Powerful new Canon EOS C300 short – “The Cost”

by planetmitch15 Comments

This powerful short “The Cost” was created by Paul Antico (@anticipatemedia) and Rick Macomber (@Boston_Camera) and Mike Murie (@notesonvideo) on the Canon EOS C300.

After I saw the vid, I called Paul to get some feedback on the project… Paul likes to talk HA! Just like me! The movie is down below the discussion with Paul.

Notes from Paul

"The Cost" - BTS - Shooting thru the car window

"The Cost" - BTS - Shooting thru the car window

We talked for quite a bit… here are my jotted down notes from the call:

paul actually read the manual! Got most of the setup without reading it – but in the manual, there's a lot of buried functionality.

They dad some ideas of locations, found an American flag pin, thought of the idea in the shower, forced mike to act which he'd never done before.

All natural light – nothing like the sun. Shot the whole thing in about 4 hours. The last few shots were done in hour and a half and they were losing the light. First 2 1/2 hours were playing with camera in lowe's parking lot.

"The Cost" - BTS - Shooting handheld

"The Cost" - BTS - Shooting handheld

one interesting thing to note, 17-55 – all handheld, IS is very helpful – had to crop due to the lens hood at 17mm… so some shots are cropped. The lens is a 1.6x crop design and the Canon EOS C300 is 1.5 crop so he thinks that's why the hood was visible.

Shot where he walks up to the Lowes; when they shot, Rick's reflection is in the window so we cropped about 20% and it still looked nice, even on vimeo with the compression.

Cut and graded in about 4 hours – Premier pro is very fast with Canon EOS C300. FCPX is even faster (but I didn't use it to do the cut – just tried a couple of tests). Renders out very fast (max detail, high bit rate etc) it rendered in under 10 minutes as compared to AVCHD

pushed the second extreme closeup – pushed – almost whitewashed – almost like looking thru a glass of milk – shooting thru car window. I was able to crush the blacks and was able to get a useful shot. There's a little noise in that shot, but that's because I was recovering the file.

Worked in c-log the whole time. Didn't have a hood for the monitor and we mis-judged the color. the custom white balance function was wonderful.

Focus – edge color really helped. Real waveform monitor was very useful – histogram is ok, but waveform is better.

955 smaller battery lasted the entire shoot – almost 6 hours, shot 80 minutes of footage. Did shut off HDSDI out to save a little battery. 3 batteries would last all day

FS100 is built like a tinker toy, the Canon EOS C300 is built very well. We put it to hard use and weren't treating it like a baby and cleaned it at home and it looked like it hadn't been used.

This is a great documentary camera – especially with some IS lenses. Varied light situations are not a problem Very easy to focus with without any hunting.

The codec holds up – Canon has done an amazing job with tweaking things and you don't need an external recorder. There has to be more than 12 stops in the camera (didn't actually measure), it performed better than I thought it would. Mike Sutton told me that he shot with the Alexa side by side and he couldn't tell the difference.

"The Cost" - BTS - Shooting inside

"The Cost" - BTS - Shooting inside

We shot a lot at the higher ISOs just to be able to stop down the lenses.

Sandisk is the only card to use. Tried others and they couldn't keep up.

720 slomo looks like the 1080 slomo from other cameras – there's a lot of detail in there. There is a slight softening, you have to be careful, but most people will ever be able to tell the difference.

Saw no color aliasing.

"The Cost" - BTS - Shooting the bricks

"The Cost" - BTS - Shooting the bricks

No moire on the bricks in the old run down factory… even in the original footage. You can find some if you do a 200 or 300% crop.

Rolling shutter was virtually gone – the driving shots show no obvious rolling shutter.

If you put everything together with one small form factor (DSLRish feel) – this can easily surpass the Sony F35 – can match up with the RED downgraded to 1080p (an incredible camera). The lattitude is

8 bit is a non-issue. Noiseless to about 4000. There's a light grain that negates any 8bit complaints. There's no banding. The stops is very close to the natural eye.

I spent a lot on this camera and I expect to use it for many years.

Camera allows us to not think about the camera – we just got out and shot.



The Cost

Description

I received my C300 last week and invited over Rick Macomber (@Boston_Camera) of Macomber Productions and Mike Murie (@notesonvideo) of the excellent Notes on Video blog to play around and take some test shots.

