Canon 550D or 7D

Hello there,

I am very, very new to the whole film making area, and given that, thought I should get out there are shoot some stuff - you only learn by your mistakes right? In terms of future investments, I just wanted some opinions on the 550D v.s 7D - what you think of both of them and whether it's the right investment to make with either of them. Although they're relatively cheap, I'm only a poor student, so a camera like that would be a massive buy for me!

Thanks for any help!

Jennie
 
That's exactly what I just said.

I want every aspect to be as good as it can possibly be. I don't want to look at a 35mm quality perfectly lit shot, and hear an HVAC unit or echo filled dialogue, but I also don't want to watch a wonderfully acted, beautifully sound recorded scene where it's full of digital noise, and all the detail in the shadows is lost. The goal is for every aspect from the acting to the makeup, to the sound, to the image to be absolutely without flaw. That's not possible, especially on a limited budget, but it's what you strive for.
Maybe seeing Blade Runner on a 50" screen in your house is the same experience for you as seeing it from the 6th row on a 35' screen, with a group of other people, but it isn't for me, so to each his own.

OK, it may not be the same experience, I get that and agree...my point was more about cinema history. 99% of the films we watch and love are being watched at home. We love to see a film for the first time at the theater...but the rest of the time we'll be watching it at home.

And unless you have an uber-budget, you're only going to be four-walling your film for a limited time. The majority of people will be watching true indie films on disc (or online) at home.
 
Do newbies obsess too much over image and get distracted from the other things that are just as important, absolutely. I agree 100% with that aspect of your point.

As pompous as it sounds, I'm trying to make art. Believe me, I poke fun at the arty farty "film crowd" as much as the next sane person, but that doesn't change my goal. In my mind, seeing my film on the big screen as opposed to a TV screen should be like seeing a painting hanging on the wall vs seeing a print of that painting in a book. You can get the general idea, you can enjoy and appreciate it, but you didn't get the "real thing". Have a fully realized that, no way, but that's what drives me forward.
 
These slight differences are for film folk and snobs...not the audience

Thats a bit harsh. At this forum we are mostly film makers not the general audience. 99% of the audience does not think or ask about what something was shot on. They either like it or they dont.

For us film makers, we like to talk about the technical aspects of equipment among other things. I dont see how im a snob bc of that.

In fact, like you, i stress the importance of a capable crew more than the equipment. One of the reasons ive never mentioned what gear i own and work with (although through my past posts, its easily discernible) is because i do not want people to judge my equipment when looking at my work but rather the work itself irrespective of what it was shot on. But does that mean i can not be interested in the differences between the 7D and the 5D?
 
These slight differences are for film folk and snobs...not the audience (again, I'm not talking about blowing DSLR up to the big screen, I'm talking about television and computer monitors).

I'm with Worthing, we like to talk about this stuff, to US there are differences and those difference matter. So what?

Additionally, a purchase like this is a (hopefully) long term investment and warrants careful deliberation and appropriate research.

FWIW:

Full frame sensor is a rather different aesthetic than APS-C or s35, etc. Thinking in crop factor is less of an issue for me. As a photographer I know what 50mm looks like, and as someone who worked in 16mm I know that 24mm will get me approximately there in terms of viewing angle. I see where folks who don't want to deal are coming from though.

As far as DSLR in general:

It shouldn't be a question purely of mp counts or image "quality" it should be an aesthetic decision, and a logistical one. IMO line-skipping just looks unappealing, I don't like it. As others have mentioned, h.264 is a not really all that funny joke in a post workflow. Still, the line skipping aspect is what kills it for me in the Canon line.

I don't believe in the phrase, "Good enough for the internet is good enough." If you read articles on web series production, they are almost universally shot with larger screens in mind, 60" TV at the minimum. From a production standpoint I don't have anything against DSLR as a general concept, it's very specific things about Canon's implementation that generates an image, despite all of its colorful awesomeness, that I just don't like for reasons already stated. I guess that is to say that what I don't like about it outweighs what I do like about it.

