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Old April 16th, 2013, 03:15 PM   #1
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C100 + Ninja 2 question

This is a question to those that own or have used a C100 with a Ninja 2. I am looking at getting this combo over a C300 because of the massive price difference but there are a couple of things I read that might make a difference.

Firstly I read that you need to "wake up" the Ninja by waving a hand in front of the lens before it will record if it has been idle for a few minutes. Is this really the case? Having to do this in the environments I shoot in could end up being a major pain in the rear.

Secondly when you set it up to trigger the recording on the Ninja when you hit record on the camera does this get reset if you take out the HDMI cable like you might if you had to put the camera in a bag to carry it between shoots? The video on how to set it up said you just do it once and you never have to do it again but it didn't say it that was provided you never messed with the cables.

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Old April 23rd, 2013, 02:00 PM   #2
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Re: C100 + Ninja 2 question

When recording 24p onto the Ninja 2, you do need to wave your hand in front of the lens (any movement will do) before you can record to the Ninja. It generally takes 1-5 seconds before you're ready to record, and it has held me up a few times, which is a pain in the rear, although perhaps not quite a major pain in the rear. You have to do this when you boot the device, or if you are switching back out of playback.

After initially setting the Ninja and C100 so that they both record upon pressing the C100 record button, I've never had to set it up again regardless of cables or batteries or anything. Both devices save their settings.
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Old April 23rd, 2013, 03:51 PM   #3
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Re: C100 + Ninja 2 question

Thinking about buying a Ninja for my C100 to record footage as a part of a 3-week travel documentary. The other option would be to rent a C300.

If I kept the Ninja in a backpack, would there be any issues with triggering it over HDMI? Battery life? Or perhaps its just easier to rent the C300. Works out to be about a $1500 difference. Worth the trouble?
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Old April 24th, 2013, 10:53 AM   #4
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Re: C100 + Ninja 2 question

Is the native codec on the C100 really that big of an issue? I understand it could be problematic on green screen work. I understand that it may be problematic for something that needs true 2K resolution. But if my potential work with that camera will never go anywhere other than a TV screen, or a computer screen, isn't the AVCHD codec going to work just fine? Unless I'm doing green screen work, or aiming for a theatrical release, why is the Ninja even necessary?
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Old April 24th, 2013, 01:09 PM   #5
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Re: C100 + Ninja 2 question

In my opinion the AVCHD from the C100 is perfectly acceptable. On the internet it wouldn't make too much of a difference at all.

Being broadcast quality and matching (more or less) the outputs of the C300 gives you a great alternative, but it isn't for everybody with a C100.

Personally, I'm hopefully picking up a C100 later in the year and the AVCHD isn't something i'm too worried about.
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Old April 25th, 2013, 01:32 AM   #6
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Re: C100 + Ninja 2 question

I think you're right, Tim...
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Old April 25th, 2013, 02:43 AM   #7
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Re: C100 + Ninja 2 question

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Originally Posted by Tim Allison View Post
I understand it could be problematic on green screen work.
I don't get this. I shot a greenscreen fight scene (as a test) with the 5dmarkIII and had no problems with greenscreen (though it was lit very well). So why are people having problems with the AVCHD?

You can see it here at 1:27 :
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Old April 25th, 2013, 12:05 PM   #8
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Re: C100 + Ninja 2 question

Mikko....apparently, there can be some keying issues with a 4:2:0 codec vs a 4:2:2 codec. I have always "heard" about these keying difficulties, but I have never actually experienced them. However, we don't do very much green screen work, just simple stuff like shooting an interview in front of a green screen, and dropping in a different background. That's pretty basic compared to real Hollywood special effects. But if some people say it truly is an issue in demanding green screen work, I don't have the experience to doubt them.

By the way, I just watched your fight choreography clips. That's good stuff. I'm impressed!
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Old April 29th, 2013, 09:31 AM   #9
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Re: C100 + Ninja 2 question

Mikko, love it.

Even for ever so straightforward talking-head chromakey, so long as you're using modern 'hybrid' keyers, you'll be fine with AVCHD.

As Mikko proves, well-lit chromakey action can work in 4:2:0 - with excellent originals, the right tools and time (!).

As chromakey is about edges, this is where it gets a bit antsy.

