Reviewed by Dave Newton

Writer:Photographer:Tutor

www.photopositive.co.uk 

 

Stills In Motion

 

If you’re looking to get into the new wave of shooting HD video with your DSLR, you’ll find Stills in Motion a very good introduction. Whether you are an advanced professional photographer looking to offer HD movies to your clients, or an enthusiast photographer hoping to produce some short creative films, Drew Gardener and the Stills in Motion tutorial will give you the information you need to take your first steps in the brave new world.

 

Throughout the tutorial, the basics are covered to ensure you miss nothing out. By the time you get to disc 2 you’ll have a good idea of what kit you might need to buy or rent, as well as what settings you need to make on the camera to get the best results.

 

With Disc 2, you’ll learn how to put it all together - to take theory and make it practice. Two case studies are presented so you can see how the different equipment is used and how, in reality, making HD movies is actually quite a simple affair.

 

When you first see the tutorial, you may be initially skeptical having a very high-end commercial photographer presenting - if you don’t shoot in the commercial world you may feel his experience will be a million miles away from your own. While this could be a problem, Drew is like many, new to HD Movie shooting, so his stills experience and knowledge only gets him so far. It means the tutorial is explained in really simple terms without getting heavily technical and it ensures it covers all the questions you’re likely to ask as a stills photographer moving to video. 

 

 

DSLR Video on Assignment

 

If you’re not a news photographer or photojournalist, you may be put off by this tutorial purporting to be shooting HD video for a news assignment. But to do that would be a big mistake. While Dan Chung is a photojournalist (and indeed one of the finest around) this tutorial does not only deal with assignment shooting. Sure there are hints and tips on assignment shooting, but it is so much more than that.

And in fact, the tips he imparts will prove useful to you no matter what genre of photography you shoot, and are equally valid whether you are a seasoned pro or enthusiast.

 

Since Dan made the transition from stills to video, he is well placed to explain how that transition happens and the perils and pitfalls of shooting HD video with a DSLR.

 

The tutorial is ordered very sensibly so that you start with the basics and build from there through to the last chapter where you see Dan pull it all together in actually shooting his assignment.

 

If you follow everything in this tutorial you’ll be up and running in no time and will have neatly sidestepped all the problems you’d otherwise face. Dan deals with all the basic and advanced camera settings, recording sound, accessories to consider and actually working in a live environment.

 

Despite being 2 hours long, the tutorial is easy to watch and the time passes quickly. Dan presents the information in an easy to understand way that’s free of tech speak. The best part about the tutorial though is not that you’ll learn loads from it, it’s that it is equal parts educational and inspirational. You’ll come away from watching it wanting to take Dan’s final advice – get out and practice!

 

 

 

Learn to Shoot Great Video with your Canon 7D

 

Philip Bloom has taken the DSLR world by storm since HD Movie functions were introduced to the cameras. In this tutorial he walks you through the EOS 7D, one of the best choices for shooting HD Movies, and he explains how to set the camera up, as well as what accessories you might need to consider to get the best out of it.

 

There are sections on camera setup, using filters, lens effects and lens choice, supporting the camera, recording sound and shooting timelapse, among many other areas. There is even a section at the end explaining the first steps of workflow – how to convert your ‘RAW’ footage to something you can edit with and how to turn stills from a timelapse sequence into something you can incorporate into your final movie.

 

Overall, if you’re just starting out in the world of HD video with DSLRs, whether you’re coming from a stills background or a video background, you’ll certainly find things you didn’t know before that will help you maximise your use of the camera.

 

Because Philip is a videographer professionally, there is a lot of expensive kit on show and he does talk about some high-end third party equipment. However, don’t let this put you off. As he says at the end, you don’t need all of it to create great looking videos.

 

 

 

Learn Canon 5d Mark II Cinematography

 

If you’re looking for a beginners guide to shooting HD video with your DSLR, this is a good first step. Philip Bloom, a professional videographer with a hobby in shooting stills, has embraced the DSLR revolution.

 

Explaining how he got into DSLR HD Video gives a nice introduction and is one many people can relate to, especially if you have a videography background.

The content is deliberately simple and takes you through Philip’s thought process explaining the pitfalls and stumbling blocks along way…and crucially, how he overcame them.

 

Even the stills photographers will find interest and learning in this tutorial because it deals with the topics in a down-to-earth, non-technical way.

