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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Straight To Video

The newest evolution in D-SLR technology has finally brought us high-definition video and stills in one camera. Here’s a look behind the scenes.

This Article Features Photo Zoom

straight to videoIn the new media, where business savvy includes Facebook and MySpace, convergence has taken on a new meaning for the professional photographer. Whether you’re shooting video for online newspapers, designing behind-the-scenes promotional work for your website or making a music or wedding video at the same time that you’re shooting stills, a D-SLR that’s capable of capturing HD video offers new opportunities for the professional photographer. Video makes photography more versatile and, ultimately, valuable, and it’s now available at essentially no extra cost with the Canon EOS 5D Mark II and Nikon D90.

Extension Of Live View
Video in D-SLRs is an extension of an already familiar concept, Live View, which was first introduced to the market in 2006. D-SLR technology has since advanced to where data can be captured and passed along to the image sensor quickly enough to provide smooth HD video quality. In the case of the Canon EOS 5D Mark II, a new 21.1-megapixel, full-frame CMOS image sensor outputs image data at high speeds to the DIGIC 4 processor, more powerful than its predecessor, so it can process the information quickly enough to churn out 1920x1080-resolution HD video at 30 fps.

straight to video
straigh tto video
“When the EOS 5D Mark II is set to capture full HD video during Live View,” explains Lisette Ranga, Programs Marketing Specialist at Canon, “raw image data from the camera’s 21.1-megapixel CMOS image sensor is output to the camera’s DIGIC 4 image processor at a rate of 30 frames per second. DIGIC 4 converts the raw data to a full-resolution RGB image, crops the top and bottom of the frame to change the aspect ratio from 3:2 to 16:9, then downsamples it to 1920x1080 pixels and compresses it using a version of the H.264 codec. The resulting image data is combined with audio data when enabled and finally written to a .MOV file.”

In the Nikon D90, a 12.3-megapixel, DX-format CMOS sensor provides high-speed, multi-channel readout directly into the EXPEED image-processing pipeline, and the live data stream is recorded and saved to an SD/SDHC memory card. When asked why video capture is comparatively late to the show since Live View has existed in the market for quite some time, Lindsay Silverman, Senior Technical Manager at Nikon, points out that the careful coordination of mirror movement and Live View video recording is a challenge to manufacture, especially when considering that photographers use their cameras differently than camcorder shooters.


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