AVCHD on the C100 is great, but it begins to sweat a bit with lots and lots of detail over the whole frame, frame by frame. Gets a bit mushy in heavy action, and mushy doesn't work in keying.

And this is where the Ninja kicks in. Or, in my case, a Pix220. For most of the time, you won't need it. But it's surprising when you do. It's your standard Harlem Shuffle thing. Everything's fine for the first 15 seconds, and who needs 422, who needs 10 bit. Then it kicks off and you're thankful you had that Ninja going.

With all respect to Mikko (!!), in corporate or product shot chromakey, you can't hide stuff with a bit of film grain, smoke, particles and motion blur (the salt, sugar and tomato sauce of video). Once you're done with the edges, then you're into de-spill and 420 runs out of puff quite quickly.

But in the last two chromakey talking-head shoots, I've used the AVCHD - easier to archive (which I'm not paid to do FWIW), no difference in quality of key (I checked).

Horses for courses. The trick being in having more than one horse.
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Old April 29th, 2013, 10:26 AM   #10
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Re: C100 + Ninja 2 question

Does anyone find the LCD screen on the C100 not very sharp? I know it has the same one as the XF100 and the C300 has the one off the XF300. I was looking at both my XF100 and XF300 today and to my eyes there is quite a bit of difference to the sharpness of the screens. I find the bigger, sharper XF300 one much easier to judge focus on.
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Old April 29th, 2013, 10:32 AM   #11
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Re: C100 + Ninja 2 question

@Andy, I'd agree that C100 owners work harder than others to get focus and exposure (and, for that matter, bloody White Balance) right. I fear that the work of the Canon Marketing Department may be evident here. They know, as well as we do, that the bottom line is the clients' reaction to the image. As soon as I started working with the C100, I wanted a C300 in my life (with all the niceties of its viewfinder, etc). If the C100 had the XF300's viewfinder and codec (isn't that a C300?), wouldn't that cannibalise the XF300 market?

Of course it wouldn't - to us. Just feeling that camera manufacturers may hobble their 'second string' products to ensure it's not a 'wise' choice.
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Old April 29th, 2013, 10:38 AM   #12
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Re: C100 + Ninja 2 question

Matt I agree with you there.

For my uses the C300 is kind of the "safe bet" in that it does everything I want in one package. The only problem is that the C100+Ninja 2 bundle is half the price. With the extra 5K I could buy some quality glass, a better tripod, mic etc. But then would I still wish I had gone with the C300?

I've bought many expensive bit of gear from Canon over the years, both stills and video, but the C100 vs C300 debate is the hardest I have had to get my head around to date. It's just that massive price difference really....
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Old April 29th, 2013, 10:51 AM   #13
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Re: C100 + Ninja 2 question

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Originally Posted by Andy Solaini View Post
The C100 vs C300 debate is the hardest I have had to get my head around to date. It's just that massive price difference really....
I hope Business Schools around the world will note their Chutzpah in this product differentiation. I really, really want a C300, but cannot make a business case for it.

The F3 started out at the same price point and is now settling down as an EX3 upgrade at around 7K and S/H at 5K. If the C300 became 6K, everyone would buy it. 7K? Ouch. 8K? Let me talk to my accountant. Beyond that? Nah. Not for corporate. And with the Salford move (HOW MUCH per day?!), probably not so much for Broadcast either.

Thumbs up to Canon for getting this balance right (even more so with the timed price cuts).

For a certain type of shooter, a C100 with Ninja makes more sense than a C300. But, come on lads, we want a C300 and a baby C100 in Defence position. Canon's lined this up. I bet the EVF is a planned issue. I fully accept the AVCHD vs 422/50 - good call, without buggering up the image quality. I fully applaud Canon's giving certain things like WDR, AF with certain lenses and Auto Iris even, to the C100. I hate them for taking out interval record, 50fps and 720p, but that's what they're asking more money for.

It is a 100% excellent cut-and-dried case of product differentiation. "Just because they can" isn't "Just becuase they should" - aaargh! :-D
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Old April 30th, 2013, 02:51 AM   #14
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Re: C100 + Ninja 2 question

Hi Andy.

I was in a similar boat to you a few weeks back. For me, it just boiled down to: do I need this camera for broadcast acquisition? Right now?