 

The second part of the film deals with the workflow back on the computer, and while it doesn’t tell you how to edit (that would be a whole tutorial or 10 on its own) it does give you the basics of how to ingest, convert and begin to work with your footage.

 

Even those who have some experience with shooting HD Movies on DSLR cameras will pick up some tips on how to do it better, especially when looking at accessories to consider that will make you life much easier, and crucially, your results much better.


Reviewed By Scott Bourne www.photofocus.com Oct 19th 2009

Few video shooters have made as big an impact on the hybrid/convergence market as Philip Bloom. Bloom is a UK-based shooter who is known for using 35mm lenses on traditional video cameras. But in the year that shooting HD video on a hybrid DSLR has been a reality, Bloom has also become known for his use of a Canon 5D MK II to make stunning productions.
Bloom’s company F-Stop Academy is offering a tutorial on DVD. It is a basic introduction to cinematography with the Canon 5D Mark II.
The hour plus production covers things like recommended lenses, how to set the camera to shoot video, using matte boxes and follow focus and how to avoid rolling shutter. There’s also a fairly detailed explanation of Bloom’s suggested workflow. As long as you use Final Cut Pro and the 5D MK II you’ll get plenty out of this tutorial. If you use other tools, you still may glean something here but I would assume you can find better resources.
Bloom is a likable, intelligent and talented teacher. He’s easy to watch and listen to. Production quality of the DVD itself is very good. I have had some back and forth with Bloom via e-mail and Twitter. He’s helpful, positive and responsive. In short, I think he’s a genuine thought leader in this space and well worth your attention.
I liked the DVD but want to make sure prospective buyers understand what they are getting. Bloom approaches this subject with the mindset of a filmmaker. He does a better job of translating for photographers, some of the differences between still and video shooting, but as is my criticism of all such training I’ve seen, that approach ignores the larger market. I guarantee you that there are more still photographers looking to get into fusion than filmmakers. I continue to lobby people in this segment of the industry to remember that the photographers are the market and more effort should be made to reach them on their own terms. (This is of course one of the reasons I have jumped into fusion with both feet. I may be able to serve as a translator for photographers looking to make the jump with me.)
Photographers or filmmakers, this tutorial is aimed at people who are complete rookies. It does assume you understand the basics of image-making, but beyond that it sticks with the basics.
You should understand that in this short period of time, Bloom can only cover so much. There’s nothing on camera technique or even working with the 5D MK II’s upgraded bootleg firmware. But then again, I didn’t expect any of that.
It’s clear from watching the tutorial that Bloom has sponsors, but what I really appreciated about him is that he spent time talking about competing products. This gave him a great deal of credibility with me.
There’s no doubt that after watching this tutorial you’ll know more about shooting video with your 5D MK II. It does feel a bit uneven in places and rushed in others, but if I had to rate it on a scale of one to 10, I’d be comfortable with giving it a solid eight.
$120 plus shipping from http://www.learntocreatethefilmlook.com/learn-canon-5dmkii-cinematograph/
UPDATE: I have also been granted access to the Canon 7D version of this tutorial. By the second time around Philip seemed to really hit his stride. I feel like the 7D version was more cogent and flowed better. There is some information that is common to both titles. The 7D title is a bit more up-to-date. I don’t know its release date or price but I feel very comfortable recommending it. 7D version is 10 out of 10!


Posted on 11-12-2009
F-Stop Academy Learn 5DMrkII DVD Review
Filed Under (Review) by by Alain Pilon

As promised, here is the review of the 5D training DVD from F-Stop Academy. A lot of people are interested in getting HDSLR training DVD for Christmas but dont know which one to get. By the end of this review, you should have a better idea of which one is better for your needs. While this video is targeted at the 5DMrkII market, almost all of its content is also valid for other HDSLRs.

I have decided to keep a similar review format to the one I used for my previous review of the 5dFilmschool DVD.

Notice: I reviewed the electronic download version of the training. And, as always, I suggest this format for a better viewing experience.
Pace

The pace of the clip is quite fast. Blasting over 25 chapters in less than 75 minutes could seem scary but it is in fact a very good way to cover everything one has to know to get going with an HDSLR. And if you miss something, there is always the rewind button!
Precise

Each concept is demonstrated with actual footage from the 5D. I really like the example with the Vari ND filter. The only example that I did not find convincing enough was the demonstration of what happen when a high shutter speed is used instead of staying around 1/60 as we already outlined in a past article. I would have expected a side by side comparison with a footage shot at 1/60sec.
Useful content

Philip covers a lot of ground in this training. Actually, he covers pretty much everything you need to know to start shooting your first clips. He starts from the very first step, reviewing all the gear in his bag and shows how/when/why to use each of them.

