EDITOR’S NOTE: I am in San Francisco at the Reframe conference where Philip is a speaker. I plan on interviewing him for both the podcast and the blog. So look for more from this talented fellow soon.

Few video shooters have made as big an impact on the hybrid/convergence market as Philip Bloom. Bloom is a UK-based shooter who is known for using 35mm lenses on traditional video cameras. But in the year that shooting HD video on a hybrid DSLR has been a reality, Bloom has also become known for his use of a Canon 5D MK II to make stunning productions.

Bloom’s company F-Stop Academy is offering a tutorial on DVD. It is a basic introduction to cinematography with the Canon 5D Mark II.

The hour plus production covers things like recommended lenses, how to set the camera to shoot video, using matte boxes and follow focus and how to avoid rolling shutter. There’s also a fairly detailed explanation of Bloom’s suggested workflow. As long as you use Final Cut Pro and the 5D MK II you’ll get plenty out of this tutorial. If you use other tools, you still may glean something here but I would assume you can find better resources.

Bloom is a likable, intelligent and talented teacher. He’s easy to watch and listen to. Production quality of the DVD itself is very good. I have had some back and forth with Bloom via e-mail and Twitter. He’s helpful, positive and responsive. In short, I think he’s a genuine thought leader in this space and well worth your attention.

I liked the DVD but want to make sure prospective buyers understand what they are getting. Bloom approaches this subject with the mindset of a filmmaker. He does a better job of translating for photographers, some of the differences between still and video shooting, but as is my criticism of all such training I’ve seen, that approach ignores the larger market. I guarantee you that there are more still photographers looking to get into fusion than filmmakers. I continue to lobby people in this segment of the industry to remember that the photographers are the market and more effort should be made to reach them on their own terms. (This is of course one of the reasons I have jumped into fusion with both feet. I may be able to serve as a translator for photographers looking to make the jump with me.)

Photographers or filmmakers, this tutorial is aimed at people who are complete rookies. It does assume you understand the basics of image-making, but beyond that it sticks with the basics.

You should understand that in this short period of time, Bloom can only cover so much. There’s nothing on camera technique or even working with the 5D MK II’s upgraded bootleg firmware. But then again, I didn’t expect any of that.

It’s clear from watching the tutorial that Bloom has sponsors, but what I really appreciated about him is that he spent time talking about competing products. This gave him a great deal of credibility with me.

There’s no doubt that after watching this tutorial you’ll know more about shooting video with your 5D MK II. It does feel a bit uneven in places and rushed in others, but if I had to rate it on a scale of one to 10, I’d be comfortable with giving it a solid eight.

$120 plus shipping from

UPDATE: I have also been granted access to the Canon 7D version of this tutorial. By the second time around Philip seemed to really hit his stride. I feel like the 7D version was more cogent and flowed better. There is some information that is common to both titles. The 7D title is a bit more up-to-date. I don’t know its release date or price but I feel very comfortable recommending it. 7D version is 10 out of 10!


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  1. […] and I hope you learn a lot from them. Scott Bourne of Photo Focus has reviewed both “here and in fact he gave the 5DmkII version 8 out of 10 and the 7D version 10 out of […]

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