April 11, 2016 at 5:01AM

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Have I reached the limits of my DSLR?

Hello guys,

This is my first post on this forum. Me and a friend are filming with canon DSLRS (7dII & 760D). I slowly come to the point where I'd say that our cameras don't fit our needs any more, when it comes to videography. Should we rather have a look to the alpha 6300? We can't really afford a alpha 7 as those are not in our budget :/

I'd really like to know how you guys think about it and what you think about our work (what needs to be improved, what's good). We're no professionals, so we'd really like to get some feedback from you guys.

Below is a video we made this weekend. It's all filmed with our two DSLRS, a steadycam and a nobudget shoulderrig ( tripod with 2 legs over the shoulder and one in front of the body), edited in premiere pro with magic bullet, twixtor and warp stabilizer.

http://youtu.be/lNX0Ased_2k
We'd really like to get some constructiv feedback :)

63 Comments

I am curious what needs you think your current cameras would not fit?

April 11, 2016 at 7:39AM

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Cary Knoop
Member
1733

Well I'd say in terms of dynamic range, lowlight performance, sharpness and Slowmotion capability they're not the best

April 11, 2016 at 8:03AM

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Ben Schaus
Student
349

I'd say don't focus too much on the technicals!

For instance, you have a forest, what are you trying to capture, what is for you the essence of the forest?

Think in terms of lenses, subject distance, depth of field, angle, composition, light.

There are so many things you could do with a camera. But it does not come with just buying a more expensive camera.

April 11, 2016 at 9:12AM

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Cary Knoop
Member
1733

That's for sure. But in order to get the film look, I'll need a camera which has a higher dynamic range.

April 11, 2016 at 9:30PM, Edited April 11, 9:30PM

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Ben Schaus
Student
349

yeah thats bogus. its the cinematographer not the camera that gives the film look. Dynamic range helps a little bit but ive never complained once about the image im pulling out of my 70d because i know exactly what to do to get the best image out of it. If your not getting the right look, then its your skill as a cinematographer that needs to be better. The film look is in your lighting, shaping and what not, and in your composition. The Man makith the movie, not the gear makith the man

April 13, 2016 at 5:07AM, Edited April 13, 5:07AM

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Carsten Weizer
Independent swiss army knife of a film maker
358

Take a look at this shortfilm: https://vimeo.com/94390460
It was shot on a 550D. And I believe Kendy still uses it to this day. You have much recent cameras with much better features. Time to go online and search how to work out with what you have. You'll be surprised.

May 6, 2016 at 10:09AM

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Herman Delgado
Filmmaker, Editor
402

Go on Ebay get a used Canon 5D Mark 3 and load Magic Lantern RAW
($1100) and get Sigma Art 1.4 50mm and 85mm lenses (sharpest lenses for money!)
at $950 retail each. if you cannot do both the 50mm and 85mm, then just get the
50mm Sigma Art 1.4 lens.

Get a polarizer filter ($100) and use on bright daytime shots
to get rid of/reduce reflections and a 1/4 ND and 1/2 ND (Neutral Density)
filter to cut out the bright sun or bright interior lights -- Get CTB, CTO and
CTG colour correction gels (CT means Colour Temperature) to match
and correct the Blue, Green and Orange light given off by
different types so lighting (i.e. Incandescent, Sunlight, LED/Flouros).

Put the gels on $20 Home Depot wand-type bright LED
flashlights on simple stands (or handheld)
and you're set for camera DOP work!

Shoot at a shutter speed of 1/48th of a second
at 24 fps RAW and if you need to do slow motion
get some commercial, freeware or open source
MOTION-COMPENSATED video slowdown software.
Twixtor is the BEST software for this as creates
fantastic quality in-between frames for your
24 fps/30 fps images slowed down by
2x, 3x 4x, 10x or 50x.

When you do want to do slow motion, then you need
sharper images and at full daylight you need to
shoot at 24 FPS on Canon 5D but use a shutter
speed higher than 1/200th of a second so you
can add motion blur later using Adobe After Effects
or Boris FX plugins once you've done
your slow-down in post production using Twixtor.

The less lighting you have, means you need to
shoot at a lower shutter speed but no lower
than 1/48th at 24 fps or 1/60th at 30 fps.