While most of the content has already been talking about somewhere on the web (or even this site!), the DVD regroup everything in a single content packed DVD. In a bit more than an hour, you will get pretty much every bit of useful content that has been written about and all of this illustrated with nice examples. you might even learn a few tricks! Not a bad deal if you ask me!
Entertaining

Philip is an entertaining guy and shares a few of his recent experiences with us during the training. I was quite surprised to see how easy it has been for him to ‘convince’ his clients to agree to use the 5D instead of a conventional camera. I also like the aesthetic style of the video. While the video is shot with a big Sony video camera, the training is littered with clips from the 5D. These clips are either from past jobs or footage taken while making the DVD content. I am sure they did this on purpose because when you see side by side clips form the 5D and those form the video camera, there are no doubts in your mind about which one you want to use.
Verdict

My wife went to Guatemala to do some humanitarian work and I wish I could have shown her this movie before she left. It would have saved me hours of explanations and I am sure she would have remembered everything.

While I think everyone will find at least one interesting/useful bit of information on this DVD (even I did learn something!), I think the people who will benefit the most from it are those who are either new to HDSLR or dont want/can spend the time to browse the net and learn all of these things. This make this DVD the perfect companion gift to a brand new 5DMrkII for Christmas!

So, should you get this DVD or the other one from 5DFilmSchool (review)? While some of the content overlap between the two products, the F-Stop DVD talks more about how to shoot and get good images (Bloom style) while the 5DFilmShool is more about the various steps required to make a film (with a story/directing line) with high production value.

My advice: get both if you can afford them ;-)

Next up: 7D training from F-Stop Academy.

Some of you have seen that we have a page set up for Philip Bloom’s new training series for the Canon EOS 5D Mark II and the Canon EOS 7D. Den Lennie sent us a copy of both and finding time to do the review has been a bit hard. But I have good news – friend of planet5D Dave Warner (@LensFlare35 on twitter) has let us ‘borrow’ his review and I’ll add a bit of my own thoughts after his.
Redrock Micro

Here’s Dave’s blog post (you can also read it on his site)

Canon 7DPart of getting either the Canon 5D Mark II or the Canon 7D is the excitement of having that 1080P HD Video capability. I know that when I got mine, I had visions of these wonderful clips just spilling out of the camera and onto my hard disk. I’d look at some commercials on TV, or some scenes in a movie and I’d turn to my wife and say “I can do that now – I have that capability in my new Canon!”

So, next stop read the manual? Yup, I did that; didn’t understand half of what they said, but thought I had everything set up the way it should be and went out and shot some video. Well, the problems started right after downloading the footage off the camera. Ok you Apple owners, here’s your first laugh – I am a PC user and the footage looked great in QuickTime, but stuttered and was not smooth, audio didn’t sync with the video and a host of other problems.

Well, let’s just shorten this WHOLE initial experience to a few words. After several weeks of trying to research on the Internet, testing different pieces of software, crunching pieces of video clips from here and there, I STILL didn’t have anything that I could put together on Vimeo or YouTube. And no, I was NOT going to post another ‘Test’ piece of 5D Mark II footage up there that was pure babble! Isn’t there enough already?

So, I was lost, disappointed, upset, and really feeling like there was no way to get any decent video footage out of the camera. I’d wasted my money upgrading because my 5D had been just fine for the landscape images I was taking with it! And yes, my wife WAS giving me ‘the look’ for spending money on yet another toy that “I just had to have because you won’t believe the capability it has and the things I’ll be able to do with it” kind of story.

During all that research, I had figured out a few things:

1. I was NOT the only one out there with this problem
2. There wasn’t much information about EXACTLY what I needed to know to make this work
3. There was no list telling me WHAT extra hardware I had to have and what it would cost
4. There was no list of additional software I needed and exactly what I would have to do with it to get a nice piece of video out of it (Apple users – the all-in-one answer for everything was Final Cut Pro)
5. There was almost NO information about what software to use on a PC and HOW to use it
6. Steve Weiss (Zacuto), Vincent Laforet, Philip Bloom and a few others were doing a LOT to help educate people and to help.

