The reveal in this Mullen ad for the Olympus PEN camera explains its preceding pastiche of oddball imagery. However, it is kind of a tease. As commenters have pointed out, the PEN E-PL1 shoots in 720p, a lower quality than this ad, which was post-produced up to 1080p. In other words, nothing you shoot with the PEN is going to look quite this good unless you also happen to be a film editor. The good news is that 720p is more than enough to take a decent picture of dogs dressed up like bees. UPDATE: Mullen responds after the jump.
—Posted by David Kiefaber
In an e-mail, Mullen replies:
"In case there is any question, the spot was shot entirely on the Olympus PEN cameras that record in 720p HD video as you can see in this making of video. No other cameras were used to create the commercials, although many lenses were used during the shoot.
We provided the TV networks with native footage captured with the PEN cameras in 720p HD, and then they aired that 720p footage at 1080i. It's the same process you would undertake if you took a standard definition spot and aired it in HD.
So, we question your writing "nothing you shoot with the PEN is going to look quite this good unless you also happen to be a film editor." That's just simply not true and here are a bunch of other videos shot with the PEN to give you a sense of range.
The PEN cameras can connect to an HDTV via an HDMI cable and play direct from the camera to an HDTV at 1080i. That's one of the export options available directly from the camera. A general user could indeed view their captured footage in a resolution matching that used for the TV commercial – no computer necessary. The quality is amazing and certainly on par with the TV spot.
It is true that in post production you can take a 720p file and bump it up to 1080p. That was what we did with the YouTube version of the commercial. This is similar to taking a still image from a digital camera and increasing or decreasing the resolution based on what size print or display you plan to use. It's standard practice for folks to mess around with their content on the computer to alter the size and resolution of images, and the same is true of videos.
I hope this helps in clarifying the story behind the Olympus spot."