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C300 = Fail

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Perry TrestC300 = Fail
by on Dec 20, 2012 at 3:14:58 pm

Graded my first C300 job.
Working with the MXF media.
Noisy shadows. Banding.
Very disappointing. Not impressed.

Have any of you guys or gals worked with footage from this camera?
Am I missing something?

Perry Trest
POSTDIGITAL, Inc.

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Sascha HaberRe: C300 = Fail
by on Dec 20, 2012 at 3:22:03 pm

Well , a camera ? ;)

A slice of color...

Resolve 9.0.5 OSX 10.8.2

Colorist / Aerial footage producer
http://vimeo.com/saschahaber


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Perry TrestRe: C300 = Fail
by on Dec 20, 2012 at 3:29:59 pm

DSLR on steroids? Ugh!

Perry Trest
POSTDIGITAL, Inc.

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James SullivanRe: C300 = Fail
by on Dec 20, 2012 at 3:49:18 pm

Howdy. I too have done my first c300 job with the native MXF files. Did you have trouble with realtime? My system would bog down before edit points and then pick back up again. I am running two GTX 580's on a Mac Pro 3.1 tower. So slowest mac but enough GPU action?

I was able to pull some sky's back that would have been gone had they baked it to prores or any other codec.

Thanks for sharing,

James



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Perry TrestRe: C300 = Fail
by on Dec 20, 2012 at 3:55:56 pm

I had three and four nodes playing back with no problem.
The shadow areas were very problematic.
Pushing lift down for richer blacks resulted in an incredible amount of noise.
Vignettes resulted in horrible banding.

Perry Trest
POSTDIGITAL, Inc.

MacPro 12core 2.66Ghz
24GB RAM
Slot 1 = ATI 5770
Slot 2 = Quadro 4000
Slot 3 = DeckLink SDI
Slot 4 = Nitris DX HIC
Internal 6TB software RAID-0
Tangent Wave
HP DreamColor


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Kevin CannonRe: C300 = Fail
by on Dec 20, 2012 at 3:53:16 pm

Hi Perry,

I've just been grading a couple long-form C300 commercials this week, and discussing the camera related to another project with a DP/gaffer.

On the material I've been grading (ProRes422HQ transcodes of the MXFs), I definitely find noise comes up quickly when lifting shots - in this case, dark saturated reds (like in a flannel shirt) were the worst culprit. The material is almost all very high key day interiors, which started bright and look great and noiseless. The issue shows up in the few night exteriors that had to be brought up a bit. I didn't notice any banding, but I can't think of any shots that would have really tested that. The NR in Resolve seemed to handle it pretty well.

My impression is that the camera needs a lot of light at a low ISO, and no resizing to look its best.

KC

Prehistoric Digital


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Perry TrestRe: C300 = Fail
by on Dec 20, 2012 at 4:03:48 pm

Thanks for the input Kevin.
Two :30 commercials here, both daylight interior and exterior.
The interior shots were well lit.
Pushing gamma and gain in either direction worked as expected.
Lift was where the uglies showed up.

Perry Trest
POSTDIGITAL, Inc.

MacPro 12core 2.66Ghz
24GB RAM
Slot 1 = ATI 5770
Slot 2 = Quadro 4000
Slot 3 = DeckLink SDI
Slot 4 = Nitris DX HIC
Internal 6TB software RAID-0
Tangent Wave
HP DreamColor


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Juan SalvoRe: C300 = Fail
by on Dec 20, 2012 at 9:58:05 pm

Mark me down for as a major "Not a fan" of the C300.. the 8bit image is really limiting. The cam is noise and the footage is uninspiring. It's a step up from DSLRs for sure. But not much more than that. Particularly frustrating as there are real cameras in the same price range.

Reminds me of the awfulness of the af100. :(

Colorist | Online Editor | Post Super | VFX Artist | BD Author

http://JuanSalvo.com


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Sascha HaberRe: C300 = Fail
by on Dec 20, 2012 at 10:15:23 pm

I'm in the Same boat...
I Really hope Arri finds a way to slum down the Alexa.
This Canon stuff is just video ...

