“Valiant” – using the Canon EOS 5D Mark II for 4k motion controlled video

by planetMitch4 Comments

If you have a listen to this weeks Digital Convergence Podcast, then you will have heard about this new movie called “Valiant” (and I do urge you to listen to this weeks DCP!) – we talked with Alex MacLean who's been working on this seemingly incredible short and we've got some amazing behind the scenes stuff. The surprise to me was how they were shooting the movie in 4k and used the Canon EOS 5D Mark II to shoot some segments in 4k! Read more below to find out how!

Set in an alternate future, VALIANT is an original indie action-adventure/sci-fi film & world, with Hollywood level production values.

Of course, they're currently running a kickstarter project to get additional funds to finish up and we know you'll want to be a part of this movie once you see the stuff we have below!

The kickstarter promo video:

Exclusive planet5D BTS

During the Digital Convergence Podcast, we discovered that they've been using Canon HDSLRs for filming all the motion controlled action – and they're filming the whole project in 4k with other cameras, so I had to ask how they were using the DSLRs at 4k – and the simple answer is they're using stop motion (thus capturing 4k stills) and turning those into the movie shots.

Here are a couple of videos to help you understand this process:

Valiant Film – Motion Control Test – Behind the Scenes
[tentblogger-youtube UCo30wWR5bI]

In the following video produced specifically for planet5D, you'll see the different shots (as Alex discussed in the Digital Convergence Podcast episode) where they shot different lighting setups so they could combine the effects in post (for example a shot with the lights on the plane turned on in the dark).

From Alex:

The Canon EOS 5D Mark II proved to be a critical component to our motion control photography tests. Through some clever engineering, and the sacrifice of a cheap intervolometer, we were able to precisely control the 5d's shutter through the old ILM Kuper motion control rig. This was critical for us, as we photographed our test in multiple passes (a “beauty” pass matching our ideal look for the shot, a greenscreen pass where only the greenscreen was illuminated, a pass for the model's own internal lights etc) to allow for maximum control over the image in comp. Each pass needed align perfectly with the previous one, right down to the motion blur – and the 5d made it happen.

Valiant – planet5D Motion Control Video
[tentblogger-youtube 8aeJOf9FkH0]

Canon EOS 5D Mark II mounted on the ILM kuper motion control rig

More about “Valiant”

So, see, it all seems pretty simple right?

Here's more about the movie that the “Valiant” team sent us:

Our Story

Storyboards & Script Excerpts
Storyboards & Script Excerpts

Originally started as a graduate thesis film and a partnership between USC and Chapman students, Valiant has propelled itself into an independent film of a whole different caliber.  Through the incredible amounts of hard work and dedication of hundreds, we're well on our way to create a film and world that looks and feels like a multimillion dollar creation – all for a tiny fraction of that.  Our team consists of students & amateurs working hard, learning and accomplishing incredible things, combined with professionals donating their time to make this dream a reality.  Many said we couldn't do it, but thanks to the countless hours of time and work by so many talented artists, we're well on our way.  However, like any complex artistic work, projects grow and evolve, and now we need you to join our team.

Concept Art of The Valiant, our mercanaries airship & home.
Concept Art of The Valiant, our mercanaries airship & home.
Original CG Model of The Valiant being built.
Original CG Model of The Valiant being built.

To bring such an original and unique world to life, we originally planned to follow the route of relying mostly on computer graphics and digital animation.  But as things progressed and others saw what we were attempting, we realized that this just wasn't good enough.  Our goal has always been to pay homage and recreate the feel of the classic adventure films & worlds, such as Indiana Jones, Star Wars, Firefly and more.  These films combined classic art forms, such as miniatures, motion control, matte paintings, and more, bringing a wide range of artists together to create these special worlds.  We grew up on these films, the opportunity to work with some of the people that made them happen was something too amazing to pass up, and this was the artistic process and art we want to help keep alive.

The Plan

Fon Davis, one of our minature artists, working on Star Wars.
Fon Davis, one of our minature artists, working on Star Wars.

Valiant is now changing course.  Our team has already accomplished so much, we're going to take this film to the next level, bringing the classic together with the new to finish this project the right way.  True professional Hollywood artists have come on board, impressed by our work and goals, and this in an awesome opportunity we want to share with our cast, crew, and audiences like you. 

Combining classic, but sadly fading techniques like miniatures, motion control, intelligent camera techniques and practical effects with modern artistry like CG and digital animation, our goal is to create an iconic, immersive world, true to it's roots and cutting edge at the same time.  They're the artistic methods we grew up watching that are now slowly dying, and we want to show again how well it really does work.  But to do this and push our project to this new caliber, we need your help.

We've pitched the project to such Hollywood miniature greats such as Fon Davis (ILM Practical; Star Wars, Transformers 3, Nightmare Before Christmas) and Greg Boettcher (New Deal Studios; Dark Knight Rises, Inception, Serenity, etc) who have kindly come on board, largely donating their time and work to help us realize our vision.  We've assembled a team of student, amateur, and professional composition & digital artists, all here to work and learn together.  All that's left is you.

Greg Boettcher works on The Valiant, our first major miniature!
Greg Boettcher works on The Valiant, our first major miniature!

Greg Bottecher of New Deal Studios works on two of his other projects, “Serenity” and “The Dark Knight”

The finished model of “Valiant”

(cover photo credit: snap from the video)


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.


  1. It’s cool that they used the 5D II to shoot their stills but in truth they could have used just about any modern camera to do it. I’m all for trumpeting the 5D family’s prowess as film-making tools but titling this as 4K video from a 5D is is just click bait. It is still an interesting story and gives good insight into how these things get made but let’s cool it with the hyperbole.

    1. Author

      Well I beg to differ – the title did exactly what a title is SUPPOSED to do, draw you in to read the article. The 5D was used to create 4k video.

  2. Agree with Mike, also this could easily be called 21k video from the 5D Mark II.

  3. I was super excited to see how they did this, but the video’s don’t work anymore :(

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