So, I tried contacting the first three names I’d come up with for interviews. I figured I would learn SOMETHING from talking to them, which would help me, as well as everyone else. So, I booked Steve Weiss and learned a lot, had Vincent Laforet booked, but then Canon told him to pull down his video of Nocturne shot with the (at that time) brand new Canon 1D Mark IV – haven’t heard from him since. FINALLY booked Philip Bloom after chasing him around the globe via Twitter, email and peer pressure from his friends. I learned EVEN more from him. During his podcast interview, he had mentioned his affiliation with F-Stop Academy and the products they were trying to create on DVD, so I thought it was worth a follow-up and here we are.

Philip Bloom

So who is this Philip Bloom guy? Well, he is widely regarded as the worlds leading authority on low budget digital film making techniques. He recently hit two million views on his blog and is regarded highly in the indie film making world as a modern ‘guru’ of digital film making practices. In recent months he’s filmed a commercial in Bulgaria for a National Mobile Phone network, he spent ten days in India shooting a Viral for Greenpeace and then he shot a promo in London with Kevin Spacey – all on the Canon 5D Mark II. He also had some VERY popular videos on the web, including Sophia’s People.

Well, Philip and Den Lennie decided to found F-Stop Academy in May of 2009 to answer the most frequently asked question by film makers worldwide – “What’s the best camera for creating the film look and how do you use it?” Best news is, that same question happens to be the one many of the stills photographers were asking about these cameras.

300px_5d_3d
So they set about creating a course that would break down all the elements that would allow you to create images and films that mimic the look and feel of film using your video camera. Their first two DVD’s are a great chance to start answering some of the questions that myself and many others have had about shooting video with these types of cameras, AND in particular the 5D Mark II or 7D from Canon.

After my interview with Philip, I contacted him and asked if I could review the two DVD’s. He kindly said yes, and I downloaded the digital version of the one for the Canon 7D and Den sent me the 5D Mark II DVD via Priority Mail.

I’m going to focus my comments on the 5D Mark II DVD, since Phillip said they were very similar. Here’s the table of contents for the DVD:

Main Program (57 minutes)
1: Main Titles & Introduction
2: My 5dmkII history
3: Shooting with the 5dmkII
4: What kit do you need?
5: Setting up the camera to shoot video
6: Setting your ISO
7: Creating the best in camera picture style
8: Getting the correct exposure
9: Lenses
10: Lens discipline
11: Using a Macro Extension
12: The Mattebox
13: Follow Focus
14: Using a video monitor
15: Monopod & view finder
16: Variable ND filters
17: The IS Lens
18: Shooting handheld
19: Avoiding the “Jello effect”
20: Shutter speed
21: Getting the depth of field YOU want using the Fader/Vari ND
22: Shutter speed in artificial light
23: Sound
24: Best way to learn? Go out and shoot!

Workflow (17 minutes)
1: Bringing your footage into your computer
2: Converting to a format you can edit with
3: How to convert to 24p or 25p
4: Using Cinema Tools to change frame rate
5: How to sync sound

The Plus Side

The packaging is great, the DVD is professionally designed and put together, and the video footage (of course) is high quality and edited well. I think that many people will get bored right off the bat with chapters two and three, but I personally think they are essential! I wanted to know about Philip’s history and how he got started with all of this. Yes, I didn’t learn anything about using the camera, but it did give me some perspective on who he is and why he got into using these cameras. I also liked the next chapter where he talked about actually going out and using them and showed examples of his more popular ones. It gives you additional perspective if you can hear about it and watch it at the same time.

The remaining chapters were excellent, as they piece by piece explained different aspects of how to set the camera up, additional equipment you can/must use, and how to shoot with it. After watching this, it is a wonder I got anything out of the camera at all! I think I had all the settings incorrect (after actually reading the manual).

One thing to remember though is that this is a beginner’s introduction to all of the material. It just begs the question – is there going to be a MUCH more in-depth version of the DVD coming out? One that covers some of the same title areas, but goes deeper with examples of how it was shot, downloaded, manipulated and then finally edited?

