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Old January 14th, 2015, 01:14 PM   #1
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Taking the plunge with $10,000

At my job, I am going to have the opportunity to upgrade video equipment. I work for a university producing promotional type videos that mostly end up on the web or played at events. I am a one man video department with limited budget. I have been using a an XF300 for the past 4 years (great cam, no complaints) and a basic Arri 3 light tungsten kit with soft box for 7 years. Still using FCP 7. I have always been in the video world vs the still photo world. Over the next 2 years I will have the opportunity to upgrade with about $10K to spend each year. First year purchases I am thinking of making are: C100 Mark II, 2 lenses TBD, a handheld rig, non-tungsten light kit. I am just learning about lenses for the C100 (and photo lenses in general) I do a lot of interviews both indoor and outside, handheld broll, subtle moving shots, and sometimes green screen. Any advice on 2 good starter lenses for the new C100? (considering my usage and that I am brand new to dslr/large sensor cameras) I am leaning toward the STM lenses, but which 2? Also, thinking of getting Kino Diva 400/401 for key light... suggestions for a couple of other lights... LEDS? I would like to move away from the standard "lit" look of traditional tungsten interview set up to a more subtle natural look. I think I can figure out the C100 with practice. My biggest questions right now are which lenses, what rig (or how to go handheld with these odd shaped cameras) and what lighting. Any and all advice on gear or how to make this switch from a traditional DV camera to the C100 is appreciated.
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Old January 14th, 2015, 05:50 PM   #2
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Re: Taking the plunge with $10,000

My 2 cents:
Assuming the point of getting the C100 MK II is to add sDOF to the capabilities of your department. You will want a 50mm f1.4 or f1.8 even though there isn't an STM version. It'll be a great A camera for interviews on a tripod. The 40mm f2.8 STM pancake will be good for handheld stuff.
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Old January 14th, 2015, 05:57 PM   #3
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Re: Taking the plunge with $10,000

IMO, the two most important aspects of one-man-crew shooting are sound and camera grip gear. I shoot some corporate stuff on occasion, including podium speakers, demos, tradeshows, and interviews with b-roll.

For sound, I use a wired COS-11D lav. I have two, but one is generally all I use. For interviews, people generally sit or stand, but they don't walk so a wired solution is fine. (For podium gigs, we tap into the sound system.)

For grip gear, I rarely use a handheld rig. I use a tripod for podium shoots and seated interviews. For in-house b-roll, we have a Kessler Pocket Jib, which is fantastic at placing the camera in odd locations, quickly. For tradeshows and stuff on-the-move, I use a monopod.

A monopod can be a jack of most trades. I can rest it on the ground for impromptu standing interviews, I can shorten it and rest it on my belt for the "human tripod" thing, and I can hold it at its balance point for faux steadicam flyover shots. I haven't pulled the trigger yet, but I plan to get a Steadicam Solo as it would improve the flyovers. I'd probably rig up a belt rod rather than use a vest and arm for human tripod stuff, though it wouldn't work for walking shots. Keep in mind that the monopod/steadicam thing is never as solid as a jib/tripod, but it sure is easier to pack into a carry on.

Picture-wise, I still shoot with a 5D2. (FWIW, a 35mm prime covers most everything I need. That would be a 24mm lens or so on the C100. Grab a 50mm lens for interviews as well.)

Yeah, audio, camera mounting/movement are the biggies for me. Lighting is up there as well, but adds a lot of complexity for a one man thing. I'll light interviews but use ambient light for most everything else. The image quality is so good with most modern cameras that it's the least of my worries for the stuff I shoot.
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Old January 14th, 2015, 08:25 PM   #4
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Re: Taking the plunge with $10,000

Without question, the Canon 17-55mm F2.8 IS is THE most used lens for my work. I have about a dozen primes, zooms, and telephotos, but I'd say the 17-55mm is on the camera a solid 60% of the time. The other 30% goes to a 70-200mm F4 IS and a Tokina 11-16mm F2.8 and the last 10% for all the others. Primes are nice but honestly, F2.8 on the 17-55mm is pretty adequate for most interviews where you don't want things to look like bokeh-city. The IS is a huge asset for doing handheld work and also smoothing out camera movement in general.

