August 1, 2017 at 11:40PM

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Shooting feature film with C100?

I am planning to shoot a micro budget feature film and am deliberating if a C100 paired with atomos will provide an image that will hold up. I am primarily interested in using the camera since a crew member owns it and will allow me to use it for free. However my main hesitation with the camera is the 8 bit codec internally as well as 8 bit codec output to atomos. My hope is for the film to be shown in cinemas at various film festivals. I plan to light my scenes in a controlled environment and shoot at the native ISO and expose correctly. However with shooting C-log I'm concerned the 8 bit image will fall apart when graded. Also with the image being so compressed I'm concerned that banding will be a big issue/noticeable when the film is shown on a big screen. What is your thoughts or personal experiences working with this camera?

28 Comments

If that's your camera option, you'll be fine. If you have something else to consider, weigh your options. Lots of features have been shot with DSLR cameras with smaller bitrates than the C100.

August 2, 2017 at 6:21PM

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My other option would be to purchase a GH5, I have the money to purchase this camera however if the C100 image holds up I don't think it will be worth the extra investment.

Pavle Novakovic

August 3, 2017 at 2:25PM

I would prefer the color and look of the C100 over the GH5, mainly because the C100 is an actual cinema camera whereas the GH5 is a DSLR. Regardless, you could make great cinematic imagery with either camera. Its all about what you put in front of the camera, lighting, and proper exposure. This was shot on the C100 Mark II with Atomos Ninja Flame recorder: https://vimeo.com/229317372/4e700e3b67

Please Delete

August 13, 2017 at 8:14PM

I like your think about that film, I hope it will be really great)

August 3, 2017 at 5:55AM

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Charlotte Mason
Blogger
56

If you're not comfortable in 8-bit log, shooting in a more standard colorspace is entirely ok. If you are accurate with exposure and can control the range of the scenes with lighting, you can get great results without banding.
Successful feature films have been shot in 480p 4:2:0 8-bit, so don't let the technical stuff distract you from the more important story.

August 3, 2017 at 10:36AM

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Jon Kline
Director of Photography
200

Thanks for your input, however with an 8 bit codec will gradients be an issue regardless of color profile?

Pavle Novakovic

August 3, 2017 at 11:06AM

I have to agree with Jon here, but completely get where you are coming from. I am a highly technical minded person and can let white papers and specs distract from the art form. At the end of the day shoot as close to the finished product as you can so you don't have to push the image super hard, and focus heavily on the content. I've had many a professor and filmmaker tell me that "Content is King!" There will always be those people in the audience that will make a judgement on a small flaw, that the majority of people will never notice. A poorly put together story though can sink the whole project.

I wish you the best of luck and look forward to seeing the final project shared here!

Kyle Acker

August 4, 2017 at 12:44AM

This is why highly technical people rarely manage to make good films, they let tech specs gridlock their brain, i.e.: they are focused on the wrong thing. Worry about your story, sound, light, etc ... 8 bit is the least of your problems. Grab that C100 and go for it !! You'll be more than fine.

August 4, 2017 at 10:01AM

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Well Michael, I've already shot an entire feature film on a Canon t3i. One case in which I just grabbed the camera and went for it! However I noticed lots of issues with the compressed 8 bit codec on that shoot and would like to avoid such issues this time around.

Pavle Novakovic

August 4, 2017 at 11:01AM, Edited August 4, 11:01AM

To weigh in as well, I'd just do a few tests. If you have access to the camera now do some test shots and see what you think. I own the C100 and personally love the image. Yes, it's not 10 bit, and yes it's not 4k, but its sensor is 4k which means the images you get from the sensor are beautiful and much more crisp than say, 1080 from a full-frame 5d. Also the amount of hassle you won't have to deal with, compared to the GH5 in terms of audio and ND filters, etc etc, will be something during production that will make using the C100 a real pleasure.

I haven't shot a feature on my C100 yet but having shot a feature and a number of shorts and music videos on my 5D, I can't wait. The difference is pretty mind blowing.

Also as others have said, don't let the tech get you. Sure certain distributors are demanding certain resolutions, etc, but remember that the film 28 Days Later was shot at 720p or something like that. Sure it doesn't look as sharp of AMAZING as some people have come to expect, but it's a good film (in my mind) and shot really well despite the tech, and that's what makes it worth watching.

I'd say take the money you'd put towards the GH5 and pay your actors, pay your crew, rent some lenses and other gear that'll really help you make the film better and enjoy the C100.

August 4, 2017 at 11:42AM, Edited August 4, 11:42AM

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We shot my feature debut on two cameras - a C100 and a C300. These were the cameras available to us for free, so there really wasn't a debate, but we're very happy with the look of the footage, and I bet you will be too. Good luck and have fun!

August 4, 2017 at 5:35PM

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Daniel Shar
Writer/Director
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Daniel thanks for your input. Could I ask what picture profile you used on the cameras for your feature?

Pavle Novakovic

August 4, 2017 at 7:24PM

Sure thing! We used the Canon Cinema Profile.

Daniel Shar

August 5, 2017 at 1:32PM, Edited August 5, 1:32PM

My two cents.

I shot with this camera and Atomos recorder for an independent film as you're thinking of doing. Absolutely do it. The recorder will give you 10bit at least for grading. The director used resolve and pushed the hell out of it and did some amazing work. Also used noise/grain killing programs ( name escapes right now) for low light scenes. Great some great primes too!

