Looking to get into video - Equipment advice

falcnr

1DX & 5DSR Canon glass
May 3, 2015
52
1
#1
Hey folks,

I've been toying with getting into video for some time now and feel ready to make a leap, mostly wildlife stuff but need to be able to video birds in flight. I'm a complete newbie with video. Any advice on equipment and would any be able to accept a myriad of Canon lens's I have for my Canon DSLR ? Or do you advise I just go strictly video camera with built in lens ?
 
Aug 26, 2015
278
53
#2
The 1DX II is great for video.
But it's not really about the camera, it is about the lens and the serious support needed to be able to produce stable footage at very long focal lengths.
 

Mt Spokane Photography

Spends too much time on this forum
Mar 25, 2011
14,743
229
#3
The 1DX II is great for video.
But it's not really about the camera, it is about the lens and the serious support needed to be able to produce stable footage at very long focal lengths.
Unfortunately true. So what lens are you think of? 400mm, 600, or even 800mm? Then, knowing the weight and the fact that it must be balanced, you can select head and legs. A 100-400mm L would want a different solution than a 600mm f/4.
 
Apr 12, 2016
797
83
ethanzentz.com
#4
As padam says, the 1dx2 is great for video. But with long focal lengths it is VERY difficult to follow birds in flight and keep video focus going. I would suggest a light lens like maybe the 100-400 or 400 DO or even the 70-200 and try that. Trying to use a tripod for video may be difficult.

Sorry I can't really answer your question any better. If you have questions about video post production I can answer those probably.

May I ask why you want to film wildlife / BIF?
 
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#5
I guess you should be more specific with your use-case. Knowing to shoot BIF won't be enough to select equipment, I guess. Are you after look (bokeh? sharpness? small sensor? full-frame? anamorphic?), resolution (HD? 4K?), reach (close up? far away?), location (backyard? day trips? safari?), duration of takes (seconds? minutes? hours?), total weight, flexibility (battery packs? changing lens? external recorder? sound? recording media? post?), comfort degree with equipment (manual set up? auto?), specific functions (zebras? vector scope? false colors? log?) and of course the most important one which is budget.
There is a famous quote saying that "in photography the problem ends with releasing the shutter, but in videography the problem starts from there!"
Because video is much trickier than photo and it would be a big investment, I suggest renting the equipment you think are appropriate for your use and trying them.
 

Mt Spokane Photography

Spends too much time on this forum
Mar 25, 2011
14,743
229
#6
I guess you should be more specific with your use-case. Knowing to shoot BIF won't be enough to select equipment, I guess. Are you after look (bokeh? sharpness? small sensor? full-frame? anamorphic?), resolution (HD? 4K?), reach (close up? far away?), location (backyard? day trips? safari?), duration of takes (seconds? minutes? hours?), total weight, flexibility (battery packs? changing lens? external recorder? sound? recording media? post?), comfort degree with equipment (manual set up? auto?), specific functions (zebras? vector scope? false colors? log?) and of course the most important one which is budget.
There is a famous quote saying that "in photography the problem ends with releasing the shutter, but in videography the problem starts from there!"
Because video is much trickier than photo and it would be a big investment, I suggest renting the equipment you think are appropriate for your use and trying them.
If he is considering a video camera with builtin lens, he is not looking at $100K+ cinema setups. But, it still leaves a wide range of unknowns. I think he is looking for suggestions as to what works best, but he needs to define his budget and his final use, home use, commercial use for Television or whatever. The wildlife videos we see on TV truly require truckloads of equipment.
 
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falcnr

1DX & 5DSR Canon glass
May 3, 2015
52
1
#8
As padam says, the 1dx2 is great for video. But with long focal lengths it is VERY difficult to follow birds in flight and keep video focus going. I would suggest a light lens like maybe the 100-400 or 400 DO or even the 70-200 and try that. Trying to use a tripod for video may be difficult.

Sorry I can't really answer your question any better. If you have questions about video post production I can answer those probably.

May I ask why you want to film wildlife / BIF?

My reason is simply for pleasure ...as I see so much interesting and unique things while out, but if i do something I like to do it right. I seem to be doing OK with stills (instagram a/c "falcnr") ...but I think we miss out on the experience that video brings. Using a tripod is useless when filming a fast bird in flight like a falcon chasing. It would need to be hand held but that doesn't preclude using some of my bigger lens's for weight reasons, more tracking at higher focal lengths and zooming out as I only have a couple of zooms (70-200 & 200-400). I will try my 70-200mm f2.8 but maybe its me, but i don't get the same accuracy holding and viewing through the LCD screen as I do looking through a viewfinder.

