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  • Sony Alpha a7S Compact Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera
    Sony Alpha a7S Compact Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera
    Sony
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    Panasonic
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    TASCAM DR-100mkII 2-Channel Portable Digital Recorder
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  • 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
Monday
Sep222008

My letter to Canon

Photo by Benjamin Warde of me making this shot.

The person I spoke with at Canon’s help line did not give me the greatest sense of confidence in their ability to impart my 24p request, so I took reader prosckes’s advice and emailed Canon at customerfeedback@cits.canon.com:

Dearest Canon,

I am an author, filmmaker, and photographer. I use my 5D almost every day and own several video cameras as well (including one from Canon). The filmmaking community is very excited about the 5D MarkII’s HD video mode. It is a very important development that many, including myself, see as signifying an eventual loss of distinction between video and still cameras. It is wonderful that Canon is a part of this revolution.

I realize that despite the excitement surrounding this new capability, video is a “bonus” feature on the 5D MkII. Nevertheless, it’s a bonus feature that will sell some cameras. In my own case, the HD video feature would be enough for me to immediately upgrade from my current 5D to the MkII. Except for one crucial problem: the frame rate.

It was a natural choice to offer 30 fps video, as it roughly matches the broadcast frame rate in both the US and Japan. But we filmmakers would love to have the option of 24 fps. This is the frame rate of motion picture film. Until HD video cameras adopted this frame rate (which came to be known as 24p, the “p” standing for Progressive Scan), they were not taken seriously by the film industry.

Canon’s pro video division understands this, perhaps painfully. Canon was once the darling of the independent video community, but being late to the table with a real 24p video solution meant a lot of lost business to Panasonic and Sony. Now even very low-end Canon video cameras have 24p support, although Canon is still not perceived as a leader in this area.

And while the 5D MkII is in a different class than the Nikon D90 DSLR, the D90’s video mode, while only 720p and marred by motion artifacts, is 24 fps. This is important enough that many people are buying the D90 based on this feature alone. At the same time, Panasonic’s compact LX3 also features 24p video at 720p HD resolution. Other manufacturers know what Canon’s pro video division knows: 24p is a must-have option in an HD camera.

Meanwhile, Jim Jannard of RED is scrapping his plans for a much-anticipated $3,000 video camera, based, no doubt, on the sudden explosion of large-sensor motion options cropping up at or below that price point. He has thousands of potential customers waiting to buy whatever he makes instead.

You need to be as much of a leader in this exciting new movement in camera technology as you are in the DSLR world. Please add 24p support to the 5D MkII via a firmware update. If you do, I will upgrade immediately. If you don’t support 24p, someone else will, and my business and allegiance will go with them. This is a critical time for Canon to establish leadership and show an understanding of its users’ needs.

And now for some specifics: While 30 fps is useful, it would be better if the camera ran at 29.97 fps, the actual speed of NTSC video. Similarly, when I say 24p, I am really talking about 23.976 fps. In Europe, users will want a 25 fps mode for compatibility with PAL video. Again, none of this is news to your pro video division.

For more information on this subject and to read some comments from supporters and potential customers, please see my blog:

So Close Canon

OK guys, if you’re serious about this…

Thanks for your time and attention,

-Stu


Stu Maschwitz
www.theorphanage.com
www.prolost.com

Reader Comments (19)

I second that! Fully!

September 22, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterFrank

Awesome... I will be doing the same.

September 22, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterbensyverson

sent an email

September 22, 2008 | Unregistered Commenteragwah

Great stuff Stu. I rang them in Australia on Monday, still waiting to call back.

September 23, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterPix2Pixels

Well put. I'm behind you!

Lack of recording modes on DSLRs appear to not be technical oversights, but calculated moves to enforce market segmentation.

They're probably focused on selling two cameras to every person, even though delivering the right technology would corner the market.

September 23, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterClinton Torres

I ran the QT file through MPEG streamclip at 23.98 fps. looks a little more filmic!

September 23, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterjleo

sorry, wrong section!

