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Cannes Palme d'Or Winner 'Blue is the Warmest Color' Shot on the Canon C300

05.29.13 @ 5:16AM Tags : , , , ,

Blue is the Warmest ColorThe Cannes Film Festival has finally come to an end, and the festival’s top prize, the Palme d’Or, went to Blue is the Warmest Color (also known as La Vie d’Adèle: Chapitre 1 & 2). The film, a small intimate love story, made history for a number of reasons, including being the first Palme d’Or winner based on a graphic novel, as well as the first film shot on a Canon digital camera, specifically the Canon C300. Click through for more on the film and some clips below.

Thanks to Jon Fauer, ASC at Film and Digital Times for the heads-up, here are some clips from the film (unfortunately I can’t seem to find anything higher quality):

An interview with the director and stars of the film:

The production apparently purchased two C300s from PhotoCineRent (who we have previously featured on the site for their BMCC rig setups) and two Angénieux Optimo 28mm-76mm zooms with Canon EF mounts. Why purchase the cameras instead of renting them? It seems the production lasted a very long time — at least 4 months — so it made more financial sense to buy the cameras and lenses rather than rent them over such a long period of time.

PhotoCineRent - Blue is the Warmest Color

While most previous Palme d’Or winners have been shot on film, the last two years have seen films shot only on digital — certainly a sign of the times. It’s definitely interesting that the production chose the C300, most likely for its ease-of-use, low-light abilities, and flexibility on set, as they recorded internally to CF cards. The C300 is a frequent rental of choice for many productions, and is often a lower-budget alternative to the Arri Alexa. Though a camera usually has nothing to do with what people will think of the final film, a chief argument for many against using the C300 has always been, “What films have shot with it?” That question might finally have a legitimate answer in Blue is the Warmest Color.


[via Film and Digital Times]


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  • Easy camera to operate…Sundance Film Fest had a lot of features shot on the canon 5d mark 2 and I think one on the C300.

    • The minute you mount a cinema lens (as they did here: they used two Angenieux zooms) and a rig, every camera is pretty much the same in terms of true operating – minus the weight, but that’s another issue.

  • The C300 is just an awesome camera! It’s sad its price range, however It is a pro market success.

    Now… When ML RAW turns to be usable in a pro enviromnent if ever, We’ll see lots of MKIII movies with that feature. It’s just too good to be true. But still not nearly as friendly as C300 workflow…

    • Chris Lambert on 05.29.13 @ 8:21AM

      I was thinking about this last night and I think a lot of the slack people gave Philip Bloom for his oppinion is unjustified, I have messed around with RAW files in timelapse sequences (granted 18mp not 2mp images) and my ssd + hdd, 16gb ram, 2011 macbook pro took forever to process the images all for a 20-30second clip. The sheer processing power, cf card price, cf card size is going to be a massive restriction for 90+% of the people raving about this.

      The lowlight performance does sound good but in an industry where time is money the C1/300′s offer probably a more attractive alternative.

      Surely Canon will have to patch some kind of 2k mode into the C300 or the same 4k mode as the 1DC is using in response to recent events?

    • Im sorry but the 8bit limit of the c300 and canon 1dc is just not good enough, not to mention the headache of banding and a lil moire in shots, even shane hurblurt did an article on the banding contributing it to 8 bit limit.

      Im sorry i just feel canon could have gave more internally higher than 8 bit color space limit, its a documentary camera only in my opinion.

      When and if the black magic pocket camera comes out and releases a firmware for lossless raw dng , then it will truely become the #1 indie camera. It can utilize super 16 lens, small sensor / raw ouput would be friendly to green screen work, and no dropped frame due to sd internal cards, it stills boggles me why they did not choose to use cf cards but if SD’s work then ok fine

  • Glad the film got the Palme d’Or,

    although the film had quite some bad publicity, as the director has seemed to treat the film crew like shit.
    (no credits, eating oyster and champagne with the actors during shooting times…)

    • “eating oyster and champagne with the actors during shooting times” Now that’s just too funny. And the film itself does look awful, BTW, what a HORRIBLE title. Pretentious nonsense.

      • It’s common for lead actors to be treated well, and for the director to sit down with his two stars to discuss the film over a glass of wine, what could be wrong with that?

        As far as looking awful, I have yet to watch a Palme d’Or winning film, or any of the selections, that was “awful”. Quite the contrary. But the number of people in the industry who have no clue about any of the great auteurs in international cinema is astonishing.

        • Get your facts right, he was actually eating oysters with the actresses because one of them couldn’t stand them and he wanted to film ~the reality of her throwing up~ and shit. He treated them pretty horribly too, not just the crew.

