5D Mark II Team

Improvements & Gear

Using Stills to create Matte Painting Effects in your footage

How to use stills to create simple matte painting effects for your DSLR footage

This is another great video tutorial for people using HDSLR cameras for filmmaking purposes.

Credits: Robino Films

Quoted text from the video description:

Taking stills before rolling your DSLR can save you a lot of time during post production when working with shots plagued with aliasing, moire and other unwanted issues.

This tutorial demonstrates how to save a poorly lit night scene using a long exposure still with a Canon 5D.

NOTE: Other more complex examples of this technique can be seen at the end of this video.

Software used:

After Effects
Photoshop
– Cineform FirstLight

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Please help us to keep this blog running. Make your purchases through above or following links:
Photography & Accessories
/ Lighting & Studio / Video / Pro Video / Pro Audio / Home Entertainment / Computers & Software. There’s no additional cost to you.

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Thank you very much for your support.

February 16, 2011 Posted by | Articles & Tech Info, CANON, Tutorials | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

USB Follow Focus Controller Released

Okii Systems LLC. has released today the Okii USB Follow Focus Controller for Canon HDSLR cameras. As mentioned earlier, this device can do MUCH more than controlling focus.

We have opened a dedicated section called USB Follow Focus Controller with full details, important information and some video tests for your convenience.

SPECIAL DISCOUNT

As previously announced, the manufacturer kindly allowed us to give a COUPON CODE to get a discount of $50 to all those readers interested to buy it.

Please check the USB Follow Focus Controller section for the coupon code and more details.

TECHNICAL INFORMATION & USER GUIDE

It is very important to understand that this is not a mechanical follow focus, but a USB one, with its advantages and limitations (the real limitations are due to Canon’s USB implementation).

To fully understand the capabilities and benefits of the Okii USB Follow Focus controller, you should read the following:

Once you really understand HOW the controller works, then you start taking advantage of its capabilities. It is VERY important to configure the controller to your specific camera and lens to avoid confusion. So take a bit of time reading the instructions.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

You will find lot of additional information, feedback and some video tests on the previously mentioned section. Please also check the manufacturer website for even more detailed technical information and pictures of the product.

Support us

Please help us to keep this blog running. Make your purchases through above or following links:
Photography & Accessories
/ Lighting & Studio / Video / Pro Video / Pro Audio / Home Entertainment / Computers & Software. There’s no additional cost to you.

Follow us on TWITTER for special news, articles, important Promotions and Rebates . We try to keep everyone informed about promos, since they’re great to save when buying.

Thank you very much for your support.

.

January 28, 2011 Posted by | Articles & Tech Info, EOS 1D Mk IV, EOS 5D Mk II, EOS 60D, EOS 7D, EOS T2i/550D, NEW Devices & Accessories, News & Info, PROMOS, REVIEWS | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Hidden Potential of 5D Mark II

Contents:

  • Update
  • Introduction
  • Magic Lantern: Video Interview
  • Conclusion

UPDATE

March 2nd, 2010: Canon announced the new firmware update 2.0.3 with the standard frame rates (23.976,25,29.97fps) and some few additional “extras”.

That is a great update, long awaited and deserved for such a best seller camera.

Unfortunately Canon didn’t implement some additional features, that ARE possible. Just to mention few: AutoISO limits in M mode (for stills and video), Audio meters on real time while on LiveView (so easy), Focus programming (Focus Rack, etc.), Full HD output through HDMI, etc. (check our link to the list below).

There are LOT of possible fixes and improvements still possible to this camera, that was a real unexpected success to Canon. Let’s hope Canon take advantage of that success in a smart way, that contemplate all 5D Mark II customers, ensuring their loyalty that will reflect in more sales on full frame lenses too.

INTRODUCTION

After the release in Q4 of 2008 of the Canon EOS 5D Mark II and its unexpected and huge success in the world of cinematography, thousands of users started to request “Full Manual Control” in video mode, to  “fix” the most obvious limitation that Canon put on this camera: it was released without manual control in video.

After many months of requests, in May of 2009 Canon announced the release “By Popular Demand” of firmware 1.1.0 which gave that basic function to customers.