Unless you're very used to using ONLY primes, it's going to be a harsh wake-up call for you after the XF300. I do a ton of university promo type stuff and for run-n-gun type coverage, you really can't beat the two lens combo of 17-55 & 70-200 for the C100.
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Old January 14th, 2015, 11:16 PM   #5
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Re: Taking the plunge with $10,000

I agree with Nate, the EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS lens is a perfect match for the C100.
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Old January 15th, 2015, 12:28 AM   #6
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Re: Taking the plunge with $10,000

Hi Scott,

Another vote for the EF-S 17-55 f2.8. It's my most of the time lens for the C100. Not sure why you would want to hand hold all the time but the IS on this lens is nice. I do find it ok to hand hold the c100 until you put the ninja recorder on, then ergonomics go out the window.

I recently bought the Ikan IFB-576 3- light LED kit from B&H along with the Lite Panels Sola 4 LED Fresnel. The Ikans are color temp dialable from 3200-5600 and dimmable. I really like the SOLA fresnel (though the servo flood-spot is annoying). It is acting up so I will have to send it back And I might upgrade to an ARRI LED Fresnel. I do love the LED Fresnel - though they are a bit pricey. And all the lights can run on V-mount batteries. As a one-man band, I love the LED's

The only drawback to LED in my opinion is a little less punch, but for interviews... they are plenty. I diffuse them, as they can be a little sharp, but I love the fact that they run soooo cool. I just had a series of interviews in a tiny office over several days that would have absolutely cooked with tungsten, not to mention the formula: Hot lights + small office + multiple clients = potential disaster.
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Old January 15th, 2015, 08:19 AM   #7
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Re: Taking the plunge with $10,000

wow, thanks for all the great info and advice! I should not be surprised as these forums have always been a great source of help for me. (even way back in my XL1 days) I hear you loud and clear on the lenses. I know I will have a learning curve going from the XF300 to the C100, but I'm looking forward to the transition. I do probably 80% of my broll work handheld with the XF300... mainly to incorporate slow movement into my shots. I have long looked at getting a jib and/or slider but never pulled the trigger. In your experience which do you find yourself using more... jib or slider? Also, one more question... I am debating with myself on getting the ninja. Do I really need it? Most of my stuff ends up on the web. But I do occasionally work with green screen. Is the ninja (or similar) necessary for green screen work? Regardless, I like the idea of recording prores422 vs the camera codec, but is that a big deal really beyond color keying? I edit most projects in FCP 720P ProRes422 HQ (even though I shoot 1080p). I'm just wondering how much I would use the ninja vs how much I would not like it attached to the camera. Maybe I get one but just use it for color keying? Thanks!
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Old January 15th, 2015, 08:47 AM   #8
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Re: Taking the plunge with $10,000

Ignoring that the 17-55mm f2.8 lists for over $800, perhaps a fair question to ask yourself is whether you are trying to duplicate the run and gun abilities of the XF300 using a C100 Mk II and therefore need high f-stops for DOF safety and zooms for fast changing situations or, are you trying to augment the XF300 with sDOF capability? I find f2.8 borderline for the latter. You just don't get the bokeh like an f1.8 or as easily as an f1.8. Yes you can work at it like you do your XF300 but what's the point of that? Maybe you want the C100 to be a run an gun and sDOF. I don't know. But the the great thing about an interchangeable lens system is that you can get the capability at the cost of a lens and not a whole nuther camera. I agree with the comments of IS for handheld.