    • Not surprised in the slightest. A lot of so-called independent filmmakers cheat the people who work on their movies by refusing to pay even a single nickel as it would cut into their latte budget ( or I should say oyster and champagne budget) . Say what you want about studio level films or TV, at least they pay their crew.

      • Who here has seen the film. Pretentious? Nonsense? Have some humanity and at least see the film before you trash it.

        • For some reason amongst users here there is an escalation in anti-art bleatings. Zero tolerance for the so called ‘artsy’ films. You lot who are so threatened by art lose so much, in life and love and should look for new work away from film like maybe interning at Fox News.

          “when I hear the word culture, I reach for my gun”

    • Boy, you must take a peek into Hollywood productions, that’s gonna rock your world.

  • In the end is about the story and the Directors vision for the film.

  • In the end, it’s about the story and the director’s vision for the film.

    • Wow, that’s a lot of warp stabilizer!

      • Wow… it’s not there in the youtube clip, but is definitely very apparent in this download clip!

      • LOL yeah the film was kinda shaky .

        Just pulling for BMC to not only deliver pocket cam but the firmware for raw dng, because prores does not do it for me sorry, 12 bit 13 stops would be amazing, the only thing i would use the c300 or 1dc for would be low light and maybe not even that if magic lantern delivers a stable hack with sound

  • Not bad at all, I’m not really a fan of the C300 for narrative type stuff as it seems to look a bit awkward for a film, but it came out decent enough here. I think RED, BMCC or even the F3 might have provided a better aesthetic though. As to the film, it looks quite good, can’t wait to check this out!

  • is it just me or is the story played out and done a million times, yet the festivals eat them up.
    The outside shot looks terrible…….

  • john jeffries on 05.29.13 @ 1:17PM

    I played with a C300 a while ago at an abelcine event. Ergonomics are cool but the images it makes are soap-opera like. But hey, can’t argue with cannes

    • Amen. Straight out of the camera, I’ve never seen anything shot with a C300 that said “filmic” to me. I have a C100 with a Ninja 2. In C-Log with the G-R channel and Phase tweaked a notch, it looks awesome. Throw Filmconvert over it with a little grain and voila.

  • I don’t understand why people say the shots look terrible. They look great to me. What’s truly amazing are the performances the director got out of those young actors. You don’t even have to read the subtitles and you can emotionally understand everything that’s going on with them. This is what we should strive for in our narrative work.

  • Oh gosh… How a film not shoot in 8 bits not raw won this…

    • Gay rights maybe, it’s so important to our society, right? Way more important than the failing economics and intellectual degradation.

      • Human rights versus economic stability versus intellectualism?
        They’re all important; I don’t see why humanity can’t progress on all fronts.

    • I’d venture a guess that the criteria for consideration for the Palme d’Or simply didn’t include discussions weighing the merits of different bit depths per color channel as recorded to the source footage of their submissions.

  • I have seen it. Its a TERRIFIC film. Don’t be fooled by the Cinemax logline.
    Those Optimos are a fantastic combo with the C300 (and PhotoCineRent are one of the few places around that have them in EF and F mount in stock!). Just the best short zooms in the world.
    Not once did the look pull me out of the film. They wanted a naturalistic feel – they got it, but without any artifacts that would have moved it into ‘gritty’.
    If you’re shooting for an extended period (over 40 days) it makes real sense to buy the kit. And always buy two matching cameras.
    And the C300 is really the best choice when you see this film. If the C100 had been around would not have shocked me to see that used too – its a very intimate film.

  • the least reason why this film won is the camera it was shot with…
    we are at a point where the camera doesn’t matter anymore, Alexa, RED, BMC, Canon whatever. Anyone can afford a camera that can make good enough images.

    • U$800 micro3/4 cmaera used to shot the magnificent “Upstream Color” film agrees with you!

      • Yes, but that film definitely qualified as ‘gritty’. There are some nice moments, but a few times I found myself wishing we’d lent him an Alexa.

        • But that was purely down to aesthetic choices more than production ones. An Alexa could have yielded images with wider dynamic range, but other than that they’d be just as “gritty”.

          • Have to agrea. I think he abused the image, but that is purely his choice, and his right. Kind of of similar in the way Richard Kelly uses grading in The Box and Southland Tales, extreme. That being said, I think the GH2 or 3? Can’t remember. Is way enough to make a quality film. Story! We are way beyond the point where the camera matters. Go watch the graduate, look like shit in the traditional camera spec sense. But one hell of a movie! I think we’re even at the point that making a camera look ‘worse’ is becoming more and more important.

