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New Video Features on Canon EOS-1D X

Several of you have written to ask what we think about the new Canon EOS-1D X.  Well we haven’t seen it, but we can comment on the specs.  Here’s my take on the video features (which saw a lot of improvement)

Centered around an all-new full-frame CMOS sensor with larger pixels than those found on the EOS 5D Mark II image sensor, the EOS-1D X utilizes new HD video formats to simplify and speed up post-production work. 
Nice to see when they admit a problem. This is a true focus on professional workflows (which is great to see)

The two new compression formats offered on the EOS-1D X include intraframe (ALL-i ) compression for an editing-friendly format and interframe (IPB) compression for superior data compression, giving professionals the options they need for their ideal workflow. 
The first option is HUGE. This will mean bigger files, but fewer compression artifacts. It will also mean that the files will be easier to edit as they place less demand on the computer’s CPU and GPU.

Answering the requests of cinematographers and filmmakers, the EOS-1D X includes two methods of SMPTE-compliant timecode embedding, Rec Run and Free Run, allowing multiple cameras or separate sound recording to be synced together in post production.
Timecode is the law that lets multiple pieces of gear to play together. This is absolutely essential to professional workflows.

Canon’s all new full-frame CMOS sensor ensures that video footage captured on the EOS-1D X will exhibit less moiré than any previous Canon model, resulting in a significant improvement in HD video quality.
Full sensors are great for low light… not so much for outdoor shooting. Remember to keep a matte box or ND filters around for filtration.

A desired feature for many documentary filmmakers using Canon DSLRs was to enable recording beyond the four gigabyte (GB) file capacity and the EOS-1D X is the answer. The new camera features automatic splitting of movie files when a single file exceeds 4GB. The new file splitting function allows for continuous video recording up to 29 minutes and 59 seconds across multiple 4GB files; no frames are dropped and the multiple files can be seamlessly connected in post production, providing filmmakers the recording time they want in the same convenient DSLR form factor. 
This is great and removes the artificial barrier. Pro cameras have been splitting and reconnecting files for years.
Although the phrase “the same convenient DSLR form factor” is clearly a misperception. Come on Camera, make a digital back feature that makes it easier to modify the camera and add some XLR ports.

The camera records Full HD at 1920 x 1080 in selectable frame rates of 24p (23.976), 25p, or 30p (29.97); and 720p HD or SD video recording at either 50p or 60p (59.94). SD video can be recorded in either NTSC or PAL standards.
This is great… but I’d really like to see some more 720 options.
From what I hear, the Canon announcement in early November is DIFFERENT, than this announcement and should be interesting.

The Canon EOS-1D X also includes manual audio level control, adjustable both before and during movie recording, an automatic setting, or it can be turned off entirely.
Manual controls… what a concept (sarcasm). But hey.. it’s about time and its grab to have them. Especially during the record event.

A wind filter is also included. Sound can be recorded either through the internal monaural microphone or via an optional external microphone through the stereo mic input.
I still suspect the internal mic is crap.
Stereo mic input… crap… make an XLR adapter.
What about output? Hopefully the A/V port will work. Would make the on-the-fly adjustments more useful.

(See the full release here – http://usa.canon.com/cusa/about_canon?pageKeyCode=pressreldetail&docId=0901e024803b812e#)
The camera is supposed to ship in March 2012

From what I hear, the Canon announcement in early November is DIFFERENT, than this announcement and should be interesting.

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Want Time-lapse? Better Get an Intervalometer

©2011 Richard Harrington

When it comes to shooting time-lapse videos, there is a real need to consistently and repeatedly fire off multiple exposures. While you “could” sit next to your camera and constantly press the shutter button, this would get old really fast.

The standard tool needed for regulating the amount of exposures during a time-lapse shoot is an intervalometer. When you turn it on, you can program the camera to shoot stills. An intervalometer allows you to easily set a timer for when you want the camera to begin recording, set the interval between exposures, and determine how many frames you want to shoot.

©2010 Richard Harrington

Typically, an intervalometer is a tethered device that connects to your camera via a port. Some cameras may have a built-in intervalometer. This allows you to shoot time-lapse shots without carrying extra gear. However, the external models make it easier to tweak adjustments as the camera is rolling. Just be sure to always keep spare batteries with you for the intervalometer or it becomes dead weight.

©2011 Richard Harrington

Once connected, do not leave the intervalometer dangling from the camera. When plugging it in and beginning your operation, make sure you have a good solid place to leave the intervalometer. If the cable is too short to reach the ground, don’t just let it dangle in the wind. Tape it to one of your tripod legs with the face showing, or even better, run an extension cable to the camera. The remote switch function is very useful because it prevents you from coming in contact with the camera while it’s running. If you need to turn off the operation during some break in the action, or change the interval, you want to avoid touching the camera or tripod. A subtle bump can appear as a jolting frame change in the final clip.

©2011 Richard Harrington

For shoots that will last over a period of days or weeks, it might be a good idea to invest in an intervalometer that includes a light-sensing switch or programmable timer. You can then avoid recording at night (if you don’t want to). Check out the Time Machine from Mumford Micro Systems at www.bmumford.com/photo/camctlr.html.