The bottom line is that unless you are already successfully using the camera and getting great video out of it, this is a must-have DVD. It will save you SO much time right up front when you get the camera. I wish I’d had it weeks ago…

The Downside

Occasionally, Philip uses some terminology in the DVD that he doesn’t explain. For instance, what the heck are rushes? You eventually figure it out, but for those starting out, you don’t know what he’s talking about!

The menu settings – he went through them WAY too fast! I’m familiar with the camera and the menus, but not to THAT level! He was clicking and changing screens so fast, that even with extensive use of the Pause/Play button, it took me a bit to mimic his settings.

The Workflow section – kind of just an introduction, so there MUST be another video on the way. It clearly left me wanting, and for PC users – you will be lost. It doesn’t answer a single thing for you. You will know how to get your settings correct in the camera, and shoot some great video, but you won’t be able to do a thing beyond that unless you’ve already figured it all out.

And Finally Price – I think the pricing on the videos is WAY too high; $135.00 for the Canon 7D video and $120 for the 5D! Whether you get it on DVD, or download it digitally, the price is the same. There should be some kind of price break for the digital download, since there is no postage, handling, physical packaging, or anything else involved. I think I’d rather see $59.00 for the DVD and $49.00 for the digital download. I think they’d actually make a LOT more money with the better pricing – hard to say no to those amounts!

Here are the links to purchase either of these:
Learn Canon 5D mkII Cinematography with Philp Bloom * Add to cart*
Learn 2 Shoot Great Video on your Canon 7D You can buy the DVD downloads here

Review of the Canon 7D DVD

After going through the 5D Mark II DVD, Philip then asked me to take a look at the one for the 7D. He said that he thought it was much better. I went through that DVD as well, and would have to agree with Philip. I think it was more polished, they answered more questions and gave the information out in a much better fashion, and they added a time-lapse section as well, which was pretty cool. Other than some minor settings for the 7D, you could use the information in this DVD and apply it to shooting with the 5D just as easily. So, you make the call as to which one to buy, but at least one of these is a must for getting started with video.

Ok (back to planetMitch now), that’s pretty complete… well, I do have a few thoughts!

I do tend to agree with Dave that maybe Philip and Den have priced these a bit high, it seems that something a bit lower would get more sales. Especially when you get a digital download option (that is currently on the 7D disk). Without having to deal with shipping and a physical DVD, you’d hope to get a little discount (but then again, you seem to pay close to full price for songs on iTunes don’t ya?). However, I realize that there’s a lot of value in these discs and if you were getting live training, you could pay a lot more than this.

Ok, so what are my thoughts on this training? Especially since we’ve just reviewed a similar disc (5DFilmSchool’s Canon EOS 5D Mark II 101 and 102). It seems to me that both of these may have a place in your library depending on your current skill level. If you’re an absolute beginner when it comes to video/movies, you’ll want to get the 5DFilmShool as well as Philip’s discs — the 5DFilmSchool is 2 discs and covers more materials – including the movie basics. Philip assumes you already have some video/movie skills and you’re looking to tweak your knowledge for the Canon EOS 5D Mark II. Sure, there’s a bit of overlap, but each brings it’s own set of good information to the party and eventually, you’ll probably want both.

Philip brings a lot of his knowledge to this training. He gives a lot of tips and tricks that specifically apply to the Canon EOS 5D Mark II and the Canon EOS 7D. Especially things tailored to “creating the film look” – you’ll get a lot of information you won’t find in many other places.

One negative I remember about the 5D2 training is that some of the chapters feel a bit short. You’ll get a title for the chapter and you’re looking for a lot of information on that topic and in 2-3 minutes you’re already into the next chapter. Both of Philip’s training discs are over 60 minutes, but you keep wanting a bit more in several of the chapters. That’s probably more true in the 5D2 than the 7D disc. I think Philip learned quite a bit between making the 2 and it shows in the 7D training.

Philip is very enjoyable to watch – there’s not much boring about him. I especially liked the introduction on the 5D2 disc where he talks about how he first got the 5D2 and fell in love with it. I was wishing that was included in the 7D training (since they’re so similar). The 7D training is cool because every scene is shot outside. He even includes info on the flicker caused by different artificial lights and even doing a time-lapse. The 7D download also comes with a separate file that is 12 minutes on Philip’s editing workflow tips including slow motion and time-lapse.

So, I like all of these materials and feel you’ll get good value for your purchase. I’m sure Philip will be working on additional titles (especially with the Canon EOS-1D MKIV coming soon) and we’ll look forward to the lessons he’s gained while working on these titles.