As others have stated, don't let the cameras bit rate dictate to you. Whatever the story, your camera work will shine. here's a trailer to the film I DP'd on C100 and átomos recorder.
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=zhcQOItXKnI

Best of luck

August 4, 2017 at 9:34PM, Edited August 4, 10:12PM

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Gus Soudah
DP
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Gus thanks for sharing your experience with the camera as well including the trailer, looks great!

Pavle Novakovic

August 5, 2017 at 5:06PM

C100 output is 8 bit, doesn't matter if the recorder does 10, you're not gaining any more information.

John Morse

August 6, 2017 at 5:13AM

Just be careful, whether the camera is good enough matters on the style of your film and taste. How significant is color tonality and color information in the darks. This is where the camera is weak. This may or may not impact you, also its a question of budget, if you cannot afford a better camera then its a mute question anyway. Where 8 bit is weakest is color information in the bottom three stops of DR, brown hair will turn black for example. Never under expose and do not expose, over expose i.e. shoot at a lower iso than the native iso, as long as your scenes don't require more DR, then you will have more color info in the midtones and darks. If you are shooting in a sun shade environment for example you will need to shoot the native to try to hold highlights. Also Gus is wrong, it wont be 10 bit externally you'll have 8 bit in a 10 bit file. There's a couple other people who are giving wrong advice, just test test test test. You should know the cameras strengths and weaknesses before shooting. Then whether its right or not will be clear.

August 5, 2017 at 11:23AM

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Indie Guy
789

Also for all the guys that say story matters most, a 320i movie can work, why do you guys want to make a film instead of a novel or theater? If the image is not that significant, why be in a visual medium of storytelling?

August 5, 2017 at 2:42PM

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Indie Guy
789

Microbudget and you can use a C100 for free?
Do it!
This means you have more to spend on light and sound and the rest :-)

The Atomos might not give you 10 bit, you'll have less compression artifacts. At least that is my experience.
I've used the C100 often for corporate work: with and without Atomos. The recorder does add some quality to the image.
This one was shot on C100mk2 + Atomos and graded afterwards:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9W3MH8WE7PM

August 5, 2017 at 7:10PM, Edited August 5, 7:10PM

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WalterBrokx
Director, DOP, Writer, Editor, Producer
8553

you have c100? well better than many other micro budget movie solution. 28 day later was shooted with 576i camera (yes, also if many people cannot believe, search and you can found the use of old canon minidv cam with the except of last scene, where boyle decide to have different look). c100 is limited? do you know the cinealta first used for star wars? a 1440x1080p sensor with horrible dinamic and contrast, but no one told that is not professional.
Do you have it? ok, take care to exposure, to color, shoot in log and search a good dop that know how to manage it.
now take care to plot, acting and directing and you do a good work ;-D

August 8, 2017 at 8:01AM

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Carlo Macchiavello
Director
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Shoot on prores HQ and it will more than hold up.
I've owned a c100 and Ninja 2 for 3 years.

August 8, 2017 at 1:27PM

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Thanks for sharing your experience. Has there been instance you've noticed banding with the image? Particularly when shooting in log? Is log the picture profile you mainly use?

Pavle Novakovic

August 8, 2017 at 5:14PM

I shot a series of interviews on iPhone and DSLR, some handheld, for a corporate video to be shown to employees and clients in cinemas around the country. After stabilisation and modest grading, the short was exported in 2K DCP format and looked amazing on the big screen. There was no banding, although there were no skies to really test it.

August 11, 2017 at 5:57PM

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Thanks for sharing your experience working with 8 bit footage

Pavle Novakovic

August 12, 2017 at 4:46PM

Food for thought too. As some have mentioned, external recorders don't actually give you 8-bit. And in my experience with with an AtomOS external, there is actually no difference between the two images. ProRes has some strengths over AVCHD and vice versa. The external recorder is more batteries and weight to worry about. It's nice to have a screen but maybe go for a lighter monitor.

Someone can correct me but I've actually seen some thorough comparisons outside my own experience and it's about the same quality.

August 15, 2017 at 6:45AM

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So you're saying the 100+ mbps 422 image from atomos holds up to grading roughly the same as the 24mbps 420 internal codec?

Pavle Novakovic

August 15, 2017 at 9:14AM

that depends on how you are grading, it will not stand up to a secondary color correction as well, the macro blocking has a higher chance of effecting a key on the avchd. Also the grain pattern is different, you'll have to look at that yourself to see which one you like better.

Indie Guy

August 15, 2017 at 11:30AM

Right. There are instances where ProRes can work better on the C100, for keying, etc, but the reality is that motion is a bit better on AVCHD because it's not quite as crisp, so it looks more natural.

It's not like transcoding the 24mbps to 100mbps is going to somehow make... the image BETTER, at least not fully. It WILL make the file size larger.

This is the comparison video I'm talking about: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E92jDQpou4Q

I still got an external recorder after watching this, but found the overall quality to generally be exactly what the video said it would be: more or less the same either way. And AVCHD is a smaller file size and doesn't require more batteries and more weight. That was my finding anyway. I ended up selling the recorder because I would pull up my edit, sync the in camera clips to the prores, and then in the end just use the in-camera clips.

I'm just saying you should take that money and put it towards another lens, etc. That's what's going to really make a difference.

Cheers and good luck with the project! :)

codyswanson

August 20, 2017 at 1:37PM, Edited August 20, 1:37PM

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