It’s 2013 and filmmakers no longer have an excuse for poor video quality. Last year 70% of the Navy Seal film “Act of Valor” was shot using the Canon 5d Mark II, a pro-sumer digital camera you can purchase at your local Best Buy. Countless other short films and the series finale episode of the hit TV show “House” were also shot using the 5d.
Average joe filmmakers such as myself may not have access to the 00 lenses being used on large budget shoots, but we’re getting close. As DSLR video capabilities keep growing, they’re simultaneously shrinking the large gap in the market between cameras like the 5d and the RED Epic Dragon.
You may be asking “What’s this fancy sounding RED Epic Dragon camera you’re speaking of?” so I’ll lay it down in a nutshell.
The RED Epic Dragon is a raw-shooting 6k cinema camera with 16.5+ stops of dynamic range costing about ,000 for the body and all necessary accessories to get shooting. Movies like The Hobbit, The Great Gatsby, Pacific Rim, The Social Network and Contagion were shot using this camera.
Similar digital systems such as the Arri Alexa were used to shoot movies like This is 40, Life of Pi, Skyfall, Gangster Squad, and TV shows like Girls and The Newsroom. The Arri Alexa costs roughly ,000.
If you buy yourself the new Canon 5d mark III with a few good lenses you’ll be looking at a -6,000 price tag. That’s a lot cheaper than the RED Epic Dragon or Arri Alexa and rightfully so.
There’s an intimidating ,000 gap between the Epic Dragon and the 5d, but as of recently that gap has slowly been closing in on itself.
RED has another lower-grade camera in their product line called the RED Scarlet, toting 13.5 stops of dynamic range and a 5k sensor with a price tag of about ,000. Canon has recently released a new line of 4 cinema cameras called the C100, C300, C500 and the 1D-C.
The C100 shoots full HD footage with frame rates up to 60i for about ,000 (body only), the C300 also shoots full HD up to 60fps for roughly ,000 (body only), and the c500 shoots raw 4k video up to 60fps for about ,000 (body only).
Also, Blackmagic Design has recently released a digital cinema camera going by the name “Blackmagic Cinema Camera”. It shoots 2.5k raw footage up to 30fps with 13 stops of dynamic range. You can order this camera with a Canon EF mount for about ,000.
The Blackmagic Cinema Camera is almost exactly what many filmmakers such as myself are looking for. We need something that shoots raw 4k footage with decent dynamic range for less than ,000. Something like the RED Scarlet without the price tag. The Canon C100 is almost there, but as technology advances 1920 x 1080 HD might be out of the picture sooner than you think. As cameras keep advancing, prices will drop and hopefully low-budget filmmakers such as myself with have a RED-Scarlet-Calibur camera to shoot with minus the ,000 price tag.
As of right now, most video production companies in Saskatoon along with us here at Danger Dynamite will stick to shooting with Canon 5d’s until something a little more groundbreaking comes through the woodworks.