Movie Making With Canon 5D Mark II

With Canon 5D Mark II, the very dream of making a movie(a real featured film) cannot be limited by budget but creativity alone. Recently Ram Gopal Varma, a leading Director in Indian Film Industry shot one full length movie “Dongala Mutha” and introduced the concept of film making with still cameras. Though its new to Indian scenario there were already many TV shows and Movies in the west shot by similar cameras.

The Canon EOS 5D Mark II is a 21.1-megapixel full-frame CMOS digital single-lens reflex camera made by Canon. It succeeds the EOS 5D and was announced on September 17, 2008. The 5D Mark II was the first digital camera used for an official U.S. Presidential portrait, taken by Pete Souza in 2008.

The 5D Mark II was the first DSLR to feature 1080p video recording.  The Canon PowerShot SX 1 IS followed with full HD in a bridge digital camera soon after. The 16:9 aspect ratio portion of the sensor used in video mode is equivalent in sensitive area to a VistaVision 8/35 frame, even larger than the Super 35 frame of the much more expensive Red One camera. This large sensor allows videos to be recorded with very shallow depth of field for a “film look”. The 21 megapixel sensor is downsampled to HD resolution by only using every third line and 4:2:0 chroma subsampling, leading to concern about Moiré patterns in recorded video.

Movie clips can be up to 4 GB in size, approximately 12 minutes of 16:9 HD (1920×1080) or 24 minutes of 4:3 SD (640×480) footage (depending on scene complexity). These limits stem from the 4 GB maximum file size supported by the FAT32 filesystem format used on Compact Flash cards. The camera also imposes a hard maximum clip length of 29 minutes 59 seconds if the 4 GB limit has not already been reached. Video clips are recorded as Quicktime MOV files with H.264/MPEG-4  compressed video and uncompressed PCM audio at 48 kHz. HD bitrate is approximately 38 Megabits per second (4.8MB/sec) and SD bitrate is approximately 17 Megabits per second (2.2MB/sec). Although the internal microphone is mono, stereo audio is supported through the audio input jack. When recording for long periods, especially in warmer climates, increased video noise may occur due to CMOS overheating.

The EOS 5D Mark II is capable of video recording in low-light situations and it is sold for a relatively low price, compared with professional video cameras. For the first eighteen months of its release, the camera only had a 30 frame per second (30p) video mode. On March 15, 2010, Canon released a firmware upgrade to add a 25p mode for PAL format compatibility and a 24p mode for compatibility with motion picture film cameras. The firmware update also modified the 30p mode to record 29.97 fps and the new 24p mode actually records 23.976 fps to have the same frame rate as drop frame timecode. Lastly, the update added manual control of the audio record levels and an official way to disable the Automatic Gain Control.

The Camera costs around 1,40,000 rupees in India. So you have got that much budget, you can start making movies!