But test shots are boring. Why not put a story together? We quickly pressed Mike into service as our actor, came up with a quick story in 30 minutes, and then with the 4 hours of light we had left in the day, went out shooting. This is what we came up with, which was edited and completed the next day. It's a message about our economy, our veterans, and more.

NB: Do download the file if you're looking to see what the C300 can do. The vimeo compression is harsh on C300 footage; you don't see all the detail like you have a chance to see even in the compressed download. It's better, trust me.

Normally I don't talk about what tech I utilized, but this is a C300 test so I will this time. I may blog about the experience or talk about it with Mike and Rick on someone's site or podcast sometime soon.

Canon Cinema EOS C300 camera obviously was used. We used it handheld with just the built in EVF and grip, and also on a slider and sticks with the full monitor setup. The waveform monitor is a godsend. It was difficult judging white balance in the setting sun however, even with the EVF, because we shot C-Log the whole time. The camera has a View Assist LUT but it isn't foolproof.

Lenses used were the Canon EF-S 17-55 F2.8 IS (the lens hood can come slightly into the frame at 17mm so be careful) which had useful IS for handheld shots, the Canon 70-200 F2.8 IS II, The Tokina 11-16 F2.8, the Canon 100mm F2.8L IS Macro, and the Canon 50mm F1.4 USM.

Sound was all recorded foley effects on a Zoom H4n with a Rode NTG-2 in the backyard, except the gunshot.

Music by the talented and giving Kevin Macleod from his website.

Locations were in Haverhill MA, and Salem NH.

Kessler gear supplied by me (opening shot is a programmed Oracle/Elektra Drive slide) and Mike Sutton for full length pocket dolly.

Graded in Magic Bullet Looks. Edited XF Codec natively from the cards using Adobe Premiere Pro. It was pretty fast and rendered out very fast (as compared to AVCHD). The only place codec fell apart was when I took a nearly white shot (one of the ECUs of the face in the beginning) and crushed the tones severely. You may or may not notice it over the Vimeo compression.

The download file is encoded at 10Mbit 2 pass VBR. The original render out file is ProRes 422.

"The Cost" - BTS - Shooting inside

"The Cost" - BTS - Shooting inside

(cover photo credit: snap from the video)

via The Cost on Vimeo.

Comments

  1. I agree in a sense, and that’s really the best compliment so thank you! Even an iPhone could have done it. But it wouldn’t have looked as good. :)

  2. Not bad. Kind of a disturbing storyline, but that’s the world we live in today, doom and gloom.

  3. “The vimeo compression is harsh on C300 footage” That comment made my jaw drop. I’d love to hear you elaborate on this comment. Every video you see online has been compressed or otherwise optimized for web streaming. Do you mean that C300 footage specifically has troubles with Vimeo (presumably also with YouTube, Ooyala, etc.), do you mean Vimeo is particularly harsh on all video compression compared to other hosting services, do you mean it probably doesn’t matter what camera you use because compression neutralizes all of the uncompressed/unseen glory…? Many production houses deliver the vast majority of their output to the web – so it’s important to know what gives you the best results on the web. (The ‘unseen richness’ of uncompressed footage is irrelevant for those working online.. and yes, I appreciate that some only care about broadcast)

    I don’t believe this is the best way to test and communicate your experience with a new product. Doing something quickly under harsh conditions makes it more difficult for you to do something really well (to impress people with your capabilities) and it also makes it difficult to really demonstrate the full range of the camera’s capabilities. I imagine it will be difficult for many to separate the narrative from camera function/output (…judging by the comments above.)

    I really do appreciate you going to the effort and sharing your observations using the camera – those were very helpful, but the video itself, unfortunately does little to help me in my decision on whether to purchase a C300.

  4. I mean Recompresses everyone’s footage. In the case of some cameras that are inherently lacking in picture detail, you’re not losing much to their compression. In the case of cameras with a high amount of detail like the C300, F3, Red, etc you lose a lot. I’m speaking specifically of Vimeo compression. I never extrapolated that to all web delivery as you did in your comment. Vimeo compression ruins detail, period.