Any advice for settings when videoing BIF ? I usually have good light where I am.
 

falcnr

1DX & 5DSR Canon glass
May 3, 2015
52
1
#9
Any recent Canon DSLR or M camera will take pretty good video.
Try it with the camera you already have!
If your camera doesn't have DPAF, you'll have to focus manually, but you do get used to it.
Thanks for your input
I understand what your saying but trust me when 'm saying the sort of BIF work I do is highly specialized and fast action. It requires precise target acquisition, tracking and follow through that simply isn't possible using a rear LCD screen. I think there must be something better than my DSLR but it would be good if I could use same lens's for both BIF and more "sedentary" wildlife..
 

falcnr

1DX & 5DSR Canon glass
May 3, 2015
52
1
#10
If he is considering a video camera with builtin lens, he is not looking at $100K+ cinema setups. But, it still leaves a wide range of unknowns. I think he is looking for suggestions as to what works best, but he needs to define his budget and his final use, home use, commercial use for Television or whatever. The wildlife videos we see on TV truly require truckloads of equipment.

Thanks for input. I should be more specifi yes. This is purely personal use but I like to do it right and there are budgetary constraints of course. This being said I've seem to have amassed a few canon lens's for use with my 1DX2 and shoot everything from 800mm down i.e. 600 400, 300 200-400 70-200 24-105 and a couple wide angles. It would be great if these could be used also. The BIF is my main objective as I have many opportunities for this, particularly in the middle east and hunting situations where falcons are used to hunt game birds. Often these flights go long distances but even so even those that can end up closer I'd like to capture the event on video and not just stills.

It may well be that I don't go with something that can use my L series lens's but simply a built in lens on a good video camera body. It needs to have good smooth zoom and something like a 1DX focussing performance if such a thing exists. Since there is a lot of fast panning it needs to be maneuverable if that makes sense and this is why shooting holding out in front of you and using an LCD screen on my DSLR to track doesn't really work for me in keeping target centred if this makes sense.
 
Apr 12, 2016
797
83
ethanzentz.com
#11
"viewing through the LCD screen as I do looking through a viewfinder."
"shooting holding out in front of you and using an LCD screen on my DSLR to track doesn't really work"

Mark, you keep mentioning that phrase. It sounds like you need a mirrorless. Maybe try renting the EOS R and adapter and use your 70-200 with it for video capture. You can then use the viewfinder. Try 1920x1080 at 60 fps with 1/120 shutter speed. That should give you smooth action, but it may be blurred if you zoom in on a single frame. The only question will be if the AF can keep up with a BIF... That's why you rent it first ;)
 

falcnr

1DX & 5DSR Canon glass
May 3, 2015
52
1
#12
As padam says, the 1dx2 is great for video. But with long focal lengths it is VERY difficult to follow birds in flight and keep video focus going. I would suggest a light lens like maybe the 100-400 or 400 DO or even the 70-200 and try that. Trying to use a tripod for video may be difficult.

Sorry I can't really answer your question any better. If you have questions about video post production I can answer those probably.

May I ask why you want to film wildlife / BIF?
Sorry Ethan, please resend as I accidentally deleted instead of accepted.
 

falcnr

1DX & 5DSR Canon glass
May 3, 2015
52
1
#13
"viewing through the LCD screen as I do looking through a viewfinder."
"shooting holding out in front of you and using an LCD screen on my DSLR to track doesn't really work"

Mark, you keep mentioning that phrase. It sounds like you need a mirrorless. Maybe try renting the EOS R and adapter and use your 70-200 with it for video capture. You can then use the viewfinder. Try 1920x1080 at 60 fps with 1/120 shutter speed. That should give you smooth action, but it may be blurred if you zoom in on a single frame. The only question will be if the AF can keep up with a BIF... That's why you rent it first ;)
Thanks ...rental in this part of the world 9Dubai) is not an option unfortunately. I've not looked at mirrorless since my experience with early Sony was the autofocus couldn't keep up. Maybe new models are much better ?
 
#16
Thanks for input. I should be more specifi yes. This is purely personal use but I like to do it right and there are budgetary constraints of course. This being said I've seem to have amassed a few canon lens's for use with my 1DX2 and shoot everything from 800mm down i.e. 600 400, 300 200-400 70-200 24-105 and a couple wide angles. It would be great if these could be used also. The BIF is my main objective as I have many opportunities for this, particularly in the middle east and hunting situations where falcons are used to hunt game birds. Often these flights go long distances but even so even those that can end up closer I'd like to capture the event on video and not just stills.

