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New Canon 1D X DSLR Can (Kind Of) Shoot 5K Video for Under $7,000

08.23.12 @ 1:45PM Tags : , , , , , , , , ,

The RED EPIC was the first camera capable of shooting 5K video (which is more than 4 times bigger than 1080p), and not just at 24fps, but a whopping 120fps (in a 2.39:1 aspect ratio). Now it looks like RED is getting some…competition? Michael Hession over at Gizmodo has been experimenting with the new Canon 1D X, which is capable of still image bursts of 12fps RAW or 14fps JPEG. While there are limitations, the results played back as a video actually approach real motion. Check out the interesting results from Michael’s video below.

Here is Michael Hession talking about the experiment:

Of course, there are vast limitations to using the 1DX’s still mode to make movies. Aside from settling for a choppy 14 fps, you can only shoot in bursts of between 5-10 seconds (this might increase with faster CF cards), there is no sound recorded, and you can’t even see through the viewfinder while shooting. But for all the downsides, it was surprisingly, incredibly fun shooting in this manner. It felt like shooting with an old 16mm Bolex camera. That loud shutter, the short bursts, composing your shot through a viewfinder rather than an LCD, it was quite a joy. All in all, we had to shoot 2000 separate JPG images to form the video.


It’s a technique that I’ve seen a few times before, but never anywhere near 14fps (which is only 10 frames per second off from what most of us are shooting narrative projects at). If you want more realistic motion (as much as a 2fps gain from 12 to 14 is realistic), you’d have to stick with JPEG only, which means you’d be losing a lot of the information that you originally started with (RAW), and almost defeating the purpose of the whole experiment in the first place. The downsides are pretty significant, like the fact that you’re only getting about 10 seconds per clip or less. I agree with the comparison to the old 16mm Bolex camera (not to be confused with the D16 Digtial Bolex camera). While the Bolex could shoot 24fps, the spring-loaded hand crank only allowed you to have takes of around 30 seconds.

Even though this technique is a cross between old silent filmmaking and a spring-loaded Bolex, it will yield a far higher resolution image than any of those older cameras were capable of (5184 x 3456 to be exact, which you would then probably crop to 16:9). Of course, if you wanted real motion (24fps) at a resolution somewhere near there, you could always find another $8,200 between the couch cushions and spring for the Canon 1D C (when it’s released), which would give you both Motion JPEG 24fps as well as the ability to try out this technique (since the 1D C and 1D X are practically the same camera). Then again, the RED SCARLET is capable of 5K at 12fps for a much longer clip time and you can get RAW instead of Motion JPEG 4K at 24fps.

There’s no question that these little cameras will reach 24fps at 5K or higher, but it’s likely it could only be done in a mirrorless camera similar to the Panasonic GH2, or maybe even a higher-end version of the Canon EOS M. At a certain point the mechanical nature of these cameras becomes the real bottleneck, and not the sensor or buffer in the camera. The buffer would certainly be the biggest hurdle to overcome (after getting the sensor to read faster), but if you could get 20-30 seconds like the old Bolex, you could conceivably shoot a real movie. Of course, by that time, there may be real 5K RAW video for the same price as the 1D X.

Now, before everyone gets all riled up about not needing 5K (or even 4K), this isn’t something to be taken too seriously, it’s just an interesting technique that I’m sure people could have some fun with. Certainly, only having 20-30 seconds of 24fps 5K (if we got to that point) would be a challenge, but those types of limitations can actually free us creatively.

What do you guys think?

Link: The Canon 1DX Makes One Hell of a 5K Movie Camera – Gizmodo

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  • Incredibly misleading title. 14fps for 5-10 seconds doesn’t make the 1DX a movie camera, as the youtube title exaggerates. It keeps it perfectly in the “HDSLR” wheelhouse: making time-lapses.

