Mission impossible: Canon 5DMrkII to the rescue!

You mission, if you accept it, is to make a video clip of an artist friend that could be sent to a major television channel so they could do a segment about his album release. Oh by the way, it must be done (as in put on DVD) tonight!

That was the challenge my friend Jon Davis proposed me last night. To make things even harder I had to visit my parents before so I could only be at my place at 8PM which left us with only a few hours to do everything. Finally, to make things worst, I forgot my lightning gear at my parent place.

This basically left me in this situation:

  • no decent light
  • shoot in my loft (no backdrop or strong light fixtures)
  • needed space to put 3 musicians

The situation was dire, but the 5D really was up to the task! I moved the furniture around, put every single lamp in my condo (plus 2 mores from my neighbor) around the musicians trying to put the emphasis on Jon and I hit “record”. As you can see, the result is quite good for such a ghetto setup!




Remember, the goal of this was not to make a music video for the song. It is just a straight clip from the camera, without editing, to give an overview of Jon performance. The tv crew is probably only going to pick a 5-15 seconds segment which is why it was useless to think about editing ourselves.

It took us about 5 takes, spread over 2 hours (we were missing some mic sound adapters) to get to this result. There were a few complains at first by the low angle of the shot but I think it works well. It was shot with my 50mmf/1.4 @f2 ISO2000 (if I remember right). The sound was recording with two external directional mic setup on a Mac pro. 

I am very surprised by the quality of the image straight from the camera. If I had more time, I would have done some color correction and added a bit of vignetting to put Jon even more in focus. But we were short on time and very limited in resources.

What I would have done differently (with the same gear & situation):

  • increase the distance a bit more between the Jon and the musicians to blur them even more. 
  • keep the setup even simpler: plug the mics directly in the 5D to save time (no sync, no compress-decompress)
  • find a better angle to have an uniform background

The next step is next Sunday when I am going to shoot a few clips of Jon CD launch.

Jon Davis website (I really have to set him up with a wordpress blog!)


I just realized that the bass is way too strong. Everything sounded perfect on my compute because my sub hoofer is dead. Will have to fix that soon…

About Tommy

Photography allows me to be what I want to be, to be where I want to be, and to do what I want to do ... I'm not professional photographer and I don't need a title, I love to take photographs and that is what I do, I love to learn and I always try to do it better ...

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