Avoid These 3 Practical DSLR “Gotchas” for a Smoother Shoot

If you're working on a gig as a camera assistant (AC), you're going to find out why some moan and groan when shooting with DSLR's. A lot of the reason behind these hissy-fits are the camera's impracticalities in a film production environment -- or "gotchas" -- and here are three of them that can stall your production or even ruin your footage.

Where were you when the floodgates opened?

Only a few years ago, the first HD video capable DSLR cameras were released. Fast forward to today and DSLR’s are not only prevalent on set, but the camera system of choice for many filmmakers.

Whether or not you agree with that choice is a different discussion and also largely irrelevant. The fact of the matter is you will eventually (if you haven’t already) work on a production that’s shooting with a DSLR.

And if you’re working on that gig as a camera assistant (AC), you’re going to find out why some moan and groan when shooting with DSLR’s. A lot of the reason behind these hissy-fits are the camera’s impracticalities in a film production environment — or “gotchas” — and here are three of them that can stall your production or even ruin your footage.

1. It’s Easy to Accidentally Change the Shutter Speed

For many of the Canon DSLR models, there is a toggle wheel on the top of the camera body that changes the shutter speed of the camera. What makes the wheel such a “gotcha” is its precarious position on the body. It’s designed to be easily accessible, which is great for still photographers experimenting with motion blur, but it’s quite inconvenient for filmmaking purposes.

One simple flick of this wheel, intended or not, can change the shutter speed.

So if you’re on a hectic shoot and you grab the camera body the wrong way, there’s a very real chance you’ll change the shutter speed on accident and fail to notice by the time shooting starts.

This is especially problematic since filmmakers typically shoot at a constant shutter speed.  You could change the entire look of a shot if you accidentally bump into it — or if someone else bumps into it and you don’t realize.

The only solution to this is to keep a stringent eye on the setting. Utilize the on-screen information display to confirm the shutter speed is where the director of photography (DP) wants it to be (confirm with them to make sure you don’t override their changes).

And when you’re moving between setups, be aware of where you grab the camera or interact with it — it only takes a tiny bump to end up in Saving Private Ryan territory.

2. You’re Limited to Recording 4GB at a Time

Recording footage to memory cards on a DSLR is no different than how most of the major digital cinema cameras capture footage. However, the unique feature of recording time limits unrelated to card capacity is.

On most DSLR’s, you will be limited to shooting only 12 – 14 minutes at a time.

Why? Because DSLR’s format their memory cards using the FAT 32 file system and one of the limitations of FAT 32 is it cannot process files larger than 4GB. As a result, 12 – 14 minutes is what you’re usually at when the file size hits that ceiling.

This “gotcha” will probably never arise when you’re crewing on narrative work, but it becomes a tremendous hurdle in a number of other production environments — interviews, documentaries, and live event coverage, to name a few.

I’ve definitely been on the wrong end of this when I was doing a behind the scenes shoot for a Virginia lottery commercial with a Canon 7D. My heart sank as I watched an error message appear on the camera’s LCD right as a one-of-a-kind moment was taking place.

About all you can do in that situation is to hit record as fast as possible, but if it happens in the middle of something important — like it did for me — the editor is going to have a tricky time cutting around it. Even a few frames missing in a clip is hard to gloss over in an edit, let alone a few seconds.

The best way to counteract this is to proactively limit your record times. If you are constantly shooting, just start/stop recording during moments with little action. It only takes a couple of seconds and it’s much better for you to control the camera’s recording than for it to force downtime on you.

As a last resort, if you do have a habit of recording into the limit, make sure you capture a lot of coverage and b-roll to give the editor something to cut with and bridge shots. You might think the edit isn’t your problem — and technically it’s not — but delivering footage that will make a polished product is.

3. You Have to Choose Between a Monitor or the LCD

When working on a true cinematic production, you’re used to having multiple monitors to see what the camera sees. At the very least, you’ll have a director’s monitor at video village, a witness monitor mounted to the camera, and an external viewfinder (EVF) for the camera operator.

WIth DSLR’s, you have to choose one of those.

Yep, you can only see a video output in either a) the camera’s built-in LCD or b) through the camera’s HDMI output. It won’t run those two things simultaneously.

This is one of the biggest “gotchas” it has.

It can really wreck your workflow if you aren’t prepared for it or aware of it before hand. There is no use in showing up to set with a video village monitor as well as an EVF unless you are prepared for one of them to be unplugged during a shot.

