03.30.2009 05:10 PM
Canon HD Lenses Help Deliver 24p Look
DP Pritchett Cotton lines up a shot to be captured with a Canon HD-EC Cine Prime Lens as director Luke Livingston looks on.
Ground Floor Video is a full-service production company. One of our clients, a major fast-food chain, recently hired us to produce a promotional video for an annual sales meeting. This video seamlessly integrated film-style 24p footage with photo-realistic 3D animation.

Shooting the 24p footage involved a lot of outdoor green-screen work, background plates and match moves for 3D, which required us to capture high-quality images that would integrate well with the computer-generated images. For this critical work, Pritchett Cotton, our director of photography, chose Canon's set of six High Definition-Electronic Cinematography (HD-EC) prime lenses, which includes 5, 9, 14, 24, 35 and 55 mm focal lengths.

Every shot involved a white mini-van with black patches, which resembles a Jersey cow. It was essential to keep the white from blooming and blowing out on this vehicle, and Canon's HD-EC prime lenses helped us achieve that goal. The latitude and shadow detail that the lenses were able to maintain was phenomenal. They provide great contrast and rendered color perfectly. I didn't see any distortion, and the sharpness was great.

When used on our 2/3-inch camera, the lenses created the film-like feeling in both picture quality and color tone that we were looking for. They allowed our 3D animators, David and Steven Bowman, to access the data and measurements we gathered during our location shoots and which were needed to create proxy images and background plates.

There's little to no difference in the aperture adjustment, color, saturation, vignetting, or anything else you would expect from lenses at these widths and focal lengths. Apertures were super-accurate and the highlights came off great. Also, the wide apertures (stops between 1.4 and 1.7) worked really well for us, as we could get more of a film look by shooting with the background out of focus.

Canon's prime lenses are some of the most compact, lightweight, high-performance, and cost-effective 2/3-inch primes in the industry. I was particularly impressed with the quality and housing of the lenses. Just by picking one up you can tell they are well-constructed and made with high-quality materials. They are also sturdy and can take a hit and keep on going.


These lenses never slowed us down. We were able to shoot an incredible amount of footage in a few short days. The positions of the zoom, focus and iris-gear rings are unified, which allowed fast and accurate lens exchanges without change to the control systems. Mounting these lenses on the camera was fast and efficient too. The production wasn't the science experiment it would have been had we used other HD-video equipment.

We set out to create a high-quality video with a serious film look, and by using Canon's HD-EC prime lenses we were able to match quality images with quality computer-generated images and achieve our goal.

Luke Livingston is owner of Ground Floor Video. He may be reached at Luke@GroundFloorVideo.com.

For additional information, contact Canon Broadcast and Communications division at 800-321-4388 or visit www.canonbroadcast.com.

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