Future of DSLRs within film and television

Joshua Richards
Camera Assistant

I am a final year student of digital film production and am writing a report which will consider the future of DSLRs for use in film and television.

With the launch of the 5D Mk III, has Canon secured the DSLR camera's place in the industry or are people likely to gravitate towards other affordable large sensor cameras such as the C300, AF101, F3 or possibly even the new Black Magic Cinema Camera?

I'm interested to know where people see the industry heading. What are your thoughts and opinions?


  • 11 years ago
  • 2,108
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George Tanu
Director

The DSLR cameras are already dying. 3 years ago were considered a revolution because it produced a picture quality close to the mighty professional cameras at those times. But there is a slight problem here because, basically there are two mediums out there: (1) online videos, home projections, small viewing formats and (2) there is the cinema projection.
Now, the DSLR is perfect for the first medium because it the video quality can mirror the pro cameras but in cinema projection is lacks considerably. It lacks because the DSLR sensor is, lets say a 1.5k, where all pro sensors surpass the 2-3k resolution. The DSRL is perfect for student filmmakers, for feature film but only as a second of third camera, and other online contents.
The new future is the C300, AF100 and any other camera with a sensor larger than a 2.5k which have no rolling shutter, etc. This affirmation was proven by a new film I saw on cinema and wanted to know with camera they used. The film is The Raid-Redemption and it was filmed on a Panasonic AF-100. Then I knew that the new revolution are those types of cameras.
And another, what I believe a very important thing, is the external recording capabilities. The DSLR, from what I know does not support any external recording necessary to squeeze all the resolution out but the other cameras like C300, AF100, etc, can.


  • 11 years ago
  • 1
Tom Strachan
Editor

Hi Joshua,

Having worked on a couple of TV shows as an assistant editor in the last few months I felt I could weigh in here.

It seems to me like They have a time & a place. Productions like to use them now and again because of their size and what they bring to the scene. They are also incredibly cheap to hire in per day, typically around the £100 mark whereas a Phantom or Alexa might set you back up to £600 (just going off prices in the North East). Another redeeming factor is that due to their price a lot of crew members seem to be purchasing their own so they can be hired in for a few quid as a thank you under the table.

I'll also add however that the difference in picture between say a 5DmkII & Alexa or PMW-500 makes the footage a nightmare for colorists. If you were cross shooting for a drama it's nigh on impossible to match them. Reality TV however has enjoyed the ease of them, being able to give AP's something small but with a good sensor size has been made use of.

In general I'd expect that trend to stay the same. They'll be used on film & TV continuously but also sparingly.


  • 11 years ago
  • 2
Joshua Richards
Camera Assistant

Thanks for your input, guys.

George, I, like you, thought that DSLRs were used only as additional cameras on large budget cinema release films. I just came across an article detailing the use of the 5D Mk II on "Act of Valor". 70% was shot on the 5D, 20% on film and the rest on the F950.

Tom, I guess with the difference in cost, it will be quite a while before the DSLRs have real competition. Also, it occurs to me that the majority of television is still broadcast in standard definition, for which these cameras are more than suitable.

Have either of you had any experience with shooting video on Nikons? I found one site that rated the 800D above the Mk III. Also, interesting to note that Sony's Alpha series already record 1080 50/60p.


  • 11 years ago
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George Tanu
Director

Yes, Act Of Valor was primarily shot with the 5d but lets primarily thing of this because its important. The 5d in Act of Valor was using very expensive film lenses, I mean one of the best lenses there are and that will cost you more than a 5D camera. Calculating the cost of a 5d camera with those expensive lenses and special post-production grading or noise reduction software then the price will be close to a pro film camera or a c300, AF100 etc. Where do we draw the line? No one knows :)


  • 11 years ago
  • 4
User Deleted
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I think that outside of professional cinema/Broadcast DSLRs have put the power of decent quality video into the hands of thousands of people... This paired with the change in the way we consume video through free to view and broadcast internet sources (youtube etc) is changing the way in which the industry works, its opening gaps and opportunities in areas which would previously not been able to afford video production for video producers that would previously not been able to attain such image quality for under £500...

i think their will be a place for DSLRs for a while.... (at least until something better comes along :)


  • 11 years ago
  • 5
User Deleted
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George. What do you mean by DSLR's are 1.5K? They are not, they are pretty much 2K (1920). And the majority of screenings you will see do not project 4K. Yes currently cinema is starting to change to 4K but this is very recent in the UK. And lets be realistic, the majority of film watched is now online, so 2K is perfect.

I do not feel the c300 will last very long at all and dont believe this is even a touch into the future. The c300 is very expensive for what it is and whats available on the market at the moment. Have a look at the FS100. When the firmware upgrade comes out, it will be able to shoot 4K at half the price of the C300.

DSLR's do have a future and as technology grows we will see 4K DSLR's. The new Macbook Pro has just been released and nearly has a 3K screen.
So it makes sense that DSLR's, being an affordable everyday tool, to move forward into 4K as im sure soon we will be editing 4k effortlessly at home.

Where the camera's part is the dynamic range on cameras like the Alexa and Epic.

Joshua, the best thing would be to do is watch this - http://www.dslrfilmmaker.com/2012/06/zacutos-revenge-of-great-camera.html - and if George it would be great if you could pick out the Panasonic GH2 over the other cameras considering its a DSLR.


  • 11 years ago
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