As artists who are working with images, we *should* be *far* more demanding and discerning than the general audience. I don't care if they won't notice the artifacts that drive me crazy, because *I* will. The audience also won't notice much of a difference between 1/8 CTO and 1/4 CTO, but *I* will. As far as I am concerned the two are equatable. I feel it's my responsibility to advocate for the image on behalf of an audience that doesn't know any better. If that makes me a snob, then whatever, I'm a snob.

And proud to be one. :redgrin:

Triple Not-So-Ninja-Edit:

In my work as an AC/OP I'm expected to have command of information exactly like the type frequently discussed in these threads and previously deemed somehow "snobbish." Again, proud of it. :P

And that guy one post down from Texas has the most correct answer.
 
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The general public can't point out if it was shot on film or digital or if they used HMI's or LED light or most other technical aspects of s production, they do know if it's done professionally or not though. We've trained our audiences to distinguish good from amateur.

There's a lot of tools that can do the job, but like it's been said it's a matter of how they're used and a balance across the board of image quality, acting, production design, sound design, etc.

Buying magic gear doesn't automatically make a production better, knowing how to use it properly WITH everything and everyone else on set does.
 
I understand I'm posting my points and opinions on a film forum...but we are not making films for each other, are we? We're making them for the general public. They don't care as long as it's competent.

That's the thing. I hold the work I do and the tools I use to a film maker's standard, not the audience's standard. When other film makers watch my work, I want them to want to hire me, not think I am <insert adjective here> with low quality standards.

I just don't get this dude. No one ever says to you as an actor that the audience won't notice the difference if you emphasize a sentence one way or the other. No one would tell Alcove that the audience will never notice that extra little bit of "excited woman breathing noise" in the room ambiance. No one would tell Cracker that the audience isn't going to care if he doesn't get the exact line he wants on paper.

Why then is it cinematography that should be sacrificed just because the "audience won't notice?" It doesn't make any sense and does a disservice to any particular project to which that attitude is brought. Why should we accept bad compression, aliasing, horrible moire, and so on simply because the "audience won't notice?" If someone likes the way it looks, great, go for it. If someone thinks that it's technically inferior to other completely viable options, who are you to call them a snob and tell them the audience will never know so they should just accept an image they feel is inferior?

Seriously dude. Normally I ignore your little rants about this, but when you start throwing around the word snob things take a different tack and I feel the need to speak up. You don't see us wandering over to the acting section and calling a demand for the utmost quality "snobbish." Why do you persist in doing the inverse?
 
I have a hangover and this isnt making it any better :lol:

But what David said.

And somethings the audience will notice, some things only film makes might. And the other point here is that we sometimes care about the small differences. The differences between the 5d and 7d may seem inconsequential and insignificant to you but why not let ppl who care about them talk about it?
 
I have a hangover and this isnt making it any better :lol:

Sorry dude, weak sauce. :no:

I should also finish my coffee before posting anything, ever.

@Michael: I'm not as <offended/irritated/upset/and so on> as that post implies, but the sentiment is heartfelt. I just can't make my words into big-boy nicey-nicey words this morning. Worthing said it better, we find it interesting, why not let us run with that?

Cheers dudes, I need more coffee. :P
 
I understand I'm posting my points and opinions on a film forum...but we are not making films for each other, are we? We're making them for the general public. They don't care as long as it's competent.

Thats perfectly fine if your one and only intention is to entertain people but if you furthermore want them to pay you their hard earned bucks for this entertainment, it should be your duty to do the best you can do in every single aspect of production even though they may never notice it consciously (I do however believe, they´ll notice subconsciosly).

But thats just a snob´s opinion on the matter and has little to do with the OP´s problem deciding between the EOS 550d and the 7d ;)

Edit
Just for the record: I am a huge fan of dslr´s, which by the way give you a never seen before amount of bang for the buck, and 7d owner myself but unfortunately they are not the holy grail of filmmaking.
I believe they can, should and will be used even in high profile feature film projects but at the moment, they simply lack what it takes to have real A-camera qualities.
 
