Canon 5D Mark II shoots French soldiers and turns them into toys

by planetmitch2 Comments

Ok, I couldn't resist the pun. This video is very cool – French soldiers in the Bastille Day Parade in Paris. The other day, Albrecht Gerlach sent us his new timelapse video shot with four Canon EOS 5D Mark IIs and tilt shift lenses. Albrect submitted it along with this information:

Collision Conference

“Video of the 14th July (bastille day) Military Parade in Paris:

The hardest part of pulling this off was the access to the Rooftop on the  Champs Élysée. We probably knocked on about 50 doors and almost gave up on the project. In the end it worked out really well thanks to and old lady  that let us up on her terrace. We actually were right next to two Snipers of  the French Special Forces watching over the terrain. After all you had the  President (Sarkozy) and a bunch of high ranking officials passing by just in front of you.

On the technical side we did use four 5D MKIIs. Two cameras from the main position. One with a 24mm TSE shooting the whole scene, and one with a 90mm TSE getting the close ups. The shot of the planes going by as well as the opening shot was done from the rooftop of an office high-rise. No TSE lens on that camera. The effect was done in Post, you can probably tell. We did  also have one camera on the Eiffel Tower with a long lens but ended up not using those angels since the lighting conditions didn't match well with the main footage.

Toy Soldiers from Alta Media Productions on Vimeo.

The parade and the preparations were on for about 4 hours, and it was pretty tricky to shoot with two cameras, and manage the files at the same time. I was constantly emptying cards and making backups on a notebook. I only had 6 CF cards with me that day. However I did get my hands on those elusive LP-E6 spare Batteries just before the shoot.

Probably quite hard on the cameras, doing around 14.000/h for four hours in a row. On a side note, I did have one of the bodys checked by CPS in Paris and they were all confused and were like: Sir, did you know that your camera already has shutter actuations?!?

Processing the files does require some beefy hardware. Even with a Top of the Line MacPro, I had Final Cut crash on me all the time.

Basic color correction in FCP, some Grain with Tiffen DfX and cloning away birds etc. in Photoshop. The Smoothcam Filter was also invaluable, since even with a heavy tripod there was always some camera shake due to wind.

I'm very happy about the soundtrack. It was mixed by Camille Michel a Paris based sound designer.

Here the Credits:

Photography: Albrecht Gerlach
Production: Tatiana Pereira @ Alta Media Productions
Camera Assistant: Tom Chabbat
Sound: Camille Michel
5DmkII for rent in Paris:


  1. Pingback: Fotografía 101 | Soldados de juguete

  2. Great! and nice post processing. I know how huge this project can be… I often do stop motion and some projets are getting huge really fast. However I never had to deal with 14 000/h for 4 hours! WOW!

    Question: why don't you film instead? It would save a lot of time and the image would be reasonably good no?

    Unless you keep it at maximum file size.. Where do you present your work?

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