Philip also highly recommends a couple of products we recommend as well…
pluralEyes (a Final Cut Pro plugin) for syncing the sound (and he covers some of the use of external audio with the Zoom H4N)
the z-finder from Zacuto.

So there you go – some more great training available for you learn how to make cinematic movies with your Canon EOS 5D Mark II or Canon EOS 7D!

Review of the F-Stop Academy DVD’s for the Canon 5D Mark II and 7D

by Dave Warner on December 2, 2009

Hello there!

Canon 7DPart of getting either the Canon 5D Mark II or the Canon 7D is the excitement of having that 1080P HD Video capability. I know that when I got mine, I had visions of these wonderful clips just spilling out of the camera and onto my hard disk. I’d look at some commercials on TV, or some scenes in a movie and I’d turn to my wife and say “I can do that now – I have that capability in my new Canon!”

So, next stop read the manual? Yup, I did that; didn’t understand half of what they said, but thought I had everything set up the way it should be and went out and shot some video. Well, the problems started right after downloading the footage off the camera. Ok you Apple owners, here’s your first laugh – I am a PC user and the footage looked great in QuickTime, but stuttered and was not smooth, audio didn’t sync with the video and a host of other problems.

Well, let’s just shorten this WHOLE initial experience to a few words. After several weeks of trying to research on the Internet, testing different pieces of software, crunching pieces of video clips from here and there, I STILL didn’t have anything that I could put together on Vimeo or YouTube. And no, I was NOT going to post another ‘Test’ piece of 5D Mark II footage up there that was pure babble! Isn’t there enough already?

So, I was lost, disappointed, upset, and really feeling like there was no way to get any decent video footage out of the camera. I’d wasted my money upgrading because my 5D had been just fine for the landscape images I was taking with it! And yes, my wife WAS giving me ‘the look’ for spending money on yet another toy that “I just had to have because you won’t believe the capability it has and the things I’ll be able to do with it” kind of story.

During all that research, I had figured out a few things:

1. I was NOT the only one out there with this problem
2. There wasn’t much information about EXACTLY what I needed to know to make this work
3. There was no list telling me WHAT extra hardware I had to have and what it would cost
4. There was no list of additional software I needed and exactly what I would have to do with it to get a nice piece of video out of it (Apple users – the all-in-one answer for everything was Final Cut Pro)
5. There was almost NO information about what software to use on a PC and HOW to use it
6. Steve Weiss (Zacuto), Vincent Laforet, Philip Bloom and a few others were doing a LOT to help educate people and to help.

So, I tried contacting the first three names I’d come up with for interviews. I figured I would learn SOMETHING from talking to them, which would help me, as well as everyone else. So, I booked Steve Weiss and learned a lot, had Vincent Laforet booked, but then Canon told him to pull down his video of Nocturne shot with the (at that time) brand new Canon 1D Mark IV – haven’t heard from him since. FINALLY booked Philip Bloom after chasing him around the globe via Twitter, email and peer pressure from his friends. I learned EVEN more from him. During his podcast interview, he had mentioned his affiliation with F-Stop Academy and the products they were trying to create on DVD, so I thought it was worth a follow-up and here we are.

Philip Bloom

So who is this Philip Bloom guy? Well, he is widely regarded as the worlds leading authority on low budget digital film making techniques. He recently hit two million views on his blog and is regarded highly in the indie film making world as a modern ‘guru’ of digital film making practices. In recent months he’s filmed a commercial in Bulgaria for a National Mobile Phone network, he spent ten days in India shooting a Viral for Greenpeace and then he shot a promo in London with Kevin Spacey – all on the Canon 5D Mark II. He also had some VERY popular videos on the web, including Sophia’s People.

Well, Philip and his partner Den Lennie decided to found F-Stop Academy in May of 2009 to answer the most frequently asked question by film makers worldwide – “What’s the best camera for creating the film look and how do you use it?” Best news is, that same question happens to be the one many of the stills photographers were asking about these cameras.

300px_5d_3d
So they set about creating a course that would break down all the elements that would allow you to create images and films that mimic the look and feel of film using your video camera. Their first two DVD’s are a great chance to start answering some of the questions that myself and many others have had about shooting video with these types of cameras, AND in particular the 5D Mark II or 7D from Canon.