Those are just BASIC guidelines just test your camera
and play with some tests in a bright colourful garden
at various shutter speeds, frame rates and iris settings
to get the look you want!

April 11, 2016 at 12:41PM, Edited April 11, 12:55PM

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Henry A. Eckstein
Director, Research and Development
213

The Canon 5D Mk3 RAW hack produces beautiful footage, but it's not an easy workflow to master. Also because the shooting bit-rate is so high, a 64GB memory card is only going to record 5 minutes of footage.

The Canon 5D Mk3 RAW "trick" is pretty cool, but I can't image shooting with it all the time.

April 11, 2016 at 1:51PM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
32253

Agree with Guy on regards to the Canon 5D. RAW is way too intense for most uses and most budgets - disk space is not *that* cheap.

You also say "The less lighting you have, means you need to shoot at a lower shutter speed but no lower than 1/48th at 24 fps or 1/60th at 30 fps.". I think this is just wrong.
No lower than 1/48th for 24fps? Why not? In scenes with little to no movement, I go to 1/40th or even 1/25th all the time to get that extra exposure in the shadows, and if I'm careful even I won't be able to tell which shots were taken at 1/25th and which were at 1/50th. Sure, you have to pick the scenes in which you can do it, but it's very possible and very useful when you reach your maximum usable ISO.
And besides, shooting faster than 1/60th for 24fps, most of the times, looks like rubbish (for most things, at least to my taste), so I don't even get what you meant with that whole sentence.

Oh, and in reply to the OP, have you considered the Panasonic G7? I own one, and love it to death. Sure, it lacks a bunch of important features, but it's ridiculously cheap for how good it is.

April 11, 2016 at 4:34PM, Edited April 11, 4:37PM

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José Pedro Pinto
Wannabe
643

Well the 5D mIII won't be my choice as memory storage will be very expensive. As for the shutterspeed, I know the rules but I don't really know why my Images should look bad when I use a shutterspeed of 200 in bright daylight?

April 11, 2016 at 9:44PM, Edited April 11, 9:44PM

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Ben Schaus
Student
349

"Look bad" is a bit subjective. If there's little to no motion in your scene, you can go to 1/200 or more for 24fps and it won't make a noticeable difference (like a landscape in a day with no wind, for example). But I, personally, don't like the way things move when I shoot above 1/60 for 24fps - to me, it looks "hyperactive", the motion becomes *too* clear, too sharp. But then again, it works for some things, like for scenes with very fast motion and lots of movement - precisely because it makes them more hectic, more hyperactive.

But this is just my opinion, and it's all in the eye of the beholder. If you can, try it out and see how you feel about what the shutter speed does to your image.

April 12, 2016 at 6:42AM, Edited April 12, 6:43AM

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José Pedro Pinto
Wannabe
643

Thank you very much for your feedback, I'll definitely have a look to the shutterspeeds.

April 12, 2016 at 12:43PM, Edited April 12, 12:43PM

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Ben Schaus
Student
349

The Sony A6300 looks like the most bang for your buck, but it has two drawbacks you have to be prepared to deal with...

1- Rolling-shutter is very high when shooting 4K footage, but quite low when shooting 1080p footage.

2- It has no headphone jack, so you really must use an external audio recorder when shooting with this camera, which is a good idea anyway because you will obtain higher quality audio from an external recorder.

April 11, 2016 at 2:30PM, Edited April 11, 2:30PM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
32253

Thanks for the reply, well the alpha 6300 really seems like a good camera, but I'm not too sure about the overheating issue :/

April 11, 2016 at 9:45PM

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Ben Schaus
Student
349

Yes, Sony seems to have a problem with 4K overheating with a few of their cameras, which could be a big drag if you have to wait for the camera to cool down before you can continue shooting. I know that I could not live with this on paid shoots, as clients would certainly get p*ssed-off and not hire me back if my cameras are always overheating.

April 12, 2016 at 7:48AM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
32253

Maybe look into a video camera and not a DSLR. I recently bought a c100 and im very happy with it. it has all the functions a video camera should have like built in NDs. Now I know what people are gonna say, Its not 4k the thing is it shoots in 4k and internally scales down to 1080p. The picture is crisp and it has great lowlight capabilities. you can also add a ninja 2 recorder and get uncompressed 422. If video is your primary need than this is an ace for the money.

