Very cool “Hanson” 7D music video shot using old Nikon AI prime lenses

I remember the band Hanson from many moons ago and haven’t really heard much of them for some time. But their creative director, Paul Lawson, and DP of their new music video recently got in touch with me to tell me about the video for their new single “Thinking ‘Bout Somethin”.

It’s an homage to one of my favourite scenes from one of my favourite movies “The Blues Brothers”.

Shot entirely on the 7D using old Nikon AI lenses (found easily and cheaply on ebay) and it looks awesome. In fact it looks just bloody excellent. They even have brick walls in it with no aliasing! It’s one of the most un-DSLR looking videos I have seen and I mean that in a good way. There are no giveaways like moire or aliasing on things like guitar strings, no overuse shallow DOF, just a really well done homage to a classic scene not just in the feel but also the visual look… Here is Paul…

I recently got turned onto DSLR cameras (Canon 7D & 5D Mark II) after a long run with 35mm adaptors.  I used these fantastic image making devices to DP my new music video for the band. The video concept was really a dream made reality, in which we recreated an Iconic scene from the classic 1980’s film “The Blues Brothers.” a scene in which Ray Charles performs the song “Shake Your Tail Feather” with Dan Akroid and John Belluci. It’s not really a parody of the iconic scene, but more of an homage and even has a guest performer- Weird Al Yankovic, the Godfather of parody. I chose the Canon 7D, primarily because this was before the 5D firmware finally came out and I got sick of hearing the rumors so I just went with the 7D to shoot the video. (a week later the firmware actually was released this time). I used anarray of old 80’s Nikon AI Prime Lenses to shoot the entire video, to really try an emulate the look and feel of the vintage film.

and here is the original scene from “The Blue Brothers”



  1. Wow! I want to say Tom Guillemette tweeted about this, or something. I’d seen it, but I had no idea it was Hanson, they sound great!
    And footage was incredible, so vibrant and crisp, really popping! Thats what you get with good lighting eh?

  2. that looked really great. just like any other expensive film shoot.. but shot with a consumer stills cam 🙂

    it’s no longer about the tools, it’s about everything else in front of the camera. money saved on the camera hire and film stock can go towards.. a bajillion dancers!

    (and great cameos from weird al yankovic on tambourine.. wtf? haha)

  3. Hola Phillip, yo compré una cámara Sony ex3 con un adaptador Letus Extreme, me aconsejas que venda el letus y me cambie a una Canon 5D/7D?

    Hi Phillip, I bought a Sony EX3 with a Letus Extreme adapter, you advise me to sell the letus and I switch to a Canon 5D/7D?

  4. I’ve never shot with one of these but my DP is considering it for an upcoming shoot. In these shots with the brick wall, the camera is always still. I’ve read that aliasing is only a problem when the camera is moving. Is that the case in most people’s experience?

    1. In my personal experience yes. The deal about aliasing is that it forms a “rainbow” on the screen but if the “rainbow” doesn’t draw attention to itself then there’s no problem. I had seen this when I was doing some handheld footage in the forest and getting nasty aliasing but it suddenly disappeared once I used the tripod. Another thing is if there is a pattern causing moire you can slightly throw it out of focus to eliminate aliasing, the rule is the sharper the more moire. So just keep patterns out of your subjects and don’t wear striped ties!

    2. I watched a online workshop with Vincent Laforet and he said essentially the same thing Jose M. Gonzalez said. He even gave some great examples of things that you should always avoid, (because they are always moving) like, polka dots, pin-strips, bricks, screen doors (but probably a screen on a window that is really tight would work)… Again… what Jose said.

  5. Astounding visuals; I loved the reflections in the glasses.

    Though I have to admit, all I could think of was Christopher Walken saying “I gotta have more COWBELL!”

  6. It was interesting to see such an even exposure between the foreground and the sky in the outdoor scenes. I’m guessing they brought in light to get the foreground to match?

  7. That’s a fun video!

    The first time I watched the color looked a little flat, but when I watched the 2nd time, I realized they did that on purpose to match the original.

    You should see my two daughters dancing to the video right now. They are cracking me up!

