View Full Version : Need advice on C300 package for documentary feature.

02-22-2012, 09:29 PM
Hey guys!

I'm working as a DP for a documentary feature that will be starting shooting early this fall. After much deliberation we have settled on the Canon C300 with EF lenses as our camera system and I have been spending the last couple of weeks putting together camera/lighting/audio packages for the budget.

The film will be a combination of sit-down interview work and somewhat spontaneous handheld work. We are also investing in a fairly significant lighting package to go along with the cameras.

Because of the extended shooting schedule for the doc (~1 year) and the organization's production needs, we will be purchasing most of our gear.

Here is a PDF of the camera package I have put together so far: 48509

We will be purchasing two of these packages (with some small modifications on the second package).

I would really appreciate whatever feedback I can get regarding anything I may need that I haven't included, things that I have included that I don't need, etc.

Also, I am trying to figure out the best way to power everything. Right now I am powering the KiPro, Monitor and EVF from the Anton Bauer P-Tap and the camera from the Canon BP970s. Would I be able to power everything from the AB battery or will that be too much draw? Any idea what sort of battery life I'd be looking at running all that from the brick battery? Or do I want to have separate batteries for everything?

Thirdly, am I going to want matte boxes or will the lens hoods and built-in ND filters take care of that aspect? If I do need one, any recommendations on a matte box for the lenses I have chosen?

Finally, I am looking for suggestions on the best way to pack all this gear for travel. I'm looking at the listed ThinkTank bags right now, but am open to any alternatives. We will probably be doing most of our travel in a 15 passenger van with trailer, but I want to be able to be flight ready if necessary even if it means having separate cases/bags for ground and air travel.

Any other comments/suggestions/questions are very welcome.

Thanks in advance!

02-22-2012, 11:04 PM
Without knowing the nature of your shoots, what type of action you need to follow, how much travel is involved and how much crew you're going to have - it's pretty difficult to advise on your obviously very extensive shooting package. My first thought is that I would consider picking up an EF-S 17-55mm f2.8 IS lens. My other thought is that this seems like such a large package that it seems like you're missing the whole point of the C300 in itself, especially for documentary shooting. But I guess I'm just comparing this to the types of documentary that I usually shoot, which is usually skeleton crew, extensive travel, and very little time. Over the course of a year, and if most of your gear is staying in one place, I'd imagine this kit is ready for just about anything you throw at it!

02-22-2012, 11:10 PM
Thanks for your reply!

Just to provide some more info... We chose the C300 because we want to be able to build it out to a larger scale rig as necessary but also compact it into a smaller travel package when necessary. I am hoping to have an AC for each camera. At very least I would have an AC for the main camera as I will be both lighting and operating myself. Overall it will be a fairly small crew though.

I assume you're recommending the 17-55 because of the IS? How does the image quality compare to the L glass in your opinion (sharpness, flaring, etc). I've read a wide variety of views ranging from "excellent" to "doesn't compare"

02-22-2012, 11:31 PM
The 17-55 is a very useful range and is the best option for a wide to short telephoto zoom with IS. Constant 2.8 aperture, and excellent performance - what's not to love? It's extremely versatile for travel situations. A large portion of Jeff Walters' video here (http://vimeo.com/groups/c300/videos/36117607) was shot with the 17-55 and he had very good things to say about it's performance with the C300. Personally, I use that lens regularly (read: every shoot day) on Canon 7D's for a network television show and have never been disappointed.

I have heard before that the only reason it isn't branded as a "L" lens is that it's EF-S and not built for full-frame coverage, which all L series lenses must be. Of course, this is all heresay, but given my experience, the optics live up to the rumor even if the build quality may fall slightly short.

If you're wary, there is also the 24-105 f4 L zoom with IS, but you give up that nice wide end and an extra stop of light. Tough call, but I feel like some kind of mid-range zoom with IS would be very nice to have for travel situations.

02-22-2012, 11:32 PM
I have to agree with cow punk. It sounds a bit much for a "travel-able C300" setup. The C300 has a great EVF and LCD, still you bring a TV-Logic and a Zacuto EVF. Then you have 5x128GB cards (why so large/expensive) but also bring a Ki-ProMini.

Lenses: The 24-70/2.8 and the 70-200/2.8 are great. But for traveling I recommend the 70-200/4L-IS. Much lighter, 1.000 less. And the 24-105/4L-IS has a better range than the 24-70 and with the C300s ISOs you can live easily with the one stop you lose.

And there is one lens missing that should be in every canon-bag: the Samyang 85/1.4 plus IMO the Samyang 35/1.4 is better than the 35 from Canon. But those are manual lenses, so you won´t be able to control aperture from the C300 but on the lens. But there focus throw and light handling are great for cine-use.

If I was your producerI would probablycut 15.000 off your list and have you set up just like it is now.

02-23-2012, 12:57 AM
The C300 will be a good camera to use. However don't have more than you need. For instance if your doing interviews and following- the EF-S 17-55mm f2.8 IS lens is an excellent piece of glass. I do recommend if you get the package in advance is to try lenses out. Go to a store/rental house, If you take out a rental on a couple of top choices your considering, most rental shops will deduct the the rental cost from the lens cost if you buy. In my area we have a few shops that will do that. Again the EF-S 17-55mm f2.8 IS lens is sweet. You won't be disappointed. I've owned L-glass and non, Sometimes the difference is not all there from lens to lens. Have at least one good fast lens in your bag too. If your flying keep your package as light as possible. Just less of a headache in the end. The C300 is an awesome camera and you won't be disappointed. I was very impressed by it.

Good Luck to you and the production!


Loren Simons
02-24-2012, 11:24 AM

Take a look at our ultraCage (http://store.redrockmicro.com/canon-eos-c300) line of rigs. We have a few rigs designed for super small and lightweight use that utilize the onboard EVF. Our powerPack (http://store.redrockmicro.com/Catalog/ultraCage-blue-Accessories/canon-eos-c300-powerpack) would also be a good power solution for you. It can power the camera (or any camera, it has a variable voltage output you can set) as well as two other accessories via its 12V regulated outs, all from your Antons. It attaches directly to the cage (http://store.redrockmicro.com/Catalog/ultraCage-Studio-Bundles/Canon-EOS-C300-ultraCage-15mm-StudioBundle) as well, to keep everything nice and streamline.

Definitely take a look at the ultraEvent (http://store.redrockmicro.com/Catalog/ultraCageHandheldRigs/ultraEvent) for a small discrete shooting method.

02-24-2012, 12:02 PM
FWIW I own the Marshall 7" (XP) and the Zacuto EVF. They are both in my C300 kit but the built in EVF and monitor are absolutely fantastic, and I really like/need that waveform monitor. As such I only see using the 7" as a spare/directors/client monitor, and the EVF for situations where I need to rig such that I can't see the built in EVF which will be more often. Once that Wifi attachment ships, I may not even need the Marshall much, but it's always nice to have around. Bottom line, if you need to travel light, you may very well find the C300 monitor and EVF are more than fine.