The Next Gen in Digital Film Capture: Canon’s 4K 1DC

Today, I stand on the NAB floor with my wife Lydia, CEO of Hurlbut Visuals. We both reflect on how far we have come. It was Lydia’s vision to build the educational / inspirational HURLBLOG, which passes on our collective experience and trail blazing spirit. She envisioned the innovation arm, our Master Cinema Series in conjunction with the Letus Corporation to toss gasoline on the revolutionary fire, and the Hurlbut Visuals’ creation arm that has produced the next chapter in Canon’s story. What a visionary woman.

Canon 1DC

Canon 1DC

NAB Show

NAB show floor

NAB show floor

At a trade show such as NAB, you can get caught up in looking at all the camera technology, gizmos, gadgets, etc. so quickly. But the story seems to always ground me. Today, Hurlbut Visuals launches a short film written and directed by another very talented woman, Po Chan. “The Ticket” is her follow up to “The Last 3 Minutes.” Please enjoy!!!

The Elite Team and Talent watching playback on a HP Dream Color MonitorThe Elite Team and Talent watching playback on an HP Dream Color Monitor

The Ticket

 Director Po Chan on location at the Santa Monica Pier

Director Po Chan on location at the Santa Monica Pier

The right tool for the job has always been my mission. Whatever camera helps tell the story, aids in character development, helps deliver emotion and transports you to a unique cinematic world for you to experience — wouldn’t you say that is the primary goal of a cinematographer?

The 1DC on a Master Cinema series rig with Tiffen Glimmer GlassThe 1DC on a Master Cinema series rig with Tiffen Glimmer Glass

Getting in close with the 1DC with Canon 50mm Cinema Prime with MCS action cam rig

Getting in close with the 1DC with Canon 50mm Cinema Prime with MCS action cam rig

When Canon approached me to test and shoot a short film for their new 1DC 4K DSLR, I was more than excited. This is the world that I have been trailblazing for quite some time. When the camera was delivered to Hurlbut Visuals, my Elite Team and I sent it through various tests, using what we had learned from our collective experience with the Canon 5D MK II. After the first night of testing, one word came to mind. WOW!!!

Steadicam Operator Chris McGuire operating the Steadicam with the Revolution headSteadicam Operator Chris McGuire operating the Steadicam with the revolution head

Close up of the revolution head

Close up of the revolution head

When you harness 4K into the small footprint of a 1D, give it the processing power to record to little CF cards with no external recording devices needed.  Now that is where the WOW factor comes in. I can blind you with tech specs, wine and dine you with test footage, but this is not what I am about. If this unique device transports you and rivals 35mm film, then my job is done.

Elite Team Member Mike Svitak Elite Team Member Mike Svitak

Everything about this camera will blow your mind. The image stands alone, with not even one competitor entering the playing field. What you are going to see on the web will never do this camera justice. You need to run out, knock down doors and demand screenings of this camera on a 4K Sony or Barco projector. I have walked up to 6 inches from the screen, and you cannot see a pixel. If there were only one booth, you could visit this week, that booth would be Canon. This is a company that I believe in, not because they make the best DSLRs in the world, but because they are coming from R & D that is about replicating film, not HD video. This is a big difference. Canon is delivering DIGITAL FILM, now in 4K, and in this creation, they combined both divisions – Video and DLSR. So you are getting the collective brain power of two huge engineering monoliths. This is a big step for Canon.

 Shooting The Ticket


This is as Techie as I get

Out of the gate, the camera functions just like a 5D, 1D. It uses the same menus, and it is easy to navigate. You can save all your favorites and settings on a CF card and pass them from camera to camera. It records 23.98 at 4K at a size bigger than super 35, which gives you a shallower depth of field. It has a mirroring function so that you can view the back LCD screen, as well as an external EVF or monitor. 4GB equals 1 minute of 4K. Lexar cards that process at 1000 mb/s, UDMA 7 are the only things that can capture this baby. 60p at 1080 Full frame sensor, so you gain all the benefits that the 5D’s full frame sensor gave you. Rolling shutter was less apparent. Moire did not exist. Picture styles are like on the 5D, so you can go in there and make your own.

