T2i- and the run and gun

Last weekend we worked on a trailer for a show using the T2i. While there are serious drawbacks to using DSLR’s in terms of ergonomics and sound, the picture quality is just short of unbelievable. As such- it’s hard to imagine working with my xha1 in the future. I have hesitated in diving into the DSLR video world because I know that there will be prosumer DSLR video cameras shortly- and I didn’t want to waste a lot of money tricking out the camera to act as a video camera. The 800 dollar T2i forced me into it. I was also on the fence because the 5D’s image really is superior. However, after shooting doc style run and gun with the T2i- and struggling with focus as it is- I have to say the T2i is probably a more workable camera for situations where there is a lack of control over action, lighting, etc.

On our shoot the main problem we encountered was a lack of sound monitoring. We frequently checked sound to make sure we were getting what we needed and at times found that it was too hot- or that we had none at all. This problem can be solved with an off camera sound recorder- but this adds more expense and another step. I think we’re gonna have to go that route though as sound was a real issue on our shoot. To save money I used an old Beechtek junction box (from our gl1) and our Sennheiser me66. I also used our old beat up audio Technica radio mic. These would have cost about 1200 buck new- so that saved us a lot. The me66 is a little bit long- and I might get a shorter capsule for it.

In terms of dealing with holding the camera I tried out several expensive stabilization devices like the Redrock micro rig, as well as a Zacuto setup. These cost between 600-1000 dollars. At B and H I picked up a 54 dollar device called the steady stick- and it worked out amazingly well. Once I figured out the setup I was good to go. It was steady, versatile, and easy to use. In fact it felt more versatile than the other rigs I tried out.

The other thing I could have really used was the Z-finder. This eyepiece seems pretty essential for focusing. I had real problems outside with the sun shining on the viewer- it was almost impossible to focus- or accurately gauge exposure. At times I threw a towel over my head like an old time 8X10 camera operator- this helped but got in the way of movement. I would have gotten one but they new ones are shipping now and they seem to be an improvement over the older model.

In order to save money I purchased a Tamron 17-55 2.8 lens. It’s a sharp beautiful lens- that costs a little more than half of the comparable Canon lens. After the shoot I returned it and picked up a used Canon lens- largely because while the Tamron was fine for photos- the zoom action was so stiff it was very difficult to use for video. I used the Canon lens last night and the zoom was much smoother.

The last major issue is the aperature adjustment. In order to change the aperature you have to hold down a button on the back while spinning a dial on the top. I got down the process- but spinning the dial creates an audible clicking sound that gets picked up by the mic in quieter situations. It’s workable but a pain in the butt.

In general we were all floored by the images though, so we are defenitely headed down the DSLR path

http://vimeo.com/11824949 – for a video of my daughter with the camera

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