Guest post by Mitch Aunger – publisher at planet5D.com
Ever since the Canon EOS 5D Mark II was announced, there has been a lot of hype/
anger/excitement/confusion about why video was added to a DSLR. Just why did
Canon add video to a still camera?
Canon would likely call it ʻconvergence – “converge (verb) (of several people or things)
come together from different directions so as eventually to meet.” In this case, the
merging of stills and video into one camera. There’s also a term for it in the output,
merging stills and video into one result is now called “fusion”. No matter what we call it,
there’s great debate about this convergence.
So, let’s not get into the details or try to decide which viewpoint is ʻrightʼ because that’s
a losing battle. Let’s talk about the future by looking at the past. Five years ago, digital
cameras were ﬁnally coming into their own, with good quality and good images. At that
time, there were people still clinging to the belief that ﬁlm would never be replaced by
digital. I think the same discussion is happening now with stills and video. The future is
not one or the other, it is both.
Think back those ﬁve years ago and there barely even a thought of something like
Youtube (note: it launched in 2005) And now look at the use of video by just about everyone and the growth is stunning. Video used to be expensive. Video used to be only for those who could afford expensive equipment. Now, you can buy a Flip for $200 and record 720 HD video any time, any where.
Sure, there are arguments that there’s nothing really new in this “fusion” of video and
stills, people have been doing it for decades. But the revolution is that it is now so easy
and inexpensive, that even mom and pop can use software to easily generate their own
fancy schmancy home DVDs in HD.
Just look at these Internet video projections from Cisco:
“Internet video is now approximately one-third of all consumer Internet traffic, not
including the amount of video exchanged through P2P file sharing.
The sum of all forms of video (TV, video on demand, Internet, and P2P) will
account for over 91 percent of global consumer traffic by 2013. Internet video alone
will account for over 60 percent of all consumer Internet traffic in 2013.”
Granted, we have to take that with a grain of salt. Of course video traffic consumes a lot
of the Internet traffic, the files are huge-much larger than the HTML content of the web
page itself. But the bottom line is that video growth is coming.
Getting back to the 5D mk ii. There are two sides to the popularity of the camera, the
photographers and the videographers.
For photographers who’ve never shot video, the other side of the fence can be a bit scary. But with the 5D mk ii and a little bit of practice, the still photographer can leverage all of their knowledge of lenses, composition, lighting etc. quickly to video. Don’t believe me, then look at this video “The Nichols Family” made by a family portrait photographer. I asked about her video experience? “Nothing more than the family camcorder” was her reply. Sure, experience and some training will help her improve, but the customers were happy right off the bat!
Wedding and portrait photographers are quickly adopting the “Fusion” skillset – merging
stills and video to produce beautiful montages that couples and families just love.
We’ve even found people branching into the senior fusion market – something that
wasn’t around last year. Heck, we’ve even seen people creating demos, podcasts and
someoneʼs even used the 5D2 as a webcam. I’ve often seen photographers on twitter
comment that they bought the 5D mk ii for the stills, but once they dipped their toes into
video, they were stunned by the quality and wanted to learn more about the video
Not only were photographers impressed with the stills and video from the 5D2, but
videographers are coming out of the woodwork wanting to use the 5D Mk II for movies,
commercials and online broadcast. Canon says they aimed the 5D2 at the traditional news media – who could shoot stills and video with one camera thereby removing the need for two sets of equipment in the ﬁeld. They didn’t aim the camera at the movie industry, but that didn’t matter, directors and DPs have ﬂocked to it like moths to the light even tho it initially didn’t have full manual controls.
Oh yea, the news media is doing what Canon thought they would. They’re buying them
in bulk and giving them to all their staff photographers – for stills and video in one kit.
You may not want it to happen, you may want to stay in the digital photography world,
but like it or not, just like the move from ﬁlm to digital, there’s a huge move on to
incorporate video into the DSLR and I can almost guarantee that every new model
announced by all of the major vendors will now include video. So, like it or not, the
future is here and video is here to stay.
This post sponsored by the Digital SLR Store