Matt has made some wise observations there. Here's my 2p worth to add to his:

When it was launched, my impression of the C300 spec was that it was a quick fix to address the BBC/EBU's rather sniffy/dismissive view on the 5DII, with it's line skipping etc. At the time, lots of APs were sneaking 5DIIs onto shoots and shooting more stuff than they should and there was quite a lot of heat between production and the techno-nazis.

Canon also know that, if a product is "BBC approved", their sales figures will rocket - and the rental houses have obliged by buying C300s by the truckload. Panasonic used to have a guy permanently housed in White City, while they road-mapped AVC Intra, and look at JVC with their recent marketing gift from the BBC with the HM600 series.

The 50 Meg MPEG2 codec scraped the C300 into bare minmum broadcast spec - as far as I can see, it has ONLY sold the way it has because it simply ticks the "broadcast spec" box (and produces that Canon DSLR mojo that everyone was clamouring for.) It certainly didn't otherwise make sense to most cash-pressed solo operators, who were making a decent living with their 5DIIs.

So the way I see it, the only reason one would buy a C300 now is to use it in anger solely for broadcast production and to be happy to write it off within a year or so - after which clients will be wanting the next shiny toy. It's a little long in the tooth now and the 50 Meg codec looks woefully inadequate in the context of the C300 being used as the primary camera in many high-end productions.

The C100 viewfinder issue is more of a sideshow for me at the moment - it would be nice to have a more functional viewfinder, but most of the time I'm using the LCD screen. I had one shot last week where I was scrunched over the LCD in bright sunlight, but I'm otherwise very happy so far with the quality of the C100 LCD. It's early days for me with the C100 - but I'm confident the EVF is not a deal-breaker.

Regarding the advantage of the 300 being "self contained": At the moment, I think the challenge with the Ninja 2 is how you mount it. It just doesn't seem to be a very logical form factor for use with the C100 and, because it has batteries on the back, won't tuck in tight to the camera - which I would want in the heat of production. The BM Shuttle seems more usefully shaped - I just wish they supported standard ProRes - I don't want the higher bitrate HQ codec. Another option might be to run an external recorder in your pocket/around your neck in a pouch - might not sound ideal, but I did that with my Micron radio mic receiver last week after a couple of days because it unbalanced the C100 and became too much faff. I'm sure this whole space in the market will continue to develop.

The difference between the 300 and 100 here in the UK is just a peep over 5K +VAT. That buys you a set of decent glass that will last you years.

Alternatively, wager that 5K to the dwindling group of engineers at the BBC to tell the real world difference in a blind A/B test between the C100's 24 Meg H264 codec and the ancient 50 Meg MPEG2 codec. You could then win yourself another 5K and buy yourself a nice holiday into the bargain... :-)

Don't get me wrong, the minimum specs exist to weed out numpty issues, such as bad image exposure and cack-handed multiple-transcoded workflows. They're a fail-safe as part of the whole transmission chain, which suffers repeated compression/decompression from acquisition to publishing.

But for productions that will generally go out on the web and/or randomly set-up client projectors/monitors etc etc? I don't know why you'd bother with extra cost of the C300 - unless it definitely makes you more money.

Oh, and in case it's not clear, I bought the C100 2 weeks ago for 3275. Plus the 24-105, 70-200/2.8 and a Tokina 11-16, with budget left over to sit in the bank. I also use an ancient Nikkor 50/1.4 and a Contax 28/2.8 and I'm really pleased with the results I've got so far.

Sorry to ramble - there might be something useful in there!

Ben.
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Old April 30th, 2013, 11:11 AM   #15
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Re: C100 + Ninja 2 question

Ben what you posted is really useful and you give a very reasoned and wise assessment. As I am kind of new to the video side of things (I'm coming from a stills background) I don't actually need broadcast approved equipment. The projects I have coming up will all be for either DVD/BR or web.
I think the C300 is more of a camera I want but can't justify financially. When I get more set up in my business the C300 will most likely have been succeeded by the next new piece of technology so buying it now seems a bit silly really. It's extra features would certainly be nice but over the C100 I don't think a better LCD, viewfinder, 50mbps codec and interval recording are really worth an extra 5K to me at the moment.

I'm pleased to hear you say using older MF lenses on the C100 works ok. Is that the case with most of the older lenses? I would be very tempted to try some because they are just so much cheaper than Canon L glass. I have a 24-105 and 70-200 f2.0 mkII at the moment so I could do with adding a few large aperture primes.
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