    • -1000
      this is not a site for audience goers its a site for aspiring filmmakers. In good filmmaking, everything matters.

  • Just read the piece about how his crew absolutely hated him, and he loves to improvise so the shoot kept dragging on.
    When the distributors turned up to see the discord on set, for them he reshot scenes they’d already done without letting on. Everything looked smooth (why not? Everyone had already worked out that scene)

  • I believe you meant to write, “Blue is the Warmest Colour.” :)

    • I actually debated about that for a long time, seeing it written different ways. I guess since it’s not the original title any way we can take some liberties with British/American English spellings.

  • A d7100 produce the same if not better picture externally for a fraction of the price of the c100 and alot cheaper than c300 minus ND filters

    • The C100 produces much more detail. While the D7100 is very clean in higher ISOs, it’s nowhere near the video quality and usability of a C100. The D800 is the highest-resolving Nikon DSLR and it’s still below the C100.

  • Who cares about 8-bit or 10-bit? Colorists? DITs? Plenty of DPs I know don’t give a shit as long as they are shooting and getting paid. The audience could care less as long as it doesn’t take them out of the story. George Lucas, Robert Rodriguez, and Francis Ford Coppola have all shot movies in 8-bit. Ever heard of Star Wars 2: Attack of the Clones? Once Upon a Time in Mexico? Tetro? Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (not my fave)? If it was good enough for some of the biggest directors in the world I’m pretty sure its good enough for the rest of us. I won’t even mention the films shot on minidv (ha! remember that?!).

    From my own experience the C300 is an amazing camera that can shoot anything you need it to. Features, music videos, docs, you name it. I even met a guy who bought one immediately after using it side by side with an Alexa. IQ is determined by the operator not the camera itself. Put a camera in a dark room with no light and they all look the same….. like crap.

    Sorry bout the rant but pixel peepers get on my nerves :-/

    • john jeffries on 05.29.13 @ 11:53PM

      “The audience could care less as long as it doesn’t take them out of the story.”

      People always say this to justify particular cameras and it’s just not true. The audience likes to be dazzled, they like colors and shit. You need a system that gives you freedom to make dazzling shit

      • I disagree. Audiences like to relate, and judging by the clips provided, I think teens won’t have a hard time relating.

        Mind you, this is only the second time I’ve heard of the film. Hopefully it will see theatrical distribution here in the states or be released on VOD. I still have to catch “Upstream Color” on iTunes sometime this weekend (GH2 user here).

    • I once said the same thing, but after a year in participating on this site, “i just don’t know” my eyes have become keen with higher quality cinema produced from digital camera’s with greater dynamic range.

      Of course you could shoot with a c100 but ultimately the goal is to produce something near film like, its amazing that films shot decades ago still look beautiful and could still be remastered becasue of the beauty of film. The same goes for technology and a greater dynamic range/ resolution of newer cameras.

      We can argue all day about 8 bit vs 12bit vs 14 bit or banding and moire, but if i have the option of one day picking up a pocket camera that could produce losseless 12 bit beautiful images without the drawbacks of yesterdays DSLR’s for a fraction of a studio camera, well im all in and i refuse to work with anything else.

      Id rather rent a better camera like most big productions do by the way as opossed to owning a 8bit 1080p camera costing 16k

    • @ filmisart. Lucas, Rodriguez and Coppola shot on film. That film was scanned at bit rates exceeding 8 bits. I give a shit and higher bit trades do matter. It gives the image much more elasticity and is much easier to color grade. Anyone who disagrees exposes themselves as amateurs. A Colorist ALWAYS wants greater bit depth as it gives much greater control over the look and feel of the film which, is always a good thing. 8 bit is only defended by people who don’t know any better, are invested heavily in cameras that can’t record anything better or those who are backed by Canon.

  • Julie Maroh, the author of the book on which the film was based, responds.

    (translated from the original French)

    • thx, just read it…and reading the last paragraph proofs to me that the director really IS an a*”*’°*’
      The film might be good but most know it won for political reasons and timing was very lucky due to the current debates and happenings in france, but no matter how good this movie is, I lose respect for people and their work if they behave like that. makes me angry

  • me too..don’t care about this film anymore…the director is an..a hole…the crew was treated like shit and didn’t get paid..! and they give him an award

  • Looks like a good film, with important subject matter. As to the aesthetics… C300 doesn’t look all that great here, it’s very soap-operaish. They definitely should have rented the Alexa, I think the quality of the film would have improved immensely.

  • don’t think you’ll see it in the States since they have a real sex scene in the movie and one of the actresses was a minor at the time…they should have done a little more research on this film before handing out an award

  • Those highlights look awful!