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Canon 1DC Camera Tests from “The Ticket”

It has been a whirlwind since NAB, with all of the new emerging 4K technology and where this fits into the filmmaking process. When Canon approached Hurlbut Visuals to do another short film, I turned to writer/director Po Chan to write a story that would showcase the power of this 4K DSLR as she had done with The Last 3 Minutes. Po’s film The Ticket was accepted in the LA Shorts Fest and will screen Sunday, September 9th at 5:30pm. Po’s wonderful love story is engaging and beautiful. Check out the LA Shorts Fest website and info: LA Shorts Fest

LA Shorts Fest

 

Putting the 1DC Thru the Paces:

Once we finally got the Canon 1DC 4K DSLR camera, there was a very limited time for us to do our tests, view them and then start shooting. So if our tests feel a little incomplete or rushed, they were. After we saw the last test on a 4K projector at Light Iron Digital, we started shooting the next evening. The timeline was tight. However, I think the film is a perfect example of how powerful this 3.25 lb DSLR can be.

 

ISO Tests:

I wanted to make sure that the camera did not have native ISOs like the Canon 5D did. We ran the same type of tests with a lens cap on to see the noise level at each ISO setting as we had done with the 5D. I have stretched the source material to show the noise and color treated it so you can see the volume. I want to thank the Post team at Bandito Brothers for putting this amazing noise comparison together. Lance, Jacob and Mike – you all rock. This really shows the difference.

The noise level that we dealt with on night exterior scenes in Act of Valor around 1600 seemed like the same noise level as 5000 ISO on the 1DC. I knew I could deal with that noise level in post.
 

 
There were also a few shots in The Ticket that we shot at 6400 ISO to give our focus puller, Marc Margulies, a chance. The actors were running at him with no marks, so I cranked the ISO up to 6400 ISO to give him a 5.6 on the Canon 500mm prime. It was just enough to capture that moment. All of the street running shots were done using existing light augmented with little out of focus lights in the background, along with hiding Kino Flos in alcoves and storefront windows.
 

1DC Noise Screen Grab at 6400 ISO

1DC Noise Screen Grab at 6400 ISO

 

ISO Model Tests:

Now that you have seen the lens cap black noise level tests, we wanted you to see what it looked like with a model, color chart, skin tones, etc. Here are these tests. We shot them on Canon Log, as well as Picture Style (Neutral). We found that we could boost the ISO higher on Neutral and get less noise and banding than with Canon Log. Canon Log limited us to about 1250-1600 ISO, where Neutral gave us a workable noise level around 6400 ISO. We shot 70% of the film in Canon Log to gives us that expanded latitude. Neutral was used in the hospital because I wanted to go for a more baked in look. I wanted it to be different because in the storyline. This is where the parallel worlds crossed. Po and I felt seeing a visual difference would help assist the story.
 

 

Green Screen and Blue Screen Tests:

We were possibly going to do compositing while we were in the Ferris Wheel bucket, so I wanted to see how the camera responded to green and blue screen. The 5D was never good on blue screen, but the 1DC was amazing with either. Here is our composite test with a model. Notice that it is very clean whether it is green or blue. No tearing, and her hair separated very well. We eventually decided to just get up in that bucket because Po felt that the performance would be more visceral with the actors up 57 feet with the wind blowing in the cool night air. I had to agree with her because when Emma looked at Vince after he asked her to marry him, the wind whipped up, her hair slightly blew, and she had tears in her eyes from the wind and cold.

After that take, I turned to Po with a big smile because we knew that was the moment. The whole film culminated in that specific moment, and both of our actors delivered. I love this about filmmaking. Those serendipity moments would have been lost if we were in a warm sound stage on the ground in a green screen world. When a camera system can help in this process with its size and hypersensitive sensor, it is a win win.
 

