Canon EOS C500 First Shoot

From Brian

We recently added the Canon EOS C500 Cinema camera to our lineup.  I had played with it a little bit (just around the house) to test it out but I hadn’t really had a chance to do a shoot with it since I got it.  Last weekend it was available and we had a production at church that we normally record so I thought I would give it a whirl.  

IMG 0225

The Setup:

  • Canon EOS C500
  • Zacuto Accessory Grip/Mounts
  • Convergent Design Odyssey 7Q + 2 Sandisk 1TB Hard Drives
  • Powerbase-70 Battery Pack
  • Sigma 50-150 f/2.8 OS HSM Lens
  • Manfrotto MVH502A Head
  • Audio feed direct from the sound board.  

The Shoot:

The shoot was an hour-long worship service that included a 25 minutes children’s program.  I set the C500 up to shoot 4K RAW (3840 x 2160) at 23.98fps.  The advantage to shooting in this format was that at this frame rate the Odyssey 7Q can record in ProRes HQ format.  Plus, given the nature of the shoot there was no need to shoot in 60 fps or RAW  

One of the real pains of using external recorders is having to worry about multiple batteries.  With both the C500 and FS700 we’ve set them up so that you can power everything from a Powerbase-70 battery pack that mounts to the rails.  At the end of the first service the Powerbase was at 50% and I didn’t want to run out of power so for the second service I put a BP-975 battery into the C500 and kept running the Odyssey off of the the Powerbase.  This worked fine as I had plenty of power left on both batteries.  I was glad I had decided to keep running the Odyssey of the Powerbase because I knew it wouldn’t run out of power and I could just keep an eye on the battery level on the camera.  

The only hiccup I hit in the first service was getting a “fan” warning on the camera.  When the C500 is running in RAW mode it generates a lot of heat and normally the automatic mode for the fan works just fine.  Automatic turns the fan off while you’re shooting and then on when you’re not to keep the unit cool.  Fortunately, I was able to switch the fan to “On” while the camera was shooting and didn’t miss a thing.  

After recording two services I had recorded about 600GB of footage.  The good news about this?  I had another four hours of capacity left before I would have run out storage room on the Odyssey.  

In Post

Although I’m a professional when it comes to gear, I don’t make money off of video editing and production which means my computer is somewhat pedestrian.  I was afraid that would be bad news when it came to working with 4K footage in post.  I must say, I was pleasantly surprised that even my 2014 Mac Mini was able to edit the 4K ProRes footage.  I work in Final Cut Pro X and as long as I set the priority on performance over quality my computer was able to playback the footage no problem.  Color grading went quickly as well.  I will say though, I have lots of fast disks and that was a life saver.  My editing array is made up of two striped (RAID 0) 8TB Western Digital My Book Duo RAID drives which give me a read/write speed in the range of 500 MB/sec.  That made copying the footage to my computer relatively painless and allowed for quick read/write access as I scrubbed through the footage.  I will say, I didn’t do a lot of heavy editing in post - just some color correction and adjustments to the audio.

I should add, I wish I could show you the footage but given that it involves lots of children - I can’t.  But trust me on this - 4K RAW footage, even captured in ProRes, looks amazing.  

Conclusion

Of course I am biased, but I wouldn’t hesitate to use the C500 again for a job like this.  Using one power source along with the strong and sturdy Zacuto support system makes using the C500 plus a recorder set up relatively painless.  Just make sure you’ve got plenty of storage room on your system for working with the footage.  

Find out more about the C500

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