Imagine Your World | Captain America: Canon EOS 5D Mark II used for action shots

Captain America: Canon EOS 5D Mark II used for action shots

October 08, 2014

Hollywood ( "Captain America: The First Avenger" is a movie based on the Marvel Comics character Captain America. Director Joe Johnston decided to use Canon EOS 5D Mark II Digital SLR cameras to capture many of the movie's action shots.

"The challenge with a lot of action photography is getting the camera in the right position," said Jonathan Taylor, second unit director and director of photography. "I'm always looking to get the camera into impossible to reach places because those kinds of shots make action sequences much more exciting. Most 35mm motion-picture cameras and even the leading digital cinematography cameras are just too big to get into interesting positions."

Throughout the movie that tells the story of Steve Rogers, a sickly man from Brooklyn who is transformed into super soldier Captain America, DSLR cameras were used to shoot motion sequences that were seamlessly integrated with the production's 35mm film footage. More compact and lightweight than traditional motion-picture cameras, the 5D Mark II did offer the directors creative advantages such as user-selectable frame rates, including 24p (23.976 fps), the standard for motion-picture cinematography, and full 1920 x 1080 HD imagery. These features made the camera an excellent choice for the capture of dramatic point-of-view (POV), Taylor said.

Action scenes shot using DSLR’s for POV shots include a car chase and crash, and a high-speed motorcycle pursuit. The small size of the camera enabled the director to mount it on moving vehicles to capture dramatic action shots. The camera's size also ensured that it was "invisible" to the traditional 35 mm motion picture film cameras shooting the same scene from a distance.

"The thing with action is that the more angles you can shoot, the faster the cuts you can use, and the more energy you get into a sequence," Taylor added.

"Captain America: The First Avenger" was produced in London, England, and Los Angeles and converted to 3D in post production. The cast includes Tommy Lee Jones (Best Supporting Actor for the 1993 thriller The Fugitive), Chris Evans (he also starred in Fantastic Four and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer), Hugo Weaving (he played agent Smith in the Matrix trilogy and Elrond in Lord of the Rings), Stanley Tucci (he did win an Academy Award for his performance in The Lovely Bones), and Neal McDonough (Band of Brothers, Boomtown, Star Trek: First Contact, and Minority Report), among others.

Other notable film and television productions that used the Canon 5D Mark II include The House episode Help Me, The Road to Coronation Street, the BBC comedy series Shelfstackers, and the drama Hustle (also shown on BBC).