From Dock to Dish: A Beautiful Documentary Shot on the New Canon C200

As with every new product, Canon sponsors a number of projects to show the capabilities of their upcoming C200 cinema camera. Indeed, it has great features at its price level, but what is a great camera without a good example how it was used? The perfect film marriage is between a beautiful story, captivating visuals, and audio that ties it altogether. I think we have them all here, including a glimpse of how it was done behind the scenes.

This short film is about something very simple we take for granted: the fish we order in the restaurant. The documentary explores the process of catching, transporting, delivering, and preparing the fish. It is amazing how many people are actually involved in the chain. I like how the production team have managed to add a romantic feel to the story. My favorite part is the beginning when the fishermen go on their daily routine on a misty early morning.

After you've watched the documentary you can check the behind the scenes. You will find that the camera is only a piece in the production puzzle, but still an essential one. And by the way, it makes me feel kind of nervous when I see all that gear floating on a boat.

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Eric Gould's picture

The first thing that came to mind is it looks to me like Blackmagic footage.

Tihomir Lazarov's picture

Why do you think so? The magenta/blue tint in the starting scene?

Eric Gould's picture

Yes absolutely and the way the light looks at night in the opening too.

Tihomir Lazarov's picture

Could be just the color grading :) I doubt Canon have altered their sensor behavior when it comes to red and yellow colors.

Rather than color grading it's interesting if there's a difference in the color tint when you push the ISO higher (as in the first scene).

Joe Santos's picture

Love it

Tihomir Lazarov's picture

Yes. Most of the time I have a prejudice toward documentaries for most of them being quite boring, but this one is very nice, both informative and pleasing to the eyes and ears.

Martin Joly's picture

the C300 will give you a rolling shutter on fast pans. Sony has a better camera with a global shutter with F55.

Tihomir Lazarov's picture

Could be. But it's about the C200 here. BTW, Canon has cinema cameras with a global shutter too.

If a film is all about panning, then one will use an appropriate camera for the job. If the film doesn't have lots of panning the choice of camera may depend on other factors (e.g. low light, frame rate, exteriors or interiors, etc.)

Michael Kormos's picture

Aren't most Hollywood movies still shot on film? Despite digital Arri and RED having been around for decades? Where does something like this Canon fit in? Not being a smarty pants - I'm honestly curious. I know nothing about video. It just seems like the cost of a video system is 10-100 times higher than a photography system (body, lenses, accessories). Surely the market must be significantly smaller for pro video than for photography, yet there seems to be an astounding number of video camera systems.

Tihomir Lazarov's picture

The majority of the Hollywood movies are shot on digital. For example the movie "Need for Speed" is shot on the Canon C300 (the first version).

"Her" is also partially shot on Canon C300 along with Arri. If you go to the websites of Arri or RED, they have a page listing movies shot on these cameras. Check "Mobius", shot on the C300 also:

Every camera has its own strengths. There are cameras that are great in low light situations. Others are great for interiors with artificial lighting. Others are used for exteriors with huge contrast. There are frequent cases when movies are shot on several types of cameras. A good example is Need for Speed above. It used GoPros and Canon 5D mark II's too for the car stunts (no CG here, it's all real car stunts). There were cases they used more than 15-20 cameras (C300, 5D mark II's and GoPros) to capture the moment.

Yes, video costs a lot more for a reason. Well, most of it has its reasons. One of the obvious reasons is the need for a bigger dynamic range because it's not a still photo that you can easily light with flash. You probably won't have that lights available because you need power generators and lots of Watts to do something you can make with speedlights for a single image. Here comes the dynamic range where you can shoot in a certain format giving you the ability to pull up or down highlights or shadows for a desired effect. There's motion in the film, not only by the subjects in frame, but the camera and optics also change their position and view. There is a need for stabilization of the camera movement and also smooth zoom or focus racking which still lenses don't have.

And the list goes on and on... So do the prices, unfortunately.

Trushar Patel's picture

I have to say, the BTS paints a totally different picture and possibly gives a conflicted view of the camera.

It would have been a much better portrayal if the short was made with an indie level of support, especially since this is where the camera is supposed to be aimed at. I don't think anyone is fooled into thinking that this is a bonafide cinema camera but rather something more suitable for the wedding industry

Tihomir Lazarov's picture

It actually gets the job done. The sensor in Canon C100 (the first model) is the same as in C300 and C500. The C300 is used on Hollywood movies too. The sensor of the C200 is either the same as the C300 (mark X) or the C700, not sure, but it's a great sensor looking at the example here.

If you have used the C series cinema cameras you will find that in terms of dynamic range it ges the job done. If you need things like "better monitor", you either buy the more expensive C series camera or get a higher quality external monitor for the lower model. If you need higher bit rate, you use an external recorder. If you don't shoot lots of slow motion (for example) and don't need 4K, you can shoot a Hollywood-like movie with the C100. Most of the films shot on the digital Arri are shot on a 3.2K camera and delivered in 2K (see my article "Do you need 4K at all"). Each new version of the Canon cinema cameras offers add-ons (both software and hardware) to the sensor they already have even in the lowest models.

The BTS shows a normal picture. They need stabilization for the walking shots. They need stabilization for the shots in the sea. They could use a classic steadicam but they used a gimbal head. They had the camera rigged with all sorts of external wireless monitors for the director, audio input, follow focus units, etc. There's nothing strange that I find and I think it's pretty normal for a production like that. There's not much space on the boat so the director is side by side with the camera operator looking at a small monitor on a bright day. It's a huge gimbal so it's better to have a wireless monitoring system to check what's going on.

I'm sure more and more examples will come that show these cameras can be used for a variety of films including beautiful wedding videos.

Tihomir Lazarov's picture

Your comment was in a good direction which made me write this article that explains why they rigged the camera in such a complex way: