Slugline. Simple, elegant screenwriting.

Red Giant Color Suite, with Magic Bullet Looks 2.5 and Colorista II

  • Sony Alpha a7S Compact Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera
    Sony Alpha a7S Compact Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera
  • Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GH4KBODY 16.05MP Digital Single Lens Mirrorless Camera with 4K Cinematic Video (Body Only)
    Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GH4KBODY 16.05MP Digital Single Lens Mirrorless Camera with 4K Cinematic Video (Body Only)
  • TASCAM DR-100mkII 2-Channel Portable Digital Recorder
    TASCAM DR-100mkII 2-Channel Portable Digital Recorder
  • The DV Rebel's Guide: An All-Digital Approach to Making Killer Action Movies on the Cheap (Peachpit)
    The DV Rebel's Guide: An All-Digital Approach to Making Killer Action Movies on the Cheap (Peachpit)
    by Stu Maschwitz

October 19, 2008

October 19, 2008 from angus giorgi on Vimeo.

Another 5DMkII showreel.

There's some good info on the Vimeo page, as well as some incorrect statements. "Panning too quickly on 35mm produces stepping effects that you don't get on 16mm film"—I have no idea how that could be true. But the general sentiment is spot on. SLRs are an inch away from being mini movie cameras that create images more cinematic in feel than many video cameras costing ten times as much.

Same thing as Reverie—wanna know why, as lovely as it is, this video looks like video? Read this.

Thanks to reader Greg for the comment that brought this to my attention!

UPDATE: Check the comments for a password protected (why?) D90-lensed music video (try the password all lowercase). You will note that a careful DP seems to have enforced a 180 degree shutter equivalent or narrower. That along with the 24 fps frame rate makes this look much more film-like than anything we've seen from the 5D2. Don't be fooled by the film leader overlays, that's not as responsible for the film look as some would like to believe (although it's perfect evidence that we just can't get enough image degradation!). Attribute the cinematic feel more to the lighting, and the color correction. The D90 can be configured to shoot video that's much more friendly to post color work than can the 5D2, which bakes in a harsh contrast.

No jello-cam to be seen—as I twittered a while back, the funny thing about Jellocam is that it's remarkably easy to shoot a test that amply shows it off and in no way resembles anything you'd ever actually shoot.

UPDATE 2: Director Ramon Boutviseth is discussing the D90 shoot on What I described above as the actions of a careful DP, he describes thusly: "most challenging would be the exposure, I shoot on Auto because I don't know how to work the other modes yet, I aim the camera into the light and hold exposure lock to get the picture."

Reader Comments (32)

Would you have an example of the same footage shot in 30fps and 24fps, to easily see the "video" vs. "film" feel that you are referring to?
Great blog, cheers,

October 24, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterHugo

Ok, I think I'm beginning to come around to this whole movie SLR thing.

How much is that RedRock rig going to cost, I wonder?

October 24, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDavid Co.

A music video shot on the Nikon D90 with stock lens:
Password: Andy

October 24, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJacob Mason

This doesn't look nearly as much like video as Reverie does. Does anyone else feel this way? Is there a reason? I'm so close to buying this camera.

October 24, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMichael

Critical panning speeds are different for 16 and 35mm cameras. Personally, with all of the nature cinematography that I've done over the years I've had more trouble with wide lenses and slow pans in 35 that I've had with 16.... This is something that I never worried about with video, but that raises it's ugly head shooting HD 24 or even 30P...

October 24, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRick

Michael, see my update.

Rick, I'd bet the differences you've seen in critical panning speed tables between 16 and 35 is in reference to focal length. The same focal length gives a different AOV on 16 than on 35mm film. At the same AOV, the panning issues are identical between the two formats.

October 24, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterStu

Stu, I don't know why the filmmakers chose to password protect it, maybe it was a decision made by the band; Ramon, the director is on DVXuser discussing the video in this thread:

October 24, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJacob Mason

Hey Stu,

Have you gotten any feedback from Canon yet about all the requests for more pro user settings?

As soon as this becomes a go, I'll have one. I'm shooting a series on 16mm and this camera could be an amazing extra camera for my kit.

October 25, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDale McCready

Is it just me or is there a little Magic Bullet Looks action going on here? That tilt up to the rope looks like a post-processed swing-tilt filter from the Looks suite. The info on the Vimeo page doesn't mention using any color grading tools or other filters.

October 25, 2008 | Unregistered Commentergeoff gresh

24p vs 30p and Jello-vision are all concerns but what about image stabilization?

Is the image stabilization on DSLR lenses as good as what I've got in my Canon XH A1?

Most of the handholding I've seen in these clips is pretty rough (with the new D90 music video being perhaps the only exception). But compact size doesn't do a lot of good if you've got to lug around sticks.

Stu, thanks for such a great blog.

October 25, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterPeter

Peter, the image stabilization in the RED One and the Panavision Genesis isn't very good either...

October 25, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterStu

Not to take anything away from this video; the guy obviously has a some real skills as a shooter and editor. But I had to laugh out loud when I read this line on DVX User:

"I shoot on Auto because I don't know how to work the other modes yet"

So basically he has a good eye for composition, lighting, and movement and got lucky with the camera.

In other words, this guy could have been shooting with a" REL="nofollow">Bratz Video Camera and he would have made it look dope.

A good reminder (as Stu so often points out) that it ain't the equipment, it's what you do with it.

October 25, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterGroovyBrent

Hi there!

I´m following these threads about dslr for video very interested. Almost always there comes up the shutter speed issue.

I have a bit of a problem following that, most likely because it´s in English and I´m German.

