Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Canon EOS 7D

This will likely be the first Canon still camera I ever own. Had plenty of Canon video cameras, but I've been a Pentax guy for years (my lens collection has kept me there,) but the video features of the Canon 7D will change that. While the 5D Mk-II produces some awesome looking motion images, the 30.0fps has been a complete pain. We competed against several 5D movies for San Diego's last 48 Hour Film Project, and some of those teams didn't follows the rules and submitted 30.0 masters (we had to convert them all to 29.97 for presentation.) For the 50 teams that submitted, everything was presented at 1080p23.976 except the 5DmkII films -- I'm sure none of those filmmakers wanted to shoot 30p. So the big fix for the 7D, the camera also supports 29.97 and 23.976 -- these frame rates make much more sense for the filmmaker.

Now the 7D is still a heavily compressed I-frame H.264 4:2:0 8-bit, so like the 5D, we will see a huge attach-rate to our Neo product lines (Mac and PC.) The decoder speed of H.264 is poor, so many convert to CineForm just for the improved editing speed.

Now for some speculation, we're hoping the Live View is now full 1080i/p over HDMI, and that the burn-ins can be turned off, as then you would able to capture directly, bypassing the H.264 compression. Fingers crossed! If this came true, the 23.976p mode will likely go out as 60i, with pulldown (for wider display compatibility), fortunately we can remove that on the fly. In addition to removing compression issues, the HDMI preview may be 4:2:2, rather than just 4:2:0, so it will be nicer for keying. It will still be 8-bit -- but for a $1700 camera, with tethering recording with much lighter compression (via BM Instensity or AJA Xena/IOexpress) -- you can't beat it.

We look forward to testing and optimizing our workflow for this new camera.