A slice of color...

Resolve 9.0.5 OSX 10.8.2

Colorist / Aerial footage producer
http://vimeo.com/saschahaber


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Margus VollRe: C300 = Fail
by on Dec 21, 2012 at 6:33:44 am

Or maybe bmc will finally be available to act as mini alexa.

--

Margus

http://iconstudios.eu

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Robbie CarmanRe: C300 = Fail
by on Dec 20, 2012 at 10:21:27 pm

[Juan Salvo] "Reminds me of the awfulness of the af100. :("

100%. Its just not a great image to push and pull like the AF100. Shot very well it holds up but when you need to get in there and really stretch things is not so good. Its funny I had a dark shirt situation on a C300 show that kinda looked like noise so I was noise reducing it with Neat Video - no change - it was then that I realized it was noise but rather ugly 8bit banding in the shadows....yuck

Robbie Carman
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Robert HoullahanRe: C300 = Fail
by on Dec 20, 2012 at 10:28:55 pm

I just don't get that Canon made a 8-bit camera at this price level, truly dumb.

-Rob-

Robert Houllahan
Director / Colorist
Cinelab Inc.
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Dmitry KitsovRe: C300 = Fail
by on Dec 20, 2012 at 10:55:35 pm

And all of this ugly happens no matter what you get from it? How is it with c-log and external recorder.
I am suppose to DIT and grade a short shot on c300 in January. Any advice is welcomed.


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Juan SalvoRe: C300 = Fail
by on Dec 20, 2012 at 11:47:23 pm

HD-SDI is still 8bit... so no doesn't really make a difference. 8 bit also means c-log is a really bad idea. My advice, shoot on a real camera.

To be clear I mean specifically hd-sdi on the c300. Obviously the HD-sdi spec supports many more bit depths.

Colorist | Online Editor | Post Super | VFX Artist | BD Author

http://JuanSalvo.com


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Joseph OwensRe: C300 = Fail
by on Dec 21, 2012 at 1:41:37 am

[Juan Salvo] "8 bit also means c-log is a really bad idea"

Cannot stress this enough.

One word: HORRIBLE.

Way worse than underexposed 5298 when Eastman first brought it out. C-Log is not log, it is compressed linear. Was just asked the question last night about any anti-log curves that might be available, but no, there is none. Cinematographers shoot "off the chart" anyway, so there is no "put the contrast back in" filter. Dropping the lift is a one-way ticket to Noise City...

The 8-bit reveals itself very, very quickly if you need to stretch the pedestal at all. The vectorscope display shows a broken, stepping gamut grating that would not make an effective horse-fly swatter.

Of course the Long-GOP means the CPUs are working very, very hard to sustain frame rates, tracking is questionable, often the preview turns into a noise garble... and secondary qualifications? Might look okay parked on the frame, but hit "Play" and your qualifiers start flapping like flightless waterfowl. Edges are choppy, the noise makes it almost impossible to be exact with HSL qualifiers.

Actually, when I do hit "Play", my UPS power supplies start screaming in overload -- I checked the display once... the MacPro was drawing 850 watts.

Oh, and when you get the media back on the timeline you will find that most of it is a frame delayed within the edits. Sometimes more. But for some reason, even when handles are set to none, you get another 2-3 frames on the head and tail of every clip.

Borders on fraud, IMHO.

jPo

"I always pass on free advice -- its never of any use to me" Oscar Wilde.


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Eric JohnsonRe: C300 = Fail
by on Dec 21, 2012 at 6:28:07 am

Though disheartening, it's good to hear that the the C300 footage I just went through wasn't irregularly bad... just regular bad... oh... That said, it did look better than the 7D it was intercut with.


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Dmitry KitsovRe: C300 = Fail
by on Dec 21, 2012 at 9:09:52 pm

Right, well the DP and the production made the camera decision, so in that light would c-log to Aja KiPro be better then video gamma?