The requests didn’t stop there, because there were (and still are) evident limitations: the camera only records video in one and non-standard frame rate (30.00 fps).

That means every single video clip has to be converted to the standard 29.97fps (NTSC) or 25fps (for PAL users) or 23.976fps (for real filmmaking purposes) with all the big time consuming tasks, technical problems and many times bad results (footage degradation) that implies.

So, thousands of customers kept requesting for all the “standard frame rates” that were even introduced on the EOS 7D but still not in the 5D Mark II.

Then after a big campaign (“Calling Canon“) and all the previous requests from all around the world (by amateurs, professionals and even companies) Canon USA launched an on-line survey specifically aimed to video on the 5D Mark II. A couple of weeks later, in October of 2009 Canon made the official announcement (.PDF version) they will release a new firmware update.

MAGIC LANTERN – VIDEO INTERVIEW

Since Q1/Q2 of 2009 one person, “tired” of requesting to Canon for full manual control and 24/25p modes, started the process of analyzing the firmware of the 5D Mark II with the hope of fixing it. His name: Trammell Hudson. The project: “Magic Lantern“.

That process had many stages and is still in continuous development. The first step was to fix the easiest automatic function: Auto Gain Control (audio gain/level is automatically controlled when recording, not allowing manual override). It’s a remarkable fact that Manual gain control is even available on many P&S cameras like the G line, but still not provided by Canon on the 5D Mark II (a $2,700 body-only DSLR).

After that, many features and “fixes” were introduced in this project. Lot of them were never seen on a DSLR before, and probably not even dreamed by Canon (check the List of Fixes & Improvements).

Below there is a link to a recent video interview with Trammell Hudson, a pioneer who Canon still seems to underrate.

CONCLUSION

If only one person with the help of a tiny group of people, without knowing a piece of the firmware source code has achieved so amazing results, how much more could Canon do if they wanted?

What could be concluded in a scenario like this?

A: Canon is not really “listening to customers”, but only willing to give to customers what “it’s enough to sell”.

B: Canon’s high level executives and managers still didn’t understand what they have achieved with the introduction of 5D Mark II. Do they forget thousands of customers who already invested so much?

C: Canon is not treating customers correctly and professionally. Thousands (really thousands) of customers from all around the world have requested by any possible way all these fixes and improvements to Canon. But Canon declines to tell anything else than the last brief announcement about a firmware with 24/25p modes.

Maybe Canon is forgetting that people who invest in a $2,700 body-only camera and full frame lenses (and in most cases several thousands dollars in Canon gear) are not entry-level users nor hobbyists. They are mostly serious amateurs, professionals or even companies. So as a serious company, Canon should give clearer answers and better attention to what thousands of customers are asking for.

– The most interesting fact about all of this:  Magic Lantern has proven lot of those features requests are possible via Firmware Update. No redesign of the camera is needed, only an enhanced firmware to let this camera take advantage of its huge inner capabilities, and give improved functionalities (for stills-only shooters & filmmakers).

– The “funniest” fact (if we can call it that way):  Even many Canon representatives are using Magic Lantern, because they do know the extraordinary features and functionalities it provides to the 5D Mark II.

Our last conclusion still are questions:

  • WHY Canon seem not willing to implement these fixes and features when they really CAN?
  • Is Canon not interested to make this camera more competitive, more featured with an insignificant investment cost on firmware enhancement, then getting more profit of an already in-production camera?

They could perfectly apply this concept to the 7D and 1D Mark IV as well, and then have a full line of full featured DSLRs capable of Full HD video, something that no other company on the world still have.

Please take a look at the List of Fixes & Improvements that has been elaborated with thousands of customers’ feedbacks and requests.

Some years ago Canon (like many companies) would have paid a lot to know what customers needed and requested. Now Canon can get it for free.

February 7, 2010 Posted by | Articles & Tech Info, Campaigns, EOS 5D Mk II, News & Info, Special Info, Tech Ideas | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Canon Firmware Updates

WHY to release Firmware Updates?

Adding and improving functions and features via firmware updates on current Canon cameras would be a very smart and important action from a business point of view.

