Greenpeace 90 second commercial in Delhi, India on the Canon 5dmkII. Includes new Videoblog!

MVI_9327 copyI am once again on my travels…this time I am in Delhi, India. Shooting a commercial/ mini Doc for Greenpeace based out of Amsterdam. It’s to go in the ad breaks of CNN, Al Jazeera and National Geographic. The plan is to have a series of case studies highlighting how climate change is affecting different countries and people around the world. This is the first one and it’s all about the effect on the big urban cities.

Lucy Campbell-Jackson from Greenpeace is the director, Prajna Khanna is the producer and I have my twitter buddy Guarav Sharma as my assistant as well as his friend and fellow 5d owner Umesh

We’re here for a week and so far today we have just shot B-Roll. We went into Old Delhi and into the Spice Market. Wow that was pungent! We went up into one of the shops to get a top shot and we walked through where they were bagging all the spices, I actually felt quite dizzy and sick it was so overpowering!

Once again I am shooting on the Canon 5dmkII. Popular camera this…I get asked a lot for it! I like shooting with it, great pics and small, but the limitations and frustrations still get to me a bit. Loved to do some nice timelapse or overcranking but that’s a no go with the 5d. You can shoot stills for timelapse but that’s a pain for the client.

Here are a few frame grabs from today’s B-Roll… (all straight out of the camera, no grading)

MVI_9228 copyMVI_9242 copyMVI_9231 copyMVI_9245 copyMVI_9258 copyMVI_9277 copyMVI_9281 copyMVI_9300 copyMVI_9310 copyMVI_9320 copyMVI_9327 copyMVI_9331 copyMVI_9334 copyMVI_9342 copyMVI_9346 copyMVI_9347 copy

There is a heck of a lot more to shoot. But it’s all fascinating. The poverty does get to you though. There are so many beggars, poor people, starving people. Something needs to be done…and with Climate change things are only to get worse. You can do your bit at the Greenpeace India Website.

I went on a cycle Tuk-Tuk and felt quite ill…probably because it was after the spice market.

This is the first time I have ever used a monopod on a shoot and it was terrific. Really nice steady shots. Not tripod, but not handheld. Perfect for the narrow streets. I only used my tripod for the high stuff.

Do check out the little video at the bottom of the page which explans it all.

20090721-15182520090721-13534520090721-142506-1I used both the Fader ND and the more expensive Singh Ray ND. Both worked very well but seemed to screw up my metering quite a lot. I did get vignetting on my 82mm on the 24mm f1.4, but this was possibly due to the step up ring from the 77mm thread to the 82mm Singh Ray. Looking at the footage they both performed really well. Have to believe the Fader is so much cheaper than the Singh Ray!

The monopod really was a joy, really nice stable footage with the touch of gentle handheld. The miller again proved a great combo for the 5dmkII, shame when it was really high I had no clue if I was in Focus.

We almost got into deep shit whilst filming at the Metro station, due to the bombings in Mumbai security is VERY tight, even with the 5d we got pulled aside and they tried to make me erase what I had shot…but I somehow convinced them I hadn’t actually shot anything yet. They cited terrorists take photos of targets before they strike. Am pretty sure they don’t use a 5d with Zacuto Rig, Rode Mic on top and have 3 people around them carrying the other gear!

I have also brought the SmallHD but not used it yet due to space in the bag…but soon!

Thanks to Gaurav for the stills and to Greenpeace for permission to put up the screen grabs.

Here is a list of what I have with me:

Canon 5dmkII

Manfroto 561 BHDV monopod

Milles DS20 Solo Carbon Fiber tripod

Glidetrack Compact

Zacuto Tactical Shooter


2 32gb cards 2 16gb cards 1 8gb card

Lumix Gh1

Sigma four thirds 30mm f1.4

5 Canon 5d batteries

3 GH1 Batteries

Lumix FT1

13″ MBP

17″ MBP

4 Lacie Rugged 500gb drives (got some work in progress on a couple)

1 Western Digital My book passport 500gb

1 Lexar FW800 CF Reader

Small HD monitor

Canon 24mm f1.4

Canon 24mm F3.5 TS

Canon 35mm f1.4

Canon 50mm f1.2

Canon 80-200 IS f2.8

Zeiss 85mm f1.4

Nikon 17-35 f2.8

Sigma F3.5 14mm

Zoom H4N

Marantz recorder

2 uWP sony wireless lav mics

1 ECM 77

1 Kata OC 84 Camera Bag

1 Nat geo bum bag

1 Domke Wax bag

Fader Vari ND 72mm

Singh Ray Vari ND 82m

UV filters and polarizers.

[vimeo 5698661 640 360]

Want to learn how to create the film look and much much more? Click below.



  1. Fantastic post. Not many people are doing the lightweight pro thing overseas. I’m heading back to Bangladesh and trying to figure out how to get my daily set up smaller.

    How are you handling the time limit on the 5D record time? That’s my one major hang up with it. I do mostly long form work, 2 hour interviews and such. I can’t justify it for that.

    It might be a fantastic second cam for my Israel work next year though!