September 23, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterjleo

is that you doing the middle finger?

September 24, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterdcloud

C'mon guys, there is many software that can convert from 30fps to 24fps, or results isn't the same?

September 24, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDeKo

I think you're gonna win. How could they not see the sense in this? OTOH, even if they didn't do it, a third party could pull it off, as I'm sure you know: http://chdk.wikia.com/wiki/CHDK
Assuming, of course, that the same approach could be brought to bear on the Pro line of cameras?

September 24, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBMaffitt

DeKo, the results are definitely not the same. You can sometimes get a decent conversion from 60i to 24p (sing, for example, Magic Bullet) but 30 requires optical flow conversion which often only works in simple cases. You'd still have the issue with the shutter—Wingrove is exactly right, you can add more motion blur but you can't take it out. 30p converted to 24p maintains the video look.

September 24, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterStu

Thanks Stu.
ofcourse this is better to we have difference frame rate for usage( 24 , 25 , 30 , 23.976 , 29.97 ,...)

but you can get same ( or approximate same ) result with Reverse telecine method

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inverse_telecine#Reverse_telecine_.28a.k.a._IVTC.2Finverse_telecine.29


I think this cameras (Nikon d90 & Canon 5D Mark II ) are not suitable camera for movie making. On the other hand they have not professional settings & features.
for example: SlowMotion , suitable Autofocus , suitable movie length , good storage device & ...

this is a start only.

September 25, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDelbaz

Delbaz, inverse telecine is a name for the process of removing the 3:2 pulldown that is used to transport 24p material in a 60i video signal. It is not useful for converting 30p video to anything else. As discussed above, converting 30p video to other frame rates requires complex and imperfect optical flow techniques, and does not remove the video look if material shot with a 360 degree shutter.

Converting 30p to 24p is not a viable solution for getting filmic footage from this camera.

September 25, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterStu

yes . this is a method for Transfering Television to Cinema. (Inverse Cinema to Television)

my purpose was that we can get 24Fps through a 30Fps movie.

======

but i told that : this cameras are not suitable camera for movie making.in a real movie camcorder you can use many features & settings.

September 25, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDelbaz

You cannon use inverse telecine to get 24fps from 30fps. You can get clean 24fps from a 60i 3:2 pulldown signal that started life as clean 24 fps media.

September 25, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterStu

stu
i didnt tell 30p to 24p. i told 30fps movies (that means 60i )to 24fps

however you can use professional program . for example : Mac Final Cut Pro to transfer 30p to 24p

September 25, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDelbaz

Why is it sooooo important to get these "all-great" 24p into an amateur PHOTO camera?!
For some video enthusiasts who are too impatient to wait for Scarlet or too cheap to buy Red One?

Jannard will get us a 3k camera with all video bells and whistles for under $3k very soon.

Why try to make Canon do something, that may not be good for them? Because from what i've seen from D90 - maybe 24p are less than ideal speed for a DSLR video.
After all - the imaging pipeline of this camera is made for stills, not for video.

September 27, 2008 | Unregistered Commentern1x0n

In the hope of adding to the pressure to get some choice on the fps on the 5D mkII - and make it compatible with UK TVs etc. I wrote to Canon and got the following response (thank you for posting the e-mail address.
Jim, a TV Cameraman based in London, PAL-land):

Thank you for your inquiry. We value you as a Canon customer and
appreciate the opportunity to assist you. We are pleased to hear that
you are interested in the EOS 5D Mark II.

The current version of the EOS 5D Mark II only records 30 frames per
second. If you need to use this in a PAL country, it will not playback
properly. We apologize for any inconvenience this causes you at this
time. If you need a PAL version you may want to consider buying just
the PAL version.

We hope this information is helpful to you. Please let us know if we
can be of any further assistance with your EOS 5D Mark II.

Thank you for choosing Canon.

Sincerely,

Tim
Technical Support Representative

January 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJames

That's freaking hysterical, because of course there is no "PAL version" of the 5D. Not one that shoots 25p anyway.

January 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterStu
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