Behind the scenes of 2019 Oscar winning documentary, Free Solo, shot on C300 Mark II
Jimmy Chin, a filmmaker, photographer, as well as a mountain-sports athlete is known for capturing extraordinary images while climbing or skiing in extremely hazardous but beautiful settings. He’s won many awards throughout his career and most recently won the 2019 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature for his film Free Solo.
Jimmy Chin Takes You Behind The Scenes of Free Solo
Free Solo follows Alex Honnold, a professional rock climber, as he climbs the face of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park without ropes, harnesses, or other protective equipment – also known as free soloing. This granite monolith is about 3,000 feet high. To put that in perspective, it is twice the height of the Empire State Building. Free soloing takes years of dedication and training and Alex’s feat is considered one of the greatest achievements in the history of free solo rock climbing.
Shot on Canon Cinema EOS gear, Free Solo takes viewers behind the scenes into Alex’s deliberate and careful process to climb the rock face, and then alongside him as he makes the 3,000 foot ascent. Capturing the beauty of the adventure from multiple angles, as well as delivering a cinematic experience to the audience was important for Chin, and shooting with a 4K cinema camera and lenses made that possible.
The EOS C300 Mark II, accompanied by Prime lenses and Zoom lenses, was the primary camera used to film the documentary. The Prime lenses allowed Chin to capture complex shots of the rock wall and long shots of the climb. The EOS C300 Mark II’s 4K system with expanded dynamic range and Dual Pixel CMOS Autofocus ensured that Chin and his team had creative flexibility.
Chin wanted to film for a big cinematic experience and it was vital to have a camera that was easy-to-use, reliable and delivered exceptional colours in post-production. The EOS C300 Mark II was an obvious choice considering the variety of settings – indoor and outdoor; low-light and natural-light – that the crew contended with as they shadowed Alex for the past two years. To compliment the cinema camera, Chin also decided to use cinema glass, specifically the CINE-SERVO 17-120mm for its speed and range of focal length. For greater depth of field, the Cinema Prime lenses came into play, and on the day of the climb itself, the crew relied on the CINE-SERVO 50-1000mm to capture Alex from a long distance.
Did you know? All 5 2019 Oscar-nominated documentaries have one thing in common – they were primarily shot on Canon bodies.