But don’t despair — there are workarounds.

For one, Marshall makes an excellent product called the Orchid which will receive an HDMI signal and output two HD-SDI signals. This way you can run one BNC cable to video village and another to an EVF. Of course, the Orchid costs money, so you will have to weigh the costs vs. the benefits if you’re limited by budget.

Your other option is to do what I mentioned above and use video village to monitor during setups, but unplug it when it comes time to shoot and operate with the camera’s LCD. You can then plug the monitor back in after the take and watch playback at video village if the director or other production crew need it.

Be warned: this will slow down your shoot. That’s why this is such a big “gotcha” — it gets right in the way of how you typically monitor footage on set.

Know the Limitations of Your Camera System

Every camera — even the ARRI Alexa — has its limitations. You must know them by heart to be a successful camera assistant.

And further, you must know when they are completely unavoidable or the options you have to work around them. The easiest way to jump over a hurdle or avoid an obstacle is to know when it’s coming.

By being aware of these five “gotchas,” you are already one step ahead and can better anticipate your needs when working with a DSLR.

It’s true many of these “gotchas” are common knowledge, but you’d be surprised the number of producers, directors, and other production personnel who don’t realize the technological limits of DSLR’s. It’s your job, whether as an AC, Cam Op, or DP, to make them aware of the issues and present them with options. That way they can make an informed decision about which camera to shoot with.

They may decide afterwards to spend more money on a camera or increase their budget for necessary accessories.

Or they may decide to still shoot with a stock DSLR and not help you with any problems.

Either way, it’s going to be up to you to work within the parameters you’re given, even if they are less than ideal — and that’s the biggest “gotcha” of them all.

What “gotchas” have you run into with DSLRs? Please let me know in the comments!

  • http://twitter.com/paul_morin Paul Morin

    It’s not exactly a “gotcha”, but it can be as annoying: working with a DSLR usually means working with photo lenses (as opposed to cine lenses). As if pulling focus was not complicated enough…

    I also don’t like the ability to change ISOs so easily. I’ven seen many junior cam ops or DPs (disclaimer: I am a junior 1st AC/DP myself) just adjust their ISO level from one shot to another (sometimes by 5 or 6 f-stops!). It’s so easy it makes people forget that light is mandatory. And in the end you don’t get the great images you could have had…

    • http://www.theblackandblue.com/ Evan

      Hey Paul — great additions. I thought about the focus pulling one, but it didn’t seem to fit the rest of the “gotchas” I was talking about. Pulling focus on photo lenses with DSLR’s is a major pain in the butt though, so it’s worth bringing up.

      As for the ISOs, you’re right. Even when doing the videos for my blog, I find it very easy to just pump the ISO and hit record. It looks fine on the tiny LCD, but then you put it on an HD monitor and realize what a mistake it was.

  • Tyleranderson08

    A lot of Nikon DSLRs dont shut off the rear LCD when hooking up an external monitor like Canons do! Also a lot of newbies shooters will not respect the 1/50 as the lowest shutter speed they should shoot. I see a lot of people drop down to 1/30 shutter which gives a really bad juttery look (especially at 24P) but is hard to see on the cameras small LCD

    • http://www.theblackandblue.com/ Evan

      Eek. I wouldn’t do anything other than the closest I can get to a 180 degree shutter. Unless I was going for a certain effect. Also, thanks for the heads up on the Nikons. I have only ever worked with Canons

  • nick

    I agree with the pulling being a pain in the ass. i like being able to see the lens markings and when using a photo lens those markings are on the top which doesnt help anyone. Also some of those lenses have no limit on them and if you pull past infinity any marks on a focus ring become obsolete. Ive taken to using binder clips on lens rings to make hard stops just in case so i dont have to reset focus. Another thing I noticed with some of those lenses and this was using the scarlet is that i would set focus and at some point have to swap batteries. Be warned if you dont have a hot swap turning off the camera will reset the lens focus to cf and you will have to find your focus marks again.

    • http://www.theblackandblue.com/ Evan

      I feel like pulling focus on DSLR’s brings out all the worst habits: pulling off the monitor, not measuring for marks, etc.

    • Pete Harper

      On infinity loop lenses I always give a mark to the point it starts to spin freely, if you know what I mean, so that there is always a ‘reset’ point for the actual focus marks.