April 11, 2016 at 4:41PM

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Michael Militscher
Director / Commercial Producer
2368

I don't know, they're really heavy an not suited for shooting events. Also for my vacation this summer in Island, the c100 doesn't fit my needs, too big to carry around all day. And for the price, I think it's way overpriced when I look at what DSLRs/ DSLMS from other brands are capable of

April 11, 2016 at 9:49PM, Edited April 11, 9:49PM

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Ben Schaus
Student
349

The C100 is too heavy and big? Haven't heard that one before.

I've shot on Canon's, Sony's, Red's, Alexa's. The C100 is literally the easiest camera to operate solo without bulky rigging, and the image is fantastic. On paper it doesn't sound like much, but I would shoot C100 over the Sony A7 series every day of the week.
It is bigger than a DSLR, though; so if you're after that form factor, look elsewhere I guess.

April 13, 2016 at 9:42PM

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Kenneth Merrill
Director
1478

Totally agree with Kenneth - The c100 is easy to lug around and the smallest in the "C" series of cinema cameras (100,300,500) and great to operate with a fantastic picture to boot!

April 14, 2016 at 8:33AM

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thanks for the advice, I thought the c100 would be way heavier then my 760D. So misinformation from my site :p sorry

April 14, 2016 at 8:45AM

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Ben Schaus
Student
349

One other camera to throw into the mix is the brand new Panasonic GX85 which shoots 4K video and has built-in 5-axis image stabilization, and you can get "double" stabilization if you use stabilized lenses on this camera. Also, I don't think this new camera has an overheating problem the way the Sony A6300 has.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX85
http://goo.gl/G1GbTU

April 12, 2016 at 7:51AM, Edited April 12, 7:51AM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
32253

The GX85 looks great. But won't the microfourthirds sensor limit my possibilities quite a lot? I'm only used to a Cmos sensor and if I imagine loosing that much of my image ...

April 12, 2016 at 12:54PM

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Ben Schaus
Student
349

It seems to me you are thinking that making good motion pictures is all about having the best camera.

It is not!

April 12, 2016 at 1:35PM, Edited April 12, 1:36PM

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Cary Knoop
Member
1733

No, that's definitely not true. I personally don't think my pictures are bad. I think the canon dslrs are the best example to proof that good looking images do not come from a top camera. The canon is not, low dynamic range, images aren't very sharp, no slow motion... In my opinion it lacks of important features which would be important in order to get better looking images.

April 12, 2016 at 10:15PM

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Ben Schaus
Student
349

It won't be as good in low light ( 1-2 stops less than an APS-C camera like the Sony A6300 ) and it doesn't feature a LOG profile ( less dynamic range ), but otherwise it should produce great looking video and should have much less 4K rolling-shutter distortion than the A6300.

Micro 4/3 cameras can work with pretty much any lens, but you will have to buy Micro 4/3 lenses when you want to make very wide angle shots.

Remember that the Blackmagic Pocket Cine camera and the new Micro Cine camera are Micro 4/3 cameras, so there's nothing wrong with the format, just don't expect great low-light performance from these cameras.

April 12, 2016 at 2:22PM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
32253

I would recommend making a list of "wants" and "needs" and placing them in an order. Set a budget and then do research on how you can get most of what you want. For example, image quality is #1, then continuous recording, then battery/battery solution, etc... I have always found this a very useful process as I change cameras about every 6 months.

April 12, 2016 at 8:16PM

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Paul Goodyear
Director/ DP / Writer
207

Thanks, thats a good advice. Well for me it's in this order:
4k, dynamic range,price, lens compatibility with canon, low light performance, slow motion, battery life...

April 12, 2016 at 10:19PM

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Ben Schaus
Student
349

You have potential but I don't think you've outgrown your camera yet. The film look isn't about the camera you have, it's about what you do with it. A simple example of that is looking at what Simon Cade tries to do with his old Canon DSLR on DSLRGuide.

The way you're shooting in that video link you posted is pretty standard nature video on YouTube. Is that something you are normally shooting? Or are you needing a new camera with better low light for events?

One thing's for sure...get a glidecam or gimbal or something...the warp stabilizer was making me dizzy and makes the footage look kind of fake.