Could please someone point me to a site, where I can read about it or simply answer my few following questions?:

Shutter speed, i.e. 1/48th of a second is totally clear to me of course. I know that there are degree expressions too, which stand for degrees on a 360° circle. So 24fps and 48th shutter become one half -> ergo 180°.

But what means "Full open", as I get the sense that it doesn´t mean the aperture?

And if called "faster" or "slower", do we talk about the shutter speed or degree values and if the latter, which is what?

Thanks for helping a noob :)


October 25, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJonas Blane

Hi Patrick/Jonas,

To shoot with a lens wide open is to shoot at it's smallest f-number, which is its largest aperture. To shoot with the shutter wide open is to shoot with a 360 degree shutter angle, which at 24p is 1/24th second. Film cameras cannot do this—they need time to move the film into and out of the gate.

A faster shutter is a narrower shutter. Some scenes in the Normandy Beach sequence in Saving Private Ryan were shot with a 45 degree shutter, which at 24 fps is 1/192 second.

There's a chart and some handy math for this stuff in the DV Rebel's Guide.

October 25, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterStu

I realize now as I read that back how this can be confusing. In photography, we use the term "fast" to describe increased light gathering or sensitivity. So a "faster" f-stop is a more open one, one that lets in more light. But a faster shutter is a less open one—open for less time—and lets in less light.

October 25, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterStu

Ahh, thanks alot, much clearer now.
And as I just read your post I realized that I have your book and probably should take another look once in a while.



October 25, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJonas Blane

From what I can tell from the 5D MkII manual, the only form of autoexposure that the Movie mode performs is auto-ISO. In other words, you could go into Tv or M mode and set your shutter speed to 1/50 or 1/60 for a more filmic look. To turn off autoexposure, you can hit the exposure lock before or during the clip.

So if that's true, that will go a long way towards making the camera's 30p look filmic.

Now if we can just get a 24p mode, all will be right in the universe.

October 25, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterben

Well damn, I'm sure someone could confirm what ben just said. Being able to manually select a 1/60th shutter speed would seal the deal for me.

October 25, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMichael

There's plenty of sample footage from users at

October 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRhett

I'm basing my hunch on the following information:

1) Page 121 indicates that you can take movies in P, Tv, Av, M and B modes.

2) On page 123, the manual states "For movie shooting, the ISO speed is set automatically. ISO 100 is set as standard, then it can increase up to ISO 6400 (expandable to H1: 12800) for low-light conditions."

3) Earlier on 123, it mentions that if you take a still during a movie, "the shutter speed and aperture are set automatically. The ISO speed is also set automatically within ISO 100 - 3200."

So they specifically mention that stills will be full Auto, but when discussing movies, only mention auto-ISO. I interpret this to mean that the auto exposure used for movies in, for example, Manual mode, would be auto-ISO.

Does anyone have access to the camera to confirm/deny this?

October 26, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterben

One more quick note of interest: on page 124, the manual notes:

"The movie will be recorded in the Picture Style currently set."

Which means you should be able to create a low-contrast, low-saturation Picture Style to give yourself more flexibility in post.

October 26, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterben

More clips from the D90 have been posted over on the Andromeda User forum:


October 26, 2008 | Unregistered Commentercrashandannie

Thanks Jamie! The first one I watched on was a great mix of beautiful, stolen shots and interspersed with occasional rolling-shutter, unlocked exposure mess. Really shows off the pros and cons of the D90 nicely:

October 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterStu

Stu, to my eye, these clips are good examples the differences of the 24p vs. the 30p of the Canon (among others). They certainly feel more "filmlike" than either Reverie or October 19.

Not saying better looking or worse, but definitely a different vibe.


October 27, 2008 | Unregistered Commentercrashandannie

So what's stopping the manufacturers from simply sticking their DLSR sensors in their HD cams? I guess what I mean is, wouldn't it be a more natural fit to do that than try to add HD cam features to their DSLRs? Especially someone like Sony. I don't know how many A700's they are going to sell against Canon and Nikon, but why not put that sensor and lens mount on something like the EX3?


October 27, 2008 | Unregistered Commentercore


Comparing footage on Vimeo is a bad way to appraise the frame rate as Vimeo fps is capped at 24fps.

October 27, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLeonardo

Looking at Vimeo's FAQ, I see that you are correct. If you want HD, you are maxed out at 24p.

That means if you watch the embedded video above, you're seeing every 5th frame simply being skipped out. Nasty.

I always download the original file for viewing if I can. It's available for the "October 19" video. If you do so, you'll see much smoother, more video-like motion.

October 27, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterStu

Strange I can't seem to dl the video from vimeo.

If vimeo just skips some frames, than the individual frames should be left intact.

If the footage is compressed in a GOP however (which I believe is the case with the canon) it becomes tricky.

With 24fps, Nikon has the advantage on Vimeo. But who wins on a huge HD screens with native footage?

October 27, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLeonardo

Does anyone know if you can take the footage out of the camera before the record section? As in is it possible to strip it out via the blackmagic intensity card before the avi compression goes on to it?

October 28, 2008 | Unregistered

@jacob mason: Oh. Wow! That really does look quite good!

October 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterleojS

If you're interested, we shot this short (as in drama) on the D90.

Dialogue was recorded on a flash recorder and we synced up with the scratch track for the camera.

While not as pretty as the music video, it shows its potential for dramatic production (I hope).

We shot at f1.4 which is probably a little too shallow for a lot of projects, but I felt the drifting in/out worked for the scene.

The camera kept on over heating, so we had to wrap it in a towel and stick it in the freezer.

October 31, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterstu willis


I've read an interesting post about flickering when use the 5D with standard indoor lights in Europe
Did someone test the 5D indoor in a 50 Hz country?

November 1, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterrackam_blue
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