Canon 5D MKIII and DSLR for video

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      I’m pretty excited about the new Canon 5D MKIII, and I’m seeing more and more DSLRs in use by major production companies.

      For instance, you might think that DSLRs are a shoe-in due to their sharp picture and choice of lenses. For independent producers, this can be true– we have the freedom to use whatever we want. For larger organizations and production companies which are veritable storytelling machines, it’s flat-out difficult to incorporate DSLRs into their very established workflow. These companies live and die by tape workflows, let alone solid-state camcorders, and let alone solid-state camcorders without timecode or balanced audio (read, DSLRs). Case in point: a major broadcast company chose to use the Canon 5D MKII soon after it was available. But, the production company chose to record the solid-state footage back to broadcast tape, thereby adding timecode and essentially making sure it worked with the rest of their tape operation.

      I work on several field productions each year, for film, broadcast and advertising. From my experience, I see DSLRs in use quite a bit, but rarely are they the majority. These productions average 5-7 camcorders, including shoulder-style ENG camcorders, DSLRs and Point-of-view cameras like the GoPro. Since the production crews are used to using shoulder-style camcorders, those are what are used most. For my personal work, I usually employ a 1:1 ratio in camcorder-to-DSLR usage. Soon though, I think the emerging video producers will be bringing DSLRs to work more frequently, and bringing their talent, too. There won’t be an easy way to avoid DSLRs.

      The Canon 5D MKIII may just be the deal-breaker for large production companies to start using DSLRs. The new camera adds SMPTE timecode and i-frame only video, both of which should make it more attractive to professionals. The new codecs should also require less computer horsepower, but that’s yet to be seen.

      In short, I’m thinking the Canon 5D MKIII will lure large production companies into using DSLRs, bringing more DSLR video producers into their productions as well.

      What do you think?


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