  • Ty Stone

    Pulling Focus does blow at times, but this is why I feel we as filmmakers should never forget about the basics. Tape measure and other things you have written about in your past blogs are key no matter what type of experience one has. A lot of site don’t even cover uses of placing marks with a DSLR. When I got my T2i I never thought about the little things that can make the production flow smoother. I just wanted to shoot. Until I started coming to this blog site. I am trying to implement the same stuff used in big budget productions (but still in my budget) on my productions. I we I will add a “Gotcha” will be slating. DSLR’s don’t keep time code, so I feel that people don’t need to do it anymore. It make a hell of a difference.       

    • http://www.theblackandblue.com/ Evan

      I agree with you Ty, except on the slating thing. Slating isn’t just about timecode. In fact, most of the slating I do on sets isn’t with timecode at all. It really can streamline the edit/post-production workflow when you are labeling each clip with a scene number/shot. It helps editors identify which clips belong with which scenes and where in the script they fall. It’s crucially important on long projects like features where you may have multiple scenes in the same location, shot on the same day. You don’t want to get the closeup for Scene 13 mixed up with the closeup for Scene 86.

      So in that sense, the “gotcha” would be thinking that because a DSLR is quick, dirty, and cheap that you can skip out on some of the details that make a production better — and that’s the rest of the point you’re making which I agree with. Just because you’re working with a DSLR doesn’t mean you should abandon other staples of a production environment.

  • http://twitter.com/dpimm Dave Pimm

    I find one of the biggest issues is the inability to use an external monitor at the same time as the LCD screen – I can’t believe it actually hasn’t been fixed or someone has found a decent workaround/hack! Really frustrating. 

    There is a workaround that I’ve been using that is far from ideal, often a headache and has it’s problems. However, it’s better than nothing. If you connect a canon DSLR to a computer (using usb) which has EOS utility installed, you can open up live view and it keeps an image going even while you record. Your monitor is as big as your laptop screen, or as big as an external monitor that you can then plug into the laptop. The three main issues are:

    1. While recording, the live view drops to something like 2fps (though it’s whatever the camera is set to before and after you hit record)
    2. It cuts out every 5-10 minutes, but I still haven’t figured out at which point. You then need to restart the programme. It got to the point where the director just asked to be taught how to set it up to speed things up – not good.
    3. The quality drops dramatically in the live view

    The good things are: it’s a free monitor if you already own a laptop and the director at least gets to see the composition before the shot and partially during. It shuts off the lcd while you open live view, but otherwise, doesn’t affect the operator at all.

    Surely they’ll fix this with an upgrade?

    Thanks for the post though Evan – very helpful as ever!

    • http://www.theblackandblue.com/ Evan

      I would hope they fix this! Though I imagine it’s a limitation of the form factor of the camera as much as it is a software issue. It would need more circuitry to support a pass-through or dedicated HDMI out. Not impossible, but that’s probably what caused the issue in the first place.

      As for your workaround, that’s really good info to know. Thanks for posting it. I agree it sounds terribly inconvenient, but it’s better than nothing in some situations where you absolutely must have both a monitor and the LCD working.

  • Michael Kleven

    Thanks Evan. I admit the DSLR has an odd form factor and that the still lenses are in no way perfect in terms of a smooth focus pull. I wanted to point out that the Zacuta EVF does have an HDMI out. Two of those can be daisy chained together for the operator and focus puller then sent to the directors monitor in video village. Small HD’s DP6 has an HDSDI loop through option as well. I hope that helps. 

    • http://www.theblackandblue.com/ Evan

      It does help! Thanks for the suggestions. I have only really worked with stock DSLR’s so I have very little knowledge of the bells and whistles you can buy to pimp them out.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-Locke/100003373158802 Michael Locke

