Jon Yi just posted this new video and an article he wrote for Canon on the Canon EOS C300 (tho it seems Canon isn’t overly thrilled with the video – watch and you’ll see why). After I saw the amazing video, I contacted Jon to ask Jon his thoughts on things like workflow and ISO and dynamic range of the Canon EOS C300… you’ll find those answers down below!
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Jon’s Canon EOS C300 ‘camera test’ video
In early Fall 2011, I shot some footage with a pre-production model of the Canon EOS C300 for one week in NYC. I created an article and a video for Canon based on my experiences with the camera. The video is meant to poke fun at most camera test videos I’ve seen over the years. Canon, not thrilled with my sense of humor, does not credit or condone this video, but I think it shows a lot of the camera’s strengths.
I believe that Canon made a beautiful camera that is sensible, reliable and portable in a way that I’ve always dreamed a camera could be. It prioritizes great skin tone and has higher ISO sensitivity than any other camera out there.
I know there’s nothing I can say to change the minds of the RED fan club. For the rest of the skeptics, I think once you get your hands on it you’ll understand how great this camera really is. Please buy this camera in January and go film some good skin tones in the dark. You’ll love it.
Thanks go out to all my friends for helping me with this.
Jon’s thoughts on workflow, ISO, noise and more
When I asked Jon about some specifics as to why he liked the Canon EOS C300 as compared to the RED and FS100 and F3 etc., and if 1080 is really good enough (so many are complaining that the Canon EOS C300 doesn’t deliver 4k or more) he replied with these answers:
Workflow — for the C300, workflow is identical to the XF Cameras that Canon introduced earlier this year (XF305/XF300) so all major NLEs already support it without problems. Fits seamlessly into any fast paced production workflow (which cannot be said for Red). This is especially useful for broadcast and web work. I think Canon targeted Hollywood mistakenly when their biggest users will be broadcasters and documentarians. Documentary filmmakers are the ones who benefit most from small size, high ISO performance, long battery life, long record times on CF cards, and robust/weatherproof construction.
Noise — no contest. This camera defeats everything out there. Not only in the signal-to-noise ratio, but the “look” of the noise is similar to film grain. It looks GOOD. The noise is pleasing, which is the first time I’ve ever seen in a video camera.
Dynamic Range — 12 stops of dynamic range. And Log Gamma allows a smooth rolloff which looks like how film deals with highlight detail. Sony products clip highlights in a very unique and identifiably Sony way (F3 and FS100 as well). This is much more pleasing and looks to me similar to Alexa. This is a great B-Camera for Alexa.
Right now, a great 1080p camera is what most working people need more than anything. Alexa hit it big for that very reason. If Alexa is good enough to shoot Hugo, people should shut up about what they really need because they don’t know what they’re talking about.
One more thing to clarify — the high ISO performance on this camera is truly something to behold, and it’s hard to show to someone unless they are there with you, seeing how dark the environment is. When I was filming, it was so dark sometimes that I was running into a new problem where the light sources were just “bad” light sources since it was a mix of sodium vapor, headlights, neon signs, etc all bleeding together — just looking bad as a source. Gross colors, etc. But that’s crazy that a new problem came up with this new sensitivity.
Also, as for market target for this camera — Hollywood has big lights and a staff to carry and set up those lights. Hollywood also has a staff to carry around a heavy camera. So being light sensitive and also lightweight (the biggest strengths) don’t matter as much to the Hollywood set in my mind (except for specialty shots). The C300 is going to be HUGE for people who don’t have those things. Also, since Hollywood has a long post schedule, they can handle 4K more easily than people pumping out broadcast/tv/web. The C300 is going to be big for the many, many productions who want to stick 1080 (which is most all that I do – since I do tv and doc). For the documentaries I do for HBO, for instance, being in dark clubs, etc. and seeing what this camera sees is going to be amazing.
By the way, NOTHING comparable out there goes up to 20,000 ISO. And 20,000 ISO on this camera looks acceptable, which is crazy. That justifies the price right there.
Oh – and I asked if the actors were really naked (you know, “revealing” haha?) Jon replied:
Canon wanted a skin tone test, but when I came back with this they were like “uh….”
More skin = more better, right?
Don’t forget to jump over to Canon’s page where Jon’s very long article “EOS C300 for Cinematographers” exists and give it a read for more info!
(cover photo credit: snap from Jon)