Continuing on (and as promised), a quick video of Cassowary. I'll be putting
something more substantial together later.
I had a question about the Canon 550D from Russell. Yes, a great bit of kit.
Nice to have digital video in an SLR and to all intent and purpose, just as
good as the 5D (for video at least) but at 1/4 of the price. The colour
rendition is great but there is a tendency to blow out highlights in high
contrast conditions. Compared to semi-professional video cameras I've used, it
is very hard to light meter manually, which is quite a constraint. If you're
doing a slow tilt from sky to ground, it is almost impossible to compensate
smoothly and I find the auto-metering a bit inflexible.
The depth of field is VERY narrow - which gives great effect but you need to be
very sharp on the focusing, which is effectively done manually.
Then to editing. I use Final Cut Pro and I need to render all video to add
effects / video filters, I assume because of the encoding - but it certainly
beats ripping to DV PAL off a tape! I have found my MacBook Pro just slightly
incapable of playback in the timeline when using 1080 so I am opting for 720.
It doesn't really matter as 1080 is almost superfluous for most of us planning
to edit for home use / internet. Which brings me to the final point. All the
issues above in terms of metering etc are avoidable by just choosing shots
carefully. Very little panning or zooming, nice flattish lighting, not much
movement in frame and you'll get good results that are okay for the high
compression encoding needed to work online.
Sound is good - the camera picks up everything though. A nice external mike is
a good investment.
Overall, the camera performs well. It's simple to use for existing Canon users
and very lightweight at a little over 400g. I use it as a second body to my 5D
now but it will mostly only do video. The smaller sensor adds that bit of extra
zoom, which is great. For video, it's all I really need but would like to have
seen Canon include a way of visualising over-exposure as this is almost
impossible to predict from the LCD (I guess I will learn in time).
I'll be writing up more about its use and the Swarovski UCA for Bird-O in the
next few weeks.
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