    • Agreed

      • Wait, how this camera is “new”? and in wich codec was used to shoot this video? oh right, that was just a stop motion, a REALLY bad way to increase traffic,

    • i agree, misleading title and irrelevant, 2days old on eoshd
      those not owning a new cinema camera (bmc/ikonoskope/bolex) need the hybrid dslr that offers variable rate frames in video min 24 and great stills ability

    • AnalogMachine on 08.23.12 @ 3:12PM

      +1 Here!!!
      This is just ridiculous as a news!!!!

  • Competition? Hardly… desperately trying to make DSLRs compete with real movie cameras is starting to get annoying, and 5-10 seconds is not even worth the effort. It’s not like there is a static line that a DSLR can meet and win at, because RED, ARRI, BMD, etc. are all constantly upgrading their camera hardware and software as well so that line of quality is constantly moving higher.

  • Headline is misleading. Shooting video implies 24, 25 or 30 fps, not stop motion.

  • Bad way to try to increase traffic to an incredibly informative and respected site.

  • Give him a break, every single website does this. The content within the article is interesting IMO and that’s all that matters.

    • So if every one does wrong is good to do so? and yes the content might be interesting, but not as interesting as the topic i came here for…

      • Of course not, I’m just saying that it’s nothing to get worked up over. Joe writes 2-3 articles a day and is probably always struggling to walk the line between creative titles that will catch peoples attention without misleading them into reading the article. I have trouble with it and I write 1-2 articles a month!

        • Thanks for the support Luke – I’ll take the criticism in stride, no big deal. It was probably slightly warranted, but I’ve adjusted the title either way.

          • Let me suggest Joe, “New, canon 1D X” instead of “New canon 1D X”, the way it is right now is telling me that the 1D X is a new camera,

            • It is a new camera, it really only started shipping in volume within the last month or so, and right now it’s currently out of stock in most places.

  • are you kidding me ? this is the first time I see bullshit on nofilmschool.. canon is hardly making any competition now..

  • Wrango Davenlo on 08.23.12 @ 2:42PM

    This was low. Now it’s time for all the disclaimers to prove what was written here, was technically true.

  • Haha Jeez! Joe, you really struck a nerve apparently. As soon as I read the title I was pretty sure I knew what was coming – the 14fps burst video has been making the rounds. No need for everyone to get personally offended! It’s just a blog about cameras – not a misreporting on a tsunami or tornado warning. Let’s try to gain some perspective.

    I think its a fun, nostalgic look to achieve. One could argue it’s simply easier to deal with 1080p, and remove frames for the same effect. Someone did something new with a camera, I think it’s great!

  • ha! what is the life expectancy on the shutter for the 1D X? Doesn’t this seem like you are just trying to kill your camera that shoots great HD video and stills?

  • We are all missing the part where Joe said “(kind Of)” in the title. Everyone needs to calm down a little….

  • I guess I was just one of the ones who thought the title wasn’t that big of a deal. It was kind of funny to me actually. It just seemed like one of those titles that make you go “really?” and then you read the article and go “oh I see, well that was interesting”. Titles are usually hooks. I seen this already and I feel like this is actually a cool little trick.

    I don’t understand why so many people were offended by it. Props to Joe for always updating this site and replying to the comments. It’s a tough and time consuming thing to do. I wish some of the people who comment relax a bit and stop taking everything personally.

  • john jeffreys on 08.23.12 @ 4:27PM

    This is the stupidest, most sensationalist dslr news ever. I cant believe you guys actually posted it. The gremlins at eos hd called it “5K raw video”. Its not video, its a memory card full of images. Good luck piecing it all together in post. Not to mention the camera can only “shoot” like that for around 10 or 15 seconds, enough for a hundred or so frames. And it will wear out the shutter REAL quick. Herp Derp.

    It would be cool for special shots that require a “stop motion” effect, but its NOT something that would ever replace a proper camera.