    Well Gentlemen,

    Welcome to my world. I was thrust into the job of “DP” when my acting studio alumni came up 
    with a really good feature script, and I had just bought a T2i. ALL handheld/monopod. I WAS the camera department: focus,lens choices/changes, downloading cards, batteries and sometimes lighting it as well. The worst “gotcha”was indeed doing all that, in a rented convention room with at least 20+ extras, and not only having the shutter slip to 1/40th, but frame rate (?) at 29.97 with the rest of the film at 23.976. Do the math, a 120 vs 180 shutter at a painful frame rate conversion: we reshot. Pain is a very good teacher.
     Plan ahead on the 4GB limit, or buy a GH2 (micro 4/3 lens, 2x crop) which records in AVCHD w/o a limit (well the card size). BEWARE: if you start recording before the camera has processed the file (jamming it back on when the camera stops) you risk corrupting that card (CF,SD). It happened to me with a Sandisk SD card, and recovery was scary, but I got it back (and Sandisk replaced the card).
      I now have Magic Lantern (highly recommend it), see all those critical settings and have a 2x mag when recording (picture in picture).Technicolor profile. Bought a Marshall 7″ HDMI loop-thru monitor that cost more than a 60D, because knowing what your getting is paramount.
     Measure for focus? I wish. I’ve been the operator/puller, so lens markings never mattered, I’ve only ever been able to pull from the display (which is 480p when recording). Do I miss a lot? Well, much less with the Marshall, but saving for a good, hard stop follow focus. 
      And up to ISO 640, the T2i/T3i goes 9 stops, very close to the pro 7D: that’s your dynamic range in 8-bit H.264 compression. And it can look good if you know that’s what you have to work with. DSLR’s for video/cinema are hard to make work, but if that’s all you have, learn at least what Even is touching on here and follow the links in his “100 resources for filmmakers”. Keep up.
      An Epic won’t fix your script or performances, but capturing is still your job, whatever tool/project you’re handed: make the most of it.

    • http://www.theblackandblue.com/ Evan

      Great tips from the trenches, Michael! It’s really quite amazing what you managed to learn after being throw into the fire — another career move I like to preach.

      Did you have any issues installing Magic Latern? I’ve been thinking of taking the plunge on my T3i but it seems, well, scary…

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-Locke/100003373158802 Michael Locke

        The  only change to your camera is telling the  Canon OS to read a “bootable” SD card, which it does natively, just not “clicked-on” from the factory. After that mod, all the software is installed on the card. If you didn’t want it for some reason, a freshly deep-formatted card removes any trace it was there. The fine ISO/shutter settings have more choices than a 7D, but the magnification (Magic Zoom) while recording is priceless. The MUST is to have the “auto-exec bin” on the card with the rest of the software. If you installed everything BUT that (put the camera down please), you could “brick” your camera; but that would be hard to do. I’m actually new to all this, and I pulled it off; and so many people worldwide are using it, the stuff works. Better than Canon wishes it did. Dare, for a better tool…

  • John Sheeren

    Great website, Evan:

         I come often to see what’s new.  Just a note though.  The picture you have for this artucle is of a 5D.  The 5D is not video capable.  The 5DMkII is the model that is video capable. 
         I once had a “Producer” insist on bringing the cameras to the shoot.  Needless to say, he brought two brand new, shiny 5D’s in from New York.  Talk about a scramble first thing in the morning…

    • http://www.theblackandblue.com/ Evan

      Thanks John! I hadn’t noticed, to be honest, because I chose the pic so quickly. I think I’ll keep it though because it’s nicely lit and framed :) Good catch though.

      At least I didn’t make as big a goof as your producer! haha man that would be embarassing

  • Pete

    Am I the only AC that keeps a note of all camera settings for each slate & even each take then?! lol Don’t know where & when I started but I always carry a pad in my pouch & take note of everything from exposure to Picture Profile to focal length to colour temp. It’s virtal if there’s ever any talk of reshoots or pick-ups plus I suppose it stops any settings getting changed by mistake as there’s always someone with an eye on it. Also very handy if your DoP is using Nikon or other old/exotic lenses that have a manual apature ring – when it doesn’t feedback to the screen what stop you’re at it’s easy to forget.

    • http://www.theblackandblue.com/ Evan

      You’re not the only AC, but it can be increasingly hard to jot down so much info. Even as a 2nd AC, I’m often caught up in other activities and anything but the basics of camera reports go low on my list (unless it’s a very unique setting). I do my best to just commit that stuff to memory.

      I also find on most shoots where we’re using a DSLR, that I’m the only AC or the only trained AC. And when I’m the only AC, I rarely try and keep camera reports. Especially because one-day shoots don’t always necessitate it.

      Still, if you’re able to write down all that info, it’s not a bad idea. You never know when it could come in handy like you said.

  • Luke Dejoras

    The GH2 doesn’t cut the camera’s monitor when hooked up to an external one, and doesn’t have a recording limit.

    • http://www.theblackandblue.com/ Evan

      Thanks Luke — I’ve heard really good things about the GH2. Haven’t used one so this article is mostly from the Canon DSLR perspective.

  • Alexander Prokos

    I’d also add: ROLLING SHUTTER! Beware of how fast the motion is happening on the H-axis of the sensor, if it’s happening too fast or also if you’re shooting patterns it’ll look like everything is crooked towards the opposite direction of the movement. If a “Producer” asks, do as I do: “it’s waaaaay to complicated to explain right now, wikipedia that shiatah!”