April 12, 2016 at 9:54PM

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Jeremiah Kuehne
Filmmaker
938

Many thanks for the feedback. I know it's not all about the camera, but in order to get the cinematic look, things like dynamic range and sharpness do matter don't they.
For the camera, I shoot both nature and events, so yeaah I'll need something with good lowlight performance.

But as you can see in the video, we do have a glidecam that we used. Can you really see where I used the warp stabilizer effect? I thought no one would notice as I didn't overuse it.

April 12, 2016 at 10:10PM

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Ben Schaus
Student
349

You wrote: "Many thanks for the feedback. I know it's not all about the camera, but in order to get the cinematic look, things like dynamic range and sharpness do matter don't they."

The thing is if your logic is that "I am becoming too big for this camera and I need a new camera with "cinematic yada yada" so then I become a "cinematic yada yada master" then I think you just took the wrong direction at the T-junction.

April 13, 2016 at 7:50AM, Edited April 13, 7:50AM

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Cary Knoop
Member
1733

I only watch the last minute and a half or so last night when I wrote that comment. The first part of the video looks much more controlled and I see now you have a glidecam. I noticed a little bit of warping going on in some of the more wild shots, but looking at it again I think what was making me woosy is how the footage goes up and down all in one shot, you know? Also the horizon would sway from time to time. For a comparison, check out the glidecam footage from Devonsupertramp (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Htacj6a4L3Y). In that video he's using a 5D3 which really doesn't have much better video quality than your camera.

April 13, 2016 at 8:18AM

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Jeremiah Kuehne
Filmmaker
938

Yeaah, I think I'm still having troubles to perfectly balance my dslr, as I somehow never manage to eliminate the vertical movements of the glidecam. Yeaah the footage from Devonsupertramp look really smooth. i think i'll need to get more practice in using a glidecam.

April 13, 2016 at 10:03AM

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Ben Schaus
Student
349

Not sure if the a6300 would make that much of a difference. Your footage was alright, probably a bit too noisy so watch your ISO levels and such.

I think what made the video hard to watch was the editing, even though it's a montage type of video, you still want to tell some kind of story. Watch this: https://vimeo.com/108018156

He shot that on the GH3. Like what people have already mentioned, you really just need to learn the ins and out of your camera.

April 13, 2016 at 10:05AM

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You wrote: Watch this: https://vimeo.com/108018156

Super! Thanks for sharing!

That image with the balloons: priceless!

April 13, 2016 at 10:25AM

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Cary Knoop
Member
1733

Thanks for the feedback. Noise comes from the plugin as I wanted to add film grain. Maybe I overdid it a little.

Yeeah in terms of editing I understand. It would have been better to get a redline through the video.

The video in the link you posted, really great. I can see the difference to mine.

Thanks

April 13, 2016 at 10:29PM, Edited April 13, 10:29PM

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Ben Schaus
Student
349

You wrote: " I wanted to add film grain."

Let me guess, you think that makes you movie more cinematic?

Really, I think you are totally focused on the wrong things.

April 14, 2016 at 7:18AM

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Cary Knoop
Member
1733

Of course I am, but is this bad? I understand that there are other things to put focus on, like a good story and framing your shots, but in my personal opinion the film look also adds a lot to the viewers experience. I just didn't put a lot of effort in showing a story to the audience but was fixed at the look. Didn't think that would have been needed for a nature film. You're right that I should have focused more on the story.
I will definitely take that into account for the next nature video I make.

April 14, 2016 at 8:41AM

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Ben Schaus
Student
349

You wrote: "in my personal opinion the film look also adds a lot to the viewers experience."

And in my personal opinion it is incredibly backwards to destroy detail by trying to make something look that it is not. I think it is nothing more than a cheap trick.

April 14, 2016 at 9:41AM

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Cary Knoop
Member
1733

Why so offensive? Everyone can have their own opinion can't they?