 

Night Driving Test with Minimal Lighting:

We wanted to see exactly how far we could push our new 1DC with the new Canon Cinema EOS 24mm prime — to see how it would capture the outside and inside world of a small Prius taxi cab. We hailed a Prius cab on our night test shoot, set up the Kessler Cine Slider in the trunk, and lined up the shot to make sure we had the camera high enough to see as much out of the window as possible. We used a SmallHD DP-4 monitor to operate with and gauge my exposure while we were driving down the roads. The only light I used was a small Rosco LitePad, which the model actually held in her hands to edge light her chin and to side light our male model in the back seat. The outside world light was all there for the taking at 1250, 2000 ISO. The active light just danced beautifully through the car’s interior. Here are those tests:
 

 

Night Street Running Filter Tests and

Low Angle Running Shot Test:

Po’s vision when they ran out of the boutique was dreamy, with the actors in their own world, and the surroundings less important. It was their love that fueled this run to the pier. We tried many different filters to give the look that Po wanted, which was for the practical street lights, traffic lights, headlights, etc. to glow with this beautiful halo around them. Tiffen Glimmer glass number 3 achieved the look that Po wanted, so that is what we went with. Here are the filter tests.

We knew we would be going with the AR Revolution Steadicam rig for the filming, but we wanted to do a down and dirty test to see if this angle would work for Po’s vision. I ran behind our models with our Chipper Rig and shot this at 60fps.
 

 

Moire Test

We shot a Moire chart on log and neutral to test the moire on the 1DC. We immediately noticed a huge improvement on aliasing and moire over the 5DMKII.
 

 

Latitude Test

For the latitude test, we shot a latitude chart on Neutral and Canon Log. On Canon Log, we were able to get 12 stops, and 9 stops shooting on Neutral.
 

 
Watch these videos in 1080p on Vimeo.

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Author: Shane

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42 Comments

  1. Really interesting, thanks for all your efforts in these extensive tests.
    I think this is the most in-depth look at a camera I have seen.

    Post a Reply
    • Ray McShane, thank you so much for you wonderful words and support. You really need to vet these new cameras out. SO many hidden quirks sometimes.

      Post a Reply
      • for my next shooting I need minimun depth of field and maximun latitude…

        1 – the texts are identified as 4K APS-H… that’s incompatible isn’t it? it’s one thing or the other…am I right???

        2 – if I shoot on 4K, then the camera is not full frame, and…do I loose the extremely narrow depth of field of the full frame? or I just crop the image not loosing depth of field?

        3 – canon log works both on 4K and APS-H ?

        Post a Reply
  2. C log plus color correction its a Rock Bebe.. what I can say Shane.. that your always in the game … nice tests the first time I saw that camera is in your work the ticket. incredibly done with the low light situation…..god lord look to the skin tones sharp as hell.I think that with 20000ISO you still can have sharp image.. I am looking to work with it =

    thanks Shane

    Post a Reply
    • visualmed, thank you so much for all of your kind words and support

      Post a Reply
  3. Thank you for this great camera test.
    One thing i noticed: you said there are no native ISOs on the 1D C, but in the Lens Cap ISO Tests done at Canon Log its visible that the ISOs 160,320,640,1250, etc. produce much less noise than the other ISOs.

    Post a Reply
    • Fabio Seyding, kind of, but nothing like the 5D had exhibited.

      Post a Reply
  4. Thank you for the review. Well done!

    Question. Is the below correct, as I thought Canon Log gives more?

    “We shot them on Canon Log, as well as Picture Style (Neutral). We found that we could boost the ISO higher on Neutral and get less noise and banding than with Canon Log. Canon Log limited us to about 1250-1600 ISO, where Neutral gave us a workable noise level around 6400 ISO. We shot 70% of the film in Canon Log to gives us that expanded latitude. Neutral was used in the hospital because I wanted to go for a more baked in look.”

    Post a Reply
    • Ron, you are very welcome. What I am saying is that I could shoot a much higher ISO on Neutral but lost latitude by doing it. This is why I shot most of the film with Canon Log. The log file exhibits much more noise.

      Post a Reply
      • Got it now. Took my brain abit to fire up – age is catching me. Thanks for the reply. Cheers.

