Walking Tour with the EOS C300 Mark II
Another year, another Sundance Film Festival
As with the last four years, Canon set up shop on the quaint Main Street drag in Park City, Utah with the Canon Creative Studio. A destination for filmmakers from all walks of life, from narrative DP’s to Documentary Producers, the Canon Creative Studio offered more than just tasty treats and an escape from the cold January Utah weather.
My role this year as the Sr. Product Trainer was to approach filmmakers in a new and unique way. I am a big proponent of the idea that the best camera for you, the camera you are going to make the prettiest images with, is not the one with the highest resolution or most dynamic range. Rather, it is the camera that you as a filmmaker are the most comfortable with, both physically in terms of ergonomics and technically in terms of functionally. This is something I push hard in all of my classes in the Canon Hollywood Professional Technology and Support Center, and the Sundance Film Festival gave me the unique opportunity to reach an extraordinary amount of filmmakers in a very short amount of time. So what’s the best way to get someone comfortable with a camera system? Get them to use it! This spawned the concept of EOS C300 Mark II Walking Tours.
The stage was set – four fresh EOS C300 Mark II’s were shipped in and prep began. One of the most powerful characteristics of the Cinema EOS Product line is the form factor. The small, yet ergonomic, bodies allow us to break the camera down to something just a tad bigger than a DSLR, or build it up into a large studio rig. I wanted to play on that for the Walking Tours, so we built four different setups filmmakers could use.
The first setup was the standard full build, as shown in Photo 2 above, with the top handle, monitor unit, side handle, just like the camera is received when purchased. This is great form factor for longer form shooting where you might be holding the camera for long periods of time and changing angles of shooting very quickly.
The next, which is my personal favorite, was barebones as shown in Photo 3, just the camera body and the side handle. With your right hand gripping the record button and an assignable button, there’s very little you couldn’t do with this setup. The left hand cradles the camera body as well as gives you access to all the buttons on the smart side of the camera. The EOS C300 Mark II has a uniquely textured body, riddled with what I call “landmarks” – raised plastic nubs, different textured buttons – all of which allow for the user to know exactly what button they are hitting without actually looking at the buttons themselves. In addition, the added point of contact between your eye and the EVF adds for more stability in your shots. This is great form factor for discreet “run and gun” style shooting where all that matters is you get the shot.
Then, we enlisted some third party manufacturers for the other two setups. One was the Redrock Micro ultraEvent, as shown in Picture 4. This small rig allows for an additional point of contact, a brace, against your body while shooting. Ideal for when using larger lenses, like the EF 70-200mm f/2.8, the ultraEvent rig allowed us to get the camera up and grab short, but rock solid shots.
And, of course, we had to have the trend that’s sweeping the filmmaking world, a 3-Axis-Gimbal. We enlisted the help of the DJI Ronin to support the EOS C300 Mark II, as seen in Picture 5. We then relocated the camera’s hand grip to be located on the gimbal itself so the operator could still maintain total control.
With the EOS C300 Mark II being such a new camera, we had a brief 15 minute presentation on the camera itself. We introduced filmmakers to the exciting world of 4K, expanded Colour Spaces, and the incredibly impressive Dual Pixel Auto Focus in the camera. Now, full disclosure, I was expecting some diversity in terms of operating experience, but the backgrounds of people varied even more dramatically than I had expected. From the original EOS C300 Mark shooters to actors picking up a camera for the first time, we really ran the gamut. So with the tech covered, we went into the mean streets of Main St.
Overall, I was incredibly impressed with the images people were capturing with the cameras, especially for this being their first time. It was encouraging and really feeds into my belief that the best cameras don’t behave much like cameras at all. Instead, they act as extensions of your arm that help you capture the images already in your head.