Please note that many of the features mentioned here were already requested in the Petition to Canon Inc. since early 2009, signed by more than 3,000 amateurs, professionals and studios around the world.

On this post:

  • Update #1: Non-free Upgrades
  • Main factors & reasons for updating the firmware
  • List of Fixes & Improvements collected from thousands of users’ feedbacks

UPDATE #1: NON-FREE UPGRADES

There is a huge amount of users willing to pay for Firmware Upgrades with enhanced movie/video features like those ones listed below (also for some improvements on photography functions)

QUESTION TO CANON: If there is the need of giving resources to programmers and engineers to work on such improvements, then why not to give that option to those customers who really want and are willing to pay for them?

That would be another way to keep these cameras more featured and competitive for longer time, without any kind of hardware change and the obvious benefit that they are already in production.

Make a survey, do marketing research and read what customers write on dedicated HDSLR forums like www.cinema5d.com.

Most software companies do offer special upgrades for a fee. Why manufacturers of expensive devices, with a “long” life cycle like EOS 1D Mark IV and EOS 5D Mark II couldn’t offer the same? We would all benefit from it, since replacements for these models will not appear in near future.

This option should be considered very seriously.

MAIN REASONS

5D Mark II has huge potential inside not fully exploited yet, that leaves lot of “room to move on” whenever you (the manufacturer) want.

• Canon has a product that has no competition (until now): a Full Frame sensor camera with Full HD capabilities that can really be used for serious Video and Cinematography purposes (along with its great still capabilities). Canon has been in this situation for more than 1 year. This is very significant and also a unique case in a very long time.

• With firmware updates incorporating improvements customer satisfaction will increase notoriously. But what is even more important to any company: when customer satisfaction increases, sales are bigger and the loyalty to the brand also increases. Loyalty is a key factor for the long term company profit. Especially in a high competitive market area such as digital SLR cameras.

• It is much more convenient to “refresh” a camera (of this level) and then get more profit from it (already designed and already in-production model) adding features and functions than “leaving it as is”, getting lower value over time and being surpassed by competition.

• This “refresh” can be easily made via firmware update, because the camera does have the possibilities inside, with insignificant costs to the company when compared to designing a new whole camera with its own firmware (and all the processes and very big costs that imply).

• Customers have already demonstrated the huge interest on this camera and these improvements. Just remember all the requests for Manual Control, STANDARD 24/25/30p modes and frame rates, and all other features being requested to Canon. Please check here and here.

• The Filmmaking Community (Amateurs, Professionals and even Studios) has adopted the 5D Mark II far beyond anyone could have expected (Canon included). This camera has been selling like almost no other camera in the past for over 1 year at the same price since its release date. So, improving and adding features will broaden the usage scope, keeping big sales on it.

• The addition of FILMMAKING features (like Preset/Rack Focus, and all those achieved by Magic Lantern Project) is a hidden “card” that Canon CAN use if they want to make this camera more competitive, especially when competition arrives.

We sincerely hope Canon Managers and Executives consider this list very seriously (and before competition) for further Firmware Updates.

This is a big and free list of ideas that has been elaborated from thousands of users’ feedbacks on how to improve the camera with all the benefits mentioned above. Including them would make this camera unbeatable for a VERY LONG time.

LIST of FIXES & IMPROVEMENTS

Frame Rates as in EOS 7D Done
29.97 / 25 / 23.976 fps: STANDARD 30/25/24p video modes.

720p mode at 29.97 fps
It will allow LONGER video recording time before reaching the 4GB file size limit.

▪ Improve AF contrast detection algorithm and/or add Focusing Aids
Magic Lantern has done a lot on this, and proven it is extremely useful, even essential. See additional Filmmaking features.

Digital Zoom Video mode
To record on video a smaller area of the sensor as “digital zoom”. Very useful.

1:1 Crop Sensor Video mode – Like much cheaper T2i/550D
To record a native 1920×1080 area of the sensor (or 1280×720 or even VGA), which minimizes “jello” effect and completely eliminates aliasing issues/artifacts. This is possible in a similar way how Zoom level x5 and x10 works, but recording on video what you see on screen. This function could be part of the above one.

