Opening video sequence of ‘Saturday Night Live’ shot with Canon digital SLR cameras

Canon’s EOS 5D Mark II and newer EOS 7D digital SLR cameras continue to prove their value as a short-segment HD video camera.

The two models were used in HD video capture mode for this season’s opening title sequence of NBC’s late-night comedy show “Saturday Night Live.” The director and crew looked to capture “living” portraits of the city, the cast and the unique characters that make up the New York City nightlife.

The entire opening montage introducing the cast was shot at night, the segment was captured and edited in a week’s time, incorporating 30p footage from the 5D Mark II as well as 60p footage used for slow-motion segments shot with the EOS 7D (which offers selectable NTSC and PAL frame rates).

The end result was that the cast and crew were able to shoot in any location — from the Brooklyn Bridge, which has limited ambient light, to a dimly lit street corner, to a more controlled bar interior —using only an on-camera Litepanels MiniPlus for most of the exterior shots and two Kino Flo lights for an interior shot that required some illumination.

The crew wanted to capture the city nightlife in as natural a look and setting as possible. This meant minimal additional lighting and making those on-camera feel comfortable to act naturally. Their solution was the Canon EOS 5D Mark II and Canon EOS 7D Digital SLR cameras, with their low-light performance, small form factor and generous depth-of-field, which enabled the crew to shoot in predominantly ambient light without big lighting gear. This made its easy to covertly shoot around the city without drawing a crowd.

Yuichi Ishizuka, senior vice president and general manager, Consumer ImagingGroup, Canon‚ said the 5D Mark II and EOS 7D offer some of the largest HD video image sensors (18MP APS-C CMOS sensors) on the market at a competitive cost.

The EOS 7D and EOS 5D Mark II feature high-quality HD video capture with full manual exposure control and more than 50 EF lenses to chose from. The EOS 7D also offers dual DIGIC 4 imaging processors and a large APS-C-sized CMOS sensor, while the EOS 5D Mark II provides a single DIGIC 4 imaging processor and larger full-frame CMOS sensor.

The EOS 7D records video in one of three mode — full HD, HD in a 16:9 aspect ratio and SD in a 4:3 aspect ratio — all at selectable frame rates; full HD at 1920 x 1080 pixels in selectable frame rates of 24p (23.976), 25p, or 30p (29.97); 720p HD recording at 50p or 60p (59.94) and SD video at frame rates of 50p or 60p (59.94).

The EOS 5D Mark II features 16:9 full HD video capture at 1920 x 1080 pixels and 30 fps as well as 4:3 SD video capture at 640 x 480 pixels and 30 fps. The EOS 5D Mark II features 16:9 full HD video capture at 1920 x 1080 pixels and 30 fps as well as 4:3 SD acquisition at 640 x 480 pixels and 30 fps.

Both cameras also record 4GB of video, approximately 12 minutes of video at full HD resolution or approximately 24 minutes in SD, depending on the level of detail in the scene. For both the EOS 7D and EOS 5D Mark II, sound is recorded either through an external stereo microphone or a built-in monaural microphone.