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John TissavaryRe: C300 = Fail
by on Dec 21, 2012 at 3:20:09 pm

Agreed - worked with a colleague on some C300 footage when the camera first came out, and even though it was shot by a truly great DP, all complaints I'm hearing in this thread were issues for us, too.

It's mind-boggling that anyone would buy this for $15k.

JT

John Tissavary | colorist | owner
The Post Collective


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Perry TrestRe: C300 = Fail
by on Dec 21, 2012 at 3:22:46 pm

Just to clarify, the footage I was working with was shot by one of San Francisco's finest DPs. Looking forward to working with the BMD camera!

Perry Trest
POSTDIGITAL, Inc.

MacPro 12core 2.66Ghz
24GB RAM
Slot 1 = ATI 5770
Slot 2 = Quadro 4000
Slot 3 = DeckLink SDI
Slot 4 = Nitris DX HIC
Internal 6TB software RAID-0
Tangent Wave
HP DreamColor


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Kevin CannonRe: C300 = Fail
by on Dec 21, 2012 at 5:13:44 pm

After another day of C300, I wouldn't dismiss it as quickly as most in this thread...

If I were ranking my preference in cameras to grade from favorite to least, it would be something like Alexa, Epic, F3, C300, Red One/MX, 5D/7D.

I think ranking those in price it would be almost the same- Alexa, Epic, C300, F3, Red One/MX, 5D/7D.

The C300 seems uninspiring but kind of generically in the middle. It does kinda feel like the last "video camera". Mostly I see it come up for branded web content/long form commercials etc.

KC

Prehistoric Digital


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Al ArnoldRe: C300 = Fail
by on Dec 21, 2012 at 5:41:57 pm

I'm gonna chime in kinda late here. I was actually pretty happy with the material I've worked with. A DP friend of mine owns a C300. We went out in the evening and shot some golden hour footage exteriors, and low light material in a subway station. All in Cannon log. I thought the latitude was pretty good. I did notice some fringing on high contrast areas, and a little banding in some highlights, but overall I thought it held up pretty well. (Although I will admit went in with pretty low expectations!) Nothing like any of the horror stories I've read here. As for playback I had no problems on a Windows system with 3 GTX 580s (2 for for CUDA, 1 for GUI) & a 6 core Intel CPU. Couldn't make it slow down no matter how many color correction nodes I threw at it. NR is another story... ;)


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John TissavaryRe: C300 = Fail
by on Dec 21, 2012 at 9:43:45 pm

Not meaning to come off like a Red fanboy, but I don't get why anyone would choose the C300 over a Red One MX for any project.

Canon C300:

Super 35mm CMOS chip at 4k pixels but can only record to 1080p / 720p
50mbps MPEG-2 codec = a miserable travesty of a compression algorithm that introduces visible artifacts to even well exposed footage. It also plays back horribly Resolve, to the point where it has to be transcoded to something else prior to starting a grade.
8 bit file format
4.2.2 color sampling
$14999 street price (huh?!)


Red One MX:

Slightly smaller than Super-35 CMOS 4k 2:1
Redcode wavelet compressed 4k raw at various compression levels
High speed capable at 3k & 2k
PL mount, with alternate mounts available
raw bayer sensor data, so no color undersampling like C300
$17k new (no longer available), $4000 pre-owned from RED

Having graded a lot of feature films & commercials shot on Red by everything from complete amateurs to some of the best DPs in the business, and having graded a little bit of C300 from one of those 'best DPs in the business', I can say that all else being equal, C300 footage is inferior in almost every way I can think of to Red One MX.

If you have a reason why the C300 is a better choice than Red One MX, I'd actually like to hear it.


JT

John Tissavary | colorist | owner
The Post Collective


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Kevin CannonRe: C300 = Fail
by on Dec 21, 2012 at 10:16:42 pm

Hi John,

No doubt the Red wins on the specs - but I also think Red cameras have a way of underperforming their specs...

