The Changing Face of HD Production

Looks like a film camera? It's actually a D-SLR camera rig!
Looks like a film camera? It's actually a D-SLR camera rig!

We are often asked about our gear. During the last year, we’ve had a difficult time determining what the best new directions in gear would be, as the diversity, power, price, and mixed compatibility issues exploded in our industry.

But things are getting a bit more focused, if you’ll pardon the pun. There are some remarkable new tools out there for HD production, and as it turns out, using our existing gear wasn’t such a bad deal, as the new crop of HD cameras and related tools is better than ever before.

Perhaps the most significant change in the face of HD production is literally the face – the face of the camera. In this case, I’m referring to the emerging trend towards digital SLR still cameras (D-SLRs) that shoot HD video. There are several options from Canon, Nikon, and even Panasonic. In fact, the Panny GH-1 camera is in our acquisition list for this year. It’s pretty amazing.

Shooting video with a D-SLR is not the same thing as shooting with a “designed for video” camera. But, with some cool tools, the functionality can be very similar. Naturally, if you’re shooting from a tripod, there isn’t too much different, unless of course you want to utlize flags for lighting, or to carefully follow focus based on the action in the frame. And once you go hand-held, the whole ballgame is perceived to have changed. But, maybe not so much. Zacuto, a company known for rending gear as well as producing interesting gear, has come up with a lineup of what they call “Gunstock” camera support systems. Take a product like that and build it around a D-SLR and you’ll end up with a powerful, unique HD rig. The odd thing is that the rig will most likely cost twice the cost of the camera. See? A changing face. I’ll address why a D-SLR is important to our work in a few days…


  1. Production Boys

    I am really enjoying this convergence of the DSLR’s and video cameras…exciting times ahead!

  2. HD Production Company

    SLR cameras are making amazing leaps in image quality, Canon in particular. I think Red really opened up the window for CMOS cameras to enter a traditional CCD world. However, as a f900 camera owner/operator and HD Production Company owner – nothing beats a true balanced ENG camera on your shoulder.

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