The arrival of the Canon 5d MkII nearly two years ago was a great day for anyone wanting to shoot full HD video affordably for the first time
It has made a real positive impact on the world of moving images
A many wonderful projects have been shot on it, including an episode of 'House'
However some TV channels have been and remain sceptical of the Camera's output
I have been and remain a great advocate of the format, and have long held that if used intelligently and one works within the limitations of the medium it is more than up to the job
Last week I watched the new BBC sitcom 'Shelfstackers'
When I sat down to watch it I had no idea It was shot on a Canon 5d MkII, however within a few minutes I did, but for all the wrong reasons
I love shooting wide open on the Canon 'L' Series lenses, particularly the 85mm F1.2 and the 35mm F1.4
But one really does have to chose the right moment and occasion, in other words there is a right time and place for everything
And in my opinion some scenes of 'Shelfstackers' went up to and then well beyond the limit of good use of superwide apertures
I read the interview with Director Dom Bridges, but I still just don't buy it.
This is not the episode of 'house' where wide apertures were used in emotional way, very well too I might add
This was a sitcom, and in some shots, half of the actors face was out of focus, and not in a nice creative way either
And by the end of the programme I was wincing.(To get the full effect do watch it full screen...)
Why should I care? Naked self interest actually.
I can anticipate the scenario where there will a meeting with a TV company and I will suggest using a Canon 5d mkII to shoot a project and they will say they saw 'Shelfstackers' and they don't want their programme to look like that thank you very much, they want it to look........in focus.
Like good Photoshop where one should not see the 'joins' I don't feel it is good to see gratuitous use of F1.2 on sitcom, shouting to the world that 'this programme was shot at a super wide aperture because the budget would not run to any lighting'
I have in all probability watched TV shows which were shot on a Canon 5D MKII and just did not realize it, and I think that is the way it should be
I have considerable sympathy for the makers of Shelfstackers as this is part of the BBC's £1000 a minute experiment for programme output. And understand the scenario, no budget for lighting so push the ISO as far as you dare and then shoot at the widest aperture so enough light hits the sensor
I'm in no position to offer advice as I have never made a TV programme and they have actually made a whole series
I can't help but wanting to suggest that they somehow beg, steal or borrow a couple of 2x2 LED light panels or a Chimera Triolet or something similar, filter it to the same colour temperature as the florescent tubes and use it as fill lighting so they can use F2.8 or even F4, and get adequate depth of field
Good on the makers of 'Shelfstackers' as they have actually done it, but I can't help they have made selling in a Canon 5D MKII project to a TV channel that little bit harder
As for me? I'm trying to raise funding for my own documentary right now
Time to put my money where my mouth is