Despite all of these new breakthroughs in camera resolution technology, something significant has begun to take hold in the indie filmmaker scene.
Indie filmmakers are coming to the realization that STORY is the one thing that holds the most value with their independent films.
Dave's final thoughts reflect something that should resonate with a lot of us indie filmmakers.
I’ve learned that you should buy a camera based off of your own needs, not your idols’ needs. Movies like The Social Network may look amazing, but owning a RED doesn’t mean that your footage with look anything like David Fincher’s.
It is my current belief that we as storytellers, have become consumed with the notion that higher resolution cameras somehow make our storytelling better, when in fact, the opposite is true.
This brings me to the Canon C100, a camera that I believe is revolutionizing the indie film scene.
While several of my corporate and indie projects have been shot using the Canon 5D/7D DSLRS, I decided it was time for an upgrade.
The Canon C100 was immediately on my list of possible camera upgrades for various reasons. While the EF Mount & C-Log capabilities are all great features, I was more thrilled to learn that Canon had finally made a cinematic Camera at the $5k price point with good audio capabilities.
While I still bring my professional sound kit along to a majority of my production shoots for dialogue recording, the 16-bit XLR audio capability gives me the chance to capture great background and ambient sound of the environment.
Since I have a background in Sound, the audio capabilities from a DSLR was never good enough for me, even with the use of the Rode VideoMic Pro.
Thanks to the XLR inputs on the C100, I can now send good quality reference audio to the camera as another means of audio backup during a production shoot.
With the Canon C100, I can mount my shotgun mics and get much better background audio. The form factor of the C100 is also perfect as it is only a bit bigger than your standard DSLR body.
It is very user friendly and with the Auto Focus upgrade, it enhances documentary filmmaking by helping the user focus on the action at hand without missing a beat.
I had the opportunity to test the low light capability, C-Log profile, AF upgrade, and the AVCHD 4:2:0 codec during one of my documentary film productions. I was limited to using a very slow zoom lens for capturing a lot of action (28-135mm 3.5-5.6 Canon Lens).
I had to set my Canon C100 to an ISO setting of 6400 in order to overcome the low light environment and the slow zoom lens.
I was amazed, to say the least, with the results of what the Canon C100 is able to do in low light. As you can see from the ungraded C-Log AVCHD footage above, the Canon C100 produces a very organic film look, even at 6400 ISO.
Another great advantage of this camera is the fact that a majority of my DSLR accessories easily made the transfer over the C100 camera.
I purchased the Zacuto C100 Camera Plate to get the most out of my Zacuto DSLR accessories, including the Zacuto EVF.
That's not to say the Canon C100 isn't without its own drawbacks and quirks. The most noticeable one is the C100's eye piece. Don't even try to use it without a C-Cup.
The C100's LCD is okay for reference, but I wouldn't use it as a color accurate representation of your shots.
As you can see from the photos below, the Zacuto EVF will give you a more accurate representation of the C100's color space than the actual C100 LCD.
While the camera lacks a decent 4:2:2 internal codec, the AVCHD 4:2:0 codec performs well above average. If your delivery medium is web based, then the 4:2:0 codec is more than enough.
In case of an indie film or commercial production, I'm more likely to throw on the Sound Devices Pix240 or a Ninja Blade in order to take advantage of the camera's uncompressed 4:2:2 signal via its HDMI out.
As a former Panasonic HPX170 owner, the lack of an internal 4:2:2 codec the ability to overcrank and undercrank is missed, but I feel that the 35mm sensor, dynamic range, and low light capabilities are fantastic with the C100.
As of October 22, 2014, Canon has announced that it will be shipping the new Canon C100 Mark II at the end of the year.
The C100MKII does address the LCD and EVF issues that I stated above and as an added bonus allows for 1080p/60fps recording for slow motion capture.
In my personal opinion, a majority of filmmakers and video production businesses don't need a 4K workflow option yet as the delivery medium for various clients is still 1080p.
Also, don't despair if you bought a Canon C100 recently only to feel like you jumped in too early and didn't wait for the Canon C100 Mark II.
The Canon C100 and the upcoming Canon C100 Mark II are still some of the best cameras out there for indie filmmakers to tell their stories.
Focus on the story and the rest will fall into place.