kramon blog

cycling between video and photography with an HDSLR at hand

HDSLR videoshooting: maximum effect with minimal gear

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HDSLR video-shooting

HDSLR video-shooting

(TV &) Video is the medium I’ve been working in for almost 20 years. In case you’re wondering: I started pretty young… And doing something for a long time makes you less wonderstruck about what you are actually doing (video-directing in my case).

That was the case for me too and it made me step into professional photography a good 2 years ago. I wanted to be creatively challenged again. Not even a year into my parallel career a meteor struck the video-world: Nikon released a video-capable DSLR, the D90 and a little later came the mother of HDSLRs to date: the Canon 5DII. I hadn’t been that excited ever since I started in the video-business.

A few months back I got commissioned to make 4 video-trailers for a new studio-show for a local TV-station. I worked with ad-agency Absoluut for this. We work together a lot, whether for my photography or my video-directing. There was a (very) limited budget; so we had to shoot everything in 1 day, with a crew of… 2.

I contacted my go-to cameraman for these kinda jobs Pieter (the one holding the camera) and off we went. We soon decided to go with the 5DII as camera (instead of a DigiBeta or XDcam HD). Reason: the cinematic qualities of the big-sensored 5D and therefore it’s shallow depth-of-field capabilities.

For those interested to know more about HDSLR’s I strongly urge you to visit Philip Bloom’s Blog.

The first trailer looks something like this (and has a cyclist in there for some reason…):

The concept was simple: everyday actions were to be filmed in an abstract manner and about 25 seconds into the trailer, studio-lights were to come on, showing the action was actually taking place in the TV-stations studio.

Pieter at the rear. handheld.

Pieter at the rear. handheld.

cheap & easy HDSLR-rig: on a monopod

cheap & easy HDSLR-rig: on a monopod

To get the maximum effect we went for the minimal approach. The whole atmosphere in this video is achieved by doing 2 things.

1/ minimizing the depth of field by using big-apertured prime lenses (Zeiss in this case); usually shooting in the neighbourhood of  f2.

2/ minimizing on light by using max 2 dedo-lights and/or 1 medium 4bank to keep the studio from looking like a studio AND to keep the focus of the viewer on nothing but the action.

For the lighting the backlight was always the main light and the side/front-light served as a fill (if used at all). Also the backlight was perfect for ‘the rain’ to show. That effect was entirely achieved with 1 typical plant-sprayer (as you can see at the end of the clip)… cheap and easy!

here’s another clip we shot that day:


Written by kristoframon

May 25, 2010 at 15:54

Posted in photography, video

One Response

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  1. Love the trailers. Good stuff man. I recently bought a T1i. It’s got HD video, but not like the bigger Canons. I’ve played around with it some and recorded a few video blogs and travels vids with it, but I look forward to doing some more stuff with it in the future.


    June 24, 2010 at 15:36

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