    • http://www.theblackandblue.com/ Evan

      Haha — yeah I tried to avoid the cinematography-based “gotchas” in this post because that would be like wading through a swamp! I agree though, if someone asked me what that meant I’d probably stumble around my words and end up saying, “Trust me, you dont want it.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1018343375 Lawrence Kemaland

    DSLR’s also over heat thats also a Gotcha is also difficult to know when its over heating what is your experience can that affect the footage if i continue rolling after the warning?

    • http://www.theblackandblue.com/ Evan

      Ah good call Lawrence. They can overheat. I have heard it can affect noise levels and other image quality things if you roll when its overheating, but I haven’t experienced it myself. Luckily I work with DP’s who understand the limitations of the cameras and if they know its going to overheat, they will proactively ask to turn it off. I also try and turn the camera off whenever possible since it doesn’t have a boot time, really.

  • Scott Crozier

    If you dig into the 7D’s button menu you can change the settings so the small wheel on the top controls the aperture and thumbwheel controls the shutter big wheel. Then you can use the thumb wheel’s lock switch to lock in your shutter at 1/50.   

    • http://www.theblackandblue.com/ Evan

      Good call on that Scott. I hadn’t known about that until a few people told me in reference to this post. That’s definitely something I need to take advantage of next DSLR shoot.

    • Liam Morgan

      A bit of camera/gaffer tape works pretty well too.

  • http://www.protten.com/ Christian Protte

    Hey,

    I guess for most of you this question will sound very odd or dumb, but as an absolute beginner I have to ask…

    When shooting with DSLR’s, what are the benefits of getting focus marks using a tape measure over using the built in magnifier to get the distance through an external monitor?

    One thing I could imagine is the fact that you have to occupy the camera. But is it just that? I mean, regarding speed… I’d assume that using the magnifier is even faster when you have a bunch of marks to make. Or am I wrong? I don’t really know.

    Regards,
    Christian Protte

    • http://www.theblackandblue.com/ Evan

      For some, the magnifier may be faster, for others, they can pull tape really fast. When I take measurements with my laser tape, for instance, it takes me less than 5 seconds.

      The main reason you would get real measurements as opposed to marks made off the monitor is so you have a good idea of the space. If an actor misses their mark and you didn’t measure, how do you know how much to compensate for? So if I measure an actor at 6 feet and they overstep their mark by a foot, I know to set the lens to 7 feet. When measuring by the monitor, you would have to play a guessing game — even if you can still watch the monitor.

      So by having the measurement, you’re really just in a better position to handle unexpected moments in a scene and it is much more accurate. Sometimes what looks sharp in those tiny LCDs doesn’t look sharp on an HD screen.

  • http://www.protten.com/ Christian Protte

    Hmkay. This “getting a feeling for the room” thing makes sense…

    • http://www.theblackandblue.com/ Evan

      Another important reason is you want to be able to pull focus without a monitor. 

      On film cameras, you don’t always have access to a monitor. Even on digital cameras, I’ve been doing handheld shots where it was too crazy to look at a monitor. It’s a good skill to have. 

      And that way if the monitor quirks out or is hogged by a DP or director, you don’t have to panic.

      I think you just gave me an idea for a post, Christian :)

  • http://www.protten.com/ Christian Protte

    : )

    Just a quick and again somewhat silly question considering the tape measure method.

    Where do I hang the tape measure’s loop on? I understand, that it has to be at film/sensor level. But as I want to hang it on the camera in order to run around around and take measures, there has to be a hook or something.

    But I guess most of the time there isn’t the case, right? Plus, the very beginnings of tape measures can be different I guess. So what do you do? Having some sort of magic arm somewhere that you can place at film-level?  ;)

    • http://www.theblackandblue.com/ Evan

      On DSLR’s there isn’t a hook. But on most other camera systems, there is generally a hook on the plane of the sensor or very close to it. For DSLR’s, however, its best to use a hard tape measure where you can line it up yourself without having a hook.

  • http://www.protten.com/ Christian Protte

    I just ran into something that could be used as a “hook” on a DSLR when you screw off the upper ring.  http://www.ezd24.com/epweb/xpicsc/ezbx23ac.jpg

    Hot shoes often are pretty much at sensor level, so I guess it should work as a makeshift somehow.   : )

    • http://www.theblackandblue.com/ Evan

      Good find!

