The DSLR Video Revolution Is Over
By the time Planet5D and Cinema5D consolidated operations it was already readily apparent that the video world had started moving back to dedicated video cameras and fewer video professionals were choosing DSLRs as their primary video camera.
Give Canon credit for launching the DSLR revolution by adding 1080 video to the original Canon 5D MK ii. The video world trembled when Vincent Laforet released a video commissioned by Canon called Reverie.
The switch was on and almost overnight an entire industry of support products rose up overnight that transformed DSLRs into full fledged high end video cameras.
Apart from movies like Act of Valor and Black Swan, Hollywood only went DSLR here and there, mostly scenes that were too cramped for larger equipment. That DSLRs made it onto Hollywood movie sets at all, even as “B” and “C” cameras is really quite amazing all by itself.
While Hollywood may have regulated DSLRs to the “B” camera team and the car trailer, low budget filmmakers took the amazing full frame 1080 HD they got from cameras like the Canon 5D MKii and ran with it. For two years the 5D owned the lion’s share of the low to medium budget film market, despite some drawbacks to using DSLRs as video cameras.
Then It All Went Wrong
Several factors conspired to end the DSLR video revolution as quickly as it began. Probably the major bungle was the disappointment of Canon’s much anticipated 5D MK iii. Instead of listening to the feedback from DSLR shooters, Canon raised the price on a camera that was at once a mediocre still camera and a problematic video camera. Sales of the 5D MK iii were flat, returns were high.
At nearly the same time Canon started fielding specialty video cameras like the C100 and C300 trying to force DSLR video shooters into higher end cameras, gimping the specs on the 5D MK iii and leaving a large gap in their product line in between.
Sony saw Canon’s mistakes and capitalized on them by fielding video cameras like the FS100 and 4K capable F5 sporting image sensors nearly as large as Canon and offering them at far more compelling price points.
The video world responded by switching to Sony and Canon responded to the competition by telling vendors it wouldn’t be taking returns on the C100 and C300.
And so closes the books on the DSLR video revolution. For sure DSLRs still have a place in the video world. Photographers on assignment can still use the video features to grab some quick shots, what video was intended to be on DSLRs, and there will still be times when a full size camera just won’t fit on the set. It’s still easier to take a DSLR into a public place and follow an actor around without drawing too much attention to yourself and it will never be easy to mount an F5 on actor’s shoulder for a point of view shot.
You can get some great video from DSLRs, plenty good enough for everyday kind of shooting and still good enough for “B” camera shots. But today if you’re buying equipment for a low budget feature or documentary, you’re likely going to choose a real video camera and use your DSLR for background footage.
Canon started the DSLR revolution and, in an odd series of bungles, were responsible for ending it. Whether it was a miscalculation on Canon’s part or simply a technical inevitability, doesn’t really matter at this point. DSLR footage had its moment in the sun and its chance to shine on movie screens across the country, and it still looks pretty good. But now it’s time for video pros to transition back to video cameras.
For more on the transition back to video cameras, join us in our Camera Forum.Tags: DSLR video, DSLR video revolution over, FS100, video cameras returning