The choice of camera is a key consideration for any shoot. One of the most popular professional cameras we hire in for clients is the Canon C300.
From Fashion shoots to Music Videos to Corporate pieces to camera, the C300 mark ii performs with distinction. We asked Director of Photography, Tom Watts to give us a comprehensive review of this popular Canon camera and what to take into account for the different types of client requests.
Using the Canon C300
“I recently worked on two very different shoots back to back using the same Canon C300 mark ii for both. The first was a high-concept spec perfume commercial and the next day a presenter against a greenscreen for a pharmaceutical company.
For this shoot I used many gels with subtle differences to create a lot of rich colour. If the camera doesn’t deal with this there will be a mess. In the absence of an Alexa, the C300 mk II is a great alternative (mini-fact: it was designed with being a B cam to the Alexa in mind). It renders the colours well and I like the canon colour science. At 4k you can shoot 10bit raw, which is what we did. Below is graded screenshot from the photography shoot where you can see how the C300 mark II has handled the very subtle tonal and colour changes without banding.
I used 8 lights all with different gels to create this look and the C300 mkII didn’t miss a beat. The camera is an absolute workhorse and very low maintenance on set. It’s perfect for a fast paced shoot with a lot of other technically challenging things happening, not having to worry about the camera and being able to focus on getting the lighting right was ideal. Being Canon, it was also an easy pairing for the accompanying stills shot on my 5D mark III.
Using the Canon C300 for Corporate Footage
The following day was a very different shoot with different requirements that the C300 mark II handled with ease. We were shooting a presenter against a greenscreen for a pharmaceutical company.
Online forums place a huge emphasis on the technical stats of professional cameras above all else, but in a real world application it’s not so black and white. The C300 mark II can shoot 4k but the client didn’t want the added hassle of a 4k post production work flow, more disk space required, more processing power and more time. This isn’t uncommon, increasing the resolution you shoot on has a knock on effect down the whole production pipeline.
At 1080p, the Canon C300 mark II can shoot 12bit raw which is great for greenscreen. As a DoP you want to be handing over the best possible footage with the clients requirements in mind. In this case they wanted 1080p footage that they would need to key out, so it’s my responsibility to light in a way that facilitates that and record in the best format for their needs.
Again the low maintenance of the C300 mark II was perfect for this shoot, we had an actor reading from an auto cue on a locked off shot for the whole day. Two CF 2.0 card slots with a 128GB card in each meant I didn’t have to change cards for the whole day and I only had to change the battery once at lunch-time. Compare that to working with a RED for the day and it’s a very different story, fine if you have an AC to look after it but for smaller low budget productions, that’s not always an option.
Below is a before and after. The key was achieved with Adobe Premiere’s ultra key with just a quick pipette of the green thanks to the 12 bit raw. Worth noting is this was graded with the Alexa rec709 LUT, if you’ve ever tried it on footage from other cameras you’ll understand why it’s impressive that the results aren’t a garbled mess.
After key and grade:
If you are considering a similar shoot and would like to discuss your production and how we could help you call us on 020 7737 0007 or email firstname.lastname@example.org