So I first started out filming with a Canon GL2 and loved it!! It seemed like it had all the bells and whistles at the time… for me anyway. Afterwards, I discovered filming with DSLR, namely the Canon 60D. This is still a great camera to film with (my opinion) – it does HD really well! One of the things I absolutely love about filming with a DSLR is being able to switch out lenses for different looks like using a fisheye for example for some pretty cool, dramatic shots! – or throwing on a longer zoom lens, or cranking the aperture to get a nice blurred, smooth background. Shortly after the 60D, I then upgraded to a 7D, then 5D Mark II, 5D Mark III… and now, I’ve been able to upgrade to both the Canon C100 and 1DC – both incredible cameras!! Now I know what you may be thinking – why the 1DC rather than 2 C100s, or why not the Sony FS700, etc. One of the reasons I wanted to stay with Canon is the glass I’ve invested in. I realize I could get lens adapters to use with other cameras but, lets face it, I REALLY love Canon cameras – this is where you can say I might be a little biased. I’ll tell you the reasons I love filming with these two cameras, some of the pros and cons I’ve experienced these last few months filming with these.
First of all – the Canon 1DC. I’ve actually sold my previous cameras, throughout the years as I’ve upgraded, and when I went to the 1DC – I sold my 5D Mark III. Aside from video, I also do photography.
Filming in 4K: One of the main features of the 1DC is filming in 4K. Something I absolutely love about filming in 4K is being able to grab a still frame from the video and using it as a photo with the resolution of 4096 x 2160! There are times when I may be filming product shots for a video and the client later asks if we had any photos by chance – when the client never originally asked for photos to be taken, only video (some of you may relate). Well now I’m able to go back through the video, pull a frame, throw it in photoshop if needed for any enhancements (usually I film in Canon Log), and it looks incredible!
No Time Constraints: Another feature I love about the 1DC… and I’m sure it’s the reason they’ve jumped the price up pretty high for this camera (well, that and the 4K feature), is not having any time constraints on each video clip. When filming with a DSLR (and I know the 1DC is more of a true hybrid of cinema camera + photo DSLR), it will stop after approximately 12 – 19 minutes – depending on the camera. This is because of a European tax law that restricts the time limits a DSLR is able to record. Well, because the 1DC is considered a Cinema camera, it doesn’t have those time limits – you can film freely without worrying about it stopping mid clip.
Canon Log: Canon introduced Canon Log into their Cinema cameras – this is a fantastic feature where you’re able to get a much higher dynamic range when filming. It’s not a RAW format, but it does bring some of the RAW benefits to colorists who want to have the most amount of information to be able to work with in editing. When you’re filming in Canon Log, the image comes out looking flat and when you begin playing around with the contrast, saturations, etc. you really begin to appreciate the flexibility and sharpness filming in Canon Log!
Filming in Super 35mm mode: A lot of times, 4K isn’t necessary to film in and this is where s35 (super 35) comes in handy. Canon’s 1DC basically has 3 modes you can film in; 4K, s35, and full frame. I’ve found s35 definitely falls between 4K and full frame. It’s quite a bit sharper than filming in full frame while ending up with a much smaller file size than 4K and obviously at the lower resolution than 4K. You’re still able to film in Canon Log at this setting for the higher dynamic range and end up with an incredible image. One thing I’ve also noticed right off the bat is the image quality – especially in lower light. When filming with the 5D Mark III, and in low light, the graininess seems more organic than a typical DSLR grain if that makes sense (this is the same with the C100 – more organic and a clean grain).
Photography: I won’t go too far into the photography aspect of this camera – it’s basically the 1DX when it comes to shooting photos. I absolutely love taking photos with this camera – especially when it comes to action shots where you want to capture more frames per second (up to 14 fps!). One thing I did notice however, especially compared to the 5D Mark III, is the shutter is quite a bit louder than the Mark III when taking still shots.
Overall Pros and Cons: I love having the options of filming in 4K, S35, and full frame mode. When wanting to film in slow motion however, 60fps, it will only film 60fps in full frame mode (although it does allow you to film 60fps at 1080p – Canon’s other DSLRs film 60fps in 720p). This would be a pro and con to me. I wish it would do 60fps in S35 mode since the image is sharper than 1080p full frame. Another con is it doesn’t allow you to peak monitor while filming or magnify the image while filming. If you end up investing in a 1DC camera, I would highly recommend an external monitor that includes these features (peak monitoring, magnify while filming, etc). I also wish you could film 4K to an external monitor. I think it’s incredible to be able to film 4K onto CF cards (which it does have 2 slots for 2 CF cards) – it would be nice though to have that option if needed – especially when you figure the file size filming in 4K is huge! These, for me, are the only cons I’ve experienced. I have to say I absolutely love this camera!! Again, being able to film in 4K on CF cards, pulling still frames from those 4K video clips at 24fps is incredible! Having the Canon Log option for a higher dynamic range… overall I’m extremely impressed with this camera!!
Canon C100: This now brings us to the Canon C100. Obviously this one is quite a bit less expensive than the 1DC but an incredible camera with amazing results! This is an actual dedicated video camera. I mainly went with this camera as it compliments my 1DC as a 2nd camera really well! I typically film in Super 35mm Canon Log on both cameras and, when I do, the footage between the two cameras match up really well! Another incredible option is filming to an external monitor, such as the Atomos Ninja 2 (note, the 1DC can also record via HDMI to an external recorder as well). When filming to an external recorder, you’re able to get uncompressed 4:2:2 and able to record in ProRes! This is great since I edit in Final Cut – able to go straight from filming to editing! In combination with the C100 and an external recorder, you basically now have a C300 image for half the price!! I’ve also filmed with DSLRs for a while now and it’s great to have a camera again with XLR audio inputs (also has standard mic input as well), able to magnify the image while recording to ensure I’m in focus completely, and able to view peaking while filming. If I were to pick any cons, I would say the main negative about this camera is not being able to film in slow motion. For me it’s not such a big deal since I have an additional camera that will film in slow motion but for others, this could be a deal breaker.
Color grading with the C100 is great as well. As I mentioned, just as the 1DC, the C100 has the ability of filming in Canon Log. This gives you a high dynamic range to work with when color editing in post (as well as produces an incredibly sharp picture). Overall, the image quality the C100 Cinema camera produces is amazing!!!
I’ve been fortunate to be able to have both these cameras in my arsenal and the combination of the two means being able to capture incredible results!!