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Asim, Tisha, Kristie and I headed to National Park Seminary to have some fun shooting the ruins there. With new condos and homes recently built right on the property, it's very likely this hidden gem will be gone soon. Our cameras & my Flip Mino HD video camera now help preserve its history.
Ok wedding photographer friends! Everyone knows I'm a Canon loyalist, and today I had the pleasure of trying out their new 5D Mark II. One word should sum up my thoughts about it as a SLR - AWESOME. One word describes my initial impression about the video mode - CHALLENGING. Bear in mind, I started in video way back and have some experience in that field, so maybe my expectations were high, but I know I'm not the only one frustrated - just read some forums about it and you'll see I'm not all alone. Click HERE to read a review on the 5D Mark II where the writer & I share the same opinion - the 5DII is NOT meant to replace video cameras. AND you'll need your tripod/monopod/Steadicam handy to produce professional looking results. AND you'll need to seek some education, training, and everything else related to cinematography, camera operation, stabilization, the list could go on. Basically what I'm saying my wedding photographer friends is that you might want to manage your expectations about this baby. It's an awesome SLR, but if you think for one moment you'll master HD video at the press of a button, think again.
One of the biggest draws for me (and many others) is the ability to achieve a filmic look with the 5D II's HD video using our amazing Canon lenses that can give us stunning shallow depth of field that we all love. Easier said than done on the 5D Mark II. Read more about these shortcomings HERE on SportShooter. To sum up this challenge, almost everyone who has seen videos made on this camera want to attain that shallow depth of field look in the middle of the day. In Vincent Laforet's Reverie Canon 5DII video, no shots were taken at mid-day or even in daylight. That's because this camera is made for lowlight video when your video exposure can produce shallow depth of field because it adjusts exposure accordingly. But in bright sunlight, you must do some workarounds to achieve shallow depth of field since manual exposure control is not possible with this camera in the video mode. You read correctly, manual exposure control is not possible in the video mode. Sorry wedding photographers, I know many of you are M-mode fans, but that goes away with HD video mode on the Canon 5D II. Yeah I was bummed big time. However, there are ways to "cheat" the camera into shooting at a wide aperture to get the shallow depth of field - yes I was a little frustrated, but not surprised. One work around to shoot in mid-day at say f/2.8, is to aim the lens at a darker target or area to trick it into a wide aperture (because video mode is always in AUTO), THEN hit the video record button "SET", then quickly lock that exposure and swing it to the actual target I want to shoot video of. Even then, I was struggling with the exposure because my ISO was too high resulting in overexposure. As wedding photographers, especially as wedding photojournalists, this is not always a fast way of shooting, especially when shooting a live event like a wedding. Will the bride & groom really want you wasting precious photojournalistic seconds trying to achieve that shallow depth of field during their wedding? True, you'll have better luck in low light situations, but you'll look silly in bright light swinging your lens around aiming at dark things and trying to get the video exposure right. Still shaking your head on this one? Yeah, me too, but I fell prey to the excitement of HD video too in the beginning.
I am disppointed a bit, simply because many wedding photographers were somehow lead to believe all the hype surrounding the HD video mode about this camera. While it captures stunning HD video, it also reaffirms my initial belief that videographers and their very expensive gear and extensive training will NOT be replaced by HD video capable SLRs in the hands of most photographers. Thank goodness! However, as an SLR I'm VERY impressed with the new Canon 5D Mark II and cannot wait to get mine in April! And you can bet I will probably try to master the video mode on it anyway because as everyone knows, I still love playing with video, and I kind miss flying a Steadicam =)
In summary, I feel that wedding photographers that want to achieve the stellar cinematography we're seeing on the web created by the 5D2 should take some classes, find an instructor/mentor/tutor/editor, or just get some good training on video/film/cinematography. Otherwise, leave wedding videography to the experts. You can point & shoot your video and it'll still look great, but to really get that "look", you'll need more than that =)
Thanks to those who commented already, especially "Denver"! Please read his comment, he's got some good insight.
With several engagement sessions ahead starting next weekend I am totally stoked about this year's wedding season. I have some of the best couples and amazing weddings to share with you this year! In the meantime, I'm going to try & enjoy myself with friends & family over the next couple of weeks. After that, I'll be slamming with weddings in DC, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and the Atlantis in the Bahamas. Gotta love destination weddings! My intern will be joining us this Spring as well - Becky Hayhurst from Minneapolis, really excited to have her on board, you'll be seeing more of her as the season progresses! I'm really looking forward to Reanna & Jeremy's wedding in the Bahamas where I'll be shooting some footage for my next behind-the-scenes video. My former associate Noah Hayes & I will have our Flip Mino HD's and my new Canon 5D Mark II w/HD video mode. awesome! Denise will be with us to keep us out of trouble and do her logistical magic as always. 2009 is looking really good =)