The Next Gen in Digital Film Capture: Canon’s 4K 1DC
- April 16, 2012
- Shane Hurlbut, ASC
Today, I stand on the NAB floor with my wife Lydia, CEO of Hurlbut Visuals. We both reflect on how far we have come. It was Lydia’s vision to build the educational / inspirational HURLBLOG, which passes on our collective experience and trail blazing spirit. She envisioned the innovation arm, our Master Cinema Series in conjunction with the Letus Corporation to toss gasoline on the revolutionary fire, and the Hurlbut Visuals’ creation arm that has produced the next chapter in Canon’s story. What a visionary woman.
At a trade show such as NAB, you can get caught up in looking at all the camera technology, gizmos, gadgets, etc. so quickly. But the story seems to always ground me. Today, Hurlbut Visuals launches a short film written and directed by another very talented woman, Po Chan. “The Ticket” is her follow up to “The Last 3 Minutes.” Please enjoy!!!
The Elite Team and Talent watching playback on an HP Dream Color Monitor
The right tool for the job has always been my mission. Whatever camera helps tell the story, aids in character development, helps deliver emotion and transports you to a unique cinematic world for you to experience — wouldn’t you say that is the primary goal of a cinematographer?
The 1DC on a Master Cinema series rig with Tiffen Glimmer Glass
When Canon approached me to test and shoot a short film for their new 1DC 4K DSLR, I was more than excited. This is the world that I have been trailblazing for quite some time. When the camera was delivered to Hurlbut Visuals, my Elite Team and I sent it through various tests, using what we had learned from our collective experience with the Canon 5D MK II. After the first night of testing, one word came to mind. WOW!!!
Steadicam Operator Chris McGuire operating the Steadicam with the revolution head
When you harness 4K into the small footprint of a 1D, give it the processing power to record to little CF cards with no external recording devices needed. Now that is where the WOW factor comes in. I can blind you with tech specs, wine and dine you with test footage, but this is not what I am about. If this unique device transports you and rivals 35mm film, then my job is done.
Elite Team Member Mike Svitak
Everything about this camera will blow your mind. The image stands alone, with not even one competitor entering the playing field. What you are going to see on the web will never do this camera justice. You need to run out, knock down doors and demand screenings of this camera on a 4K Sony or Barco projector. I have walked up to 6 inches from the screen, and you cannot see a pixel. If there were only one booth, you could visit this week, that booth would be Canon. This is a company that I believe in, not because they make the best DSLRs in the world, but because they are coming from R & D that is about replicating film, not HD video. This is a big difference. Canon is delivering DIGITAL FILM, now in 4K, and in this creation, they combined both divisions – Video and DLSR. So you are getting the collective brain power of two huge engineering monoliths. This is a big step for Canon.
This is as Techie as I get
Out of the gate, the camera functions just like a 5D, 1D. It uses the same menus, and it is easy to navigate. You can save all your favorites and settings on a CF card and pass them from camera to camera. It records 23.98 at 4K at a size bigger than super 35, which gives you a shallower depth of field. It has a mirroring function so that you can view the back LCD screen, as well as an external EVF or monitor. 4GB equals 1 minute of 4K. Lexar cards that process at 1000 mb/s, UDMA 7 are the only things that can capture this baby. 60p at 1080 Full frame sensor, so you gain all the benefits that the 5D’s full frame sensor gave you. Rolling shutter was less apparent. Moire did not exist. Picture styles are like on the 5D, so you can go in there and make your own.
Canon Log was one of the most exciting functions of the 1DC. At 400 ISO, it will give you a dynamic range of 12.5 stops. The log looks unbelievable. You can expose it easily, not like Cinestyle or other flat files. No h.264 codec here. This records to motion jpegs, and the WOW factor goes up when you see how the slight compression to the cards makes it look just like film. This compression, that I have embraced and love, softens the highlights, skin and rounds the 4K capture.
The contrast ratio feels more like a hill than a cliff. Skin tones are absolutely beautiful. Vitality abounds with the Canon’s sensor and color space. I could care less that it is 8 BIT color. I am getting it very close, and Dave Cole, our colorist at Technicolor, had a huge range to deal with. Canon’s 8 BIT feels like 12 BIT with its color space and reproduction.
The effective native ISO of the chip is 400 ISO in Canon Log. There are no native ISOs like the 5D, 7D, and 1D. Through testing, I was able to go to 6400 on the Neutral picture style as well as Canon Log and see the noise that I saw at 1600 ISO on the Canon 5D, which is what 70% of the night photography was shot at on Act of Valor. That noise is minimal. It doesn’t look like the C300 at 6400 ISO, which looks very noisy and a grain texture equal to 5219 pushed two stops, which is marginal. Shooting at 6400 ISO, with minimal noise/grain will shake things up. I felt that it handled the highlights of night photography wonderfully on Canon Log. Holding all detail in color on neon, flo’s, street lamps with no hot burning video looking boca. There was no evidence of sensor pattern in the out of focus highlights that you get from every other camera. It just plain looked like film. This is an A Camera system. Period!!!!
This is just the beginning of a 5 week series about the inner workings of The Ticket. There will be a BTS post, two lighting posts, a producing post and texture process post, so stay tuned. Thank you to Simon Beins and The Three Fishermen for the original song “Those Kisses” on “The Ticket.”