We were all very excited when we heard the launch of the groundbreaking Canon C300 $20,000 motion picture camera in Los Angeles, USA. We didn’t think we would have the chance to check the few pre-production models circling the globe.
Imagine our surprise when my friend Herman Chiew of Canon Professional HD Center invited me to do a test shoot with him one Sunday evening. Our time with the C300 is limited, according to Herman, who had to send it back to Singapore in a week’s time. I gladly accepted the invitation.
About a week later, Herman called, inviting me to Singapore. I was told it would be the official launch of the now famous camera, in South East Asia. Singapore would be the first country to host the launch.
I thought; since I’d already handled the camera up close, would it be wise to make a trip down despite our full schedule? Herman happened to call again and said something about a meeting with Vincent Laforet in Singapore. That was piqued my interest no end.
If you’re a videographer and haven’t heard of Vincent Laforet, you must be living under a rock. Mr. Laforet is one of the foremost authority on film making, especially with the Canon EOS 5D Mk II. He is also an award winning photographer. Here’s his website: Laforet Visuals
The opportunity to meet the legend in this part of the world was priceless. So we cleared up our deadlines as best we could and made our preparations for the 350+ KM trip down south.
We were, in that van, all 13 of us, the first little group of Malaysians to arrive at Vivo City, Singapore to witness this momentous event.
It was a memorable experience to be in that vast cinema with the spacious reclining seats. The projector was very sharp and the sound was crystal clear. This was how we watched the short film Mobius directed by Vincent Laforet and shot with the C300.
Vincent also wowed us and talked about some of his noteworthy photos. Most memorable to me were his adventure up the Empire State Building’s scaffolding, and his aerial works using tilt-shift lenses.
I wished he would share his experiences as a photojournalist covering the 2nd Gulf War and the devastation caused by Hurrican Katrina in New Orleans. Those were difficult assignments, I’m sure. Many of his images were made even more awesome after he told us how he shot them.
Some of the films he showed us included ‘Famous Footwear’ (which got the extreme slow-motion treatment), the Rainbow Timelapse (shot off the coast of Naples, Italy), CME (a commercial that Vincent used guerilla film making to get the shots) and of course Reverie (the remarkable film that showed-off the 5D Mk II as a film making camera).
Watching Vincent’s Mobius on the big cinema screen just goes to show how successful the C300 is at motion pictures. The 4K sensor inside the C300 did not produce a 4,000 resolution film. Instead, all that power was harnessed and focused into a 1080p film.
It’s true your cinema screen resolution is 2048 X 1152 pixels. So how would a film look at 1920 X 1080? We saw Mobius and visual effects laden sci-film XXIT up on that huge screen. We knew, there and then, and we agree with Vincent, that the C300 is capable of producing feature films that looks fabulous on the cinema screen.
This same technology is what gives the C300 unheard of low light performance. The sensor is so sensitive that at ISO 20,000 it can produce useable images. Vincent stressed the granular and organic ‘feel’ of the noise from the C300, which is similar to film noise coming from film cameras back in the day.
Another advantage of the C300 over other systems, according to Vincent, is the small form factor of the C300. This is one compact motion picture camera that is self-sufficient; it records on CF cards, without the need for space hogging hard disks.
Outside the cinema sat the C300 geared up with a new Cinema EOS lens. It was the hefty wide-angle (4.5 Kgs) CN-E14.5-60mm T2.6 L. It was a sight for sore eyes looking so proud on a tripod.
I thought it was exhilarating to be standing to be standing next to Vincent Laforet the legend who made the first film from the 5D Mk II. Herman went one step further and wrangled a dinner date with Vincent!
Herman, the human dynamo trekked with Vincent and us all over Little India, usually up front but sometimes bringing up the rear. He periodically did head counts, making sure no one wandered off. Vincent seemed fascinated with some of the shops there, in particular an Indian temple. We finally found a nice dinner spot and spent the time talking shop with Vincent.
In the night, Herman got us booked into the Grand Paragon hotel in Johore on a clubbing night (entering Immigration twice in a day) where we were checked into a luxurious and spacious hotel room. Herman didn’t sleep yet. He had to satisfy his passion for photography by taking some quality pics of his room.
The following day, Herman searched repeatedly and brought us to his secret location for ‘out of this world’ banana cake. Then we went to Johore Premium Outlets and finally headed for the long drive back. All cost- the accommodation, transport and dinner (excluding banana cake) were given to us complimentary.
Reaching KL, Herman wanted to send each of us back to our doorstep before going home. My guess is he started immediately on the pics to upload the following day… again, for us.
If he ever once complained, no one heard it. The dynamo was always smiles. With gratitude to Herman and Canon Professional HD Center for a well planned and very enjoyable trip to meet my idol Vincent Laforet :)