DSLR Camera Setup

I’m in the process of setting up my Canon 7D DSLR for an upcoming production project, which has greater needs that what I’ve needed with the 7D before. I’ve set up many camera systems, from almost every type of film camera, to the highest end digital systems out there, but these DSLR’s are tricky as the options are so few, and they are not made with multiple connectors and options, as they weren’t really designed for this use. But since they make great images, here we are.

Right now I’m dealing with the monitor situation, and in a few days I should have some answers back from Black Magic Design on how to do the HDMI conversions needed, and from Anton Bauer on how to power the whole system. And there are still some unknowns… (as to what will really work ulitmately, and what will the signal look like, as we know the Canon 7D scales the image and also sends out a lower quality image once the camera is rolling), so until I gather all the pieces and try out my ideas, I won’t know for sure. I am really trying to build a system that can supply (2) monitor feeds, one at the camera (for the operator and the asst) and one back at the video cart for the director… which is harder to do, and apparently,  what most don’t have… or if they do, they are not talking about it.

I have several ideas and options (HDMI-SDI Converters, HDMI Powered Splitters, HDMI-CAT 5) that I’m checking out, so I’ll update this when I get my answer.

Setting up for any production takes time and lots of prep, experimentation and prior knowledge knowing where you are headed, as there is a lot to think about so that when you get out there, the system is reliable and produces guaranteed professional quality results… (why they pay us).

There is so much on the web about DSLR use in production, but there is little about the dual monitoring situation. (There must be many directors out there standing over the camera all day long)!

This entry was published on July 17, 2010 at 5:04 pm. It’s filed under Cinematography, Digital, DSLR, Film | Movies and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

3 thoughts on “DSLR Camera Setup

  1. jdbrewer on said:

    I don’t know of an HDMI monitor that has a loop through or “pass through” output. Just SDI – which requires an HDMI to SDI converter. This means you have to have power to 3 devices: Camera, HDMI->SDI box, and Monitor. (I know I’m just re-stating the problem you’re trying to solve.)

    Have you checked this out? http://www.teradek.com/cube.html
    The Cube broadcasts/streams an image via WIFI to iPhones, iPads, and out over the internet. It’s not good enough for critical evaluation, of course, just framing. But if you run from the camera to a decent monitor for the operator, it can then loop through into the Cube.

    There’s also this option, which broadcasts the composite AV out to multiple monitors while preserving the Live View on the back of the camera. http://www.cinema5d.com/news/?p=4162 And it’s only $199.

  2. Was this preparing for the shoot in China? What was the final result to pull it off?

  3. Overall yes, I was getting ready for this type of situation, but specifically for this shoot, no, as at that time I didn’t think we’d need anything but the RED… but it came up in conversation with the director, as he was curious about these cameras… and would a camera like the 5D or 7D help us to shoot faster.

    I then suggested that we could use it for several shots when we didn’t want to pull the RED off of the 3 axis rig, so I ended up bringing it to China and it worked out great.

    The spot will be posted at some point when its finished and you’ll see that the footage works quite well together.

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