  2. God you have nice gear, I want that Miller tripod. Strong, versatile and lightweight. My Manfrotto is a pain to carry into the wilderness.

  3. Hi Philip!

    Wow, amazing stills. Can´t wait to see the finished film. Also can´t wait to get my 5d:-)
    BTW: Do you use the Lacie 500GB rugged drives for editing? From your experience: are the 5400 rpm of the Lacie via FW800 fast enough or do you use a 7200rpm model? Thanks so much for your reply in advance!

  4. Hey Phil,

    Thanks for the Video post.. If every Cinematographer out there posted their experiences too, this world would be a better place.


  5. You don’t seem to be using the Zacuto loop, I would have thought it a must in a warm sunny country like India. Just out of interest what is the Greenpeace angle.

  6. Pretty epic lens set you have, especially the wides.

    What is the problem with doing time lapse with stills?
    I don’t use final cut, but when I was doing some animating last year i found the shooting all my frames and then just dragging them onto the time line worked for me.

  7. Interesting that you like the monopod. As a stills photographer I love them, but when I tried to use an XHA1 on a monopod it didn’t work for me at all and I concluded that video and monopods don’t mix. But when I bought a 5D2 I found the monopod did help with video on that camera. I think it may be that SLRs and the way one holds them just balance better on monopods than more traditionally shaped video cameras.

    That makes me curious about your particular monopod. My Manfrotto monopod is one of their photo models, but they market your model specifically for video, complete with fluid head, and claim it’s good for pans etc. I’m pretty dubious about that, but I’m willing to be convinced. So do you think there’s anything about your Manfrotto that sets it apart for video, or do monopods just happen to work well with an SLR form factor?

    Love the F-stop Academy by the way.

  8. Great photos of New Delhi. I am an English qualified solicitor based in Mumbai and a big follower of your excellent work and guidance. Whilst practicing law am also working on a 20 acre Ecopark for children for charity which we hope to soft launch in November. Its a tough project but have been thinking of getting some good video done as a first eco park in making in India.

    I use Canon EOS 1D Mark III, Leica M8 and just got this week the JVC HDM- 100 based on your excellent review.

    Would you be interested in coming down to Mumbai for a day to shoot at the park? Could give you the JVC if you think this would help.

    Good luck with the rest of your trip and keep up the good work.

  9. Mr Bloom,

    You have indeed “cursed” the world of video with this nifty camera of yours, and because it has been made official in the land of the Rama, you will be asked more and more to shoot with the 5D.

    I am in fact ordering one soon! (or the GH1 when it shows up in the US)

    The good spirits go with you!

  10. Hi Philip, can you tell me what is the audio set up you are using on the 5d?

    I see that its a rode mic, but what else are you using on the hotshoe?




      1. Which Rode mic is that?

        But more importantly, I’ve been thinking about getting the H4N but do not have the money to spend on an additional shotgun mic or lav to record from – so may I ask, did you use the onboard mics of the H4N for the interview with Mr. Tankha? Whether you did or didn’t may I also ask where the mic was placed?

        I looked around to make sure someone hasn’t asked this before so as not to waste your time, I hope I looked well enough haha.

        If not you’ll have to excuse my inconvenience – I’m 19, can’t afford to make a mistake with my budget 🙂

  11. Hello Philip,

    great Photos from India!
    Why don´t you are use a Steadycam for your 5D Mark II? Why do you often prefer to use a glidetrack? Is the main reason to control it better? Are movies with a small Steady like Merlin not so optimal for professional filming with the 5D Mark II or GH1?

    Thank you


  12. Phillip,
    I’ve had my eye on the tactical shooter at Zacuto, I like the simplicity of it over other shoulder mount options, but I’m curious if you think it’s worth the money? I’m considering minimizing my hand-held and going with the much cheaper Video monopod. I’ve got pretty steady hands and have been happy with my hand held work to a point…

    I’m doing docu work as well as independent films.

    This is a great blog,


    – john

  13. Hi Philip,

    Noticing that you’re exclusively shooting with the DSLRs these days. Is that more of a result of the R&D + teaching + new frontier aspect, or do you see yourself pretty much hanging up the EX1 and other video cameras because of the image, even though these can be a pain in the *** to work with.

    I was one of the first SDX900 owners in ’03 – definitely time for HD – have a 7D on order, but am wondering if this workflow is going to be enough to cover the variety of shots required, plus the quick setup/run & gun ability of a video cam.

  14. Hey Mr. Bloom. I have been trying for ever to get that dark, dramatic, yet lively color grading that the shots have in the final commercial! Is there a place I can find out how you or your editor achieved this???? It would help me sooooo much.

      1. Thanks, but even if you don’t know what he used, do you have an idea of what he changed in the picture, ex: with the knowledge you display in Grading “Return to Dungeness” with Magic Bullet Looks, could you give a guess to the grading work the colourist did to your shots?

  15. Hi Philip,

    Thanks for sharing these photos. They look really phenomenal, esp those first few ones. I’m going to India myself in a couple of months and looking forward to taking my own photos as well. I’ll do as you did and take a monopod with.


Leave a Reply