Sunday, May 22, 2011

Capturing Slow Motion with the 7D

I've had the EOS 7D for a while now, but rarely did I get to play with the DSLRs video. I only shot the World Concern promo (using it mainly as a B cam during interviews and for capturing the city streets of Dhaka) with it, but I was thoroughly impressed by the quality of the images I got.

It made my job easier, since I didn't have to lug the ginormous CineAlta rig around with me, serving as a great "run-n-gun" option. Recently, since I've had some time off, I've been using a custom picture profile setting with the camera that a good friend of mine had cooked up. On closer look, the setting, based on the Canon Neutral setting, provides a slightly altered curve, made to preserve luminance linearity in the 65-75% (skin tone) range. So I get a good latitude (highlights and shadows) and some great skin tones (mids)   from the camera. The next thing I got was the new Twixtor plugin so I could use it for the 60fps stuff from both the 7D (720p) and the CineAlta (1080p) modes. 

So I decided to try em all out. The 7D @ 720p60, 1/1000 and 1/1250 shutter speed, variable ISOs (ranging 100-320) and recorded some friends of mine playing cricket. Then I took the footage and used the ol method of conforming to 24fps via Cinema Tools from Apple's Final Cut Studio 3. Then used the footage on a 720p Pro Res HQ 23.98fps setting. The final timeline was a PAL 25fps, since I wanted to output the stuff to a DVD for some prospective "clients". The Twixtor plugin, was set to reduce speed a further 50% with the "Motion Weighted Blend" and "Smart Blend" settings on (I found out that this gave the least amount of "blurbs" (some artifacts caused by frame blending). I also tried out Motion's "Optical Flow" frame blending, but clearly, the Twixtor plugin for FCP was a winner.

Here's the final result:

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