Iceland Test Shoot

The purpose of the test shoot was really to get me more familiar with the Canon 5D Mark 2 camera, as I have only done brief shoots using them before this project. I know that the main problems for this project (beside hardware issues, such as decreased battery life due to cold conditions) were the focus and shutter speed. I needed to explore these for myself.

The shots with the water and the pigeons are the ones I draw attention to. You can see in the water shots how the shutter speed is working. Unlike a Z camera or a JVC, you can’t adjust the shutter speed, so you have to work with it. I tried in vain to create different types of effects in post production (see the waterfall shot), but was met with mixed results.

This set shutter speed can also be seen with the heads of the pigeons (the cameras have difficulty picking up any great speed, meaning moving the camera quickly in a direction will also cause issues with the on-screen image). With the pigeon shots also, I had to pull focus between varying depths of field quickly. As the depth of field is very large, it was hard for me to get a smooth focus action (even though admittedly, this shot would have been hard to do even with a Z camera).

Overall, it taught me some of the Canon limitations first hand. As this is a simple film we are making in term of shooting style, the fact that the Canon 5D camera is compact and easy to transport makes it the ideal photographing equipment to use in the Icelandic wilderness. It is not able to take automated stop-motion either – it is more of a video camera than a DSLR. However, I will use my Nikon camera to stop-motion the Northern Lights if we see them – this is my own personal camera which I know inside and out, and will shoot the lights in the same way I did the Teide sunrise.

I also played about with grading and post-production effects, to explore what the shots looked like after editing. I made some images full of ‘noise’, some colder, and some warmer. I think black and white works well with the 5Ds, and I have since decided to incorporate this photographic style into my FMP production.


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