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Old October 16th, 2015, 05:09 PM   #1
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First full day shoot with the C100 - How it went

Well, I just wrapped up my first full day shoot with the C100. Things went very well, overall.

As I had stated in previous posts, I moved from ENG style cameras to the C100. I was a bit apprehensive as I had become so accustomed to shooting with ENG gear. Though I had done DSLR video work in the past, I always found it slow and cumbersome. Having a broadcast camera with a ENG lens on it always allowed me to shoot much faster.

After finishing the shoot, I am happy to conclude that I think the C100 will work great for me. Using a Manfrotto monopod and a Sigma 18-50mm f2.8 lens I was able to move around and shoot almost as quickly as I could handheld with my old JVC HM700. However, the monopod made the footage even steadier than what I would get shooting off my shoulder, which was very nice for the work I was doing.

There are some things, though, that I will have to get used to-

The Viewfinder/LCD Screen:

Alright, obviously not the camera's strong point. Though I did find them usable enough, the LCD on my JVC was much larger, and seemed to have higher resolution. I could flip it around for viewing at all kinds of angles. In comparison, the C100 was limiting. I did use a field monitor when absolutely necessary, but I prefer to shoot with as little gear as possible.

The viewfinder reminded me of the viewfinder on my old Sony PDX10, which is not great at all. I was still able to achieve okay focus with the PD10, but that was an SD camera. Luckily I wasn't in a situation where I had to rely on the C100's viewfinder for pulling focus.

White Balance:

This is just something I'm going to have to get used to. Having used ENG cameras for so long I am used to having the standard white balance switch (Preset, A, B) and a white balance button. This isn't a huge issue, its easy enough to white balance on the C100, just I found muscle memory constantly kicking in and reaching for a white balance button on the front of the camera or a switch that isn't there.

Also, the camera's LCD always seemed to look a bit too cool, perhaps even a bit green, to me. This caused me to constantly question the white balance. I accepted that I maybe was doing something wrong and would have to spend some time in Speedgrade fixing my white balance. Happily, this was not the case. Once I got into editing and could view on a calibrated monitor, things looked great. It was just the camera's LCD.

Focus:

This is the big one. Coming from ENG cameras, I am accustomed to doing a quick snap zoom in on my subject, setting the focus, and the lens keeping that focus as I zoom. This made it very easy to assure my focus was accurate- Zoom in, focus, zoom back out, the object is still in focus.

At least with the lens I was using the C100, I can't do that. As soon as I zoom my focal distance changes. Instead I found myself relying on peaking to set my focus. This ended up working out okay, but was much slower than how I used to do things. Especially because I automatically kept wanting to snap zoom in and check my focus. Old habits are hard to break, especially when it comes to focusing.

Even though I spent a lot more time focusing the camera than I did with my JVC, I still made pretty good time. This was because moving around on the monopod was a lot easier, and saved time, compared to moving a tripod all over. Also, the C100 required much less in the way of lights. So I was able to get away with much simpler light setups, that didn't take the same amount of time to do, and still have a great looking image. Once I get more practiced with the focussing on the C100, I expect my shoots will move faster than they did on my JVC.

Post Production:

Wow! As all of you know, the footage from this camera looks spectacular. It was truly beautiful. Even though I feel I had become quite adept at getting the most out of my HM700, even my best work doesn't really hold up to the C100 in terms of IQ.

With my JVC I used to shoot with a very, very flat image profile. In color grading I could then crush the blacks while maintaining shadow and highlight detail. This got rid of a lot of the shadow noise that the HM700 exhibits. Then I had different tools to further clean up and degrain the image to get clean blacks and shadows. It looked pretty good. Other people familiar with the HM700 and its noise characteristics were often blown away by my footage, as it looked so much cleaner and had so much dynamic range than what they were used to. But, this took a lot of time in post.

The C100, shooting C-log at 850iso and noise reduction set at 3 gave me such a clean, flat image, that I was able to very quickly get the look I was going for in grading. I spent maybe a tenth of the time I used to with the JVC footage. It was so much easier to grade that I almost felt like I was cheating some how and that I should be afraid of getting caught.

So there it is- My thoughts after my first full day shoot with the C100.
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Old October 16th, 2015, 10:13 PM   #2
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Re: First full day shoot with the C100 - How it went

I am likely about to take this same journey very soon, so this is interesting to me.

As for focus. . .I am used to using peaking with other cams, like the EX1. Yeah, you have to be careful with it, but I can't imagine focusing just by eye without peaking on a tiny screen, especially on a shallow DOF camera. Hell, even on a small monitor you can still miss it just enough that it looks sharp 'til you see it at home and realize you've just had a bad day.

There should be a focus assist button that zooms in the image allowing you to grab critical focus quickly.

Most still lenses are not parfocal (where you can zoom in, focus, zoom out, holds through the zoom range), from what I understand, though some are or are close enough (Canon 24-105L being a popular example).

