Shane Hurlbut’s HDSLR Bootcamp – a couple of attendee reviews

by planetmitch1 Comment

Several weeks ago, Shane Hurlbut and his Elite Team hosted what they called the HDSLR Bootcamp out in LA. Since you and i weren't there, we thought it would be great to get some input from some of the folks who were there to find out what they thought. I didn't have a list of attendees, but i did see several people tweeting about the Bootcamp so i asked a couple if they'd be willing to give a little review and Kate Romero and Eric Haywood obliged.

Redrock Micro

Since it is polite to let ladies go first, here's Kate's review:

Hurlbut Visual's HDSLR Bootcamp was awesome! Actually quite mind blowing for someone like me who is a still photographer. It's such a different approach when shooting a moving image. I'm hooked!

One really cool aspect was hanging out with fellow participants who were from all different disciplines in the visual arts – commercial directors, feature film cinematographers, industrial video shooters and still photographers – all learning new aspects of “digital film.”

Kate shows a scene as they were shooting

Kate Romero shows a scene as they were shooting

The first day we were broken into teams and learned detailed applications from Shane Hurlbut and his Elite Team at hands-on stations. They shared their Canon 5D, 7D & 1D knowledge and tips accumulated in the last 18 months of shooting in the field. This included everything from lenses and rigging to audio and workflow. I tried on a Steadicam rig and walked around – that was super difficult! Major props to Steadicam Ops!

Day two was putting all the pieces together in the field. We were given scripts to break down, and shoot. We had access to EVERYTHING – custom rigs , Canon and Zeiss Prime lenses, dollies, lighting, a gritty location for the action sequence and an awesome interior, lit by Shane Hurlbut himself, for the beauty section. Oh… and really talented actors and actresses as well! Can't do anything without them. We ran around all day playing with different set ups and taking turns shooting footage – which was so much fun! At the end of the day, a team of editors cut each teams' footage into shorts to be uploaded soon!

HDLSR Bootcamp surpassed my expectations and was definitely worth my time and money. Looking forward to what they configure for next year!

Kate Romero
photographer / los angeles / /

Red Rock
Really Right Stuff
Zeiss Prime
Steadicam & Tiffen
Modern Studio Equipment

Working with the Canon EOS 5D Mark II and an external monitor (photo from Kate)

Working with the Canon EOS 5D Mark II and an external monitor (photo from Kate)


And here's Eric's:

On August 28-29, 2010, Shane Hurlbut and Hurlbut Visuals hosted its first HDSLR Bootcamp. Shane is a veteran cinematographer who’s been at the forefront of what’s being called the “HDSLR revolution” in filmmaking, and having personally heard him speak about the technology on a few different occasions, he’s certainly one of the most passionate and vocal advocates of HDSLR cameras, particularly the Canon 5D Mark II.

On the first day, the approximately 40 Bootcampers were divided into six groups. Each group then rotated between six different workstations, each covering a different aspect of our HDSLR education for about 90 minutes at a time. The six sessions (taught by Shane himself and members of his very knowledgeable Elite Team) were: 1. Lighting and Exposure, 2. Audio, 3. Media Management and “Out of the Box” Camera Rigging, 4. Camera Menus, 5. Camera Rigs and Focus Motors, 6. Cinema & Still Lenses and Focus. Every session provided a wealth of information in an informal, hands-on environment that made the Bootcamp quite different from some of the other HDSLR workshops and seminars out there, where information is sort of “shotgunned” at you, and the instructors sometimes seem to be racing to get through a checklist of topics that they want to cover. Prior to the start of the Bootcamp, we were asked to fill out a brief questionnaire detailing our experience with HDSLR cameras and what specific information we were looking to learn from the Bootcamp. This allowed Shane and his Elite Team to tailor the workshop sessions to meet our individual needs.

Throughout both days, a hot breakfast, hot lunch, and craft services were provided, making it feel like we were truly part of a massive production. Prizes were raffled off, including CompactFlash memory cards, T-shirts, and even a 50mm Zeiss ZE prime lens. Brian Valente presented Shane with the very first RedRockOps camouflage-decorated handheld rig.

At the end of day one, we were all divided into four new groups and given two scripted scenes that were to be shot on day two. Each team had to quickly figure out who would direct and who would work as crew members for each scene. We scrambled to delegate responsibilities and write up shot lists, then went home energized for the second day.

On day two, it was time to apply nearly everything we’d absorbed on the first day. One of the scenes we had to shoot was a fairly complicated stunt/chase scene, and the other consisted of two sides of a phone conversation, with one side of the call taking place inside a warehouse, and the other on a pre-lit bedroom set. A few actors from Po Chan’s The Last Three Minutes short were on hand as our onscreen talent.

After the scenes were completed, a team of editors quickly cut them together and projected them for us on a huge 25-foot screen. We were even able to watch a little bit of on-the-fly color correction as the scenes were being projected. The teams had been able to use a variety of camera mounts, including the “Helmet-Cam,” the “Action-Cam,” various handheld options, and even a Steadicam. Watching our footage on the big screen, Shane seemed as excited by the possibilities that HDSLR cameras open up as the Bootcampers were.

All in all, the Bootcamp was well worth the time and cost. There didn’t seem to be any reason why anyone interested in shooting with HDSLR cameras couldn’t walk out of the Bootcamp and immediately begin planning their next shoot, armed with a ton of new information handed down by people who’ve been out there field-testing and troubleshooting these amazing camera systems.

Doesn't it sound like they had a lot of fun and learned a lot? Maybe next time, you and i will go?

Our thanks to Eric and Kate for taking the time to let us in on just a little bit of their experience.

(Photo credit: snap from Kate Romero)

Zeiss Cinema Lenses


  1. I would have loved to attend General Shane’s HDSLR Bootcamp. My co-host Chris Fenwick – who was working behind the scenes with Mogo to document the bootcamp – shares his observations on my podcast.

    here’s the link:

    Thanks for sharing!

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