I’ve just returned from a shoot for the Ducati Moto GP team at the Jerez race circuit in Spain. I was shooting in 3D using a pair of F3′s on a Hurricane Rig while other crews shot on Alexa’s, F3′s and C300′s. It was really interesting to see all 3 cameras in use. Each showed strengths and weaknesses, but all produced good looking images. The Alexa is a fantastic camera and produces great images, but it’s big and heavy. Add a big optimo zoom or similar and it really becomes quite a beast to use. The camera operator shooting on the Alexa was nowhere near as mobile as the other crews. For him an assistant was essential to help with the suitably large tripod, large batteries and frequent media changes. So, great pictures but fewer set-ups with the Alexa.
The C300′s and F3′s offered much better portability. There were quite a few gripes about the C300′s ergonomics (in particular the need to use the menus to change basic settings) and the usual problems with the F3′s EVF. The F3′s S-Log appeared to offers better dynamic range than the Canons C-Log, but the canon operators found it easier to expose the C-Log. I guess that’s because the C-Log mid range is much closer to a standard gamma and the extra chroma makes the image more pleasing prior to grading. The F3′s were being used with Nikon fit lenses and the C300′s with Canon DSLR lenses, so anyone swapping between cameras had to deal with opposing focus directions! The biggest gripe of the day was with the audio controls on the C300. There were a lot of interviews and some green screen work, shot of a head hight tripod. When the C300 is at eye level the monitor unit ends up just above eye level and the audio controls can only be seen if it’s mounted upright. So the mic ends up pointed at the roof and the LCD is so far up in the air it’s next to useless. The F3′s recorded onto Convergent Designs Gemini’s. This gave the data wranglers a bit of a nightmare as the amount of data uncompressed HD creates is huge, but the pictures do look incredible.
An interesting shoot and it was fun to see each camera operator looking at the other cameras with envious eye’s. Alexa op wanting the light weight of the other cams. C300 op’s wanting the F3′s audio controls and LCD, F3 op’s wanting the C300′s EVF. It just shows that there is no one camera perfect for every application.