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Canon 7D Newbie - What extra cables/equipment/widgets would I need?


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#1 Jamie McIntyre

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Posted 20 March 2010 - 10:36 AM

Hi Guys,

I've not flown a Canon 7D before, and the possibility of a job flying it is on the horizon. I own an Archer 2S from Tiffen. I'm confused as to how one would monitor the footage? What video out does the Canon 7D have?

SHould it be the production who supplies the extra support for the camera, i.e the focus ring attachment for my focus motor etc?

Never even worked with the a HDSLR so please, teach me! What else would I be needing to provide myself?

:)
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#2 Sydney Seeber

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Posted 20 March 2010 - 11:10 AM

Hi Guys,

I've not flown a Canon 7D before, and the possibility of a job flying it is on the horizon. I own an Archer 2S from Tiffen. I'm confused as to how one would monitor the footage? What video out does the Canon 7D have?

SHould it be the production who supplies the extra support for the camera, i.e the focus ring attachment for my focus motor etc?

Never even worked with the a HDSLR so please, teach me! What else would I be needing to provide myself?

:)

you need the proprietary cable that comes with the camera if you want to monitor NTSC or PAL analog output. That one got me the first time I used it. I had to monitor the video at the back of the camera. If you're renting the camera, or whoever you get it from, make sure they have that cable if you're using analog. It also has an HDMI port, Canon intentionally downgrades the signal so it's not that great as far as HD is concerned, but it is digital and is the best monitoring option. You'll have to use a converter for your rig though.
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#3 Brian Freesh

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Posted 20 March 2010 - 11:33 AM

I recently flew one, put a monitor with HDMI input on the rig. Isn't that the ONLY video out that works while recording? What converters are out there? I imagine I'll be flying these quite a bit in the future.

Personally, I'd have production cover anything that is specific to that camera, like the focus ring adapter, HDMI cables, rod set-ups, etc... It wasn't designed to be used in a film environment, they need those accessories when it's not on Steadicam, would you provide them with that stuff if you weren't there that day?
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#4 Mike Germond SOC

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Posted 20 March 2010 - 04:43 PM

If you have an HD-SDI monitor already, you might benefit from one of BlackMagic's mini converters, the HDMI to SDI comes to mind. Not cheap for 1 time use, unless you could get one with the camera rental (they sit around like paperweights at TGC, unfortunately I'm not at liberty to rent them out):

http://www.blackmagi...miniconverters/

As for the A/V jack output during a recording, I have heard it both ways. Another florida op with a 7D kit confirmed for me that the A/V jack does output video during a record. It is also true that the HDMI output is downgraded to 480p when recording.

So make sure the camera kit has the proprietary cable in it!
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#5 Sydney Seeber

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Posted 20 March 2010 - 05:53 PM

I recently flew one, put a monitor with HDMI input on the rig. Isn't that the ONLY video out that works while recording?

no, the NTSC output works as well. It looks terrible though. The HDMI signal is intentionally downgraded, not simply a resolution thing, rather in image quality as well. If I were Canon, I'd do the same thing... Since I'm not, I'll be first in line if and when one of these 3rd party hackers figures out how to bypass it... Unless Canon beats 'em to it. Or maybe second in line, after those in front fry their cameras...
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#6 Mike Germond SOC

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Posted 20 March 2010 - 06:05 PM

5D/7D owners should definitely be keeping up on Magic Lantern updates because they have cracked a lot of things for the 5D already and I know are working to do the same on the 7D. What they offer is a Firmware upgrade that resides in RAM, and is not flashed permanently to the ROM like Canon's upgrades. Basically it's not going to void any warranties..
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#7 Sydney Seeber

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Posted 20 March 2010 - 09:10 PM

put a monitor with HDMI input on the rig.

wait, I just re-read that... what'd you do, add an external HDMI cable down the side of your sled?
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#8 Mike Germond SOC

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Posted 20 March 2010 - 09:40 PM

put a monitor with HDMI input on the rig.

wait, I just re-read that... what'd you do, add an external HDMI cable down the side of your sled?


I'm flying an HD-SDI line and a power line from the front of the dovetail down to the monitor right now because it is the only way to configure the camera the way I want. If you have to do the same, try to center it on the post and pick a location that doesn't obstruct your gimbal or gimbal handle for the shot you need to achieve.

It's not ideal, but gets the job done..
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#9 Sam Morgan Moore

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Posted 21 March 2010 - 12:40 AM

. It is also true that the HDMI output is downgraded to 480p when recording.


Not on the 7d its 720p or a little more - makes a big difference on focussing compared to the 5d

My fav low budget monitor is SmalHD - it occurs to me that that could go up top with the camera on an Archer avaoiding the fancy wiring solutions in exchange for having the monitor in the 'wrong' place

HDMI loss of vision due to the poor connection to the camera is a worry - in another thread CP shows a RRS bracket and I show a solution based on an elastic band

I guess the production co may have no idea about how to make this work

S

Edited by Sam Morgan Moore, 21 March 2010 - 12:43 AM.

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#10 Sydney Seeber

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Posted 21 March 2010 - 01:30 AM

it occurs to me that that could go up top with the camera on an Archer avaoiding the fancy wiring solutions in exchange for having the monitor in the 'wrong' place


What the what?

