Moto GP shoot with Alexa, F3′s and C300′s

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.

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5 Responses to Moto GP shoot with Alexa, F3′s and C300′s

  1. Hi Alister, I also agree the C300 mic holder is a pain in the butt, last night I got to work producing an alternative you can see my results here…

    http://www.hdwarrior.co.uk/2012/03/29/filming-a-web-commercial-with-the-canon-c300/

  2. Daniel Jawadnya says:

    Hi Alister,

    Great website, learned a lot! Saw that you invest a lot of time in setting up picture profiles for the xdcams. I’m currently looking into buying an f3 and an ex3 and my main concern is how to match them up. Do you think a good match is possible through pp settings? They must have had a lot work done to match the f3, c300 and alexa with the motogp shoot.

    kind regards,

    Daniel Jawadnya

    • alisterchapman says:

      The F3 and EX1/3 do have a quite different look. This is in part due to a bayer sensor on the F3 and 3 chip design of the EX’s. This results is different colour response. Rather than trying to create an identical match in camera using PP’s, I would just set up the EX and F3 with the same settings and then march in post where you have more control. Provided your gammas and knee are the same the picture will be pretty close and any small colour mis-matches will be quite easy to fix in post.

  3. Daniel Jawadnya says:

    Cheers!

    Will record to prores hq via a Samurai and use the same gamma option to match them up further in post. Have fun at NAB and keep us updated. :-)

  4. stuphilkill says:

    Great perspective, Alister. This is an excellent example of the pros and cons of each set-up in real world applications. Thanks for the write-up.

    Cheers,
    Stu

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