Canon 7D, Panasonic HVX200

Panasonic HVX200 and Canon 7D in Low Light

12.19.09 | Comment?

Where have I been?
All over the place, it seems. Anyway, I’m catching up on all that good stuff that I have sitting around on my computer.
One night, a while ago, I messed around with the Panasonic HVX200 on our front porch: The Den of Iniquity.

I changed exposure, gain, shutter speed and whatever else to draw out some light. I shot in 720p30p and 60p in the smoke scenes (slowed down – “overcranked” – to get that slow motion feel). I picked a good song (love The Frames’ “People Get Ready”), and edited to it (regardless of how much footage I had). Again, this is just messing around to see what I good get at night with this rig. It turned out pretty clean. The blacks are black and there is not too much noise. I graded it in Color and added some graphics.

Here it is:

I’ve always been very, very interested in capturing video at night, something I’ve never thought possible by consumer-grade cameras. Then, I discovered the Canon 5D Mk. II, which does absolutely amazing things (at less than 5 grand). Then, it’s little brother came out: the 7D. (Even more amazing is the 1D MKIV – Vince Laforet’s thoughts here http://blog.vincentlaforet.com/2009/10/19/lights-out-camera-action/ – it can see in darkness!)

I’ve always wanted a camera of my own (though, I do love shooting on my work’s Panasonic HVX200). So, I saved up and decided to spoil myself with the 7D. Here’s what I got to start:

7D body with 28-135 IS lens
Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 wide angle lens
Sigma 30mm f/1.4
Rode videomic
couple CF cards
card reader
rifle stock holder
some filters

I feel that’s a pretty good start to what I’d like to do, which is create some sweet stuff before I graduate. Actually, I don’t have half this stuff yet, because shipping from China is stupid. I hope and pray that intervalometer gets in, so I can do some time lapses over the break.

I broke the camera out of the box tonight and fired it up. I set everything up using Tyler Ginter’s tutorial.

My first impressions:
The stock (28-135) lens is ridiculously loud in video. I would almost say it’s unusable.
The Sigma 1.4 is amazing in low light. I shot some stuff and was blown away.
The wide angle lens is fun and will make some sweet time lapses.
The stock rifle is awesome too.
Body is beautiful and smooth. It’s going to take ridiculous stills as well.

So, here’s to the future of filmmaking (yes, film). You have to read this blog post. George Lucas is backing these Canons to shoot full-length films. Several shorts have already been shot on them. Canon will simply revolutionize filmmaking in the world. Soon, consumers can own professional equipment at consumer prices. What’s next?

Thanks to Philip Bloom, Vince Laforet and Tyler Ginter for their wealth of knowledge and their desire to share.
It’s people like them that give the rest of us a chance.

O, and I hope to get some 7D video up soon. As soon as I figure out what I’m doing…


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