ARTICLE

Filming 8K and oversampled 4K movies with the Canon EOS R5

A mountain biker performs a mid-air stunt against the sun. The image is shot from below and framed by red poppies and grasses on the hillside

Martin Bissig was one of the first pros to put the filmmaking capabilities of Canon's EOS R5 to the test, shooting fast-moving action footage of mountain bikers and skateboarders. Taken on a Canon EOS R5 with a Canon RF 15-35mm F2.8L IS USM lens at 15mm, 1/800 sec, f/9 and ISO250. © Martin Bissig

Fusing full-frame 8K internal RAW movie recording with high frame-rate 4K capture and in-body image stabilisation (IBIS), the Canon EOS R5 sets a new standard for mirrorless camera movie-making. Canon Ambassadors Martin Bissig and Ivan D’Antonio were two of the first people to put the video capabilities of the new camera to the test, each with their own very different filming requirements.

Mountain biking photography specialist Martin, whose clients include Red Bull, Specialized, Oakley and Adidas, supplements his dramatic stills work with video when requested. But for award-winning filmmaker Ivan, who shoots music promos, short films and commercials, being able to easily integrate a camera into a professional video workflow is key.

“I come from a painting background, so I consider the camera as a brush, palette and canvas combined,” Ivan explains. “I need it to be an extension of my arms and my mind, so I look for form factor, smart tools such as customisable buttons that I can use comfortably, great colours and dynamic range. The Canon EOS R5 meets all these requirements.”

Here Ivan shares how he put the camera through its paces on a landscape shoot in the mountainous Abruzzo region of Italy, as well as in the more intimate setting of a yoga class, while Martin explains why the Canon EOS R5 was the perfect partner when shooting Swiss slopestyle star Lucas Huppert and a host of other athletes in action.

A side profile of Canon Ambassador Ivan D'Antonio with his eye to the viewfinder of a Canon EOS R5 camera.

Using an 8K master in a 4K workflow

Ivan was inspired to shoot his landscape-focused film “like it was a set of paintings,” with few camera movements using a tripod or handheld, stabilised shots. “The incredible level of detail achieved with 8K gave the landscape a look I have never seen before,” he says. “When I was editing the film it felt like I was still there. Everywhere I looked on the monitor I could see the same level of detail I saw when I was on location.”

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8K input doesn’t necessarily mean 8K output. The Canon EOS R5’s 8K video capabilities bring benefits to a 4K workflow, including the option of cropping a 4K image from the 8K frame at the editing stage. Not only does this allow a variety of tighter shots to be made from a single camera position, it also makes it possible to use software to zoom, pan and stabilise after filming.

“I used all these options,” Ivan explains. “When you film you are often in a rush, so the ability to shoot one take and then make camera movements in post is priceless. The weather was very bad in the mountains, so I had to shoot quickly during the brief periods of good light. There wasn’t enough time to change lenses, but I cut some close-ups from the 8K master during the edit.”

A Canon EOS R5 camera on a tripod. A filter is attached to the lens.

Ivan had to shoot quickly in the mountains during breaks in the weather, but the Canon EOS R5’s IBIS saved the day. “When there was a lot of wind, I could stabilise the shots with no problem. I had to use 4x4 ND filters with the camera mounted on a rig, but I could shoot from lots of different angles without worrying about excessive shakiness.” © Ivan D'Antonio

A woman in a yoga pose pictured in the Canon EOS R5's LCD screen.

Ivan describes the Canon EOS R5’s combination of 8K video and full-frame sensor as "game changing". “When I was shooting the yoga video, the full-frame sensor made it easier to create a shallow depth of field and maintain a beautiful quality of bokeh behind the yoga teacher,” he says. “With a cropped sensor, it would have been harder to achieve a master shot with a blurred background in such a confined space.” © Ivan D'Antonio

"When I was shooting the yoga film, I knew I would be able to add more cuts to the edit without having to record the same asana [yoga position] multiple times. Yoga is a slow and controlled practice, but I was able to enhance the rhythm of the film simply by reframing the original 8K master shot of the whole body.”

With a final output of 4K for his video, Ivan could make a 2x zoom in post-production to crop into interesting parts of the larger frame or slowly zoom in during static poses. “I also tried editing the 8K footage in a 2K timeline,” he says. “I could make 4x zooms – it looked as though I had shot the video with an expensive parfocal cinema zoom lens.”

“Grading Canon EOS R5 footage is very easy, especially using Canon Log,” he adds. “The dynamic range is like a cinema camera: the colours are well preserved and I can change the hue of a single colour without affecting the rest.”

Recording oversampled and high frame-rate 4K

In addition to offering a full-resolution 8K master that can be incorporated into a 4K workflow, the Canon EOS R5 features a 4K HQ mode. This oversamples the video from 8K to give a 4K image that’s more detailed when compared with footage shot natively at 4K. It’s also possible to shoot 4K at a high frame-rate of 100fps (PAL/120fps NTSC) using the full width of the Canon EOS R5’s full-frame sensor, something which Martin took advantage of when shooting athletes performing daring tricks.