As for camera motion, be prepared for a learning curve. The XF300 is pretty big for a slider. The C100 better but if it's more than 20", it needs support at each end... more time and gear etc..
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Old January 15th, 2015, 12:43 PM   #9
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Re: Taking the plunge with $10,000

If you want shallower than F2.8, you might as well get a $100 nifty-fify in addition, or if you have the cash, something like a Rokinon 50mm T1.5. It's definitely up to personal preference - I tend to light and arrange my backgrounds, so I like seeing a little more of it. The thing is, un-stabilized primes are kinda terrible for handheld.

You don't NEED the Ninja. I got mine because the LCD screen on the Mk.1 is terrible. The Mk.2 is better I hear. The AVCHD footage is honestly 99% of the way to the ProRes. It's a nice monitor and the ProRes is useful in certain situations, but you don't need to shoot with it all the time. Then again, if you're not paying for it yourself, go for it.

Also, (small) slider over jib. Easier to use.

On a completely different note, I hear some of the STM lenses are pretty incredible with the AF.
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Old January 15th, 2015, 03:03 PM   #10
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Re: Taking the plunge with $10,000

A couple of things to consider:

Canon offers a kit with the C100mkII, the Atomos Ninja 2, 240GB SSD, HDMI cable, mounting arm, for $300 more then the camera body by itself, $5799. If you are looking at ProRes recording and you're on a tight budget its a no brainer. Sure, the LCD on the Ninja 2 isn't that great. But the money savings compared to buying a separate Ninja Blade are big.

This might be out of the budget but there is a great 3-lens starter kit for the C100mkII. It comes with C100mkII camera body, 16-35 f/2.8 L-series, 24-70 f/2.8 L-series, 70-200 f/2.8 IS L-series. The whole kit is $9,999, which is about $1600 cheaper then buying all those lenses and camera separately.

The Canon 17-55 f/2.8 is a good lens. I've use one for years and don't really have any complaints. It's not quite "L-series" build quality but for the money its a great value.

Primes are always a good value. You can pick up some of the mid-range photo primes for between $350-$550. My go-to lens for years was the 28mm f/1.8. It can be had for under $500. While primes are great quality value it will be a huge shift for you coming from ENG-style servo zoom lenses, like the XF305.

Let me know if you have any questions. I'm happy to help.

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Old January 15th, 2015, 03:18 PM   #11
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Re: Taking the plunge with $10,000

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Lancaster View Post
I have long looked at getting a jib and/or slider but never pulled the trigger. In your experience which do you find yourself using more... jib or slider?
Personally, I use the jib more, but only in-house. For traveling, a slider is way more efficient.

With a large sensor cam and available light, don't forget about focus. I generally use a slider for macro shots from side to side. It's great when showing small technology, but because of the challenges of pulling focus, I avoid going in/out. We have a 1st gen Pocket Slider and I find that I do lots of takes. For small scale shooting, any imperfection shows up big time. Since I don't have a motor, the imperfection is generally due to my limited coordination and motor control. Also, for precise work, it takes time to set up multiple tripods in precise positions, etc. If you want to pan and tilt during the move, it's especially challenging. On the other hand, if you hike into the woods and do landscape shots while sliding with an out of focus rock or tree in the foreground, a slider is the way to go.

In house, the jib is our b-roll workhorse. It builds up quickly and easily. We generally use the floor wheels. (We also have the pads and track wheels, but it's a pain to switch them in and out.) With that one initial setup, we can wheel it throughout the building and simply place the camera most anywhere in 3D space. We arrive, place the camera as needed, and we're ready to shoot. (Well, we still need to do exposure, focus, etc, but as far as the camera grip part goes, we're there.) If you need to re-frame, you just move the camera and let go.

