TV industry embracing Canon HDSLRs

by planetmitch2 Comments

No huge surprise here, we know from shows like 24 (DP Rodney Charters has sent us a lot of good HDSLR info like how they are using HDSLRs for plates – but not entire episodes) and the last episode of HOUSE being shot on the Canon EOS 5D Mark II (reviews) that the HDSLR can find its way into the TV shoot. But in the last year, we're finding that more and more TV crews are embracing the HDSLR as a great tool in their arsenal. Most of the shows using the HDSLRs aren't maybe using them as the only cameras, but they've certainly discovered that they can do many shots with them and in many cases, the HDSLR saves money as well as gives them shots they may not have had otherwise.

UPDATE: I want to be clear because this post is being mis-quoted in other locations… with the exception of the final episode of HOUSE, most of the TV shows mentioned in this blog are using Canon HDSLRs in some way, but unless stated, most are are NOT being “entirely shot” on Canon HDSLRs. There are stories quoting this post as saying entire series like 24, True Blood, and Numb3rs, Covert Affairs, Memphis Beat are shot using HDSLRs and that is simply not what I was trying to say. Small scenes or second cameras yes. This post only indicates that “No Reservations” and the BBC show “Shelfstackers” are being completely shot on HDSLRs. I have edited the first sentence of this post to be clear that only portions of 24 were shot with HDSLRs – I apologize if I implied the entire show was shot on them.

Redrock Micro

Even the Today Show is talking about what can be accomplished with new cameras like the Canon HDSLRs. In this story from just the other day, they interviewed HOUSE executive producer and director Greg Yaitanes:

“The exciting by-product of this is when you have a huge show like ‘House’ use these things, it gives permission to everyone else to use it,” said Yaitanes. “You can’t say now, ‘That’s not accessible for broadcast.’ ”

Here are some newer news stories about the Canon EOS 5D Mark II (reviews) or Canon EOS 7D (reviews) being used on the sets of TV shows that most of you don't know about yet:

Memphis Beat

Memphis Beat” (IMDB) – we were contacted several weeks ago by John Peters (IMDB) who is the Cinematographer working on the set of this new TNT TV show that stars Jason Lee (“My Name is Earl”) who's working with a Canon EOS 7D on the second camera unit. We've just had a reporter down there on the set and we'll have a report in a bit – keep an eye out for this one as we've got some exclusive coverage! Here's sample photos from the set that John sent:

Shooting on the set of Memphis Beat - John Peters

Memphis Beat set with 7D and Sony F23 - John Peters

Covert Affairs

Doug Liman Takes Us Inside Covert Affairs” – an interview with the director of this new TV show “Covert Affairs” (IMDB) on USA (premier was July 13). In the story, he discusses how they're using 5D2s in places where the movie cameras and REDs wouldn't go easily before. “I used it a little bit on Fair Game and we have five of them on the set of Covert Affairs.”

No Reservations

“No Reservations” – this post about Anthony Bourdain (the celebrity chef of “Kitchen Confidential”) indicates that the entire show is being filmed on the Canon EOS 5D Mark II. “he was super excited to talk shop about the Canon 5D Mark II and how its really upped the production value on ‘No Reservations’. The show is now shot entirely on the Mark II.”


The BBC show “Shelfstackers” has just announced (story on TVBeurope also has details on their workflow) they're going to be shooting on the Canon EOS 5D Mark II. “episodes [are] to be shown first online then repackaged into six half hour omnibus editions for transmission on BBC Two. The series, described as a comedy soap, is currently being shot in a working supermarket in the Liverpool area over five weeks… The D-SLR also has a dramatic effect on performances, with actors feeling able to improvise much more freely because they feel much more relaxed. And since we are filming in public we attract far less attention from shoppers using a stills camera than if were using a camcorder.”

True Blood

HBO's “True Blood” will also be using some 5D2s.

So there you go, we've got a line on a few more shows using the Canon EOS 5D Mark II, but we'll have to hold off on discussing those a bit, but as you can see, Canon HDSLRs are becoming a very useful tool on just about any set – be it, movie, TV, or music video and you'll likely see much more about this in the near future.

Oh, and here's some of our earlier posts on other TV shows:

Canon EOS 7D and 5D Mark II used on TV Show “Numb3rs”

Discovery HD Theater series “Lightscapes” first episode is 55% Canon EOS 5D Mark II timelapse

Ron Howard using Canon Hybrid DSLRs

NBC’s Saturday Night Live Shoots Opening Title sequence in Full 1080p HD Video With Canon’s EOS Digital SLR Cameras

@FeliciaDay announces “The Guild” to be shot on the Canon EOS 5D Mark II

How to make ‘plates' for Fox's 24 on the Canon EOS 5D Mark II

(Photo credit: snap from the Covert Affairs site)



  1. yep. I have been using the 5dm2 for tv news packages, broadcast commercials since it rolled out of the gate. very successfully. single system audio, with wireless mics as needed, airing in HD or SD as needed. rigged with a matte box and a frame for mounting the shotgun mic and led light, it looks industrial enough to overcome to psych barrier of client’s perceptions, and provides functionality. replaced a Sony dsr400 workhorse dvcam 25 pound rig, batteries for which cost 25 percent of the 5dm2 body’s cost.

  2. Not using it but it looks interesting . . . just threw in a mention of the Consumer Electronics Show debut in the following how-to column for people at museums, science institutions, etc. who are adding multimedia content creation to their communications outreach:

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