Your LCD complaints mirror what everyone else says. Many folks use something like a Small HD DP6 or other "small" monitor mounted on board the cam even when running around, with cams like the 5D (so why not the C100?). Yeah, adds weight and bulk, but if you can handle it and it makes you feel more secure in what you're doing, gotta do what you gotta do, you know?
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Old October 17th, 2015, 07:21 AM   #3
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Re: First full day shoot with the C100 - How it went

Adam -

Yes the C100 is truly a great little camera. I made a similar journey from shooting on JVCs, in my case the shoulder mounted JVC GHD201 which I even shot a feature film with using a 35mm lens adapter.

As for focus -there is a magnification button on the grip handle -push it and it will zoom in to the magnification area. With the JVC I used to zoom in to check focus which on the lovely Fujinon servo zoom was great. But the magnification button on the C100 is just as good and even better in some respects as it does not change framing and can be done during filming. Also with the firmware upgrade the magnification area can be moved around.

In regards to the LCD yes it is poor (the viewfinder worse!) with some colour shift. I would definitely recommend getting a Ninja Blade or Shogun to go with the camera as this is an excellent workflow. Firstly for monitoring it means you are getting a much better reference image (on a Shogun it will be 1080) along with a whole array of waveforms etc to use. But even better than that is you get a harddrive with ProRes on it ready for editing. This revolutionised my workflow and quality of work.

With the C100/Ninja combination you have a very powerful camera indeed and an excellent setup resulting in something very close to what is achieved on the much more expensive C300. I would recommend getting a lockable HDMI cable to avoid accidental loss of conection. Also I would set the camera LCD up in the 2:1 magnification mode along with a luma waveform and then use the Ninja Blade for framing, meaning you can always double check focus/exposure on the LCD. I used the configuration for filming over the last 12 months, everywhere from China to Germany, and found it excellent, so much so that I have now upgraded to a C300 Mark II which is even better.

Hope that helps!
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Old October 17th, 2015, 12:14 PM   #4
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Re: First full day shoot with the C100 - How it went

Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Bass View Post
I am likely about to take this same journey very soon, so this is interesting to me.

As for focus. . .I am used to using peaking with other cams, like the EX1. Yeah, you have to be careful with it, but I can't imagine focusing just by eye without peaking on a tiny screen, especially on a shallow DOF camera. Hell, even on a small monitor you can still miss it just enough that it looks sharp 'til you see it at home and realize you've just had a bad day.

There should be a focus assist button that zooms in the image allowing you to grab critical focus quickly.

Most still lenses are not parfocal (where you can zoom in, focus, zoom out, holds through the zoom range), from what I understand, though some are or are close enough (Canon 24-105L being a popular example).

Your LCD complaints mirror what everyone else says. Many folks use something like a Small HD DP6 or other "small" monitor mounted on board the cam even when running around, with cams like the 5D (so why not the C100?). Yeah, adds weight and bulk, but if you can handle it and it makes you feel more secure in what you're doing, gotta do what you gotta do, you know?
There is indeed a magnification button that zooms in on the center portion of the screen to assist with focus. I did use it, and it works. It just isn't what I had grown accustomed to with ENG cameras.

Nearly every time I changed to a different shot I found myself automatically zooming in to set my focus, only to immediately realize that wasn't going to work and all I did was screw up my framing. I would then zoom back out, use the magnification button, then focus.

I simply need to train myself to start automatically hitting the magnification button to set my focus, not zooming. It's not hard, but I'm fighting over a decade of habit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Parkes View Post
Adam -

Yes the C100 is truly a great little camera. I made a similar journey from shooting on JVCs, in my case the shoulder mounted JVC GHD201 which I even shot a feature film with using a 35mm lens adapter.

As for focus -there is a magnification button on the grip handle -push it and it will zoom in to the magnification area. With the JVC I used to zoom in to check focus which on the lovely Fujinon servo zoom was great. But the magnification button on the C100 is just as good and even better in some respects as it does not change framing and can be done during filming. Also with the firmware upgrade the magnification area can be moved around.

In regards to the LCD yes it is poor (the viewfinder worse!) with some colour shift. I would definitely recommend getting a Ninja Blade or Shogun to go with the camera as this is an excellent workflow. Firstly for monitoring it means you are getting a much better reference image (on a Shogun it will be 1080) along with a whole array of waveforms etc to use. But even better than that is you get a harddrive with ProRes on it ready for editing. This revolutionised my workflow and quality of work.

With the C100/Ninja combination you have a very powerful camera indeed and an excellent setup resulting in something very close to what is achieved on the much more expensive C300. I would recommend getting a lockable HDMI cable to avoid accidental loss of conection. Also I would set the camera LCD up in the 2:1 magnification mode along with a luma waveform and then use the Ninja Blade for framing, meaning you can always double check focus/exposure on the LCD. I used the configuration for filming over the last 12 months, everywhere from China to Germany, and found it excellent, so much so that I have now upgraded to a C300 Mark II which is even better.

Hope that helps!
Though I would really like to get a Ninja someday, right now I simply can't justify it. Most of what I shoot is intended for the web, so the native files of the C100 are just fine for that.

Looking ahead to January I may be working on some stuff intended for broadcast, but until then the Ninja is an expense that I really can't justify.

Ultimately, I think the camera will work fine for me. I simply need to do some more shoots with it to grow more familiar with its handling.
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