I first saw ‘Ghost Girl’ a year or so ago when I was invited to the Isle Of Man to talk to film makers. I was present at the world premiere when it was screened off BluRay, and it was the first time I had seen 5D footage properly projected. And it looked awesome. This was the moment when I truly knew it was game over for shooting film (as in film stock) on indie productions. Sure the 5D looked slightly different, yes it had severe limitations, but blimey, it also looked stunning.
The sensibility, tone and themes of the film really resonated with me too, and in many ways it’s a masterclass in emotional film making, not to mention micro budget methods – minimal cast, minimal locations (all accessed through the film makers personal network and never more than five minutes from unit base). Stunning.
Great work from then Dam Productions team.
Onwards and upwards
Chris Jones, Film Maker and Author
I’m using the 5D to shoot a feature at the moment and to me this film really shows up the biggest disadvantage to the 5D. The depth of field is horribly short on this camera. I know that’s used as one of it’s major selling points but the huge sensor gives such a short range that it can look super gimmicky. A 35mm film out of Hollywood never looks as short as this.
I’m always pushing my DP for a deeper depth of field but it’s a constant battle against the camera and not one we’re always winning.
I plan on buying a DSLR myself shortly and while I love some of the images the 5D provides I’ll definitely be bypassing it for one with a cropped sensor.
Hi Dom, yes great perspective. How did adding more light help? I guess laos you chouls switch bodies, 5D for certain ‘pretty’ shots, 7D for more practical shots.
Adding more light hasn’t always been an option for us. As it’s a period 40s film we’re often shooting in buildings that are a 100+ years old with wiring to match. Plugging in our red heads just blows the fuses so we’re forced to work with low light a lot of the time.
Where I find this most difficult is when you’re shooting a shot of two actors conversing where one is closer to the camera to the other. It’s very hard to get decent focus on both however much light there is. This forces us to chose one actor or other to be in focus and consequently changes the meaning of the scene.
I agree with Martin that the difficulties with pulling focus will slow you down but it doesn’t necessarily mean using a larger crew. I have a one man crew who lights, shoots and pulls focus himself. It can take a few trys to get things right but we’ve been able to shoot even complex glidecam shots in a reasonable space of time.
I would not swap this camera for something like the EX1. I shot my last feature on that and wasn’t always happy with the results. The 5D just feels so much cinematic. The EX3 with a lens adapter is an awesome bit of kit but it’s much more exspensive. Really not in our budget range.
I think it is time everyone recognised that the 5D is not the best tool for making a budget film. There are so many more user friendly options out there which seem to have been completely forgotten. Unless you have a brilliant focus puller and bags of light I really can’t see how the 5D is very helpful when it comes to shooting anything that moves. I appreciate how we have all been waiting for quality in a small package and I totally get why you would make shorts and experimental films with this camera – but a feature length drama. I reckon is would slow down your shooting process rather than speed it up. You also need a bigger crew to be able to get the shots in focus and correctly exposed ( this is very unforgiving camera when you get the exposure wrong due to its poor compression) I am not saying the 5D doesn’t have a role – but we all seem to be rushing to the latest technology and hoping it will solve our problems and I’m not sure it ever will ( notice how the technology that might is still in the £100,000 price bracket – that’s not a mistake, it’s a reflection of the quality of the tool – sadly most of us have no access to Alexa’s for Sony F65’s) You can hire an EX1 or EX3 for £50 a day and get better results than a 5D – more depth of field ( half inch chip), better compression ( fantastic results if you use an add on Nanoflash) and loads of depth of field when you need it ( strap on a lens adaptor for the “filmic shots” Check out Monsters to see how it was used. The 7D is better option if you don’t have a focus puller but even then you will probably need one and some lenses which you can actually pull correctly. I celebrate how technology is liberating the budget film maker – but as you have pointed out – it comes with a whole bunch of headaches too.