When looking at your videos, I can see that you're not after that cinematic look. That's fine. Everybody has their taste when it comes to video ;)

April 14, 2016 at 11:55AM

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Ben Schaus
Student
349

Cary you're bashing on him instead of giving useful feedback. We get it you've been around the block longer than him and understand what it takes to film a better image. None of that means you should kick a student down while he's trying to learn. I think it's a normal part of the progression, especially since 2008 when the DSLR boom hit filmmaking, acquiring newer and better gear has been apart of many new cinematographer/dp's journey in filmmaking. It's always wrong and we almost always think we need more than we actually do but it's part of the learning process. I've noticed since I've grown as a filmmaker I actually own less gear now and rent entirely more often because it's more practical in the long run. Yes Ben can take other steps to do better with what he currently has, he can learn more any of us can say that about ourselves, and hurlbutvisuals.com is an amazing recourse for cinematographers of any level (check that website out Ben). Cary there's no need to have an elitist tone with someone trying to learn and gain knowledge from people who can help. Anyway Ben all that to say shoot a couple of more films with your 7d m2, throw some narratives in there, light some scenes, make some mistakes, and really push your image. My go to camera is my 1080p blackmagic pocket camera (amazing image in a small package) even though I have access to a Red Dragon I love the pocket for what it offers. More resolution is great especially for reframing and stabilization but it's the end all be all. You might just want to wait until after NAB next week because there will be plenty of cameras announced that should peek your intrest. I wouldn't be surprised if some company announces something as good if not better than the a6300 around the same price point. Anyway hope you get some more constructive advice while you're here!

April 14, 2016 at 10:26PM, Edited April 14, 10:30PM

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Charles C.
Editor/ Director/ Director of Photography/ Wannabe Thinker
1219

Thank you very much Charles for your feedback. really helped me a lot. I'll definitely check out the website and have a look at the announcements of NAB. And yeah, I'll definitely need more practice I see!

April 16, 2016 at 3:16AM

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Ben Schaus
Student
349

Ppl are steady giving very good recommendations and you're steady finding problems with what they're saying. You're asking for too much camera for too little price, good luck finding it! There's no perfect camera. And since every camera seems to have some kind of "flaw" that'll prevent you from buying it, how about you rent the camera(s) you need when you need them? Problem solved! Good luck.

April 13, 2016 at 6:40PM

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Reggie Brown
Cinematographer
331

I'm very thankful for the comments and feedback I get. The only thing I do is asking questions to become better informed, don't I? I know there is no perfect camera, out there, I'm only trying to find the one thqt best fits my needs.

April 13, 2016 at 10:25PM

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Ben Schaus
Student
349

You can get a used a7s for almost the same price as the 6300, and with it get the full-frame look, 60p slowmotion, and a killer sensor for low-light. I recently got the a7s used as a b-cam for my FS5, and it kills!

April 14, 2016 at 5:42AM

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Sebastian Kammonen
Filmmaker
328

So like Reggie pointed out, Your either arguing everyone's opinions on your footage, making excuses why your footage looks one way or another but ultimately like reggie says is true theres no one perfect camera, take the camera you have and get the best footage out of it that you possibly can get. Your a student right? im willing to bargain that you dont need a better camera than what you have. Philip bloom was given a barbie camera in an episode of Digital rev, and he made a beautiful story with it. There has been so much better advice up top about story and shooting techniques to make your videos better because ultimately the picture isn't whats going to engage the audience, its the story, I watched the first 30 seconds of your video and because there was no story i clicked out because I got bored, even if there was some beautiful imagery. Id watch a movie like "Once" or "Clerks" any day over a beautiful cinematography video because they have engaging stories. I say stick with the camera and gear you have, and work to improving your story telling and the image your pulling from your camera because that definitely does not look like your pulling the best image. I dont mean you any offense its just my honesty and trying to help you

April 14, 2016 at 5:54AM, Edited April 14, 5:55AM

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Carsten Weizer
Independent swiss army knife of a film maker
358

Where am I arguing about people's opinions on my footage?

I'm thankful for any advice that I can get. Yes, I'm a student, and now watched the episode of Digital Rev TV. I understand what you mean, story is among the most important parts of a good video. Maybe I should really first focus on better story telling, framing aso. and then look into a new camera. But I got a question regarding "that does not look like your pulling the best image". I'd be very thankful to know what I should improve, or what you don't like about the image, so that I can improve.

Thanks again for the feedback.

April 14, 2016 at 7:21AM

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Ben Schaus
Student
349

You made the comment, that the grain adds to the film look but, the grain makes your image softer which takes away from the "sharp" look you want, film has always been softer than the sharpness you expect from digital. you either have a sharp image or you have grain you pretty much cant have both

April 18, 2016 at 4:53AM

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Carsten Weizer
Independent swiss army knife of a film maker
358

The best investment I've ever made was in my A7s.
It was out of my price range, so I waited, saved up some more money and bought it.

