With all the different cameras on the market today, which one do you think is most likely to be in every cinematographer’s tool kit? I would guess it’s a Canon 5D, or maybe a Canon 7D. During the last couple of years, Canon has made impressive strides at entering the cinematography marketplace, and has certainly become the darling camera for indie filmmakers. I’ve been shooting with the Canon’s a bit this past month to see what the fuss is all about, and I have to admit, the filmic image quality for the price point is hard to beat. Which led me to attending last night’s seminar “Understanding Canon Log,” at the LA Film School. Presented by Canon, and delivered by Light Iron CEO, Michael Cioni, the seminar focused on what the new Canon C300 modes have to offer, and how shooting in the Canon Log mode can achieve even more dynamic range and flexibility in post, than ever before in a Canon camera.
Canon Log is a brand new gamma setting that comes with the C300, and is similar to that of shooting in “raw” mode for the camera’s video function. In a thorough presentation with charts and curves and a live color correct demo using Colorfront, projected in the LA Film School’s 4K Theater, Cioni explained the various camera modes and how they differed from each other in dynamic range. Log was the winner, with 9 stops, while the other settings, including Cine 1 and Cine 2, had 7.5 stops. Shooting in Log mode definitely sees more in the highlights and offers additional shadow detail, guaranteeing you an additional 1/2 stop in the low end.
Keep in mind that shooting Canon Log will require an extra step color correcting in post, because these files have the look of “raw” files when captured —they appear lower in contrast in order to gain the extra latitude. If you’re working on a project where you need to deliver the images right away and will not be have time to get into a color correct suite, you can always shoot in the EOS Standard Setting, which also gives you a great look, but it “bakes the color in” and limits you in post. However, if you are looking for the most creative color flexibility with your images, shooting Canon Log is a great option to have.
What you need to know as a filmmaker is that the new Canon C300’s Log mode can allow your film’s images to look even better than what you might be used to achieving with prior Canon camera settings. The C300 is Canon’s latest innovation that brings their technology even closer to the professional cinematography space, putting even more creative flexibility and higher quality images into the hands of filmmakers. The images are beautiful and allow for great range in the low ends, and as Cioni stated several times during last night’s presentation, “Canon makes the quietest sensor in a camera.”