After 4 Months of using a Blackmagic 4K Cinema camera, we upgraded to a Canon C100 MKii. You might be thinking why?
The 4K BMPC records beautiful ProRes and also 4K raw images……… for a total, of about 15 minutes. As soon as the camera gets a little warm, fixed pattern noise begins to take over the image; to the point where the footage becomes unusable. I had tried everything to keep the camera temperature down, I had even got to the point of turning the camera off between shots. In the end I couldn’t trust it to perform, so when our project with AIM Altitude came in, we had to get something to replace it.
After much weighing up between cameras, I eventually went for the C100 Mkii. I have now been using it for 4 weeks, and these were the key things I got to love about the C100 Mkii.
1. Form Factor and Inputs
One reason I went for the C100 Mkii – is that it’s a perfect hybrid between a DSLR and a production camera. After using smaller setups like the A7s Mkii w/Movi M5, I realised the shots you can get out of a small form factor camera. However without a lot of rigging, they don’t have professional inputs and controls such as XLRs and built in ND’s.
We are all about creative shots. Either a camera is awkwardly attached to something, or inside of something to get a unique perspective. These are shots where a small form factor and low weight camera is essential.
2. Wireless Control
Wireless control was something that we thought we would only use when the camera was on a overhead slider or jib, but it has so many other uses. For example when we were setting up lighting, and had a 5K tungsten coming through a window. The wireless viewer allowed our gaffer to take his phone and see the cameras view. He could then make changes to lighting without having to go outside and back multiple times.
We also mounted the camera inside a 5-axis cutting machine. With the wireless control, we were able to quickly adjust aperture, focus and ISO without having to stop the machine. Anything that saves time on a shoot day is a massive bonus!
3. Continuos AF
We know that autofocus is generally frowned upon but it really has its uses! We had multiple shots where the camera would be on a 3-axis Kessler Cine-slider, and we would want the focus to follow the movement. The continuous AF makes this possible. We didn’t have to use any wireless follow focus systems, saving time and money.
4. Low Light
Good low light is essential for us. Having a camera that can be usable at high ISO allows us to achieve much more without having to hire in. We were using up to ISO 20,000 on scenes where we wanted to use only the ambient lighting from the machine. We found it was crucial to do a full black balance when using high ISO’s to get the cleanest possible image out of the camera.
This is a bit of an odd one. But there is an element of professionalism associated with the kit you use. A client wants to see equipment that looks impressive, it’s just a reinforcing trust thing. They want to see where their money is going. When you turn up with a DSLR, and the client says “oh I have one of those”. No matter how good the results on the final film are, it just doesn’t have the same presence when on set.
All in all…. our in-house camera, the C100 Mii is one helluva camera for the price!