720p mode at 59.94 and 50 fps   X Removed from final release 2.0.4 (why?)

File Spanning function
A new video file is automatically created when 4GB is reached without stop recording. Very important for lot of users, and very easy to implement.

“EDIT” option in playback mode – for Video mode, like EOS 7D
This would allow Cut and Save part of recorded video clip. It is available on 7D and much cheaper P&S cameras.

Noise Pattern (Stills and Video mode)
FIX. Noise pattern/banding visible on shadows at high (and not so high) ISOs.

More frames in Bracketing mode
For still photography. VERY easy to fix.

Auto ISO with limiters – like much cheaper T2i/550D
For still photography, improved and with selectable limits.

REMAP” hot & stuck pixels function
This will save Canon Technical Support LOT of money and time. It is an essential feature. We still don’t understand why it wasn’t already implemented.

“Clean” HDMI output
A function to Enable/Disable the “white square” on the AV OUT and HDMI output.
VERY easy to do.

Full HD through HDMI output while recording (if hardware possible)
Also fix the delay of 5 to 7 seconds of “black” image after pressing the “record” button

Live Histogram for video mode   Done

Remote Start/Stop video recording using cable release – Like EOS 7D

Audio Manual Gain for video recording   Done
FIX. Very easy, and essential for acceptable audio recording.

LIST of additional FILMMAKING features

Hugely demanded and used (until now only via Magic Lantern)

▪ Control of focus
▪ Focus Assistance
▪ Focus Rack/Presets
▪ Focus stacking
▪ Zebra stripes (video peaking)
▪ On-screen audio meters
▪ Peaking, false-color and edge detection on LCD

Most of these functions have already been proven to be possible (and VERY useful) by Magic Lantern Project.

They are helping thousands of users on filmmaking jobs
, and Canon could do even a better implementation of them via Official Firmware update. That would be another BIG BANG to keep big sales on this great camera.

Focus Assistance System / Focus Detection Area
It would tell (in Live View mode, and in real time if possible) when a specific area of the frame is in focus or not. This feature would be very helpful and very much appreciated by filmmakers.

Magic Lantern’s New Features Request:  Check them here, you will get very good and creative ideas on new features.


 

As we said before, we sincerely hope Canon Managers and Executives consider this list very seriously for further Firmware Updates.

It will indeed benefit not only Canon customers, but also the company.

It would make this camera unbeatable for a very long time.

December 17, 2009 Posted by | Articles & Tech Info, Campaigns, EOS 1D Mk IV, EOS 5D Mk II, EOS 7D, Special Info, Tech Ideas | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

5D Mark II Features Request

Contents:

  • Introduction
  • List of Features Requested
  • List of Additional Filmmaking features
  • The importance of Standard frame rates
  • Information & Testimonials
  • Can I help?

INTRODUCTION

This is a list of improvements that have been requested since months ago by lot (thousands) of customers around the world. Please check “I Called Canon” and previous posts to see testimonials and procedure.

Some improvements could be more difficult or hard to achieve due “possible” hardware limitations, but others are really easy for Canon.

This Campaign has reached Canon departments in the past for the Manual Control request, and now is reaching them again for improvements that are possible to this camera and VERY important for Film makers.

Most (if not all) of these features CAN be implemented via Firmware Update, and that means: no big costs to Canon at all.  “Refreshing” this camera and keeping big sales and profit on an already designed and already in-production model, keeping it more competitive (especially important when competition arrives) is a big deal, isn’t it?

Doing so would reflect in: more sales, but also more loyalty to Canon, more credibility, then more long-term profit for the company.

The more customers requesting, the more chances (check Info & Testimonial).

As someone said:

“ If Canon want to maintain customer loyalty people need to know when they purchase a Canon product they are going to be looked after. If I knew Canon would add if possible any features wanted by customers, I’d buy Canon EVERYTIME. ”

LIST OF FEATURES REQUESTED

Frame Rates as in 7D Done
29.97 / 25 / 23.976 fps: STANDARD 30/25/24p video modes.

