It’s a pleasure for me to present the BTS of my latest short film “361 DAYS” shot on a preproduction Canon EOS C300 Mark III. Here I want to share my impressions of the latest cinema camera in Canon’s line-up. Let’s start with some background. I’m using Canon Cinema EOS since the very beginning. At the moment I have EOS C300 Mk II and EOS C200 plus a set of EF cinema primes, alongside with many EF phot o lenses. Recently I had the chance to try EOS C500 Mark II with Sumire lenses, but I’ll cover this topic in another post.
I shoot mainly short movies, documentaries, corporate video and commercial as well. As a documentary videographer the form factor and lightweight of the camera are very important for me. The ease of use for one man operation is a must. EOS C300 Mk III has all these and provides additional flexibility with its modular design and interchangeable lens mounts (same as EOS C500 Mk II). Depends on the production you can either configure the camera for light, handheld operation and benefit from the DPAF with EF lenses or rig it and use high end PL lenses and accessories for cinema movie production. In my video I didn’t have the option to mount the camera on a drone but it fit perfect on DJI Ronin 2. Because of the small team and lack of focus puller most of the time I used EOS C300 Mk III with EF lens mount. The camera has a rigid body with perfect ergonomics for my style of shooting. The LCD is very accurate both as colors and exposition which is very helpful for my one man shooting style. Of course there are different meterings providing accurate image control but a good display is always welcome. Talking about meterings we already have false color which I miss a lot on my C300 Mk II and C200.
I will not talk about the technical specifications but instead I’ll tell what I like in the new EOS C300 Mark III. I already shared my impressions on the ergonomics and flexible modular design. Let’s see what’s inside. In the beginning is the new Super 35mm CMOS sensor with DGO (Dual Gain Output). You can see in the video many scenes shot in uncontrolled severe light conditions showing the very high dynamic range the sensor provides. In such type of sport videos there are scenes with a lot of sky which requires rich gradations. I’m really happy that I have the opportunity to make this real life test with exactly this video which unleashed the performance of the new sensor.
The next thing I’d like to mention is DPAF (Dual Pixel Auto Focus). For me this is the best AF system at the moment. For a low budget video with high dynamics scenes and small team without focus puller this is priceless. This was one of the reasons to shoot mainly with EF lenses. The autofocus performed perfect in almost all the situations. When we had to switch to an anamorphic lens, the mount exchange took 2 minutes on site. The expansion unit EU-V2 makes EOS C300 Mk III works with V-Lock battery. The camera gets heavier but perfect to be attached to EasyRig Vario 5 + Stabil system. I like to shoot hand held and this extra weight makes me more stable and my moves – more precise. When I needed smooth camera movement I used DJI Ronin 2. Then I reconfigured the camera to its compact configuration with BP-A60 battery. This also reduced the weight on my shoulders and helped me in shooting the scenes where I didn’t have an assistant. What about the battery? I shot 4K RAW with autofocus and BP-A60 last for more than 120 min. It’s more than enough especially if you have to use drone, crane or other configuration where the size and the weight are important. I like the lightened buttons and the quick controls over the most important settings. The controls were familiar for me having the experience with Cinema EOS system which save time i.e. when I needed wave form monitor the button was right under my finger, as usual. There are some new quick control buttons. The one I liked a lot is the Fast/Slow Motion button. No need to go to the menu to switch to 120 or 180 fps. It’s a click of a button. I liked a lot the ability to shoot in 180fps RAW. Although it’s cropped to Super 16 and 2K I’m impressed by the image quality and dynamics.
When shooting in RAW the memory cards are very important. I would recommend at least 2 x 512GB CFexpress cards plus an SD Card for proxy recording.
I shot all the footage in RAW. I like Cinema RAW Light because of the quality and flexibility it provides. Here is the feedback of the colorist who worked on this project: “When we talk about 4K or 6K raw footage, what usually comes to mind are some huge files that are very complex and the transfer takes lots of time. This is not the case with Canon RAW Light. The files are easy to work with and they transfer quite fast. Even regarding our 4K DCI 50 fps project, the timeline is in real time, the dynamic range is huge, over 15 stops, and the shadows and highlights are balanced with a lot of details. EOS C300 Mark III makes our entire post-production workflow easily. And of course, that fascinating skin tone of Canon!”
Few words about the lenses I used. As the DPAF was very important for this project because of the small team and dynamic scenes I used mainly EF lenses. Of course I didn’t use AF all the time but it was good to have it. I had few scenes shot with an anamorphic vintage Lomo 50mm – a lens with unique texture. ( Those are beautiful anamorphic lenses with a lot of character, distortion, interesting flares and creamy bokeh.) I used this lens because I was curious how the sensor of the new EOS C300 Mk III will
“see” the picture. I personally liked it as a visual aesthetics and would use this combination for some projects in the future.
EVF-V70 OLED Viewfinder
This is the best viewfinder I’ve tried. I’ve also tried many third party solutions. It plugs straight into the camera, gives you accurate color and exposure and adds additional custom functionality with the four assignable buttons plus a menu navigation joystick and menu selector that are both readily accessible. It features false color and zebra to assist in exposure, and there is a magnification mode for critical focus.
As a conclusion I can say that I would use Canon C300 Mark III for 90% of my current work. It’s convertible enough to configure it quickly in any moment to save time and money. EOS C300 Mark III is a powerful flexible camera suitable for documentaries, short films, commercials and even for high budget productions.
I like to observe. I work through looking at details—small details. I like to look at people, I like to look at movement of things, and I enjoy having a perception of time passing. Through that, I think I try to translate it to images and light. I am always based on reality, on imagination, and on dreams. That’s the source of how I work lighting. – Hristo Lazarov
Cinematography: Dimitar Lazarov
Cinematography: Hristo Lazarov
Assistant camera: Stoyan Nikolaev
Bts video: Boris Trifonov
Editing: Hristo Lazarov
Colorist: Borislav Konstantinov
Color Grade by Borislav Konstantinov
“When we talk about 4K or 6K raw footage, what usually comes to mind are some huge files that are very complex and the transfer takes lots of time. This is not the case with Canon RAW Light. The files are easy to work with and they transfer quite fast. Even regarding our 4K DCI 50 fps project, the timeline is in real time, the dynamic range is huge, over 15 stops, and the shadows and highlights are balanced with a lot of details. EOS C300 Mark III makes our entire post-production workflow easily. And of course, that fascinating skin tone of Canon!”