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Canon C300 Mark II: Is it worth filming in 4K or UHD for delivery in HD?

Monday, September 14, 2015 2:45 PM

The benefits of shooting in 4K/UHD for HD delivery are the topic of discussion in today's edition of our Canon C300 Mark II blogs. Blue 2.0 colourist Damion Katwaroo and WTS production specialist and freelance cameraman Patrick van Weeren examine the various shooting options available with the C300 Mark II – and how cameramen and colourists alike can reap several benefits from shooting in 4K.

Even if you're shooting for delivery in HD, there are distinct advantages to filming in 4K or UHD – and as a 4K camera, the Canon C300 Mark II offers you a range of options, with both 4K and 2K filming in 10-bit and, in some formats, 12-bit 4:4:4.

Canon C300 Mark II: High dynamic range and a wider colour gamut

Damion Katwaroo graded the WTS C300 Mark II test footage at Blue 2.0 and he is convinced the benefits of shooting in 4K when delivering for REC.709 HD outweigh any extra hassle, because of the range of options it opens up to the cameraman and the colourist.

"Shooting in 4K gives you a larger frame size, so you have more information for zooming, as well as for VFX and graphics," explains Damion.

Taking advantage of wider colour gamut and high dynamic range

Canon C300 Mark II: Ungraded versus graded C-Log 2 footage

"Shooting a wider colour gamut and C-Log2, which gives you more stops of exposure, is far better than shooting REC.709," Damion says. "REC.709 will only give you between five and seven stops of exposure, whereas using the high dynamic range (HDR) of a camera like the C300 Mark II will give you up to three times more stops of exposure.

"In terms of colour grading and the final output of your pictures, there will be a lot more tonal value, which means you'll get a better product in the end."

Log can be used in 4K and HD

Canon _C300_Mark II_C-Log 2_schematic _2

The great thing about the C300 Mark II is that you can use a built-in Log (Both the new C-Log2 and the old Canon Log (C-Log) are available), or even your own personalised settings, in both 2K/HD and 4K/UHD.

So if you're limited in terms of data capacity you'll always have options to play with.

It's worth being aware of the possible implications of using a codec (such as the C300 Mark II's XF-AVC codec) with certain Log footage, as there is a conflict to balance between increasing detail with a Log and trying to non-destructively compress an image as much as possible with a codec. Our blog about C-Log2 explains more.

The C300 Mark II also includes an SD card slot, which allows you to simultaneously record HD proxies at up to 35Mb/s, giving you even more options, and a safety net when shooting in 4K/UHD.

Canon C300 Mark II frame rates in 4K and HD

Canon C300 Mark II frame rate schematic

One disadvantage of shooting in 4K as opposed to HD with the C300 Mark II is the camera's frame-rate limitations in 4K compared to HD. The slow-motion functions on the C300 Mark II are the first of their kind in the Canon world - and they were necessary to allow the camera to compete with other manufacturers' cameras.

While this slow-motion mode is available at up to 120fps in HD, it is limited to 30fps in 4K, so if slow motion filming is an important requirement of your shoot, you'll need to take this into consideration.

Also be aware of the crop factor that the camera applies for different frame rates, to avoid aliasing and other artefacts.

Canon C300 Mark II slow motion crop factor

Don't forget to check out the other blogs in this Canon C300 Mark II blog series.

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