I went from a Canon 5D mk ii to it, I'll most likely never go back to canon unless it's a higher end C100/300.

The A7s is sounding to me exactly what you want apart from the 4k (unless you'll use an external recorder too)

With regards to your footage, I think it's beautiful.

Again, going back to the cinematic image. Your camera is absolutely fine, categorically. True the codec does suck however it's not impossible.
1:Check out DSLR guide for some wonderful hints and tips about using your DSLR https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzQ1L-wzA_1qmLf49ey9iTQ
2: Shoot far more, experiment with letter boxing, luts, exposures different lenses etc.

Lastly, I saw you mention lens compatibility. This shouldn't be a worry, at all. There is literally converters to clip lenses onto ham.

April 14, 2016 at 8:37AM

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Thanks for the advice. DSLR Guide really seems to have some useful tips. I'll check them out. And yeah for experience wise, I'll shoot way more.
Thanks

April 16, 2016 at 3:19AM

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Ben Schaus
Student
349

There's no limit especially with the dslrs you currently have. The only thing that is limiting is yourself and your creativity. Remember that cameras are only tools to help tell your story, not the story itself. The "cinematic" look is subjective and can be achieved in many ways, not just buying a more expensive camera. If you need high fps, 4k, Log, or something your 7d mark ii or 760d cannot do for certain projects you can always rent gear, but only if it is necessary.

April 14, 2016 at 2:02PM, Edited April 14, 2:03PM

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Hey Ben,

I'll agree with David here. You've got some solid footage. Nice grading too. I'd say if this is the type of thing you're shooting at the moment then the camera set up you have isn't bad.

There is a lot of movement in your video. It works, but don't forget the value of locked-off, static shots that require composition. Interesting compositions get me every time - love them.

There's really no reason to go investing in multi-thousand dollar cameras as a student unless you're getting consistent PAID work. I think if you have to ask if you've reached your limits on your camera that you still have some learning to do. I think you'll definitely know when you're ready to move on. Slow-mo and wanting to shoot 4K are very small limitations.

April 14, 2016 at 3:39PM

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Nick Rowland
Street Bum
602

Thanks for the advice. Never thought that that way about static shots. I will definitely take that into consideration.

April 16, 2016 at 3:21AM

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Ben Schaus
Student
349

Lastly, the one thing I can agree with that others have said is that regardless if it's a nature montage film or an actual narrative, ALWAYS try to tell a story with the images you capture it'll keep your audience engaged more often than not:

https://vimeo.com/153029346

April 14, 2016 at 10:36PM

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Charles C.
Editor/ Director/ Director of Photography/ Wannabe Thinker
1219

beautiful video. In future videos, I'll definitely try to tell a story.

April 16, 2016 at 3:23AM

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Ben Schaus
Student
349

Lots of good advice in here, so I will repeat some of the best. You are not your gear. When you need something specific (lowlight, slowmo, etc), you can incorporate that in to the budget. If there is no budget, then get in with a rental house and see about trading some help for some credit. There's an article on NFS talking about the producer giving heaps of praise on how rad the RED and Alexa looked, while it was entirely shot on 5D. Frankly, I like the color I'm getting from the Canon so much more than the Sony a7 bunch.

Are you using Cinestyle profile on your canon? What about even using ML for the added video features and flexibility? (not necessarily RAW.. after shooting a doc solely on ML raw, I will advise against that :P)

Build your style, charge for gear when you need it, and learn to get the absolute most out of your kit.

April 15, 2016 at 6:22PM, Edited April 15, 6:22PM

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Evan Buzzell
Director, Producer, MFCEO of SBS Media House
74

yes, I'm using Cinestyle. unfortunately there is currently no ML in development for the 760D or 7DmII

April 16, 2016 at 3:25AM

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Ben Schaus
Student
349

Your exposure is too high on your coloring. That will change a lot. Make sure you have calibrated your monitor first.

April 16, 2016 at 9:33AM

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William Scherer
Writer/Director/Producer/Fine Art Aerial Photography
296

thanks for the tip

April 16, 2016 at 10:32AM

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Ben Schaus
Student
349

Check out the documentary..."Searching for Sugar man" and then come back and ask your question again. It was shot, mainly, in super eight and won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in 2013.
It's ALL ABOUT THE STORY......period!