Canon Log was one of the most exciting functions of the 1DC. At 400 ISO, it will give you a dynamic range of 12.5 stops. The log looks unbelievable. You can expose it easily, not like Cinestyle or other flat files. No h.264 codec here. This records to motion jpegs, and the WOW factor goes up when you see how the slight compression to the cards makes it look just like film. This compression, that I have embraced and love, softens the highlights, skin and rounds the 4K capture.

Canon 1DC specsCanon 1DC specs

The contrast ratio feels more like a hill than a cliff. Skin tones are absolutely beautiful. Vitality abounds with the Canon’s sensor and color space. I could care less that it is 8 BIT color. I am getting it very close, and Dave Cole, our colorist at Technicolor, had a huge range to deal with. Canon’s 8 BIT feels like 12 BIT with its color space and reproduction.

The Ticket


ISO Range

The effective native ISO of the chip is 400 ISO in Canon Log. There are no native ISOs like the 5D, 7D, and 1D. Through testing, I was able to go to 6400 on the Neutral picture style as well as Canon Log and see the noise that I saw at 1600 ISO on the Canon 5D, which is what 70% of the night photography was shot at on Act of Valor. That noise is minimal. It doesn’t look like the C300 at 6400 ISO, which looks very noisy and a grain texture equal to 5219 pushed two stops, which is marginal. Shooting at 6400 ISO, with minimal noise/grain will shake things up. I felt that it handled the highlights of night photography wonderfully on Canon Log. Holding all detail in color on neon, flo’s, street lamps with no hot burning video looking boca. There was no evidence of sensor pattern in the out of focus highlights that you get from every other camera. It just plain looked like film. This is an A Camera system. Period!!!!

This is just the beginning of a 5 week series about the inner workings of The Ticket. There will be a BTS post, two lighting posts, a producing post and texture process post, so stay tuned. Thank you to Simon Beins and The Three Fishermen for the original song “Those Kisses” on “The Ticket.”

“Those Kisses” on iTunes

Like “The Ticket” on Facebook

Rate “The Ticket” on IMDB.

  1. Matthew Marzano 3 years ago

    First and foremost, thank you for the excellent information you and your team provide.

    Regarding battery life, here is the info directly from Canon (keep in mind it will be a bit less if you use IS lenses):

    Movie Shooting Battery Life
    4K: 1 hr. 25 min. at 73°F / 23°C

    1 hr. 15 min. at 32°F / 0°C

    Full HD (30 fps, ALL-I): 2 hr. 10 min. at 73°F / 23°C

    2 hr. at 32°F / 0°C

    Some questions I have:

    1. On page 38 of the manual, “Even if [Record func.] is set to [Auto Switch Card] the card cannot be switched automatically during movie shooting mode.” I was under the impression that with a 12 hour continuous movie mode that spanned clips would be possible. Does that mean it will not automatically start recording to the second card when the first one fills up?

    1B. If it is possible, are the NLE’s (Avid specifically) able to stitch together the spanned clips?

    2. On page 44 of the manual, “When Canon Log gamma is set, vertical noise stripes may appear in movies depending on subject or shooting conditions.” Well, that doesn’t sound good. Did you experience this (specifically in low light, like your ferris wheel shots)? What are the workaround options (I imagine, add light or change out of Canon Log, but I’d like your opinion)?

    3. Does your MCS Cage allow space for the Canon GPS attachment GP-E1?

    3B. I want to attach the MCS cage to a different baseplate, is this possible yet, if not what is the ETA?

    • Author
      Shane 3 years ago

      Matthew Marzano. Thank you so much for the kind words,information and support. Here are the answers to your questions.

