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Blog Education Geek Zone (Tech Talk)

Canon EOS Workshop

Laura Beth Jan 22

Canon 7D shooting a blues music festival

In 2010, I attended a 3-day Canon EOS workshop co-hosted by Createasphere and Canon.We had a healthy mix of lecture and hands -on time with the 5, 7D, and 1D cameras.
The lectures from Canon, and Nancy Schreiber,ASC, were very informative and helpful.  At the end of those three days, I think I can sum up the two most important messages/concepts that came across as follows:

1.  These affordable and impressive cameras are unwitting hosts to a frightening parasite which will inevitably infect our industry (if it hasn’t already done so).  This parasite comes in the form of a misinformed sales pitch: “you don’t need light” “you don’t have to be a pro to get great images”… and ultimately “anyone can be a DP”.

As more enthusiasts invest in these affordable cameras and begin to market themselves as DPs, it will get harder and harder for producers to wade through the sea of freelance workers to find the talented storyteller-artist-technician.  Those who have worked with exceptional DPs know that the DP you hire to create your look is far more important than the camera he or she chooses to create it with.  One has to wonder whether this “leveling of the playing field” will ultimately raise, or lower, the standards for motion picture photography.  However…

2. Having a camera which looks “that good” and is “that small” in the hands of a professional artist it, is revolutionary and exciting (despite all of the “DSLR drawbacks”)

It was a mixed group attending this workshop:  corporate companies considering purchases for marketing depts, while others were still photographers curious about video, etc.  I was very fortunate to end up in a group with several SOC members and accomplished DPs, so our experience was very different from the others.

We came up with a simple scene (a guy getting ready to leave on his motorcycle), everyone grabbed a camera and just started shooting.  We had about six different cameras going, everyone doing something different: one guy gaff taped a 7D to the side of the motorcycle and it rode around the block, somebody else reached up into the ceiling and simulated a “dolly” between the rafters (in a space that would have been impossible for  a larger camera to move).  The energy was amazing and freeing.  However, all of that was possible because every one of us in that room had been operating cameras  for at least 8 years (in many cases, much longer).  We were all able to take for granted the common knowledge-base in the room.  Proper exposure, uniform camera settings, composition, and operation could all be taken for granted because it was a room full of professionals.

Sure, you have the jello-effect, the shake, the traveling image of a still-camera lens, almost no real estate for pulling focus on those lenses, adapters to make DSLR fit to cinema support… etc. etc. etc.  But, in the hands of a trained motion picture photographer, who will be able to compensate for “DSLR shortcomings” with other technical and creative solutions, the DSLRs are a revelation.  A useful tool.  They will not replace cinema cameras, but they may compliment them.

I look forward to using these little guys for all the good they can offer. 🙂


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