    I loved the shot with his glasses reflecting the keyboard.

  8. I’m looking at Nikon AI’s for my 7D. I’m wondering if anyone uses the 24mm and whether it is wide enough or not? I find myself needing that extra stop of light, which is what attracts me to the 24mm f/2 over say Canon’s 16-35 f/2.8, but the 16 is a good amount of wide after crop, whereas the 24 isn’t so much.

  9. Haha, I’ve got a 28mm f/2.8, 100mm f/2.8 and a 50mm f/1.4 Nikon primes. They absolutely rocks over my 17-40 f/4L.

    I’m very sad for spent so much money in this zoom lens and it can’t match the old glass.

    Well, at last I’ve got them!

  10. Did they actually shoot in 24p? The actual body movement from everyone looked more like 30p – I’ not talking about the image/look..just body-movement.

  11. The video was nice, but as soon as I saw the bright colors I knew their was going to be a problem. Look at any bright red object in motion in this video and you will see huge chroma sub-sampling issues (makes it look like anything red has interlace artifacts.) I’ve seen this before on other videos and it bugs me to no end. Its a result of 4:2:0 color space, so there is no real way around it, apart from avoiding bright red colors.


  12. The moire is there alright: last scene, when the image freezes, upperleft corner, in the brick wall. But it was cleverly dealt with, don’t know how.

  13. I agree, Philip – just a good looking image with none of the faux Hollywood art stuff – and an image that doesn’t need a descriptor of shot on DSLR to sell it – I’m looking forward to the industry arriving at a point where it’s about letting the work speak for itself again.

  14. So what Nikon AI lenses did you use? I have the canon 50 1.8 and was thinking of getting a sigma 30mm 1.4, its about the same price as some of the nicer nikon manual lenses. Would be a good general purpose video lens on a 7d no? Or do you prefer something like the 85mm ?

  15. Great production all around. Didn’t notice any aliasing or moire, but for some reason, my copy was jerking. Tried playing it at lower resolution and at YouTube and got the same hiccups. Thanks Philip, this was a treat. Will look for it at Vimeo.

  16. Nice Green screen work.

    Wide shot of the dancers where one guy tumbles in, is Green screen. Well the sky is green screen.

    Look at the motion blur of the guy tumbling in, his top half, (over the sky) does not match the blur of his lower body, that is not over the sky.

    Great video 🙂

  17. Wow Amazing Video and qualtiy, i really like the look.

    Phil, i am only suprised you said there is no aliasing even where the brick wall is shown, is that true for at 3:25 ? Looks aliasing to me although not very much noticeable in these fast moving shots.

    Looking for people to create more such videos.

  18. You know, in all the passes to find aliasing and moire, I forgot to listen to the music.

    I just wanted to tell Hanson… every time I listen to this song, it gets better. I really liked it the first time, but I got goose bumps on the fourth pass. Of course, I’m old, and I worked the hardest part of my career when this particular groove was king… still, in forty plus years of making music, it’s rare for me to get goose bumps. The choreography really put it all together, too. Some great moves.

    I just thought I should say that, you know… the blending of talent and technology… the one improves the other.


  19. As Phil says, this doesn’t look like it was shot on a vSLR. It just looks great, regardless of the camera used. But then great film-making is about the shots, the angles, the lighting, editing, etc etc, and maybe lastly the camera itself.
    But considering image quality, that such quality as this vid displays is now available for so little as the 7D (and is a damn good still camera too), is the new game changer for film-makers, experienced and new.

    And to Hanson, this song has hit written all over it! I’ve watched the video over and over, quickly forgetting to look for techie stuff, and just enjoyed the song and the vid’ itself. Guess I better head over to iTunes…!

  20. Great review, thanks for sharing!

    I just wonder how they avoid aliasing and moire with the 7D in such a great way!? Is it just because the lenses, has the cam-movement something to do with it, the lightning? Of course, the lightning was done just perfectly in this piece of work … Phillip, do you have any further information, have you discussed it in a previous entry? In advance, thanks a lot for answering!


  21. For really really low budgets, would you recommend investing in Nikon AIS lenses or the less expensive Canon EOS lenses (standard and wides) ?

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