The Short History of the DSLR Video Revolution

In this Tuesday Film Tip, I will review the short history of the DSLR Video Revolution.

The Nikon D90 and the Canon 5D Mark II were the first major DSLR to have HD video functionality.  Canon added video capability as an afterthought to the stills camera.  The idea was to allow photojournalists to shoot short videos in remote locations where no other camera crews could get to.  It was meant to be supplemental material for the website versions of the stories they helped tell.

Then Canon commissioned photographer, Vincent Laforet, to shoot a short film called Reverie.  You can watch it below.

This short film went viral and showed the rest of the world what beautiful and amazing images this camera could take.  The camera was still rather limited at the time with only 30 frames per second and 12 minute clips but it was enough to get the film and video community excited.  The main reason for the excitement is the price.  For $3,000, you could get an image that before needed to be shot on a camera that cost at least $30,000 or shot on 35mm film which cost about $400 per minute.

Then the Canon 5D Mark II was validated by Hollywood as a viable cinematography tool with the shooting the Season 6 Finale of Fox’s hit TV House, M.D.

Other Hollywood films like Iron Man 2 and Captain America used the Canon 5D Mark II in “crash cam” situations where they could put the small camera in places that might be subject to danger.  They would mount the cameras onto stunt cars and similar situations.

At the same time, independent filmmakers and videographers saw the potential and started using the DSLR’s in droves.  Other camera manufacturers saw the hungry market for this and added to the mix.




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