Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Thoughts on the Canon C300 after my first Commercial Shoot.

Last week I had a day long commercial shoot with my Canon C300.

The test shoots Lan Bui and I did over Christmas showed the massive potential of the camera

But it is all very well shooting for yourself when it does not matter quite so much, the real test comes when some big corporate client is paying you to deliver the goods.

So what did I make of it?

We were shooting a two camera lit interview with the C300 and the Canon XF305, so the first task was to get the camera's looking something like the same, so I consulted my mate BBC cameraman Mark Moreve who suggested that I set both camera's to Gamma 3.

This worked pretty well, and gave me a look that is in the same ball park.

It is quite notable though that the second camera operator, who has feature film experience, was particularly impressed by the Canon XF 305 'considering it was a small chip camera'

If shallow depth of field is not a priority and you are lighting your subject this camera excels.

But back to the Canon C300......

Firstly, lens choice.

The Canon C300 utilises a smaller chip that has a crop factor of 1.6 x

So I have had to rethink my choice of lenses.

My standard work-a-day zoom lens is my 'L' Series 24-105mm F4 but I figured this was going to be a shade too long and perhaps a bit too slow at F4.

But which lens to go for?

Though all Canon lens are capable of resolving 1000 lines of resolution, I'm a sucker for 'L' series lenses, they are beautifully built and optically they are superb.

Canon make the EF-S 17-55mm F2.8 which is image stabilised too, a pretty ideal range for 'run and gun' but too short for interviews.

Sounding like a lens snob, if that is possible, I found it a good quality solution but I missed the 'L' series construction and build quality, and I was continually annoyed by the microscopic focusing ring, I suppose I will get used to it but what I'm really asking Canon for is that they make an 'L' series which covers this zoom range, but I somehow doubt this will happen as I suspect their focus is on cinema primes etc, but I have no doubt if they ever did it would be a great success....Canon please take note.

The client wanted the interview shot hand held, we were working in a tight space and I have to say as light as the C300 is, the way I and Katherine were holding it back and neck pain did eventually set in.

I tweeted this finding on the way home and was surprised to see that Mark Moreve found exactly the same issue.

It could just be us I suppose, but if you are standing static for any length of time I suspect you might encounter it too.

I have come to the conclusion that some sort of shoulder rig would be a benefit (as Rodney Charters was saying when he was over at New Year)

Video streaming by Ustream

I would like to see the possibility of removing the LCD while retaining the XLR connections.

It would be a small but welcome weight saving and I feel sure that someone will come up with a solution soon.

I intend have a look at the seemingly limitless world of rigs and work out which one to get, but not until NAB as I suspect we will see a raft of accessories built specially for the C300.

Another small quirk of the C300 is the cooling fan which you will hear as you shoot.

It is almost imperceptible and is not picked up by audio, it is curiously reassuring as you shoot.....for me at least.

Battery life was simply wonderful, we did a good part of the day on the smaller Canon BP-955.

Post shoot the workflow was a treat, very easy indeed but we hit a small bump in the road when the 64gb card did not show up as we were backing up, but it turns out that the card reader was not bang up to date and therefore had no idea what a 64gb card was.

Overall a great first time out for this camera, one which will feature in forthcoming adventures great and small.

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