“8K is probably overkill for the type of video work I normally do alongside my photography, but the ability to shoot at 100fps with 4K resolution opens up new opportunities,” he says. “Watching the guys running through their tricks, it was hard to make sense of it all because there’s so much going on in such a short time. But recording at 4K 100fps enables you to clearly see all the movements involved.”

A mountain biker performs a stunt at the top of a curved wooden ramp.

Shooting 4K at 100fps allowed Martin to slow the footage right down and capture the bike stunts in detail. Taken on a Canon EOS R5 with a Canon RF 15-35mm F2.8L IS USM lens at 15mm, 1/1000 sec, f/2.8 and ISO200. © Martin Bissig

Keeping track of high-speed subjects can place great demands on an autofocus system, but the Canon EOS R5 borrows heavily from innovations introduced in the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III. The Canon EOS R5’s new Dual Pixel CMOS AF II system can focus as low as EV -6, adds support for all AF methods when customising Movie Servo AF performance, and offers improved face tracking with Eye AF.

“The way that Eye AF is implemented in the Canon EOS R5 is a big step forward because it now also detects a subject’s head,” Martin enthuses. “I was shooting athletes who were wearing helmets and goggles, so you couldn’t really see their faces. But the camera knew it was the head and focused there, which is incredible. I used it to track the skateboarder in the film as he was skating towards me, and the camera followed his face all the way through the frame.”

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Ulla Lohmann and Robert Marc Lehmann on how the Canon EOS R5's 45MP sensor and eye-tracking AF helped them take spectacular wildlife shots.

A woman stands on a rocky outcrop gazing at the mist-shrouded mountains in the distance.

Combining the Canon EOS R5 with an IS equipped RF lens makes it possible to capture shake-free images, even when shooting handheld while hiking up a mountain. Taken on a Canon EOS R5 with a Canon RF 24-70mm F2.8L IS USM lens at 52mm, 1/100 sec, f/6.3 and ISO100. © Martin Bissig

A mountain biker mid-stunt, silhouetted against the sky and framed by trees.

The Canon EOS R5 features deep learning AF tracking for people and animals, which works in all AF modes and can recognise all kinds of situations. It also offers full Dual Pixel CMOS AF performance in all 8K video modes. Taken on a Canon EOS R5 with a Canon RF 70-200mm F2.8L IS USM lens at 70mm, 1/8000 sec, f/2.8 and ISO800. © Martin Bissig

Introducing IBIS to the EOS range

The Canon EOS R5, and its sister camera, the Canon EOS R6, are the first EOS cameras to feature an in-body image stabilisation (IBIS) system, which delivers up to 8-stops of shake reduction. As Martin mostly shoots handheld, it was a feature he was particularly looking forward to.

“The IBIS was great,” he says. “At one point, I was hiking up a mountain before sunrise with my wife to get some footage. Even though there was not much light to speak of, and I was breathing heavily and using the camera without a tripod, the viewfinder image was perfectly stable.”

Canon Ambassador Martin Bissig views a skateboarder through the Canon EOS R5's LCD screen.

Despite using power-hungry features such as image stabilisation, Martin was impressed with the Canon EOS R5’s battery life. “With two batteries I could last a full day of shooting video, taking pictures and checking images on the rear screen,” he says. © Martin Bissig

A Canon EOS R5 camera with its LCD screen flipped out.

Ivan made full use of the Canon EOS R5’s AF capabilities. “The thing I find really useful for video is the ability to change the AF responsiveness and speed. If you set them properly it really looks like you had a human focus puller with you.” © Ivan D'Antonio

“I use all the Canon RF lenses that are equipped with stabilisation, and the IS performs so well,” says Martin. “Even shooting with the Canon RF 70-200mm F2.8L IS USM lens at 200mm, fully handheld, there was no camera shake. Combined with the IBIS, the performance was amazing.

“I also love shooting with the Canon RF 28-70mm F2L USM lens, which doesn’t have stabilisation, but that wasn’t a problem with the Canon EOS R5 as you get an amazing 8-stops with the IBIS alone.”

The electronic viewfinder (EVF) was another highlight for Martin. “It has about 60% more resolution than the EVF on the Canon EOS R, which gives it much more of an analogue feel – I couldn’t see much difference when comparing it with the optical viewfinder of a DSLR. Plus, the 120fps frame rate is much higher, which is a big plus for fast action.

“I’ve relied on the Canon EOS R for the past two years, but the Canon EOS R5 is such a big step forward. When it comes to speed, resolution, autofocus – it’s like a smaller version of the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III with even more features.”

Written by Marcus Hawkins

Martin Bissig’s kitbag

The key kit pros use to shoot video

Cameras

Canon EOS R5

A professional full-frame mirrorless flagship camera offering photographers and filmmakers high resolution stills and 8K video. "I've relied on the Canon EOS R for the past two years, but the Canon EOS R5 is such a big step forward," says Martin.

Lenses

Lenses

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