It may well be that I don't go with something that can use my L series lens's but simply a built in lens on a good video camera body. It needs to have good smooth zoom and something like a 1DX focussing performance if such a thing exists. Since there is a lot of fast panning it needs to be maneuverable if that makes sense and this is why shooting holding out in front of you and using an LCD screen on my DSLR to track doesn't really work for me in keeping target centred if this makes sense.
I Guess your EOS-X II with 100-400L lens (in good light) should get a try.
Alternatively, you could try Canon XF400 fixed lens video camera. It has 60P 4K internal recording on SD cards, 1-inch DPAF sensor, equivalent focal length of 25.5 – 382.5 mm, and built-in ND filter. It can track moving objects quite well, is very light and can shoot good video handheld.
 
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#17
People say the Canon EOS R auto focus is really good. I don't know if its BIF while shooting video good. Maybe someone who has it already can speak on that. @Mt Spokane Photography
I tried EOS-R with 70-200LII and 70-300L combinations for handheld video of birds today. Tracking was not as good as what is possible with dedicated XF400 video cam. It also becomes quite front heavy and got tired after an hour. I think tripod is a must with this config. Perhaps lighter EF-S lenses are better here.
 
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falcnr

1DX & 5DSR Canon glass
May 3, 2015
52
1
#18
I tried EOS-R with 70-200LII and 70-300L combinations for handheld video of birds today. Tracking was not as good as what is possible with dedicated XF400 video cam. It also becomes quite front heavy and got tired after an hour. I think tripod is a must with this config. Perhaps lighter EF-S lenses are better here.
Thats very helpful thank you. While I have no direct experience with video i do shoot a lot of BIF with my DX2 and variety of (mostly prime) lens's. I can't emphasize enough the importance of focussing lock and track on fast moving small subjects. Nothing does it better than the 1DX2 but i'm after the video camera equivalent. Formula one cars are a sinch compared to shooting a small object travelling similar speeds at times. A tripod is also out of the question due to a variety of reasons not least environment, and erratic movement of the subject, the same applies to shooting stills of same subject. Imagine a prey species takes off like a rocket and a falcon is released after it in what turns into a high speed pursuit. The prey is avoiding being caught and the falcon is pulling all the moves to catch it. Its not as bad as trying to track a mosquito but it can be tough particularly at higher focal lengths and closer encounters.

Holding a DSLR and trying this with the body/lens combo extended so you watch it through a LCD viewfinder in bright sunlight, it isn't going to work. That why I need something that I can put up against my eye and snuggle into my shoulder for stability. Does this make sense?
 

privatebydesign

Would you take advice from a cartoons stuffed toy?
Jan 29, 2011
7,147
140
118
#19
Your case use is akin to saying I want to take up climbing,
Thats very helpful thank you. While I have no direct experience with video i do shoot a lot of BIF with my DX2 and variety of (mostly prime) lens's. I can't emphasize enough the importance of focussing lock and track on fast moving small subjects. Nothing does it better than the 1DX2 but i'm after the video camera equivalent. Formula one cars are a sinch compared to shooting a small object travelling similar speeds at times. A tripod is also out of the question due to a variety of reasons not least environment, and erratic movement of the subject, the same applies to shooting stills of same subject. Imagine a prey species takes off like a rocket and a falcon is released after it in what turns into a high speed pursuit. The prey is avoiding being caught and the falcon is pulling all the moves to catch it. Its not as bad as trying to track a mosquito but it can be tough particularly at higher focal lengths and closer encounters.

Holding a DSLR and trying this with the body/lens combo extended so you watch it through a LCD viewfinder in bright sunlight, it isn't going to work. That why I need something that I can put up against my eye and snuggle into my shoulder for stability. Does this make sense?
I think, with respect, you are being a touch naive in your expectations with your crossover from stills to video. For instance show me a single nature videographer not using a tripod (or physical stabilization), it just doesn't happen.

You are asking the impossible from current gear.
 

Don Haines

posting cat pictures on the internet since 1986
Jun 4, 2012
7,318
311
Canada
#20
Holding a DSLR and trying this with the body/lens combo extended so you watch it through a LCD viewfinder in bright sunlight, it isn't going to work. That why I need something that I can put up against my eye and snuggle into my shoulder for stability. Does this make sense?
And this is why people have a large heavy stable tripod with things like a hooded external monitor mounted on it.....
lla12.jpg

Hand held just does not work unless you have it mounted on a very good steadycam mount, and even then you can`t see what you are doing on the camera screen.

Have fun with microphones :) That is yet another great source of frustration as you get into video. Plus, whatever camera you pick, make sure that it has a headphone jack.

And in the remote chance that someone from Canon may see this post, WHY DO YOU SELL CAMERAS THAT HAVE BLUETOOTH, YET CAN NOT TALK TO BLUETOOTH HEADPHONES? ? ? ? ?