        Post a Reply
  5. Hi Shane,
    This is very nice test. I was pretty impressed with your film shot with the 1D C. How do you rate the noise performance of the 1D C vis-a-vis the C300? We have been told that the c300 can be used at even ISO 20000. However, from your post it seems even ISO 12800 with 1D C is a tough ask? What kind of noise reduction do you use?

    Cheers,
    Sabyasachi

    Post a Reply
    • Sabyasachi Patra, Thank you so much for you kind words. The C300 in my opinion cannot be shot over 2000 ISO. Way too noisy and it takes on a very weird contrast. This camera at 6400 kicked the C300′s ass. I know Canon is working on reducing the banding that you see in the log file so that it responds more like the neutral setting. I have been working with their engineers and it is getting close. Very exciting times.

      Post a Reply
        • Kevin Anderson, hey my friend, they felt fairly similar. Great seeing you the other day. Miss you

          Post a Reply
      • Thanks Shane!

        Thanks a lot for taking out time to respond. I want to use the 1D C for wildlife work, so lowlight ability is very important to me. Great to hear that the 1D C is much much better than the C300 in high ISO capability.

        In my 1D Mark IV camera I have configured the FEL button for start and stop of video recording. However, in wildlife situations it takes a long time for the camera to start recording. How fast is the 1D C in that respect ie. how fast does the 1D C start recording video. I am eagerly waiting to buy this the moment it is available.
        Again, thanks for your response and the banding that you are trying to remove.
        Cheers,
        Sabyasachi

        Post a Reply
        • Sabyasachi Patra, this camera will be amazing for that. It starts recording immediately. You will need the new high speed LEXAR cards that are 1000mp/sec.

          Post a Reply
          • Hi Shane,
            Any idea if the 4K codec of the 1D C will be approved for broadcast by BBC/NGC etc.

            I am waiting for the 1D C to be officially launched and made available. Thanks for your responses.
            Cheers,
            Sabyasachi

          • Sabyasachi Patra, I have no idea on that. So sorry!!

    • Chris, thank you so much for you support and sharing the link.

      Post a Reply
  6. Shane your the man.. thanks for posting exclusive content about the 1DC It truly looks filmic.

    Post a Reply
    • Didier Clermont, thank you so much for your wonderful words. I agree it looks amazing this camera.

      Post a Reply
  7. Will you be testing and shooting with the C500 and BlackMagic Camera?

    Post a Reply
    • Gareth, already shot with the C500 and loved it. Looking forward to get my hands on the BMC.

      Post a Reply
  8. Hi Shane, the test footage is looking really good :)

    Is there any chance you can request Canon to add a 25p or even 30p mode for recording in 4K ?

    Can’t wait till this ultimate DSLR is available for sale

    Post a Reply
    • Greyfus, thank you for your kind words. Yes, I have made Canon aware of this in March of 2012, so hopefully they will make it happen.

      Post a Reply
  9. Hi Shane,

    For standard HD, do you think the 1DX is similar to the 1DC? I’m thinking of replacing my 5DMKII with a 1DX (don’t need 4k) rather than the C300/100. The money saved over the 1DC will buy me some lenses!
    Thanks.

    Post a Reply
    • Bob Franco, I have not really tested the 1DX, it seems like a nice camera. I think it would be worth renting first and do some tests so that you can see what grabs you.

      Post a Reply
  10. Great homework! Do you test every camera this rigorously before a shoot? Do you ever field test something, try it out in action and just see how it goes? Or was it just the ISO of this particular camera that you were testing..? Thanks.

    Post a Reply
    • Oli Kember, thanks, yes, every camera I try to put through the paces, because each digital camera is like a new emulsion.

      Post a Reply
  11. Thanks for sharing! Couple questions, for all instances of Neutral, did you use default settings?
    How does Cinestyle compare to Canon log?
    One minor suggestion- would have been great if you could somehow have shown the on camera histogram for each setting.

    Post a Reply
    • James B, you are very welcome. I use Neutral -3 Contrast -1 Saturation. Not a big fan of cinestyle unless I am in extreme conditions of light and dark. The histogram has never related to shooting video with any of the Canon Cameras, that is why I did not show it.

