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The Canon EOS-C300 from the Directors point of view

By Jeremiah Hall

Canon has announced a new camera aimed at Hollywood professionals and independent producers.

The camera, the Canon EOS-C300, is a small form factor built with cinematographers in mind. The camera uses either PL mount or EF mount lenses. The effective pixel range of the camera is 3840x2160. It uses a Super35mm equivalent CMOS sensor.

The ISO rating of the camera is between 320 to 20000. The body can be configured to use a top handle with a mic holder and external LCD viewfinder, or a side handle much like a conventional SLR. The EF version will be released August of 2012. The PL mount is expected in March of 2012. The camera body will start at $20,000.

The CEO of Canon, Fujio Mitarai addressed a group of Hollywood professionals at the Paramount Theater to introduce the new camera. During his speech he asked Hollywood to accept Canon in their community.

Mitarai said, "Through Cinema EOS, we want you to leave no story untold."

The crowd included executives from companies such as Technicolor, Tiffen, and Adobe. Ron Howard and his daughter, director/actress Bryce Dallas Howard (who used the camera on her project "When You Find Me"), were in attendance. Martin Scorsese also spoke to the crowd, praising the company for their new products.

Scorsese said, "These. . . tools that Canon has created allow for a much closer and more intimate relationship between the filmmakers and the world they're filming, than ever before."

Examples of the camera were shown, including two trailers and three shorts.


The announcement was followed by a short symposium by four directors who had used the new camera during production.

Canon also announced new EF-mount lenses, two zooms, and three primes. The zooms, 14.5 to 60mm at T2.6 and 30 to 300mm at T2.95, come in both PL-mount and EF-mount. The primes come in 24mm T1.5, 50mm T1.3, and 85mm T1.3.


Canon says additional lenses are under development.

Video from the Canon EOS event

The Directors Forum

Following Canon's announcement of the new Cinema EOS line, a forum on the new camera was held. Members of the forum included four directors who have worked with the new system.
Richard Crudo's "Max is Back" is a feature-length crime drama. Crudo's D.P. credits include "Music From Another Room," "Down to Earth," and "American Pie."
Sam Nicholson's Cyberpunk-themed short, "Xxit," follows a woman being chased by motorcycles while aboard a San Francisco trolley. Nicholson is a long-time Visual Effects supervisor. His credits include "The Walking Dead," "ER," and "Pan Am."
Felix Alcala's "Sword" is a short set in a Dystopian society amid a revolution. Alcala credits include directing episodes of "Breaking Bad" and "House - M.D."
Vincent Laforet's "Mobius" tells the story of a photographer gathering evidence against drug dealers in the Mexican desert. Laforet credits include "Reverie," the first short shot with the Canon 5D Mark II.
All four gave the camera favorable reviews.
Crudo said, "You could go through the technical stats all day long. People tend to get caught up in those things. For me, ultimately, its the end product. What does it look like? And although we have to be involved in the. . . certainly the control, the technicial aspects, but given all that, the end product. What it looks like. I thought the look was extremely filmic."
Alcala said, "This camera can be used anywhere in the world, in any production, for any reason. It looks as good as anything out there."
Nicholson said, "I really appreciate the size and the flexibility of the camera. Essentially it makes it very transparent. Sometimes I feel like on set there's so much technology that it really gets in the way of your story or directing your actors, your cinematography. You just kind of wade through the technology to try to get the image you really love."
Laforet said, "It gave me exactly what I wanted, with very little effort."
All four agreed they were doing between fifty and sixty setups per day. Crudo said "Max is Back," a feature, took fifteen days to shoot. The audience seemed surprised.
All four praised the low-light ability of the camera. Crudo said, "I was continually overjoyed and blown away at the amount of detail in the dark area. And the camera was able to hold highlights as well."
Nicholson joked, "I think our whole lighting kit consisted of two Lite Panels and an iPad." Nicholson also said he shot green screen at 16,000 ISO. He said, "It sees beyond what you can see, which I think is really cool. I've been waiting for that for a long time."
Steven Fierberg, A.S.C. was in the audience. His credits include "Love and Other Drugs" and "Secretary." He said, "I was a little disappointed with the shadow detail, the rendition of shadows I didn't think was that great. I think the speed may be revolutionary. I love the size and ergonomics of it."
Fierberg said he would have to work with the camera to find it's limitations. He said, "I would have to have more experience to know how far I can push this thing."
Fierberg said, "I really respect Canon for what they're doing and what they aspire to do,and for the way they treat filmmakers, and for the way they've done this event which is just tremendous. And I believe in their commitment to getting this leap forward to continue to grow. As he [Canon C.E.O. Fujio Mitarai] said, its a beginning. And this beginning step may be perfect for ninety-percent of the applications a camera could be used for."
Cinematographer James Mathers was in the audience. Mathers is president of the Digital Cinema Society. He says he is impressed by what he saw. "I have to hand it to Canon for making this presentation about storytelling and not about the specs. I'm very curious to find out more about the specs. They didn't give us a whole lot of information, but they demonstrated that these cameras can be beautiful storytelling tools."
Mathers said, "Its down to the point where the cameras are really starting to rival the gold standard, which has been motion picture 35mm film."

Some Images From The Event




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Jeremiah Hall has been a writer, videographer, editor, journalist and filmmaker for over 14 years.

He has worked across the midwest and southeast for several news organizations.

Currently, he resides in Cincinnati, OH with his family, and is developing a feature film to direct.

Related Keywords:Canon EOS-C300, film making, digital cinematography, hollywood directors forum

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