    Come on, Joe. I love you man but shit man

  • shaun wilson on 08.23.12 @ 6:15PM

    I think there is another issue here, Canon is offering a burst mode at 5K video that may or may not be useful to shooters – in saying this, for artists or effects artists this could be an interesting function for experimental works or even for visual effects – but the point that Canon are sneaking these features into current models is a weather vane of things to come. So I’m taking this article as a good thing and Joe, thanks for letting us know, that 5K video may well be on its way sooner than we think in DSLRs. Whether this current function may be useful or not is not the point, the real issue is that there are new video functions enabled which have the implication that what a 30K camera can shoot now may change to a $7000 camera tomorrow(ish) and I’m not sure why this would be a bad thing with people’s responses? Of course 14fps in burst mode is limiting, and????? By the way Joe, check your emails from me!

  • I wanted to write something sarcastic, but hey: I think the message is clear…

  • up until the late 19 teens silent films were shot at frame rates similar to this one. are those not considered films? I see where you guys are coming from but chill out, im sure someone will making something really cool and inventive with this technique.

  • TheOtherAlex on 08.23.12 @ 10:49PM

    Silent films were originally shot at 16 – 18FPS until the introduction of sound in which 24fps* was more acceptable to syncing. *Don’t quote me on that, I vaguely remember reading it in a Walter Murch Article.

    The limitation of only 10 – 15 seconds isn’t that bad at all and I would welcome the challenge trying to create a short film. Remember a lot can happen in a second.

    Anyways the main problem here is everyone’s misinterpreting it as a possible replacement when really it’s just a neat feature.

  • I thought it was quite a funny headline and article – loved the slightly more cheecky vibe of this article Joe!

    I did the photography for a video using continuous shooting mode on a 350D a little while back – it was for a music video and was a great laught to do.

    3fps!! and even though it was only jpg’s it was capturing you were lucky to get 10 seconds before the buffer maxed out. Was very funny as the band had to do things in slow motion but we didn’t really know how slow so getting the frame rate right for stiching the photos into a movie was interesting!

    I didn’t edit it up but I think the end result was pretty good (http://youtu.be/auPyNeQWTeI)

  • You guys are completely over exaggerating. He didn’t say it COMPLETELY SHOOTS 5K. He said it Kind of shoots 5K Video, meaning that the FPS is quick enough to catch footage in the action. And being the Canon shoots a large image file size, it’s around 5K. This CAN be utilized in a film, and I’ve even seen this done before in a few documentary style films. Sure it’s not completely the greatest film like footage, but for what it is, it offers a pretty cool 5K Video Like Effect.

    • The current title is different than the original – so a lot of the complaints were because the title I had before seemed to suggest it could, though I never envisioned people would be that upset about it – especially since the article explains exactly what’s going on.

      But more to your point – this effect can absolutely be used in a film – it’s used frequently in Slumdog Millionaire. In fact, those key scenes were shot at 12fps (which just so happens to be right within the range of this technique).

  • Oh, my OGD!!! How could you be so incredibly misleading!?!?! You disgust me forevers, No Film School! Should be No Film Stupid!! Yeah! First Lance Armstrong and now THIS!?! What a world!!! Why!? How could you?! Your mother is in the corner crying!?! Why did you betray us, Joe? WHY!?!?

    8oP`

    -Olaf
    But seriously, has anyone tried twixtoring this back up to 24?

  • The people who were upset and offended by this are not people at all but, rather, lumps of dog feces that, somehow, have learned to type.

  • The fastest way to kill a $7000 camera is to try to shoot video using the burst mode. I feel guilty when I shoot a short time lapse with my D800, if I have a 1DX or D4 I don’t think I’d ever attempt this since DSLR shutters are usually rated at 200,000 actuations at the most.

  • This is a neat idea and worth discussing. I had thought about this before, but hadn’t stopped to think about how hard it could be on the camera. (Maybe I should stop lending my 7d to a friend who loves to do time-lapses with it.)

    Why I find it interesting is that it shows how close we are to being able to shoot raw at high resolutions on many relatively affordable cameras (indeed it seems it’s better to do on a mirrorless one). A few more fps and a slightly longer burst and you could make narrative film that would probably look very cinematic (like the Black Magic) thanks to no interframe compression.

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