After my interview with Philip, I contacted him and asked if I could review the two DVD’s. He kindly said yes, and I downloaded the digital version of the one for the Canon 7D and Den sent me the 5D Mark II DVD via Priority Mail.

I’m going to focus my comments on the 5D Mark II DVD, since Phillip said they were very similar. Here’s the table of contents for the DVD:

Main Program (57 minutes)
1: Main Titles & Introduction
2: My 5dmkII history
3: Shooting with the 5dmkII
4: What kit do you need?
5: Setting up the camera to shoot video
6: Setting your ISO
7: Creating the best in camera picture style
8: Getting the correct exposure
9: Lenses
10: Lens discipline
11: Using a Macro Extension
12: The Mattebox
13: Follow Focus
14: Using a video monitor
15: Monopod & view finder
16: Variable ND filters
17: The IS Lens
18: Shooting handheld
19: Avoiding the “Jello effect”
20: Shutter speed
21: Getting the depth of field YOU want using the Fader/Vari ND
22: Shutter speed in artificial light
23: Sound
24: Best way to learn? Go out and shoot!

Workflow (17 minutes)
1: Bringing your footage into your computer
2: Converting to a format you can edit with
3: How to convert to 24p or 25p
4: Using Cinema Tools to change frame rate
5: How to sync sound

The Plus Side

The packaging is great, the DVD is professional designed and put together, and the video footage (of course) is high quality and edited well. I think that many people will get bored right off the bat with chapters two and three, but I personally think they are essential! I wanted to know about Philip’s history and how he got started with all of this. Yes, I didn’t learn anything about using the camera, but it did give me some perspective on who he is and why he got into using these cameras. I also liked the next chapter where he talked about actually going out and using them and showed examples of his more popular ones. It gives you additional perspective if you can hear about it and watch it at the same time.

The remaining chapters were excellent, as they piece by piece explained different aspects of how to set the camera up, additional equipment you can/must use, and how to shoot with it. After watching this, it is a wonder I got anything out of the camera at all! I think I had all the settings incorrect (after actually reading the manual).

One thing to remember though is that this is a beginner’s introduction to all of the material. It just begs the question – is there going to be a MUCH more in-depth version of the DVD coming out? One that covers some of the same title areas, but goes deeper with examples of how it was shot, downloaded, manipulated and then finally edited?

The bottom line is that unless you are already successfully using the camera and getting great video out of it, this is a must-have DVD. It will save you SO much time right up front when you get the camera. I wish I’d had it weeks ago…

The Downside

Occasionally, Philip uses some terminology in the DVD that he doesn’t explain. For instance, what the heck are rushes? You eventually figure it out, but for those starting out, you don’t know what he’s talking about!

The menu settings – he went through them WAY too fast! I’m familiar with the camera and the menus, but not to THAT level! He was clicking and changing screens so fast, that even with extensive use of the Pause/Play button, it took me a bit to mimic his settings.

The Workflow section – kind of just an introduction, so there MUST be another video on the way. It clearly left me wanting, and for PC users – you will be lost. It doesn’t answer a single thing for you. You will know how to get your settings correct in the camera, and shoot some great video, but you won’t be able to do a thing beyond that unless you’ve already figured it all out.

Review of the Canon 7D DVD

After going through the 5D Mark II DVD, Philip then asked me to take a look at the one for the 7D. He said that he thought it was much better. I went through that DVD as well, and would have to agree with Philip. I think it was more polished, they answered more questions and gave the information out in a much better fashion, and they added a time-lapse section as well, which was pretty cool. Other than some minor settings for the 7D, you could use the information in this DVD and apply it to shooting with the 5D just as easily. So, you make the call as to which one to buy, but at least one of this is a must for getting started with video.

Review: Learn Canon 5D Mark II Cinematography with Philip Bloom DVD

Written by Jeff Kramer on October 9th, 2009
Filed Under Canon EOS
Review: Learn 5D Mark II Canon Cinematography with Philip Bloom

Philip Bloom 5D DVD Cover

DVD Product Page

My, how times change. A decade ago DV was the hot new thing. We were all debating whether shooting full frame, full frame with an anamorphic screw-on-lens (remember those?) or in-camera anamorphic was the best route for 35mm blow-up. We all dreamed of being able to flip a switch and record beautiful, high resolution shots with shallow, film-like depth of field. Here it is, 10 years later, and while video cameras have indeed gotten better, the current heir apparent to the film look for low budget production has come from an unlikely source. That Digital SLR you had grew up and started shooting jaw-dropping footage at 800 ISO in candlelight. Who knows what the next 10 years will bring.