April 17, 2016 at 2:00AM, Edited April 17, 2:00AM

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Jerry Roe
Indie filmmaker
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I agree that the term "cinematic" is a subjective and far-ranging thing. If you really really need that "film look"... well it is still possible to shoot things on film. Why not try making a Super8 or 16mm film while you're a student before such filmmaking becomes completely impossible? You can learn a lot from the experience of shooting on film (especially since the sheer cost of buying film, developing film and getting a print is so steep). One of the things shooting on film teaches you (outside of how to deal with light) is the necessity to prep everything as much as possible and do dry-runs and rehearsals ahead of time so that you "make the most of it" when it comes time to shoot. If you shoot on film you will probably go for less coverage, and that outside restriction (cost) forces you to really think about what you're doing and why. And sending off the footage you've shot to get developed is a nerve-wracking experience. Getting your answer prints back is like Christmas and getting your test results back from the health clinic.

After shooting just a short project on Super8 and going back to your digital camera you will have a deeper and more profound appreciation for all that it offers (monitoring, the ability to shoot lots and see the results immediately, etc.), and that learning experience will help you conserve another valuable asset for all your future projects (time).

A lot of people have been talking about how "story" is more important than gear. While I completely agree with this assessment, I also feel like it's important to remember that narrative filmmaking isn't the only kind of visual meaning-making that's possible with film or video. People look for patterns, so shooting and editing can create a "flow" or a psychic landscape for the viewer to travel through. It can be like a conversation or a math equation. If X then Y and Z transpire over time, then certain emotions or thoguhts are elicited. There is a long tradition of this kind of filmmaking, and there is a lot to be learned by watching as much of it as you can.

If you can, check out any of the films by Nathaniel Dorsky. He works on 16mm and many of his shots are of people and nature, but the duration of the shots, and the beauty of the shots convey a lot, even though there is no "story". Or check out the animations of Len Lye and Oskar Fishinger. Or watch the Pixelvision videos of Sadie Benning for an example of somebody creating an evocative and engaging work using just a cheap Fisher Price camera that was originally marketed for children. Instead of getting too hung-up on film grain and the dynamic range of film stock, why not think about how the camera in your hands can be used to capture some aspect of the way you yourself perceive the world around you?

As for your video itself, I think there are lots of great, well-composed shots in there. But I agree with Nick Rowland about the need for a few still shots where the action just unfolds on-screen languidly. I feel like there is a frantic, uncertain quality conveyed by both the truncated brevity of the shots in your video and the pace of the editing. It's like you don't trust your audience to find your shots interesting, therefore you rush past them even before they've had a chance to establish themselves. Panning and gliding and zooming can be effective, but what is the feeling you're going for? How does the thing or things on screen call for a given camera move? Is there any correlation between the camera moves and the subject matter? I felt a sort of relief whenever you used a slight amount of slow-motion, because that was the only time where the shots weren't going by or panning too quickly. And the nature of the music wasn't really doing your footage any favors. Sometimes a shot exists for the length of a breath, or the duration of a thought. Think about how and why you establish the rhythm (independent from or in synchrony with your audio) through the pace of your editing. After you've established a pattern your viewer internalizes it and then—if the images have some relevance to that tempo—when you suddenly change the tempo and subject matter it has even more of an impact.

Just some another perspective to think about.

April 17, 2016 at 10:39PM, Edited April 17, 10:48PM

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Sean Bokenkamp
Animator
312

Yes, there are many things that go into making filmic-looking images such as location, lighting, etc. and of course the story is important, but OP is not asking about that, he is asking about what camera he should buy. Camera choice is very important because it can change your entire workflow. I can see why you want a camera that is good in low light, as you're doing a lot of work in natural light.

The A6300 was a really promising camera on paper, but the overheating issues and awful rolling shutter make it pretty unusable in my eyes. The video quality in HD might be marginally better than on the 7D (don't quote me on that though) but you will see significant improvement in Low Light and Dynamic Range. The other advantage of shooting HD is I think it won't overheat (not 100% sure about this though) and rolling shutter will be way better.