    As for shooting rapidly and putting together a narrative, that’s precisely the best way to test a camera – by using it, and looking at the output subjectively,, not by staring at charts. I talked about my real world experiences actually using the camera. If you know what to look for, there are subtle tests in there for rolling shutter, moire, aliasing, dynamic range/latitude, detail, and so on. Why not make it Intetesting too?

    There are plenty of camera charts and so forth if you want to see this cam in that manner. But if you want to see it used practically, shorts like this make more sense in my opinion.

  5. Which again brings up the point, if the majority of your work is destined primarily to the web, spending 15k on the C300 is pointless. Or, maybe it isn’t?

    1. For a working professional the way a camera operates and posts is important. Working a camera quickly through a bunch of real world shots and posting the project is a good way for a pro to test gear for himself.

      It’s not as helpful to other people looking on. Side by side camera tests are the only way to really compare two cameras honestly. (both charts and real world)

      Anyway, a Pro may pay $10k+ or more for things that a hobbyist would rightly find no value in.

      If you’re delivering 720P on the web you can shoot a 60D or GH2 and do great for a long time.

      One day, when you’re so good and making so much money that you find your camera limiting for the projects you do you may look into a much more expensive camera.

      Then you can test the camera in a way that works for you, post some video to the web and have the next generation of newbies lecture you on the money you’re wasting. :-)

        1. These guys do bring up an interesting point though.

          How much image quality from an expensive camera makes it down to the web?

          I’m pretty sure jello, moire’, low light exposure, dynamic range and color grading flexibility all translate past web compression and impact the delivered image.

          Pure resolution doesn’t make it to the Internet at 720P.

          I own an EPIC and a 7D. A lot of perfectly shot 7D stuff really is hard to tell from RED stuff once it hits the Internet. RED gives me more room in post to make almost any shot look good though. That camera gives you quite a safety net.

          Wide angle shots at 1080P are dramatically sharper on the better cameras than the DSLRs. I’m a big fan of how sharp the wider C300 shots appear vs. the D800 and 5D III. 5D III looks better wide than my 7D.

          I’m also curious about C300 in camera sharpening and if it can be turned totally off.

          One thing a little misleading in some DLSR videos are the timelapse shots. They are very sharp because they are made from full resolution stills.

          I’m dying to see what Canon does with the Cinema DSLR.

  6. Nice short.

    Have to agree that it could have been shot with a 5D,7D or 60D with near exact results.

  7. Then you need a Flip or any Droid phone would be serviceable. :)

    Seriously though, I was referring to Vimeo compression. If you toss up a well encoded file onto a website or service of course the extra detail will help you. And a a wide dynamic range and smooth highlight handling is noticeable even if youre watching on an old iPod Classic. I don’t solely target the Web, but even if you do, it depends on the quality distribution of the platform, the codec, the bitrate, and the quality of the original content.

    Well compressed garbage is still garbage no matter how clean the original. And a wonderfully clean, detailed original with high dynamic range can compress down nicer if there’s more to work with at the beginning.

  8. OG that’s simply not true. There would have been horrible moire and aliasing in the brick wall alone, far less detail throughout, and about 3 less stops of dynamic range to work with in post, plus a lot more “jello” in some of the shots. I’ve shot with all of those cameras, for years. I know.

    But if you want to use those cameras, go ahead! I still own a 60D and I can tell you in the majority of situations it’s an inferior picture sometimes by far. Horrible codec, moire, aliasing, lack of detail, jello, not a lot of dynamic range. It requires a lot more work to get anything decent out of it. Is it possible? Sure. Look at Shane Hurlbuts Act of Valor. He will also tell you that he’s moving on to the C300.

    But what does he know, right? He’s just an ASC member.

  9. Nice. I am on the fence about replacing the 5d with this camera. The know challenges of the 5d make it appealing but at $16,000 I could invest in other production equipment and continue with what I have. My thing is commercial videos so I am not convinced. I will be in Hollywood tonight getting my hands on the C300 so perhaps I may change my mind.

  10. Paul is correct. I shoot primarily with a Sony XDCam 700 for broadcast and a Canon 60D for web client work. And I can attest to the fact that the C300 blows the 60D out of the pond in every aspect Paul mentioned above – even if you are only producing content for the web. If you have any commercial clients or doc work… even more reason to spend the 15K if you can swing it.

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