There was an amazing response at NAB about Canon’s new professional 4K camera line. In fact, the wait to get in the 4K theater on Sunday was an hour and a half long. I had the privilege of sharing this momentous event with Jeff Cronenweth, ASC. Jeff lensed “Man and Beast” on the C500 for Canon. His work was stunningly beautiful! He had some of the most gorgeous skin tones and breathtaking fine details. “Man and Beast” was directed by Dante Ariola.
We have had an outpouring of positive feedback on Po Chan’s film The Ticket. Everyone at Hurlbut Visuals wanted to give you an inside look at how we used the power of this incredibly flexible, lightweight, DSLR platform, the A camera system that is the Canon 1DC. It gives any filmmaker the ability to dream.
Examples of how this small footprint assists your creative aspirations
Due to the small size of this camera, we were able to get the camera incredibly low while Vince sat on the floor. Po and I wanted to use a 50mm to show Vince’s perspective, not a wide angle distorted view. He is on the floor.
With a large footprint camera, we would have had to put Vince on several apple boxes to get this low-angle perspective. That would have raised his head very close to the ceiling. With this new camera, we only had to raise him up on a 1/4 apple box, and we kept it real.
Chan and Hurlbut watching playback on HP Dreamcolor
The low-angle wrap-around shot, where we are shooting through Emma’s legs with Vince on the floor in the background, was done on the Revolution Steadicam Rig. The 1DC weighs only 6.5 lbs., with the camera and lens. Chris McGuire, our operator, pointed out that this shot would have never been possible with other larger cameras.
The shot of Vince back in the hospital, which is right after the Ferris Wheel scene, would have never happened without the lightweight compact nature of this 1DC. We had it on the Revolution Rig again and rotated it 90 degrees so it felt like his head was lying down. Where Vince was located, we only had a small doorway for Chris to navigate in. He was able to pan and tilt his rig to find the nurse as well as the doctor, once he arrived.
Running backward with a very heavy camera system on the Revolution rig would have been impossible. Chris was able to back peddle, putting the 1DC right on the deck as they ran out, then boom up to reveal the taxi sliding into frame. We were able to take in a very low-angle perspective in the hospital hallway with all the fluorescent lights overhead and then merge into the warm world of the ER pull-up.
We purposely cast the Prius Taxi Cab to not only be eco-friendly but to showcase the power of the camera’s size and its sensor. We loaded our three actors; Po, our director; Mike Svitak, our 1st AC; and me into the cab and drove around the streets of Los Angeles. I was in the hatchback of the Prius on a Kessler Cine Slider, using a Small HD DP-4 to gauge my exposure and frame my shot. The lens was the new 24mm Cinema Prime at a t1.3. I was able to get the camera nice and high in the slanted hatchback to see all the depth out the windows. Using the incredible sensitivity of the 1DC sensor, we were able to drive around and take all the exterior light that existed on the street and bring that low light into the Prius.
The only light I used was a Rosco Light panel. The reason that it worked so well is that it is a small LED that lights up a whiteboard in either daylight or tungsten, with multiple sizes, and is easy to mount, or as in our case, hold. Emma was able to hold the light and assist in lighting Vince in the center of the vehicle. A cinematographer tries to create a ballet of moving light while driving. Usually, this is done with moving lighting gags, pulleys, etc. In this case, no camera cars, no process trailers, and no generators were required.
Po’s vision was to fly with Emma and Vince once they decide to steal the clothes and run. She wanted the camera to be energetic and alive. We are off.
We once again used the 1DC small footprint to start low on the floor, where we tilt up and reveal Vince and Emma’s hands. This wasn’t done with cable cams or technocranes, but with an old-school camera handoff. We then quickly move with them and fly over the glass wall, where Chris McGuire pops up from our ramp, courtesy of my Rigging Key Grip Kent Baker. Chris grabs the camera and flies down the ramp right alongside our actors.
Notice the picture of the camera rig we built. It consisted of an MCS cage, a Bartech remote follow focus, a wireless sound device, a Small HD DP-6 monitor and an Anton Bauer battery to power it all. Did you notice the back LCD screen, as well as the onboard monitor? This is a new function called mirroring. It enables you to have the back LCD screen as well as other monitors or EVFs. This was absolutely crucial in capturing this shot because I was able to operate off the DP-6 in low mode, and Chris could operate off the LCD.
The Arcade Area of the Pier
Using this lightweight camera, we were able to achieve the low angle whip-around of the roller coaster overhead, then down to Vince and Emma running through all the color of the gaming area.
The Ferris Wheel
You would never take your actors, director, focus puller, and your DP up in a Ferris Wheel basket 57 feet above the Pacific Ocean and shoot an emotional scene, but that is what we did. Using the sensitivity of the sensor, I was able to light Vince and Emma with just 3 lights and 4 amps. I used the new Kino Flo Celeb 200 LED light to key and then backlight both of our actors, plus a DIY Christmas light board that was chasing and flashing to match the Ferris Wheel in the background. The 1/2 mile of depth was lit courtesy of the city of Santa Monica.
The performance I was able to get from Emma, with the wind whistling through her hair and the tears welling up in her eyes, because of the cold, never would have been possible on stage in a green screen environment. Using this wonderful device took our story and visuals that much higher, and delivered emotions not possible with any other device.
Canon 1DC DSLR 4K Hands-On Session
On April 25th at 6 pm, I will be leading a hands-on session. We focus on the Canon 1DC and the new Cinema Primes for the Canon Live Learning Center at the LA Film School.
Please sign up from this link. Spaces are going fast, and I want to be able to show all of you the 4K projection and discuss why I think this tool is so special. A very in-depth Q and A session will follow. Support staff from Revolution Cinema Rentals will be supplying all the latest rigs that turn this still camera into a movie-making machine.
I look forward to seeing you there!
Thank you to Steve Tobenkin and the shooters from Reel to Reel for delivering an amazing BTS.
Looking for mentorship in the film industry? Schedule a 1-on-1 meeting with Shane Hurlbut, ASC today! This is where you can get expert advice from an industry professional on your career or a particular project.
About Filmmakers Academy Cinematographer Mentor Shane Hurlbut, ASC
Director of photography Shane Hurlbut, ASC works at the forefront of cinema. He’s a storyteller, innovator, and discerning collaborator, who brings more than three decades of experience to his art. He is a member of the American Society of Cinematographers, the International Cinematographers Guild/Local 600, and The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Hurlbut frequently joins forces with great directors: McG’s Netflix Rim of the World and The Babysitter, plus Warner Bros. We Are Marshall and Terminator: Salvation; Scott Waugh’s Need for Speed and Act of Valor; and Gabriele Muccino’s There Is No Place Like Home and Fathers and Daughters. His additional film credits include Semi-Pro; The Greatest Game Ever Played; Into the Blue; Mr 3000; Drumline; 11:14, which earned Hurlbut a DVDX nomination; and The Skulls. Notably, his television credits include the first season of AMC’s Into the Badlands.