Similar to slider shots, one has to worry about focus when moving in and out. But now we're not limited to side-to-side motion. The camera can go up/down or at 45 degrees across the plane. Another advantage is that the jib has mass, so it's much easier to make smooth moves. Don't go cheap though. I used a cheap jib once and it would bounce. Our Kessler Pocket Jib was initially loose and was so-so. After tightening all the bolts, it's quite nice, though we still have to do with the limitations of physics - real-world materials flex and have tolerances. Simple moves and interesting placements can be done by one person. Complex moves using wheels generally take two. Add a third if you need to pull focus simultaneously. Still, you can do a lot alone or with a bit of help from passers-by.

The key is that I can assemble the jib/camera/weights in our equipment area, wheel it around and up/down elevators, and take lots of shots. Though assembly is quick, if I had to pack it up between shots, it could get old. If I had to carry it around without a wheeled cart, I'd wear out. If I needed to switch out wheels (pads/floor/track), I'd allow at least an additional 20 minutes (!) for each change. If somebody is waiting on you, this adds stress to the day.

While a typical jib isn't large enough to do a Touch of Evil or The Player crane shot, it works great on an indoor scale, and can do sweeps across buildings nicely.

Anyway, consider your use cases closely. It works surprisingly well for us but YMMV.
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Old January 15th, 2015, 10:54 PM   #12
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Re: Taking the plunge with $10,000

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Fairhurst View Post
Personally, I use the jib more, but only in-house. For traveling, a slider is way more efficient.

The key is that I can assemble the jib/camera/weights in our equipment area, wheel it around and up/down elevators, and take lots of shots. Though assembly is quick, if I had to pack it up between shots, it could get old. If I had to carry it around without a wheeled cart, I'd wear out. If I needed to switch out wheels (pads/floor/track), I'd allow at least an additional 20 minutes (!) for each change. If somebody is waiting on you, this adds stress to the day.
By far the most used piece of kit that I have and use other than a tripod is a slider. I have a jib, that is relatively easy to set up (for a crane that telescopes out to 15' that is) but it's size, and lugging counterweights makes it prohibitive to use in most client settings for a one man operation. It has it's moments for sure, when nothing really matches it. But if I was building from scratch, the slider would be my first get after a good tripod.

I had a Glidetrack (then upgraded to the hybrid) slider for a long time, but they are sticky, and can judder with bigger lens as you can't offset them to balance them better. I recently went to the cinevate Duzi at 24" (which really is enough for most moves, and doesn't clunk so many walls when moving it).

I was shooting interviews with the c100/17-55 f2.8 set-up and wanted a little more bokeh in the background so i used 2 stops of the built in ND and turned up the wattage a little on the subject.

Shallow DoF is a double edged sword... and it is something to consider when going handheld with a larger sensor camera. After using the 5d2 extensively for 5 years, I so love the c100 push auto focus. I have never used the continuous AF.
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Old January 16th, 2015, 09:00 AM   #13
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Re: Taking the plunge with $10,000

Thanks everyone. Lots of good info for me to consider. A lot of my work is getting broll of what is happening on campus (freshman move-in day, student life stuff, sports). But, in addition to capturing real life stuff we also schedule a few broll/photo sessions throughout the year where we set up shots with selected students and faculty. These are the best because I can walk away from the shoot knowing I got exactly what I needed. I also do lots of sit down type interviews. Definitely a lot of "run-and-gun" but also lit interviews. I think that one of the trickiest part of my transition to the C100 MKII will be finding the right handheld solution... rig?
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Old January 16th, 2015, 10:01 AM   #14
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Re: Taking the plunge with $10,000

Anybody tried this?

-ATLAS CAMERA SUPPORT

Atlas Camera support.

I've been looking at a Ronin, but haen't tried one yet, but I don't like to have my hands doing the supporting. I like to have my hands as free as possible to tweak buttons.
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Old January 16th, 2015, 12:34 PM   #15
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Re: Taking the plunge with $10,000

Coincidently a dormant thread asking about handheld C100 rigs re-activated recently, may want to take that topic there and leave breadcrumbs for those who come later....
C100 and handholding
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