Basically I would my preference down to the Red's rendition of reds, yellows and greens, especially in projects where skin tones should be saturated but strange contours of green and yellow appear around eyes and mouths. It was the worst in some of the old "RedColor" color space settings. Resolve can apply the newer decoder settings, thankfully, but I still hold it against the Red One. Working with intercut Epic and Red One material demonstrates that new decoder options don't quite make up the difference.

The C300 has a lot of different issues. I did two similar spots for the same client yesterday, one MX and one C300. The C300 landed more quickly and was more appealing (in my opinion). Lots of projects I'm sure it wouldn't work out that way.

KC

Prehistoric Digital


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Joseph MastantuonoRe: C300 = Fail
by on Dec 22, 2012 at 2:38:13 am

I haven't had to really work with it too much, I never recommended it to any of my clients for these exact reasons... People need to learn that 8-bit isn't enough.

That said, I do know someone who's very happy with the C300, but she mainly uses for verité doc shoots. I played with it a bit and I could see why she likes it. Ergonomically going hand-held with it felt really nice, steady without a specialized kit.

Her kit fits in her backpack, and gets decent quality in low light. It also has a low-footprint, it looks like a dslr or a still format camera, which lets her get in and out of places where she might not be able to go with a Red or setup a BMCC.

I think it's just that the C300 was designed with documentary / eng in mind, and the BMCC was designed with post in mind.

Joseph Mastantuono
http://www.goodpost.net
Color Grading & Post Production Consulting


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Paul ProvostRe: C300 = Fail
by on Dec 26, 2012 at 12:40:34 am

Absolutely it's the form factor / eng aspect of the c300
That is appealing to some of my clients
Far more important than pure specs in many situations
Tough to work with after the fact for sure though

http://www.4Kfinish.com | owner-colorist | Hollywood, CA
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Robert RuffoRe: C300 = Fail
by on Jan 5, 2013 at 8:35:13 pm

Red's color problems are long gone.

Use RedColor 3 with an MX chip and you will see no skin tone issues whatsoever.

c300 is for people who are not smart enough or too lazy to learn the simple methods of grading Red footage.

As for price, Red MX packages are around 10-12K on eBay or Reduser. $4000 garage sale is long over.


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Kevin CannonRe: C300 = Fail
by on Jan 10, 2013 at 11:39:54 pm

[Robert Ruffo] "Red's color problems are long gone. Use RedColor 3 with an MX chip and you will see no skin tone issues whatsoever.

Strongly disagree. Working with Scarlet and Red One MX today, and I see all the problems I described with all set to RedColor3. And the director sees it as well. Fortunately we have time to work.

c300 is for people who are not smart enough or too lazy to learn the simple methods of grading Red footage.

I don't pick the cameras, or own any. I'm not really worried about their reputations either. I'm happy to grade any of them. When the ASC and producer's guild did their single-chip camera shootout with the MX and the Alexa and others, they timed how long colorists took to to grade the digital cameras to match the same shot on 35mm. Red took longer to match than any other single-chip cinema camera - I don't think they used lazy or stupid colorists. So even if the methods are simple (debatable), they are time consuming. Personally, I think Red is slightly more complex to grade than the other cameras, and in a way, has helped colorists become indispensable over the last 5 years, injected some fresh blood into the post production market, and forced other companies to accelerate their digital cinema offerings.

But it doesn't have to be my favorite.

KC

Prehistoric Digital


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Eric JohnsonRe: C300 = Fail
by on Jan 11, 2013 at 6:46:29 pm

I have definitely found that RED productions require RED users... Most operators/DPs that I've talked to, and some that I haven't but have seen enough of their work to make some guesses, have made it clear that cameras like the Alexa, VariCam (tape or tapeless) or F3 (XD Cam issues aside) can pretty much be picked up and better than acceptable results achieved by someone who knows how to shoot but may not be familiar with the camera.

RED on the other hand, to get better than acceptable results, the operator/DP needs to be a RED operator/DP. Otherwise acceptable is the best you are likely to get...

And I would argue that the same must be said for the Finish, that would be based on my experience... I like it, but it is a pain to work with.

By saying that I don't mean to say that RED is a bad camera or ecosystem, it just requires more experience and time than other formats.


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