Is the DSLR dead?

It’s been 5 years since the Canon 5D mkII changed the world of filmmaking. To celebrate this birthday, myself and many other professionals were contacted by Mitch Aunger of Planet5D to give our thoughts on the future of DSLR. Mitch collected the mass of thoughts that followed and has published a free (yes, free) ebook that you get for simply subscribing to his blog.

Here is the excerpt of my small contribution to this book:


My 5D

Since the birth of cinema we’ve had many camera revolutions; super 16, video, digital video, and the most current large sensor wave started by the 5D mkII. All these technological advances have taken young creators leaps and bounds and made filmmaking somewhat available to the masses, from the French New Wave through Dogma and to the DSLR sitting in your closet right now.

Cameras will always get cheaper and smaller, but this is not where the revolution lies.
Real change is not about the paintbrush you happen to be using, but about the means of getting your work seen by others. Traditionally moving images have always been controlled by the powers that control the distribution pipelines. Hollywood was built on access to theaters, not cameras. TV networks have controlled the content because they controlled the only way to beam it into your home.
This is slowly, and finally, changing.
We are at the birth of what could become the true democratization of TV and cinema. With new distribution models popping up like weeds and the masses slowly growing accustomed to getting their “television” from alternate sources we could soon be working in an industry that produces a lot more niched content, directly distributed to niche audiences.
Fan of stories about blacksmiths and sorcerers set in space? There may be a show just for you. Want an underwater world populated by mermaids and robots? With the decrease in production costs, direct access to an audience and a ton of blood, sweat and tears (let’s face it, mermaids are never easy) that show might be coming to a screen near you!
I love the 5D mkII. I still have mine (PL-modded by Hot Rod cameras with a nice set of Zeiss CP.2’s) and it makes a gorgeous image. Sure, sometimes I trade up to an F55, Epic or Alexa but other times the 5D is the perfect tool for the job. It’s cheaper, smaller, has lower bit-rates and sometimes just happens to be the camera within reach.
I recently finished a trailer for FLY OR DIE, an upcoming TV show I’m writing/directing. I couldn’t have shot this on anything but DSLR’s. We were working extremely fast, in small locations, with low light and limited data wrangling on set. My 5D mkII with primes and a 7D with a 70-200 for the longer shots fit the bill beautifully. You can check out the results here:
We also took a completely alternate route to getting this show made – instead of keeping the development secret and approaching the networks as per usual, we released the trailer on BitTorrent, asking people to simply give us their email address in exchange for bonus material. In a dream world we may even be able to use BitTorrent to ultimately distribute the show… You can download it here:
The results were astounding – after only six days we had ONE MILLION downloads and tens of thousands of email addresses.
Is the HDSLR still a viable tool for filmmakers? I certainly think so, and i just had the privilege of a million people backing me up…

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