Friday, March 26, 2010

Making a High Quality Film with a Still Camera? Yes!

I am in pre-production on an Ultra-Low Budget film (Diary of Preston Plummer) and we are looking to make the film with a still camera. That's right! A still camera. Specifically, the Canon 5D Mark II.

I have been hearing about this phenomenon for a few months now and then my director mentioned that he wanted to shoot on it. I thought, hmmm, that sounds both intriguing and scary at the same time.

Intriguing for the potential cost-savings and ease of use. Scary for what could go wrong, which could result in delays and bad footage, etc.

Here is the press release from Canon: Canon EOS 5D Mark II DSLR Camera

Check out this blog entry from Neptune Salad regarding this camera: great news for filmmakers, bad news for film.

I'd love thoughts from anyone who has used this camera to make a film. I'll report on how it goes for us!


selin said...

we've been using this camera (and the million accessories it requires) to make a documentary film. the results are BEAUTIFUL.
i think with the controlled setting of a fiction set, it can only be better.
the big question on my mind (and many people's) is: how does it look in theaters, on a big screen? i haven't seen any films shot with the 5D on screens yet. ultimately while it'll look fantastic online, on DVDs etc, don't we all care a lot about theatrical releases too?

Jane Kelly Kosek said...

we shot a portion of our latest film on this camera and had a focus group screening on the big screen and the footage looked great. the rest of the film was shot on the Red and you couldn't tell the difference. so i think the footage from this still camera will be fine for the big screen.

Noah Harlan said...

Definitely check out the very in-depth discussions of the various DSLR options and their relative pros & cons (plus tons of helpful workflow tips) at ProLost (, PrepShootPost ( and Vincent LaForet's blog (

Anonymous said...

Yes, HDSLRs are a great option now and becoming more user-friendly; HOWEVER, additional equipment and their work flow must be taken into careful consideration. There are many caveats.

I'm considering the use of one for my first feature, currently in development. And here is an exceptional resource.

Anonymous said...

Just came across this by Zacuto., incidentally. Let me say, HDSLRs are all the rage now! People are going nuts for them...

Nancy Stafford said...

I just wrapped (as talent) a low budget film shooting on that camera. I've sent your blog link to our director, Helmut Schleppi , and hope he will post his experience and's his info also:

I think it looked really good and lighting set ups went very quickly. Sometimes focus was challenging, but the dailies I saw of our film were beautiful!

BTW,I read your blog because I'm submitting through actorsaccess for your upcoming film Diary of Preston Plummer, for role of Emily Cather. Hope to meet you---would love to work together!
Nancy Stafford

Jane Kelly Kosek said...

Thanks everyone! These are awesome resources. I have lots of reading to do. My director is coming to town with the camera this week. Looking forward to seeing what the camera can do.

Lorie said...

Hey there, Jane. Check out this link to Jentri's blog where she recaps the thorough low-down our DP, Iskra, gave us on shooting with the DSLR --

IG88 said...

These cameras, the new Digital SLRs that shoot HD, look great. Yet they do have some issues. In an earlier post someone put a link to Zacuto's tests. The one thing that they do not test, and no one here seems to talk about, is the problem with the rolling shutter.
Most people make films that incorporate some camera movement, and that is where these cameras show their limitations.
This link ( shows what happens with an exaggerated movement, but the rolling shutter still shows up in basic camera movement.
The Foundry ( a plug in to correct these problems.

Test, test, and test some more is all I would say.

Jentri said...

Hey Jane,

If you want to read more about DSLR's, my DP wrote a great (long!) response to questions we were having about this method, which I posted on my blog. Just scroll down to last week's entry. :) Good luck & happy shooting!