HOLLYWOOD—As the segment director
and main DP/cinematographer on a network
TV reality/talent series, I work with
multiple crews and cameras in shooting
a number of two-camera location interviews
that document the “journey” of
each contestant/performer from their
first appearance on the show to their last.
Alex Van Wagner
These interviews require us to get a
large-frame cinematic look while at the
same getting more bang for the buck. We
found the best solution was Canon’s EOS
C300 camera with Canon EF lenses. This
combination provides great images while
also being cost-effective.
Stage segments are shot in traditional
TV style with another camera system operating
in 60i. Our Canon EOS C300 location
interviews are shot in 30p (29.97
fps), and even though we were mixing
progressive and interlace scans, these two
HD frame rates intercut very nicely. The
C300 is very intuitive and user-friendly,
and its menus are simple and easy to navigate.
When I put experienced camera operators
on the C300 for the first time, they
could figure everything out right away.
Another nice thing about the Canon EOS
C300 is its low-light performance. We shot
at ISO 2,000 and the images looked great. I
even turned the C300 up to ISO 10,000 and
was pleasantly surprised. Also, the ability
of the C300 camera to shoot in Canon Log
gamma gives you all the latitude you need
to shoot a “digital negative.” You can bring
your content back into post and create the
look you want with your online editor. We
take a lot of care with our visuals both in
the field and in post, and the C300’s Canon
Log mode and workflow convenience
makes this that much easier.
LENSES AND MORE LENSES
The number of lenses that Canon offers
(as well as all the other compact
primes available for use with the EOS
C300) and the flexibility to use so many
different lenses for interviews and B-roll
has greatly enhanced our creativity. The
Canon EF 70-200 mm f2.8 L IS II USM telephoto
zoom is a favorite of mine and we
used it a lot for interviews; otherwise, the
compact primes are our go-tos for interviews.
I own several, including the 85,
50, and the 35, which are my favorites.
Then there’s the ability to put a super
wide-angle lens or a tilt-shift lens on the
camera; with the C300 all you have to do
is to put on the Canon TS-E 45 mm tiltshift
and you’ve got a great look.
Our aim was to make the show as cinematic
as possible—a visual experience,
and not just a story experience. The Canon
EOS C300 helped make that possible. If
you want a real full-frame look, the depthof-
field you can get with the camera is fantastic.
Canon has taken everything that its
EOS 5D Mark II digital HD-SLR camera did
really well and made it even better with
Alex Van Wagner is a Hollywoodbased
cinematographer specializing in
documentaries and reality TV series. He
may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For additional information on the
Canon EOS 300 camera and Canon
Cinema lenses, call 855-246-3367 or
visit cinemaeos.usa.canon.com; for information
on Canon EF-Series lenses