Everyone knows the season finale of the multimillion-dollar Fox show House was shot on $2,500 DSLRs. While watching the episode, beyond thinking about what I was seeing on screen, many of my thoughts were related to what I wasn't seeing on screen: aliasing, moire, or rolling shutter. Putting the camera in the hands of a great DP is the first step to avoiding these drawbacks, and since seeing the episode I've been wondering about the technical details of the production; thankfully the interwebs have the answers.
First off, a little background on the episode:
Over at 16x9 Cinema, Carl Olson interviews DP Gale Tattersall, who states, "it's the first time I saw digital video do something that film can't do... [before DSLRs] consumer cameras were very suited to shooting pornos, and that's about it... Now we're going to see some [filmmakers] that are going to be revealed because of this incredible technology." Digital Convergence 15 - Gale Tattersall »
At ProVideo Coalition, Adam Wilt pulls Tattersall's insightful posts from the Cinematography Mailing List, which reveal that they shot with stock Canon lenses (unmodified in any way) on Redrock Micro rigs. Tatersall also adds, "I found the 5D sensor was less harsh than the 7D and much less harsh than the 1D MK IV." For lenses, they shot "300mm lenses hand held… using the image stabilizer… literally a Steadicam in the palm of your hand." Finally, "anybody that has a criticism of this $2500 camera should first take a look at something that has been well shot projected on a 30ft screen… and I think they will suddenly become very quiet." HDSLR Revolution: Gale Tattersal Talks about “House” »
Finally, Philip Bloom interviews exec producer Greg Yaitanes, who ruminates, "I feel these cameras really give a great tribute to the actor in a way, because I feel like the way the lenses sculpt the faces, the way that the background drops off, the way that you can be now in an environment that isn’t with all the noise and the hammers as they’re pulling the sets apart, I mean, there’s no reason for it, we didn’t need to do any of that and it was so exciting to have that freedom again. It reminded me of being back in film school, just the idea that it was just you and a camera." In depth interview with Greg Yaitanes, Executive Producer and Director of “House” Season Finale » (also a transcription)