HDSLRs and Video’s Tapeless Future
DV by Oliver Peters
It started in earnest last year and shows no sign of abating. Videographers are clearly in the midst of two revolutions: tapeless recording and the use of the hybrid still/video camera (HDSLR).
Above: The custom Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH1 setup used to shoot Lian Finn's feature Rejouer.
The tapeless future started with P2 and XDCAM, but these storage devices have been joined by other options, including Compact Flash, SD and SDHC memory cards. The acceptance of small cameras in professional operations first took off with DV cameras from Sony and Panasonic, especially the AG-DVX100. These solutions have evolved into cameras like the Sony HVRZ7U and PMWEX3 and Panasonic’s AG-HPX170 and AVCCAM product line. Modern compressed codecs have made it possible to record high-quality 1080 and 720 HD footage using smaller form factors than ever before.
This evolution has sparked the revolution of the HDSLR cameras, like the Canon EOS 5D Mark II, the new Canon EOS 7D (above) and the Nikon D90 and D300S, to name a few. Although veteran videographers might have initially scoffed at such cameras, it’s important to note that Canon developed the 5D at the urging of Reuters and the Associated Press, so its photographers could deliver both stills and motion video with the least hassle. Numerous small films, starting with photographer Vincent Laforet’s “Reverie,” have more than proven that HDSLRs are up to the task of challenging their video cousins. From the standpoint of a news or sports department, we have entered an era where every reporter can become a videojournalist, simply by having a small camera at the ready. That’s not unlike the days when reporters carried a Canon Scoopic 16mm, in case something newsworthy happened.
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