The GH4 is worth looking into (even if it's pushing your prince limit slightly) because it is jam packed with great features. While it's low light performance is about the same if not a tiny bit worse than the 7D (usable up to ISO3200, 6400 is ok but you'll definitely have some ugly noise), it's dynamic range is slightly better. It also allows you to shoot 4K which is a really nice bonus. You can get a used one for about $1,100 (US) on ebay.
Another huge advantage of this camera is that it outputs a 10-bit signal through HDMI which means if you have an external recorder you can record much higher quality video. I definitely think this camera is the most versatile on the market right now (for its price) and it will definitely give you all the tools you need to make better quality content.

The G7 is way cheaper than the GH4 but has less video features (you'll have to look up what you'd lose), but just the fact that it costs half the price of the GH4 is pretty impressive. Its dynamic range is worse and the GH4 as it doesn't have V-Log or CineD, but its low light performance is slightly better. In 4K the video quality is pretty damn close if not a hair better than the GH4 (due to less noise) but in all other video modes, and especially in slow motion, the video quality becomes pretty mediocre.

I would also highly recommend looking at the blackmagic pocket cinema camera because while it's only HD it can give you the most filmic image of any camera in its price range. It definitely has it's quirks though, so it would be worth researching. You get one new for $1,000 and used for way less ($600 range). It's worth mentioning that it's lowlight performance is pretty bad, and I wouldn't recommend going above ISO1600. It also only shoots up to 30fps, which I realize isn't great for you. Blackmagic also just released the micro cinema camera, which is pretty much exactly the same performance-wise but it can do 60fps. The downsides of this camera are that it comes without a viewfinder ($200 to buy a cheap one) and because it only just hit the market, you won't be able to get one used (it costs $1,000).

Now you mentioned that you'd want to still be able to use your canon lenses on whatever camera you buy. Both the GH4 (and G7) and the Blackmagic are micro 4/3 mount, and they both have similar sensor sizes which are around 16mm this means that you will get a 2X crop on all lenses (slightly more on the BMPCC, I think) which means that a 50mm lens suddenly has the equivalent focal length of a 100mm lens. This isn't that far from the 1.5X crop of an APSC sensor (what the 7D has), but it can make a big difference if you're adapting lenses (native Micro 4/3 lenses compensate for this crop by being extremely wide)

The solution to this is to buy a speedbooster. The best one you can get is made by Metabones, but it will cost you $650. You might be able to snag a used one for $400 if you're lucky. There are cheaper third party options, but Metabones really is the best and most reliable one out there (it will still give you electronic control of your lenses, but it will make autofocus a lot slower) A speedbooster not only adapts your lens from M4/3 to EF but also reduces the crop factor of small sensors from 2X to about 1.6X which is basically the same as you've been using. It also makes all of your lenses the equivalent of one f-stop faster. This means that a f2.8 lens becomes an f2 lens. This extra stop really makes a huge difference

Anyways, I encourage you to look into each of these cameras on your own, and I hope this was helpful. Best of luck and keep on making good content!

April 18, 2016 at 11:29AM

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John Harrison
Film Student / Director / DP
74

>>>the G7 dynamic range is worse and the GH4 as it doesn't have V-Log or CineD

Small Correction: The Panasonic G7 does have the Cine-D profile.

Panasonic G7 - Picture Profiles [4k]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1oRBoFIlSs

Also, there's a great low cost color LUT for Panasonic cameras ( it's in development for Sony cameras ) that goes a long way to getting accurate color reproduction with Cine-D and LOG image profiles...

Leeming LUT One
http://www.leeminglutone.com/

April 18, 2016 at 2:35PM, Edited April 18, 2:42PM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
32253

You guys got some nice images from those cameras. However, in my experience using a variety of cameras, it always boils down to story. Every DP worth his salt will tell you, the camera does not make the film. I used to think like you guys and focus so much on image quality and that "film look" with my DSLR as well. Then I started focusing more on lighting, composition, movement, other things I could do WITH my existing camera to help tell the STORY. I know you want to find that ONE camera that will give you almost everything, but that camera does not exist. No camera is perfect and each one has its' flaws or work arounds. Don't give up on your DSLRs yet. To repeat what others have wisely mentioned, try to look at camera movement, lighting, and composition. Keep shooting, guys. Best of luck to you.

April 19, 2016 at 11:48AM

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Bryan Tosh
Director of Photography
652

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