Canon C100 Review – First impressions

Having just received a Canon C100 I thought I’d post my first impressions. At this stage I haven’t started shooting with the camera so this is going to focus on the build and operation of the camera for now but I will be posting more about the results and workflow as time goes on. As a Canon C300 shooter a lot of this post will be comparisons to that camera but should prove useful none the less. I have to apologise for the low quality images below, I was far too excited to go and grab a proper camera so snapped away with the iPhone!

Build Quality

Taking the C100 out of the box it felt just like C300 only in a more compact form, in fact in some ways it actually feels a little more rugged! That’s probably due to the fact that it has less bits and pieces on it but none the less this feels like a well built camera. The handle with the microphones and XLR inputs built in feels really nice, I’m never a big fan of the clear plastic covers over the audio controls as I invariably break them but other than that the handle feels tough and is very sturdy. Having just the single connector lead that attaches on the side rather than the back like the C300′s leads also lends to making the camera feel a bit less vulnerable.

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Ecosystem Justice Matters

This was a fun little talking head film I made for the International Development team at the University of East Anglia. The guys at the UEA had opted for a style they wanted to use so it was really just a case of lighting and framing accordingly to achieve the desired results.

One interesting challenge was that I didn’t want the backdrop framing to be changing between shots so we had to set the camera fairly high and then use a stack of magazines to raise the subjects to the desired height, which was fun! In the end I opted to crop into some of the shots anyway and the background changes were not overly noticeable but it’s better to air on the side of caution sometimes.

The subjects were lit with a single Rifa softbox on the left and a reflector to throw some of that same light back onto the right side of their faces just to bring up some detail. I also used my Litepanels 1×1 to throw some light against the white backdrop. I wanted to achieve a very shallow depth of field so I used the Canon 50mm f1.2 throughout at an aperture of f1.4.

One of the nice things about the modular design of the C300 is that you can remove the audio controls and LCD unit from the body of the camera. I set these up on a light stand so that I could adjust the audio levels etc without any risk of causing unwanted camera movement.

  

I actually shot with two cameras, the Canon C300 with the 50mm f/1.2 locked off and my 5D on the Kesller Stealth slider. I’d planned to show some shots with the camera tracking towards the subjects face as they talked but in comparison to the images from the C300 the 5D material looked mushy. The 5D produces great results but it does stand out as being soft when compared to the C300, I’ve decided to pre-order an EOS C100 to use as a B cam in the future.

You can just see in the image above that I monitored both cameras with SmallHD monitors, the DP6 on the C300 and the DP4 attached underneath the Stealth with a Noga arm.

The audio was all recorded from an overhead Rode NTG-3 and I haven’t messed around with the EQ at all on that. I’m really impressed with the results from that mic.

Comments welcomed.

Editing Canon MXF footage in Final Cut Pro X ( FCPX ) without transcoding

I’ve dabbled with Final Cut Pro X a few times since it was released and although I still struggle to understand apple’s weird naming conventions the application does have quite a few things going for it. Multicam editing is fantastic in FCPX, it automatically syncs clips using audio in the same way the PluralEyes did/does in FCP7. FCPX is also great value and with each new version Apple add’s back in features that were sorely missed by FCP7 users when it first appeared.

The one thing that’s stopped me using FCPX more has been that it couldn’t handle the Canon MXF files from my C300 natively. There were plugins available that would import and transcode / re-wrap the Canon footage into more Apple friendly Pro Res files but after using Adobe Premiere Pro for a couple of years I’ve been spoiled by it’s ability to edit directly from the source footage and no longer dealing with duplicate media..

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Kessler Stealth Slider Review – setup and first impressions

 

I’m a long time fan of using sliders for tracking shots, recently however I’ve had a couple of projects where a motorised slider would have made my life a lot easier so I decided to invest in Stealth Slider system from Kessler Crane who are the masters of motorised cine gear.

Kessler produce a huge range of sliders including the Pocket Dolly range, the CineSlider and the Shuttle Pod. Wanting a system that I can travel with I’d been thinking about buying one of the sliders in the Pocket Dolly range but doing some research it seemed that the drag control on the CineSlider was a really handy feature but none of the standard pocket dolly range has a drag control…

 

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Bluestar Eye Cushions – a little bit of luxury for your face!

I’ve been using Bluestar Eye Cushions on my cameras and viewfinders for a few years now, they are one of those little luxuries that once you’ve tried you just can’t live without. Using a camera without an eye cushion now feels like wearing shoes without socks!

Bluestar make a wide range of sizes for various viewfinders, they come in three materials, natural chamois, Microfibre & Fleece. The micro-fibre option comes in eight colours which is very handy if you need to quickly identify cameras. The fleece eye cushions come in four colours and are the most gentle on the skin, great if you like to snuggle in to your camera!

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