720p mode at 29.97 fps
It will allow LONGER video recording time before reaching the 4GB file size limit.

▪ Improve AF contrast detection algorithm and/or add Focusing Aids
Magic Lantern has done a lot on this, and proven it is extremely useful, even essential. See additional Filmmaking features.

Digital Zoom Video mode
To record on video a smaller area of the sensor as “digital zoom”. Very useful.

1:1 Crop Sensor Video mode
To record a native 1920×1080 area of the sensor, which extremely minimizes “jello” effect and eliminates aliasing issues/artifacts. This is possible in a similar way how Zoom level x5 and x10 works, but recording on video what you see on screen. This function could be part of the above one.

720p mode at 59.94 and 50 fps X Removed from final release 2.0.3

File Spanning function
A new video file is automatically created when 4GB is reached without stop recording. Very important for lot of users.

“EDIT” option in playback mode (for Video mode)
This would allow Cut and Save part of recorded video clip. It is available on 7D and much cheaper P&S cameras.

Noise Pattern Bug/Issue (Stills and Video mode)
FIX. Noise pattern/banding visible on shadows at high (and not so high) ISO.

More frames in Bracketing mode
For still photography. Very easy to fix.

Auto ISO in Manual mode
For still photography, improved and with selectable limits.

REMAP” hot & stuck pixels function
This will save Canon Technical Support LOT of money and time. It is an essential feature. We still don’t understand why it wasn’t already implemented.

Full HD through HDMI output while recording

Live Histogram for video mode   Done

Remote Start/Stop video recording using cable release (if hardware possible)

Audio Manual Gain for video recording   Done
FIX. Very easy, and essential for acceptable audio recording.

LIST of additional FILMMAKING features

Hugely demanded and used (until now only via Magic Lantern)

▪ Control of focus
▪ Peaking, false-color and edge detection on LCD
▪ Focus Assistance
▪ Focus rack
▪ Focus stacking
▪ Zebra stripes (video peaking)
▪ On-screen audio meters

… and LOT more features that has already been proven to be possible (and VERY useful) by Magic Lantern Project.

They are helping thousands of users on filmmaking jobs
, and Canon could do even a better implementation of them via Firmware update. That would be another BIG BANG to keep big sales on this great camera.

Focus Assistance System / Focus Detection Area
It would tell (in LiveView mode, and in real time if possible) when a specific area of the frame is in focus or not. This feature would be very helpful and very much appreciated by filmmakers.

Magic Lantern’s New Features Request:  Check them here, you will get very good and creative ideas on new features.

  • We hope Canon consider all these features very seriously to be implemented via Firmware update, because they ARE possible and they ARE VERY IMPORTANT for Film Making jobs (Nikon could do it before indeed…)

THE IMPORTANCE OF STANDARD FRAME RATES

EDIT: This is corrected with Firmware version 2.0.3 released on March, 2010.

Until now the 5D Mark II has not even a single frame rate compatible with any other video camera made by Canon, 7D included! That’s why we request the standard 29.97 fps too.

We hope that Canon is now aware of what this unique camera has started: a revolution in DSLRs, and the huge importance it has for professionals who already adopted it (along with lot of expensive full frame lenses) for serious videography and filmmaking jobs.

INFORMATION & TESTIMONIALS

See by yourself, this is HUGE, you are NOT alone:

(*) Web in japanese, you can use online translators, although results might be not very clear. It was translated by japanese people and sent to us. This is only a paragraph:

“24fps and 60fps were made possible (on the 7D) not because of dual DIGIG 4, actually a single DIGIC 4 can handle 24fps and 60fps.”

CAN I HELP?

Absolutely! You CAN help. Community efforts DO bring results, like in the “Manual Control” request campaign.

Just check “I Called Canon” and the links above to see the procedure, more information, some experiences and testimonials.

EVERY effort by every individual or group in the right way is VERY important and valuable, and will benefit all users. But remember that only online complains are not enough.

That’s the way this works.


Last update: March, 2010.

September 28, 2009 Posted by | Articles & Tech Info, Campaigns, EOS 5D Mk II, Tech Ideas | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

   

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