      Post a Reply
  12. Wow! This test is very good indeed!
    I wonder: why is ISO 640 and 1250 looks BETTER then the lower ISOs?

    Post a Reply
    • Roman (Canon user), I like it very much at 1250. I thought it delivered really well

      Post a Reply
    • Roman (Canon user), not it is not free of rolling shutter or moire’, actually got bitten in the ass with the moire’ today on this Ford Commercial, had to turn to the Alexa.

      Post a Reply
  13. Hi Shane,

    Thanks for all your great work and invaluable info!

    Do you know how the 1DC shooting at 1080p (to an external recorder) compares to the C300, in general and in terms of sharpness?

    I’d like to use the 1DC for a doc that will finish at 1080. My idea is to shoot most of the footage (generally of people in medium shots and CUs) at 1080p, but for a lot of crucial landscape shots (which I want as detailed as possible) I would shoot at 4K to CF cards and down-res to 1080 in post – I’m assuming this would produce sharper landscape shots that still wouldn’t look *too* much sharper than the other footage. (Given the volume I’ll be shooting, it would be cumbersome and much more expensive to shoot *everything* at 4K and down-res in post. I’d really have to be selective of what I shoot in 4K.)

    Perhaps it sounds like a waste to use the 1DC for a project that has to finish at 1080, but if I want to get the best possible (and most detailed) image at 1080, is it likely the 1DC is actually the best option? I can also afford a C300 or C100, but I’m put off by the less filmic look of those cameras, from samples I’ve seen. I haven’t tested the C300/100 yet, so I don’t know firsthand what some DPs mean by “It takes a lot of work to make their footage look filmic.”

    Squig at Cinema5D wrote the following on the 1DC at 1080p:

    “the C300 was designed for 1080p output from the ground up. The 1DC is a rebadged 1DX with a heat sink and 4k firmware so it will have the same compromised line skipped 1080p output as the 1DX. The best way to get 1080p out of the 1DC is to downscale the 4k footage in post, how that compares resolution wise to the C300 I couldn’t say but I imagine it will be pretty close.”

    Do you have a different opinion, any firsthand experience with the 1DC at 1080p?

    Thank you for your time.
    Best,
    André

    Post a Reply
    • Andre L. Based on what you’re telling me I would recommend using the C300. It has a great image a lot more docu friendly features. Waveform, peaking, XLR inputs, and a easier workflow. The 1DC does have a sharper more filmic image, but it’s more work to convert all the shots to 1080P. I have not tried using an external, only shooting 4k and 1080 to the CF cards. Get some good vintage glass on the C300 and it will look great though. Nikon AI lenses work really well. . If you had the budget for both cameras you could usr the 1DC for the vista shots and best looking cinematic shots. Then use the C300 as your bread and butter camera. However if you had to go with just one, go for the C300 with some good glass. Hope that helps. Thanks for the kind words and support.

      Post a Reply
      • Hi Shane,
        Thanks a million for your reply! Extremely helpful input – I think you’ve swayed me to the C300… Although (sorry, one last question), can’t the C100 perform just as well as the C300 shooting uncompressed to an external recorder? (Just in terms of pure image quality, disregarding drawbacks like needing to buy a Z-Finder, etc.) Given such a drastic price difference (merely $7500 if you add an Atomos Ninja, which would suit me fine, vs. $15,000 for C300), I’d be amazed if the C100 really could match the C300 image-wise. But if it does match, I’d be really tempted by that price.
        Thanks again for your feedback! I really appreciate it.
        Best,
        Andre

        Post a Reply
  14. Hi Shane,

    I just wanted to take the time to say thanks for this great post and test of the camera. It was instrumental in my decision to purchase the camera.

    Cheers,
    Dave

    Post a Reply

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  1. Shane Hurlbut’s Canon 1D-C Tests | FilmmakerIQ.com - [...] Putting the 1DC Thru the Paces: [...]
  2. Check It Out: Canon’s EOS-1D C | ARCBLOG - [...] The camera can see in the dark. Boost the ISO all the way to 6400 and still get a …

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