Man, is this thing ugly. But when it comes to cinema cameras, looks are the last thing on a cinematographer’s mind — performance is where it counts, and with the Canon C300, its compact size is an asset as well. We haven’t had a chance to shoot with Canon’s new flagship cinema cam, but we’ve heard from plenty of folks who have, including director Vincent Laforet. The C300′s incredibly compact size allows cinematographers to work in environments that aren’t typically accessible to big rigs — you can shoot with this camera just as easily as you can with a DSLR, hand-holding it for quick shots, with a waist-mounted Steadicam system for walk-around shoots or even mounting it on a small remote-controlled helicopter, as Laforet did during his three-day Mobius shoot.
The C300 will be more familiar to cinematographers — photojournalists may have access to the cam, thanks to its $20,000 price tag (that’s a relative bargain, believe it or not), but you can’t pick this up and fire away without taking some time to learn the interface. It has quite the solid feel, as you’d expect from a camera in this price range, though it’s not as heavy as it looks — you won’t want to hold it in your hand for a full day of filming, but quick shots probably won’t be an issue. The system is modular, so you can add and remove components as you wish — industry standard connectors let you hook up cinema gear, which is something you could never do with the 5D Mark II. The small form factor and price tag to match should help Canon gain some ground in Hollywood, but we’ll wait for a chance to shoot some footage before drawing any firm conclusions. In the meantime, we’ll have to take Laforet at his word — which you’ll find just past the break.
Canon C300 makes an appearance in Vincent Laforet’s Mobius, find the short and behind the scenes right here (video)
A New York Times photojournalist turned Hollywood director, Vincent Laforet has become synonymous with DSLR video, after his short film Reverie helped catapult Canon’s 5D Mark II into the world of digital filmmaking. And after playing such a significant role in launching that camera, we certainly weren’t surprised to see Laforet make an appearance at today’s Canon Cinema event, with his short film Mobius getting some time on the big screen. The film follows a photojournalist who stumbles upon a Cartel execution, but it also tells the story of Canon’s tightly-veiled C300 cinema camera, which the company launched just moments ago. Laforet used a pre-production C300 (note the green tape button labels) to shoot Mobius in the Mojave Desert under a variety of harsh conditions, including powerful sunlight and near-darkness, in both extremely hot and chilly temperatures — the camera appears to have performed extremely well, given both the remote shooting environment and tight production schedule.
Canon has yet to reveal the C300′s price tag, which we expect to far undercut the $120,000 Arri Alexa kit, but its sheer portability makes it a more appealing option for filmmakers — especially those with limited time and other resources. Laforet was able to shoot his film with a very small crew, since the C300 can be operated by just one photographer. The director used the camera mounted on a tripod, tethered to a variety of helicopters, sitting on the road and even hand-held, like a camcorder or DSLR. Laforet shot with Canon’s new FK30-300 telephoto cine zoom PL-mount lens, along with a variety of EOS mount lenses, and notes that the camera’s form factor makes it even easier to shoot with than a DSLR like the 5D Mark II. Its cost — somewhere in the range of $20,000 — should also put it within reach of not only Hollywood cinematographers, but also television directors and even documentary filmmakers and news photojournalists. We won’t see the C300 hit the market until late January 2012, so jump past the break for a sneak peak at Mobius to see Canon’s new cinema flagship, along with a rather comprehensive behind-the-scenes video.
Well, we have to hand it to Canon — this was one tight-lipped product launch. The imaging company just unveiled its C300 cinema camera at Hollywood’s Paramount Studios, in front of a crowd of hundreds of journalists and film industry elite, including Martin Scorsese. Canon is no stranger to the professional photography community, but it has yet to make a name for itself in Hollywood, where cameras such as the Arri Alexa and RED EPIC dominate the digital filmmaking world. The C300 may not appear to be overwhelmingly powerful on paper — stock features include an EF or PL mount (not both), 1080p capture, a pair of CF card slots, timecode and HD-SDI output — but judging by the sample films we saw today, its incredibly powerful sensor and versatile form factor are likely to play a more significant role in making this camera a success.
Fujio Mitarai is saying that the camera is especially well-suited to accurate color reproduction, particularly skin tones. We’re also receiving word that the C300 will cost somewhere in the range of $20,000 — how’s that for affordable? It contains a Super 35mm CMOS sensor and delivers up to 4K resolution with the outfit’s new “top-end” EF zoom lenses, which come in four flavors: two 14.5-60mm lenses and two 30-300mm. And the lenses keep on coming, with three EF prime lenses in 24mm, 50mm, and 85mm variations. That CMOS sensor offers 1920 x 1080 pixels for the reds and blues and 1920 x 2160 for greens. Like we said before, list price for the C300 will be $20,000 when it hits stores in late January 2012. And that appears to be it for this very long announcement, but we’ll have our first impressions soon. Full PR awaits you after the break.
Alright, so in-flight entertainment systems aren’t exactly the sort of thing that people camp out for days to get first crack at. But, for those who spend a lot of time defying the laws of gravity, an upgraded seat-back system could be the difference between a pleasant trip and urinating on the cabin floor in disgust. In late 2012 Virgin America will start rolling out a new system, developed with help from Lufthansa, called BoardConnect. We don’t have all the details about the next generation of Red at the moment, but we can tell you it will include an HD monitor in every headrest, improved WiFi connectivity, and the ability to interact with your personal electronics (though, how and to what end is still somewhat unclear). Each seat will have a QWERTY-equipped remote for navigation and playing games, as well as chatting with other passengers via in-flight IM. In addition to live TV, music, games, flight tracking and on-demand movies, passengers can also order in-flight meals and peruse what we presume will be an electronic version of SkyMall — for the shopaholics on board. Check out the PR after the break for a few more details.
During our call to discuss Final Cut Pro X earlier this week, an Apple product manager boasted about the product’s low price, media management, and ground-up redesign. Unfortunately, when starting from scratch, developers seem to have overlooked a few features that professional users have come to depend on, prompting widespread backlash — both on internet forums and even on Apple’s own App Store, where the $300 download-only app currently has a rating of just 2.5 stars (out of five), including nearly 500 one-star ratings. (Note: you must purchase the app before submitting a rating or review.) The New York Times spoke to product managers about these issues, which include an inability to import old FCP files, no multicamera editing, no support for RED cameras, and no ability to specify QuickTime export settings, among many others. Apple says there are (pricey) workarounds available, or fixes on the way for all but the first issue, but head over to the source link for the full rundown at NYT.
By now you’re probably familiar with the $58,000 RED EPIC-M and what it can do, but it’s hard to properly admire its hand-machined beauty from a distance. We can’t ship you a unit, of course, but we’ve got the next best thing: close-up footage of the compact 5K beast shot with another RED camera — the original 4K RED ONE M-X. Lousiana post-production company Digital FX lovingly fondled EPIC-M #98 on camera, not to mention goodies like the Bomb EVF and 5-inch touchscreen LCD, and you can watch, drool and share your oh-so-envious thoughts with us right after the break.