Why would anyone want that?
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#11 Charles Papert

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Posted 21 March 2010 - 02:21 AM

I have found that the HDMI output (via Blackmagic HDMI to HD-SDI converter, which requires voltage regulation to power from a 14.4v battery) when fed into my Nebtek Solar7 monitor, produces quite a sharp image. The Nebtek allows me to blow it up to perfectly fit the monitor (just a little grayed-out area at top and bottom) however the resolution seems to be adequate to "read" as HD even at that point.

As far as "production" supplying everything that is needed to make these cameras work properly with our gear; I have placed production in quotes because I'm quite sure that many have already experienced that the type of low-budget-itis that was ushered in with the RED (and accompanied by blank stares and indifference when queried about downconverters and proper bracketry) has sunk to a new low with the Canon DSLR's. There are many out there who feel that buying a 7D and a couple of Canon zooms means they are ready to shoot a feature--OK, maybe they have a bit of Redrock bracketry, but that's about it. The word is getting out there about the BM boxes but many like to stick within the HDMI realm as the monitors are cheaper. As of now there are few daylight-viewable HDMI monitors (Marshall, I think?) but as usual, that's not a concern for anyone but a Steadicam operator (and frankly, if you are "getting by" without a daylight viewable monitor on your rig, you are going to get hosed sooner or later).

Bottom line is that it's RED all over again--to truly be ready to work with these cameras, you may have to invest in some outboard bits and pieces. Here's my list:

a) Blackmagic HDMI to HD-SDI converter. Terry West can make you a voltage regulated cable, or modify the box internally with a voltage regulator. It will switch off at voltages higher than 12.5v so you need to go this route. The AJA box is 5v nominal and doesn't "like" the switching between modes that happen with these cameras--it's more finicky than the BM--so I wouldn't recommend it, shame because it is smaller.

B) Really Right Stuff baseplate and quick release. These provides a needed rigidity to the mount of the camera, which has a tendency to twist due to the single tie-down under the torque of a focus motor. The RRS brackets cradle the base of the camera and prevent rotation. With the manual lenses like the Zeiss ZE's (highly recommended over the Canons), I used to see shifting in the image when changing directions on the remote focus; the longer the lens, the worse the effect rendering anything over 50mm suspect at best. The RRS brackets have helped tremendously. Unfortunately you need different ones for the 5D, 7D and 1D, however the QR mount remains the same.

c) Still lenses have a terribly short throw and limited (and barely accurate) distance markings on the barrel. The absolute best way around this at present is to use the Zeiss ZE's and the Preston Hand Unit 3, which allows you to calibrate the lenses and use the entire throw of the knob, with all markings quite accurate. I recently worked with an experienced focus puller who had a hard time grasping this concept--he kept insisting that the short throw of the barrel would make it hard to pull focus with accuracy--but eventually I convinced him that once calibrated, the feel on the Preston knob would be exactly the same as any cine-style lens.

d) An extended, counterweighted system to expand the center of gravity of the camera. I'm using long rods that extend fore and aft (my new base will have separate rods for each direction), with vertical plates to mount the various components I use (Dionic 90, Camwave, Preston MDR, BM converter as a basic package, but I am set to mount the Zoom H4N, Sennheiser wirelesses, downconverter and Modulus, etc as required). My setup is similar in weight, size and dimension to a well-equipped Super16 package when all is said and done, and it flies nicely.

that's the short version of it. I'm going to have pix of all of this up on my blog soon--will post.
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#12 Sam Morgan Moore

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Posted 21 March 2010 - 03:15 AM

Why would anyone want that?


To avoid the steps outlined by Charles for a single shoot

Of course given time and budget Charles is onto the best solutions as ever !

S

Edited by Sam Morgan Moore, 21 March 2010 - 03:16 AM.

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#13 Joe Lawry

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Posted 21 March 2010 - 06:22 AM

CVBS stays solid while recording on the 7D. Pretty sure the HDMI is the same.

Flew the 7D on my pilot a few weeks back - see here - http://www.steadicam...showtopic=11607

Get a weight plate.. the thing weighs nothing and i cant imagine flying it on anything bigger than a pilot or flyer without a lot of extra weight.

In saying that we had no budget and there was no focus controls on my rig. Deep Dof was the only way to go.
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#14 Sydney Seeber

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Posted 21 March 2010 - 10:08 AM


Why would anyone want that?


To avoid the steps outlined by Charles for a single shoot

Have you used a full size steadicam before?
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#15 Sydney Seeber

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Posted 21 March 2010 - 10:26 AM

As far as down (Or cross, as I use the HD-SDI version) converters, I personally use Aja, the box I use for this particular setup was $120 less than the Black magic equivalent. As far as technology is concerned, Black magic was started by a disgruntled former Aja guy and their products are so similar I swear they must share some patents... In other words, you'll end up with something nearly identical from either company. Resolution from a 7D is 1620×910 through the HDMI port, so it is not full HD but a lot better than NTSC. The downside to the resolution is if you compare the image on a full sized HD monitor, you will see noticeable degradations in both aliasing and there is color banding as well, at least when you're recording. During playback the image looks cleaner, so there's no doubt in my mind that Canon intentionally degrades the image ever so slightly, this is really just more detail as to what I mentioned earlier
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