Shooting in handheld mode, Gerull has never had any problems with line skipping "or any 'Jell-O-cam' artifacting or rolling-shutter effects," he states. But it has been an issue when using a dolly at high speed. "It was a bumpy, hard surface, but that's the only time we had skipped frames and technical issues," adds the DP. "And fixing it in post isn't always possible—sometimes it's better to perhaps edit around the problem, or leave it in, which can also add to the drama of the shot."
Gerull also shot a commercial for UPMC Health Plan with the 5D Mark II, again almost entirely handheld. "At times, I'd use a monopod if there was a frame that needed to be held steady longer, and I did a few shots on a tripod—that's it for accessories," he notes.
While Gerull cautions that the format isn't always appropriate, he's a big fan of DSLRs, in general, and the 5D Mark II, in particular. "I really like the immediacy and quality you get, especially with the large chip in the 5D," he reports. "It delivers very smooth images, and it renders even the hard light of the noonday sun beautifully. And you can achieve almost any angle you want with very little effort. I think that's the biggest plus."
DP David Myrick has shot nearly a dozen music videos in the DSLR format, all using the 5D Mark II. For slo-mo sequences, he uses the Canon 7D. "I like to favor the 5D more because it's the full 35mm still sensor, and you get more of a shallower depth of field than I would with the 7D when using Canon's L-series lenses," he reports. "And you get just a more interesting look with the focus."
Unlike a decade or so ago, music video budgets have been put on a radical diet in recent years, but when they allow it, Myrick likes to use motion-picture film lenses with a PL mount. This allows him to hook it up to a 7D, which is the closest to a Super 35mm frame, he notes. And this allows his assistant to pull focus "more accurately and more creatively." The result? The DP can shoot a music video and be able to pull focus, treating it more like a professional film shoot.
Typically, budgets are low, however, and Myrick relies on the 5D Mark II and support from companies like Redrock Micro and Cinelease. "I also do a lot of photography and own a lot of Canon's L-series lenses, so I'll use that stuff for the smaller-budget jobs," he says. "It still allows us to pull focus a little bit, but it's a lot more difficult on those lenses."
Myrick shot his first 5D Mark II music video—Desert Song for Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros—a few years ago. "My father owns a camera store in Monterey and got one of the first Canon 5D Mark IIs," he recalls. "Two weeks later, I was shooting a short with it, just testing it out."