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I think that would depend on budget wouldnt it?

of course we'd rather use a RED or film if the budget called for it, but Ive seen some pretty sweet films and music videos made on a 7D and T2i and the customer was 100% satisfied..

Ive had this and similar conversations with friends on this issue and all they do is trash the 7D and 550/T2i, and speak
about the RED like its the be all, end all lol
 
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I think it is just a matter of what you can afford and getting a camera you can film with. If you can afford the Red then do it. But if you can't then don't. The main thing is that you are making films. I think the T2i and 7d are both great cameras for starting out. I think the 5d Mark II than the T2i or 7d but the price is much more. So it is all up to you and what you can afford. If you can rent a Red then maybe that is an option but the cost of rental is enough to buy a nice cannon camera to film with. So it is all a matter of what you want. The other option is to just hire a DP that has a camera to film your shorts or films.

I think a lot of people would rather film with film than with the Red but if is all a matter of costs. Just like choosing between the different cannon cameras t2i, 7d, and 5d it is all matter of how much you can afford.
 
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I think budget is really only part of the equation. For example, if you can truly afford to shoot RED, you can probably afford to shoot s16 or even 2-perf 35 if you are creative with where you get things like a camera and stock. All three of these are very different aesthetics and if the numbers were all close together I would hope the decision is based on what best fits the piece.

Same goes for 5d vs. 7d/t2i. Setting aside the "just buy one and shoot something" aspect for a moment, the 7D/t2i is a rather different aesthetic than the 5d. Same with the 5d vs. the RED. There may be shots that are better suited to that aesthetic and get mixed into your RED footage. Maybe there are some crash cam setups where the RED just does not compute.

My personal opinion on Canon's implementation aside, I could easily think of several cases where I would rather shoot a "full frame" style image than a RED one. Particularly because RED is so completely unforgiving in its resolution. For example, in the 16mm world, some painted cardboard tubes can easily pass for brass pipes. Really only takes a quick coat of spray paint.

On a RED they just look like cardboard tubes with some spray paint on them. From a Production Design standpoint you just don't have the same leeway with a RED that you do with other formats. DSLR is still an HD image, so this is still a bit of a problem, but much less so than with RED. Also, the full frame image would keep more of the frame softer, more often, which would make cheats in PD a little easier.

Obviously budget is a concern, but the question should contain at least one additional parameter. "Of the formats that are best aesthetically matched to the project, what is the best one I can afford?" Soderbergh could shoot on film, but has been choosing RED. "The Wrestler" probably could have been shot on anything they wanted, but they choose s16.
 
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That's the thing. I hold the work I do and the tools I use to a film maker's standard, not the audience's standard. When other film makers watch my work, I want them to want to hire me, not think I am <insert adjective here> with low quality standards.

I just don't get this dude. No one ever says to you as an actor that the audience won't notice the difference if you emphasize a sentence one way or the other. No one would tell Alcove that the audience will never notice that extra little bit of "excited woman breathing noise" in the room ambiance. No one would tell Cracker that the audience isn't going to care if he doesn't get the exact line he wants on paper.

Why then is it cinematography that should be sacrificed just because the "audience won't notice?" It doesn't make any sense and does a disservice to any particular project to which that attitude is brought. Why should we accept bad compression, aliasing, horrible moire, and so on simply because the "audience won't notice?" If someone likes the way it looks, great, go for it. If someone thinks that it's technically inferior to other completely viable options, who are you to call them a snob and tell them the audience will never know so they should just accept an image they feel is inferior?

Seriously dude. Normally I ignore your little rants about this, but when you start throwing around the word snob things take a different tack and I feel the need to speak up. You don't see us wandering over to the acting section and calling a demand for the utmost quality "snobbish." Why do you persist in doing the inverse?

First thing dude, I'm mainly an actor, but I've worked as crew wearing many hats on 5 features (and many shorts). I'm far from just an actor. Just an FYI. I can grip, I can boom, I can edit, I can design, I do practical effects...I've done pretty much every job on set other than shoot.

