It’s been about three months since I traded in my Canon XH-A1 for a Canon 5D Mark II. I was spellbound by it’s shallow depth of field and gorgeous quality, but admittedly hesitant about how it would perform in a run-and-gun situation or for news. After getting used to the camera and it’s video limitations, and after getting a Sennheiser MKE 400 mini shotgun mic, I’ve become much more likely to shoot video on daily news assignments. I thought I’d show three examples here. Here’s one of the best things I love about this camera: I can make a decision on the fly about whether or not to shoot video. I try to keep either the shotgun mic with me or the wireless mic – they are pretty easy to have in a fanny pack along with my Olympus LS-10 audio recorder. In the first example below, I was already more than a mile away from my car when my boss sent me a text asking if I would shoot some video of the mountain top removal protest I was about to shoot. Normally that would have created a problem in that my video camera would have still been in the car. But since I had the 5D Mark II, it was a breeze to shoot video. Fortunately I had brought my mic with me. I shot still photos along the way since the march was so long. I didn’t need to pull any frame grabs. After sending in my photos, it took me about two hours to edit and post. If you’re like me, I like knowing what kind of viewership newspapers are getting out of their videos – so I’ll tell you. This video has had more that 3,000 views. A separate, short clip – just a segment of Judd’s speech which I posted for a separate but relevant story – has accumulated over 4,000 views so far. If you want a chuckle – or to see the 5D Mark II in action, check it out at about the :40 mark in this video from the Winchester Sun.
We recently had an Amber Alert in our area which fortunately resolved itself without anyone getting hurt. At the end of my shift one day last week, my boss asked me if I would work OT and cover the mother returning to the Lexington airport after picking up her daughter in Mexico where the child’s father had taken her. I waited at the baggage claim for their return and decided to shoot primarily still photos. If she stopped to talk to the media, which was very uncertain at the time, only then would I shoot video. And that’s exactly how it worked out. Again, it took about two hours to edit and post. This video has been viewed around 700 times so far.
This third video (below) is another example of how I decided to use the video on the 5D Mark II on the fly. We had a terrible ice storm in late January. I was shooting a cattle farmer for one of our daily stories and thought I’d give some video a try since I had some time. I turned in my stills, shot, edited and posted the video in under four hours. The video has over 3,000 views.
By no means do I think these are my best videos – they are not something I would generally want to put out there for my peers to critique. But I do think there is value in sharing with others how this camera can be used for photojournalists.
This for sure: I’m more at ease now knowing that I can get by with the 5D Mark II in some breaking news situation and not just for feature stories which I have more time to shoot and more time to produce.