Tonight’s Hawaii 5-0 Episode was shot with a Canon 5D

I was watching Hawaii 5-0 tonight, the episode titled “Ho’apono”. While watching the battleship scenes I noticed a fair amount of rolling shutter (especially on a scene where the camera pans very quickly between the suspect and McGarrett). This scene alone peaked my interest to try to find out what cameras they’re using for the show. My bet was on the RED One, since the look was definitely digital (there was no film grain), and I expected the show to have a high budget anyway.

Searching, I found the following clip, where the DP, Ron Garcia, talked about the cameras he used for the specific episode: the Sony EX3 (I presume with a 35mm adapter and Panavision lenses), and… wait for it… the Canon 5D Mark II. In fact, on the video he makes specific mention about shooting most of the (tight) battleship shots with the 5D Mk2. The battleship shots comprised the majority of the episode.

While watching the episode I noticed that some of the shots on the exterior of the battleship (towards the end) were pretty harsh in terms of dynamic range, but I don’t put the blame to the camera, but rather to the colorist. Hawaii 5-0 is a show that it’s graded extremely contrasty, and this kills dynamic range.

The rest of show’s shots are also over-the-top saturated, but this is to be expected, since the impression the producers want to give is the one of a card postal — as my husband noted. Of course, the whole show is one big touristic commercial for the State of Hawaii. There are more helicopter shots showing the exotic places on Oahu than actual plot. But hey, they’re open-minded enough to use a dSLR.

If you live in the US, you can watch the episode on Hulu or on Fancast for free.


Mikhail Ferrara wrote on November 3rd, 2010 at 8:18 PM PST:

looks like they use a panavision genesis ordinarily. the previous episodes had a lot of video smear that that camera is notorious for.

I was curious to see what gear they used on this episode because there was not only a lot of skew and wiggle in the handheld and quick pans, but also a fair amount of strobing under the fluorescent lights.

neat insight into the future of film production.

Glenn wrote on November 3rd, 2010 at 11:50 PM PST:

Mikhail, it’s funny you mention that vertical smear. I just noticed some smear in the most recent Stargate Universe episode, and when I went looking for what camera they used (obviously something with a CCD sensor), I discovered the series is shot on the Genesis. I definitely like the look, even with the smear. I much prefer that than skew.

As for Hawaii Five O, one episode was enough. It was ok, but the part at the end when Grace Park said they needed a name was pure cheese. Plus, it didn’t seem to capture the feel of the place. I was there earlier in the year, and Hawaii is nothing like how they portray it in the show.

Dave wrote on November 9th, 2010 at 1:14 AM PST:

Did I see a Tom Cruise cameo in tonight’s episode? Check out the guy in the art studio whose access card is picked pocked.

zima wrote on November 9th, 2010 at 4:29 PM PST:

>the look was definitely digital (there was no film grain)

W8, is adding artificial film grain on the way out? 😉

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