I'm not saying lower your standards. I never ever said that. I was only saying that there are things the audience doesn't care about, and in the end it comes down to the movie and the competence of the process. I think far too many DPs/Directors worry about the wrong things, and forget to give some TLC to other parts of their movie.

Look at the last episode of House...there is absolutely nothing that stands out as substandard in that shoot. 95% of the audience wouldn't even notice it was shot on a different format....and the 5% that do notice, are going to most likely be thinking, 'damn...that looks good...I can't believe that's a DSLR.'

We show our movies in theaters all the time...and they are 720p...noone says, 'Hey that looks like shit', or 'I wish it were 1080.' Filmmakers are always amazed at how good it looks. It's because we handle our equipment properly, and shoot with a style that lends itself well to the format. It becomes about the movie...not about how many rackfocuses you can pull off, or your DOF.

I'm not trying to insult anyone, and certainly I'm not attacking anyone...but I think you're being a bit hard on me. Trust me, I understand the filmmaking process...just please don't insult me because I mainly act. That's just ignorant.

And like your later post...I'm not mad at all...just passionate.

Cheers.
 
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I'm with M1chae1, for this reason:

I think far too many DPS/Directors worry about the wrong things, and forget to give some TLC to other parts of their movie.

I think this debate is influenced greatly by what type of set or production you're working on. If it's a large professional crew, one in which every job has a crew-member, then you can afford to demand the utmost quality, in every department.

But if it's a small indie production, one in which numerous people are wearing numerous hats, simultaneously, sacrifices are going to be made, even if you fool yourself into thinking that they won't. You can't literally do everything, so you've got to pick your battles, decide where to cut your losses so that you can focus your time and energy on the things that you feel should be prioritized.

If you've got the time and resources to do everything you want, hey, that's awesome, and you shouldn't make any sacrifices to quality, in any department. Unfortunately, many of us have no choice but to make sacrifices in many departments, and sometimes that means doing something that isn't the best, but that the audience probably won't notice. I think that's all M1chae1 is saying, and that makes perfect sense to me.
 
There are probably a dozen of different ways to respond here, but I'll choose this one. For better or worse.

I re-read my set of examples regarding writing/acting/et al several times, and I can only conclude that you've made an inference here that lead to your response which is based on experiences on set (which, I've seen aplenty) where someone on tech crew dismissed your input on something tech related because of your position as an actor. That is unfortunate. I am sorry about both said experiences and the aforementioned inference, but I'll ask you not to project said experiences on to me, thank you very much. It is unnecessary to defend your experience because I disagree with you on a very specific and rather nerdy aspect of the Canon cameras. It is even less necessary to throw out the word "ignorant." Seriously, I'm far more open minded than that, thanks much. In fact, look at it from the other side - what would the look on your face be if you were on set and a grip suggested a line reading for you in the middle of your scene? :D "Everyone wear as many hats as possible" projects aside, that's more about etiquette on set than it is about a presumption of a lack of experience.

Long story still very long; those were merely my rather poorly executed attempt to illustrate a couple of points The first being that I took umbrage to your use of the term snob simply because some of us feel that Canon should give their cameras a compression structure that does the sensor justice. I've said dozens of times that my beef with the cameras is incredibly specific, and that there are tons of applications for them. Essentially, what's the big deal if some of us happen to enjoy talking about the tools in that level of detail?

Secondly, I believe that those of us who create moving images for a living have a responsibility to lobby manufacturers like Canon when there is an aspect of their product which is technically hampering and visually yucky (for lack of a less divisive term). I believe that we should do this on behalf of the audience who many not consciously be aware of the difference, but still deserve the difference all the same. Like I attempted to illustrate with CTO example; the audience may not be aware of the difference between 1/2 and 1/4; but the end result IS different, and DOES matter. I believe, specifically, that the same applies to compression schemes in a digital image. The point I was trying to make is that it seems that many people (present company excepted, of course - but think of our audience! :)) have decided that because the masses cannot tell the difference, that the difference no longer matters. I just think the other way around, that it DOES matter. I saw House, for the record, I liked what they did with it but I still don't care for the same aspects of the image that I always found objectionable. Sorry man, it just is. Canon could do way better.