  • Liam Morgan

    One literally weak point on these cameras is the HDMI-out port.  I’ve done a lot of shooting hand-held with the camera on a rig and a EVF as a monitor.  When the camera is on your shoulder, the HDMI cable sticks right in your ear and as you move around, it gets bumped quite often.  Sooner or later the cable breaks, or worse- the HDMI port INSIDE the camera breaks.  So keep a bunch of back-up HDMI cables and at least one back-up body on set… I prefer weak cables as fixing the HDMI port on a 5d2 costs a few hundred dollars.

    • http://www.theblackandblue.com/ Evan

      Very good advice Liam. I know I’ve had this issue before. Thanks for the comment!

  • http://www.facebook.com/rachael.saltzman Rachael Saltzman

    Overheating.

    • http://www.theblackandblue.com/ Evan

      Yep.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mikey.pounds Mikey Pounds

    If you ever shoot on a Canon dslr most of these problems can be fixed with the Magic Lantern third party software. You can view on the LCD and a monitor. You can monitor your audio and if the camera doesn’t have manual levels ML overrides the auto. Plus variable frame rates from 2-65 fps. Plus there are tons of rail systems for focus pulling and eye pieces. You can put a PL mount on a canon too and use whatever glass you want. For reshooting the meta data is recorded so you can see the ISO and stop in post. Magic Lantern also gives your canon focus peaking, zebras and 1/48 shutter among other useful tools.

    Good post and I agree the shutter change problem is bad but as long as you know It, it’s not that bad i guess? I would rather shoot on film any day but peoples is broke!

    • http://www.theblackandblue.com/ Evan

      Magic Lantern is definitely powerful, but I am hesitant to use it on cameras that aren’t mine (i.e. renting) since it can potentially damage the firmware. I know that risk is small, but it’s still there and I’d rather not tread into that territory.

      That said, for owners/operators, it seems to be a necessary upgrade.

  • Ria van Montfort

    I find the biggest problem recording sound. Even with a professional mic plugged in the camera, you can’t plug in headphones, or monitor the sound level.
    But even then if you could, the camera has Automatic Gain Control. (boosting the audio signal to make sure it is picking up the audio) So with an any ambient noise the AGC will hear some noise and the AGC won’t kick in. With a really good microphone, you can get such a clean audio signal that there is no ambient sound which will send the AGC into overdrive, filling the audio stream with a lot of noise as it tries to boos the signal.

    When I work with DSLR, I record the audio separately, and sinc it in post.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Gannon/599501469 Andrew Gannon

    Does anyone know of a trick to find the depth of the sensor on DSLRs? Measuring focus is just a guessing game without knowing and I can’t see any external ridges on my 60D and I end up working with DSLRs more often than not.

  • http://www.diyfilmschool.net/ DIYFilmSchool.net

    I’ve never really had much of a problem using DSLRs. Points one and two of your article are things I took into consideration when adopting the cameras into my productions. Point three (monitoring) was something I didn’t think was that big a deal prior to reading this, but I can understand the frustration from a director’s standpoint.

    Of course, the same problem exists when any director has to look over the shoulder of a camera op and hope that he or she is doing what has been asked.

  • http://www.facebook.com/anneso.marion Anne So

    Hey there! I am a french camera assistant based in Australia. Iam employed by a production company so I assist on all their work and your posts saved my ass plenty of times ! We only shoot commercials, so you know the amount of stress. Doing the job of 3 people because budgets are way lower, and sets are understaff and producers do not understand !
    Anyway, I got this horrible shoot coming next week, just talked to the producer, 3x5D and 1x 7d !! Couldn’t have worst news than that to start the week. Monitoring is such a bi*** with those 5D. I got my 5Ds, and some 5.6 tv logic and a 17″ monitor. The tv logic for those that doesn’t know convert the hDmi signal to SDi so there is not need to an hdmi-sdi splitter BUT the signal will always drop as soon as you hit the live button. So you will lose picture. That’s unavoidable. And I can’t blame the monitors to be confused because that shit confused the hell out of me too!
    The 7D is fine since the signal stay the same the whole way. But they won’t agree to shoot the whole thing on 7D.
    But anyway, I might be able to get a VTR for that shoot, one of Australia best VTR, but I am not sure how we will go around this. I will talk to him soon, once he’s confirmed, but yeah, I guess I wanted to express my pain out there and ask if any of you had experience with multiple 5D’s shoot.
    :)