Shooting HD on a dSLR is only roughly a year old. That’s not long for a production technique. In the last year things have developed rapidly. Techniques have been developed and become outdated (I’m looking at you, half-twist-off the lens for aperture control), products are already in their rev 2 incarnation, and the first dSLR feature-length narratives are in post.

One of the most well-known voices in the HD dSLR space is Philip Bloom. He hails from the UK and his background is primarily in videography. Big shoulder cameras, 35mm adapters, etc. He got a loaner 5D from Zacuto while in Hawaii for a shoot and fell in love. He’s shot extensively with the 5D and has been putting on 5D training courses all over the world for interested videographers. He recently released this DVD, a focused introduction to cinematography with the Canon 5D Mark II.
The Product & Disc

The DVD is packaged in a standard clamshell case, just the disc, no insert. The disc is natively 16:9 and looks great played with my PS3 on a 1080p LCD set. There are some compression issues, specifically in some of the middle chapters with footage shot on the Sony F350, but the 5D footage looks amazing.
Contents

Main Program (57 minutes)
1: Main Titles & Introduction
2: My 5dmkII history
3: Shooting with the 5dmkII
4: What kit do you need?
5: Setting up the camera to shoot video
6: Setting your ISO
7: Creating the best in camera picture style
8: Getting the correct exposure
9: Lenses
10: Lens discipline
11: Using a Macro Extension
12: The Mattebox
13: Follow Focus
14: Using a video monitor
15: Monopod & view finder
16: Variable ND filters
17: The IS Lens
18: Shooting handheld
19: Avoiding the “Jello effect”
20: Shutter speed
21: Getting the depth of field YOU want using the Fader/Vari ND
22: Shutter speed in artificial light
23: Sound
24: Best way to learn? Go out and shoot!

Workflow (17 minutes)
1: Bringing your footage into your computer
2: Converting to a format you can edit with
3: How to convert to 24p or 25p
4: Using Cinema Tools to change frame rate
5: How to sync sound
Presentation

Nearly the entire DVD is Philip talking to the camera, with some examples of 5D footage and split screen comparisons for variety. About a third of it is in his editing space, two thirds shot on location in Cambridge. Philip’s comfortable on camera and is an entertaining presenter.
Audience

The target audience for this tutorial is someone with photo or video experience who has an interest in this production technique but doesn’t want to spend hours or days teasing out nuggets of wisdom from forum threads. The DVD doesn’t spend much time on controls or fundamental photography/cinematography aspects. It assumes that you understand f-stops, ISO ratings and editing systems. The workflow sections which are included as an extra are Mac, and somewhat Final Cut Studio 3 specific. Non-FCP users will probably find this interesting, but it won’t be directly applicable.
The Good

The DVD does a good job of getting you up to speed on what the 5D is capable of so you can start shooting fast. It competently covers the basics: the kit he uses, defaults for camera settings that’ll give you flexibility in post, gotchas with the 1.1.0 firmware, tips, tricks and things to watch out for.

The chapters are direct, he doesn’t belabor any points and gives you enough information on everything he covers so you can feel competent about it. There’s quite a bit of 5D sample footage in the DVD, including some candlelight footage, behind the scenes footage of 5D shoots and filter look examples. It’s very helpful to see the footage and know what lenses and settings are used to create the look.
The Not-So-Good

This is obviously a rapidly developing field, and while this DVD covers the state of the art as of July of 2009, the 5D is fairly new and techniques are constantly evolving. You won’t find as much about mixing footage between cameras or handling multi-camera shoots. Philip also chose not to mention Magic Lantern, which is somewhat understandable since it’s not an official product, but for anyone serious about shooting with the 5D it’s an odd omission. It addresses a lot of the gotchas that Philip covers (ACG options, zebra stripes and now high resolution HDMI). It’d be nice to at least have it covered by a web special feature.
Conclusions

The disc is a great resource for someone who hasn’t been following dSLRs for HD closely and wants a concise introduction by an expert. After watching it I felt like I could pick up my 5D and produce some good footage. Philip’s very good at making it not feel like magic.