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Canon EOS 5D Mark II 21.1MP Full Frame CMOS Digital SLR Camera with EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM Lens

Canon EOS 5D Mark II 21.1MP Full Frame CMOS Digital SLR Camera with EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM Lens

Manufacturer: Canon
List Price: N/A
Street Price: $2849.00
Amazon.com: $3,199.00

In another example of ‘cross-over’ media acquisition products, Canon announced last week that the season finale of Fox’ ‘House’ (airs Monday, May 17) was shot in its entirety with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II.

You read that right! Canon’s high-end DSLRs have been able to shoot video for some time now. Cinematographers have been experimenting with this feature for a couple of years, and have recently been pushing the limits by shooting portions of TV shows, such as the opening for this season of ‘Saturday Night Live.’

But this is the first time an entire TV show has been photographed this way.  A special rig was made up for the camera so it could be used with high-end tripods and other stationary and moving camera mounts.  The viewfinder was also connected to a larger electronic (LCD) viewing screen.

Yessir, you can indeed shoot a TV program with one of these!

The CCD and CMOS sensors in most digital SLRs have, until recently, been much smaller than a frame of 35mm film. But the latest Canon and Nikon DSLRs feature full-size sensors, which means the lenses have the same focal length as those used on 35mm motion picture and still cameras. That makes it easier to accomplish such camera tricks as shallow depth of field and follow-focus. Conventional matte boxes can also be used with a wide range of optical filters.

All of the footage recorded went directly to flash cards. The press release doesn’t specify, but I’d guess audio was recorded separately to a digital recorder (double system).  The entire episode was filmed (photographed?) and finished in 10 days.

Does this mean traditional digital camcorders and high-end digital movie cameras are on the endangered list? Not now. But they could be in the near future, at least where TV production is concerned.

Canon originally developed the capability to shoot video on DSLRs in response to requests from the Associated Press and Reuters for ‘all in one’ cameras that could be more easily deployed in the field for reporting the news. DSLRS are less conspicuous than video cameras and easier to travel with.

Now, it appears they’re good enough for Hollywood! How long before we see the first 2D feature film shot with a DSLR? (I’m sure there are a few in production right now!)

Posted by Pete Putman, May 17, 2010 2:04 PM

About Pete Putman

Peter Putman is the president of ROAM Consulting L.L.C. His company provides training, marketing communications, and product testing/development services to manufacturers, dealers, and end-users of displays, display interfaces, and related products.

Pete edits and publishes HDTVexpert.com, a Web blog focused on digital TV, HDTV, and display technologies. He is also a columnist for Pro AV magazine, the leading trade publication for commercial AV systems integrators.