I have a technical question. The D7000 shoots 1080 at 24fps and 720 at 30fps. From what I've learned, 24fps is used in cinema and 30fps is used in TV. Does that mean you'd shoot TV commercials in 720?
Short answer: No.
Most national commercials are still shot with 35mm film at 24fps at 1/48th shutter (then digitally telecine'd at 1080). However, more and more are being shot with high-end digital cine cameras like the "Panavised" Sony F35. Some DPs prefer the optical head-end of the gorgeously crafted Arri Alexa. There's also RED. And, of course, all those TV shows, commercials and musicvideos being shot on little 'ole Canon 5Ds and 7Ds.
All of these digitally acquired assets are typically being captured at 1080p24 at 1/48th shutter. The lower-resolution of 720p is sometimes used for high-speed capture (slow-motion) due to sensor/processor limits. Once the 1080p24 digital camera masters are acquired (and, the telecine'd film-originated assets are acquired), a digital master is created, and then various downsampled versions go to various broadcasters for air: 1080i versions for NBC and CBS, and 720p versions for ABC and FOX. These can be in any form, from a 50mbit/s IMX file via optical or sat line, to a FedEx-delivered, standard-definition Betacam tape for smaller, SD affiliates and locals. All US broadcast stations are now transmitting digitally, in either 480i, 480p, 720p, or 1080i.
So, to answer your question, if you're shooting a commercial on your Nikon D7000, and you want it to look like a 35mm national spot, then shoot it in 1080p24 at 1/50th (since there's no 1/48th).
If that's true, does that really make much of a difference in the video's quality? Thanks.
The visual difference between 1080i and 720p isn't that noticeable. That said, the better the camera head and capture/recording fidelity, the better everything looks on the final distribution end. That's why we still use cameras that cost $70,000 at the show I shoot for (despite the fact that a kid with a 7D can shoot a :30 spot or musicvideo that still looks incredible).
The uber-expensive digital cine cameras give you the following:
1. Improved dynamic range.
2. Excellent colorimetry.
3. Highly customizable characteristic curves.
4. Extremely low-noise pictures.
5. Near-zero video artifacting (luma/chroma aliasing, stair-stepping, weird stuff, etc.).
6. Deep color sampling: 4:4:4.
7. Higher resistance to rolling shutter ("jello").
Secondly, what was pointed out on this show that I watched was the fact that to do a really good commercial job, you need much more in the way of equipment...fluid tripod head, tracks, etc...would you agree with that?
Yes! A typical network episodic, when shooting on location, often brings between three to six, full-sized, tractor-trailer rigs full of gear and support. On the larger shoots I work on, we rent literally tons of lighting and grip. Making TV takes a lot of crap!
Mike Gunter said:
To get into serious DSLR filmmaking is very expensive, not as expensive as filmmaking, that's a lot more, but still . . .
Mike is right. And you guys thought photography equipment was pricey? Wait 'til you see how much "filmmaking" equipment is! It's frickin' insane how much this gear is! I think an 800W HMI is like what, $7,000? A Chrosziel matte box, what, like $4,000-$5,000? The Sachtler tripods we use at work are like $9,000. The list goes on . . .
I personally bought my D7000 for filmmaking. I need to buy three mounts for it: a shoulder mount, a tripod mount, and a Steadicam mount. Yeah, that adds up to about $4,000. Plus I need a follow-focus, a wireless FIZ, an AC, a Cinevate slider . . . . it just never ends!