Fun fact:

If you have an external recorder that can take an HDMI signal, you can record full quality output from the 5D over HDMI by not hitting record on the camera and only hitting record on the box (kipro or similar). I can try to dig up the rather elaborate example of this on Bloom's blog if folks want. This should tell you the lengths to which people are willing to go to get around the nasty compression and use what is admittedly a beautiful sensor and an interesting aesthetic.

This is a bit of a digression, but whatever- as a (admittedly fledgling) cinematographer, my primary responsibility is to the story and the director's vision for that story. There is no format that is automatically perfect for every story, or even every moment in a single story. Does a given story warrant the raw verisimilitude of s16 in a hand held style? Is this an incredibly intimate moment where the shallow field of a full frame sensor would best pump the emotion response? Is a crisp, clean, detailed, hyper-reality easily found on cameras like the RED warranted? These questions, I fear, are getting lost in the excitement to shoot on whatever the FoM (Format of the Month, borrowed from Flavor of the Month for you gamers) happens to be. The discussion shouldn't be about which format looks the best, but which best suits the vision. Choosing a format should (especially these days with there being SO many choices) be just as much a part of the creative process as choosing a lens, or placing a key light, or selecting the blocking, or any other aspect of the craft. Will the indy always have the choice? No, but perhaps they do more often than they would have thought.

And for the record, I am a BIG fan of the low-fi image. Some of my favorite films barely involved a camera at all, and I'd probably do some rather illegal things to get my hands on a Pixelvision camera. Heck, my first several films were all 16mm found footage, bleach/nailpolish/toothpicks/sharpobjects/montage works. In fact the other day I stumbled upon a way to take pictures with my Android that look a LOT like Pixelvision images. Been wracking my brain on how I can recreate those conditions. I dig lo-fi images, but that's not what were talking about here. We're talking about the HD image, the polished crystalline clear (at least as a starting point for your chosen grade) image. The image that should, by it's very definition, not be gimped by an algorithm which cuts the effective resolution of the sensor in half.

Finally, if you have read any of my posts, you'll already know I am a big advocate of three things: craft, going for it with whatever you've got in terms of resources, and craft. Just because I like to nerd out on the details of the tools and because I am an 'ignorant snob' (j/k couldn't resist one last jab in jest. :D) when it comes to my own personal opinion about Canon's choice of compression doesn't mean I think they shouldn't be used. It also doesn't mean I am judging the work based on Canon's mistake. The work stands for itself, or doesn't. I don't care if it was hand scratched on expired 8mm film, or if it was shot on 65mm celluloid; I don't see the point in judging work based on technology. I am judging the cameras based on the technology. I think they are not using the full potential of the sensor, and that anyone considering purchasing or using one should be aware of that as one of the down-sides. Just like there are down-sides to any other format. For example, I've been getting more and more into the idea of m4/3, but on the down side the sensor is a bit smallish and AVCHD is no picnic in post either, but at least it has the benefit of downsampling versus lineskipping, which is, in my aesthetic opinion, a vastly less yucky image. :P

@CF: I disagree that a dedication to quality has to be proportional to your budget or the size of your crew. As someone who plays in both worlds (big crews as well as smaller, unpaid, for the love of it, let's all wear as many hats as we can crews) I can understand the need to prioritize and that things fall by the wayside - but I stand by my belief that format choice is not only creatively important, but often more flexible than people imagine. Not always, but often. I'd never tell someone not to shoot a Canon, but I'll ALWAYS give my honest opinion about the current implementation. Kinda like the Apple that the witch gave Sleeping Beauty. Pretty and Shiny and Appealing on the outside, but with a bitter, evil concoction within that turns diagonal lines into staircases and causes widespread panic and baby eating among the unwashed masses.

@My Fellow Drinkers: This is getting more and more dangerous. And yes Michael, you are invited.
 
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