Stop motion advertising with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II

by planetMitch5 Comments

While HDSLRs can be good for video, making a video with stop motion is also cool – and here's a sample set sent in by Eric where they used a Canon EOS 5D Mark II (reviews) to made advertisements for some art schools.


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From Eriq:

My name is Eriq, I'm a director and filmmaker and part of a production shop in San Francisco, www.OpenContent.tv. I read your blog regularly and really like it. Thanks for the great work. Keep it up!

I just finished a series of stop motion commercials we did for a chain of art schools in North America, the Art Institutes and I wanted to share them with you. We shot them all with our 5D. Thought you might be interested.

One video

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Each spot features a different alumni of the school, who's working of at the peak of their respective discipline, some of them were from the Bravo reality shows (top chef and the fashion show). They were a lot of fun to make, and actually sort of the professional commercial version of a video I did 5 years ago, when I was in college and broke:

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Getting to essentially revisit the same idea, but now having a budget, it was really fun to see how far we could push each spot. The biggest challenge was that we only had each talent for one day so we had to shoot each commercial in one day. With a location change, it worked out to averaging 1:15 per setup to stay on schedule. To accomplish it, everything was on wheels. Our Camera, our Dragon Station/Data Station, all our monitors, and our lighting, were all mobile on carts.

We shot with the 5D MII with the 24mm 1.4 lens for all the animation on the street. All RAW stills. We built a cart that had the 5D rigged to the front end of it on a high hat pointing towards the camera. On the back of the cart was our Data Person/Dragon Software operator with a macbook pro facing back. Then we had two 21″ monitors pointing off on each side, for the DP, myself and any other folks who needed to monitor. And below the camera another 21″ monitor pointing out towards the talent that the art department could use.

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The whole thing was powered by a car batter with a power inverter that sat on the cart. Usually we would go through two car batteries each day before we move to the interiors.

Next to it we had another magliner with a menace arm hanging out and our strobes out on it. Having everything on wheels allowed us to move as fast as possible and reset in ~ 30 seconds, giving art and other 30-45 seconds to get set and for me to talk them into the right spot for the animation to work.

We had to stock each spot with 6-10 background folks constantly visiting wardrobe and throwing on new jackets so they didn't repeat themselves.

We shot most of it at a 1.4 to get a big of shallow depth of field, even with the 24mm from 12 feet away. We also opened our shutter up to 1/2 second exposures to get that great motion blur on everything else, and using the strobe lights focused on our talent worked great for keeping them sharp and letting everyone else blur out.

Thanks for all the great blogging and good info!

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(cover photo credit: snap from the video)

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planetMitch

chief astronomer at planet5D LLC
Mitch "planetMitch" Aunger is the creator and mastermind behind planet5D.com

He's incredibly happy running planet5D and sharing so much joy of photography and filmmaking with his readers.

Comments

  1. What was the surfing ad that was done with an array of 5dmk2s and was used for catching stop motion photography of surfers doing their thing. Anyone remember that one? Can’t find a link to it anywhere.

  2. So did you shoot plates on the street and then green screen the talent? or was everything on location with the talent moving with every setup. The way I read it, it seems that way.

    Good job, i like the spots.

  3. @Rob, it was all practical. There’s one more spot with Stig Asmussen that had some wire removal for a floating Earth Gag, and we had to paint out a couple logos for signs we couldn’t get location releases from, but other than that it was all practical.

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