the 24mm-105mm and found it performed flawlessly – of course our 1st A.C. also did a fantastic job of keeping things in focus.  We shot everything at an aperture of f5.6 – the lens is an f4 lens throughout the focal range – because it gave us an extra stop’s worth of depth of field and the look we were going for when combined with the super35mm sized sensor.  A Blackmagic converter box – mounted on and powered by the crane arm -allowed us to convert the HDMI signal to HDSDI, which in turn allowed everyone inside the car to get a live image (the 1st A.C. in the trunk, me at the controls of the pan and tilt head, the crane operator in the backseat, and the 1st A.D. sitting up front, coordinating the car to car communication and with the police motorcycle escort as well).  The whole system delivered fantastic results.  I should say that operating such an arm should be on every DP/ director/operator’s bucket list.  It was incredibly cool (see video here)and good to know that all those hours on the XBOX and flight simulator joysticks finally came in use.

If you want to check out video of how this was done, and more, please visit Canon’s Digital Learning Center by CLICKING HERE.  Some snapshots from the Canon site below:

Various snapshots that you'll find on Canon's site.

You'll find many more episodes on Canon's site over the next 5 weeks.


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