The Canon C700 is Canon’s latest attempt to break into the world of cinema. It’s a camera that piggy-backs off of the design and features of previously successful cameras— this is a great thing because when Canon tries to do their own thing, it doesn’t always work out. A great example is the Canon C500, that is, while a fantastic camera, not suited for large productions the way they would’ve liked. The Canon C700 is more like a Sony F55 than it is a C500, but how is the image?
Tyler Stableford, and Cinematographer Russell Carpenter, ASC shot and edited a launch film using the Canon C700. The film, “The Calling” showcases people living untamed lives (while potentially getting a bit bogged down in cliché) and does so in a variety of lighting scenarios. This shows the C700 to be what Canon’s advertised- A, “flexible ‘A' camera for various types of shooting scenarios.”
I have my suspicions that this might come down to the use of either 29.97 frame rates or just straight up over-sharpening, but while both of these films show that the C700 is a high end,incredible quality camera, neither film really entices the average Red or Sony F55 shooter. With the specs that the C700 provided, many just assumed that they’d be aiming at that specific strain of shooters—whether they were successful or not, we’re still waiting to hear.
Let me over-generalize for a minute, for the sake of argument. Cinematographers usually find the most use for cameras that display beautiful and soft shadow fall-off. That is, you can capture a decent silhouette on any camera and it’s 2016 so a well-lit shot at a camera’s native ISO is going to look pretty decent. What falls between those two extremes is where most cinematographers need flexibility when we’re talking about film.
Further, almost any camera you buy nowadays will have enough sharpness. Resolution is another thing, but I know for a fact that when buying cameras, cinematographers aren’t asking, “which one’s sharpest.” Or at least usually.
What I see as the problem with these two films (and don’t get me wrong, they’re both beautiful) is that neither really give film most cinematographers what they’re asking for. Both are over-sharp (opinion) and spend far too much time on the extremes of exposure, and not too much in the center where we have the most questions. Gentle highlights and sharp shadows are important, don’t get me wrong, but if you’re buying a $30,000 camera, that should absolutely be a given.
But you know who those specs really appeal to? Wildlife cinematographers. So again, maybe the Canon C700 isn't as much Hollywood as it is NatGeo. And that's still a success story, but is it the one Canon wants to be a part of?
I really don’t want to diminish the work of Stableford and Carpenter, because it is beautiful work. The question is: Will Canon attract the customers they want with this kind of film?
The Calling 4K
Via Youtube Description:
Cinematographer Russell Carpenter, ASC and Canon Explorer Of Light Tyler Stableford team up for the first U.S. based EOS C700 shoot which shows off the versatility and low light capabilities of Canon’s new EOS C700. The Super35 format camera is designed to be a flexible “A” camera for various types of shooting scenarios. The EOS C700 features both internal 4K ProRes and XF-AVC recording. With the optional 4K Codex CDX-3150 recorder, the EOS C700 is capable of recording uncompressed RAW up to 120 frames per second.
Behind the Scenes of The Calling
Behind the Scenes with the Canon EOS C700: Day 1
Behind the Scenes with the Canon EOS C700: Introduction
(cover photo credit: snap from video)