      1. To my knowledge it will automatically switch from one card to another. The protocol for the elite team though was to only shoot on one card at a time to play it safe and better data management. Each card reflecting the a separate “roll”.

      1B. Just like the C300 and 5DMkIII there should be a Plug in when the Camera is released for the different NLE’s to stitch the clips together.

      2. Canon log on the 1DC provides increased dynamic range, but can’t be pushed into the higher ISO’s like the Neutral setting. It comes down to knowing how far you can push the camera. From testing I found that Log can be pushed to 1600-3200 ISO max without noticing fixed pattern noise, and Neutral as high as 6400 ISO.

      3. The MCS cage does not allow space for the Canon GPS attachment GP-E1.

      3B. All cages (except for the 1Dx/DC) can be attached directly onto a tripod and therefore if any baseplate that mimic the attachment of a tripod would work.

  2. Lamberto Lamberti 3 years ago

    You got it!!! The Real Film Look. Not emulated. That is what we can get only with Canon EOS DSLR and Raw Cine-cameras. Mr Hurlbut,you’ve the vision of a real cinematographer: finally a man who can see the difference.
    Many prosumer cameras are emulating the look,even the C100/C300 are to me too “videoish” .But when i take a look a DSLR (and the 1DC is really Amazing) i see the -feeling- of film: not too sharpened image,dynamic range,soft shadows,three dimensional 24p image,beautiful nuances of color.
    Great educational pages Shane,keep the very good work! and thank you for sharing your experience to all aspiring filmmakers. I’ll follow you on Youtube,Twitter etc. Great this pages too.
    Love “The Skulls” (i’m also a Randy Edelman composer fan) & Terminator Salvation photography. I’ve not seen Act of Valor,but the Blu Ray will be in my home soon. And “The Ticket” is absultely gorgeous.


    • Author
      Shane 3 years ago

      Lamberto Lamberti. Thank you so much for the kind words and support.

  3. Zade Akkad 3 years ago

    Hey Shane,

    I noticed that you had a TV-Logic external monitor. Is the monitor connected by SDI or HDMI? If SDI, is that an after market accessory?

    • Author
      Shane 3 years ago

      Zade Akkad. Hdmi was sent out from the 1DC into the EVF, Hdmi out the EVF into the TV-Logic and SDI out to video village.

  4. Justin Teichen 3 years ago

    I want to thank you on sharing your knowledge! I have learned so much from you and am very grateful for that.

    I noticed the use of Anton Bauer batteries with the Canon 1Dc. Can you explain this camera configuration?

    Thank you for your time in addressing my question.

    • Author
      Shane 3 years ago

      Justin Teichen. What we did is take the AC adapter for the 1DC and do a power step down so we can take Anton Power 13volt power and step it down to the voltage of the camera. This gives you a days worth of shooting instead of swapping batteries. Thank you for the kind words and support.

  5. Greg 3 years ago

    Shane, thanks for sharing your experience and knowledge. I recently acquired the 1DC and was wondering if you could provide more detail on how to use the 1DC AC adapter and step down power in order to use an Anton Bauer. I would love to be able to power my camera all day from one battery. Is there rewiring involved or other adapters that need to be incorporated in the process or can I just buy the 1DC AC adapter and plug it directly into the Anton Bauer?



    • Author
      Shane 3 years ago

      Greg. I had the cables custom made. Contact Drew ([email protected]) at Audio Department in you would like to purchase some.

      • Author
        Shane 3 years ago

        Here is a link to a photo of our innovative power solution for the Canon 1DC with Master Cinema Series 2.0. Power convertor in battery cache. Power Anton Bauer p-tap.

        • Greg 3 years ago

          Thanks Shane

    • Author
      Shane 3 years ago

      Greg, you are very welcome, that is great, you can buy the !DC to Anton Bauer adapter on Letus35. I designed that baby. I think they are shipping soon.

  6. Andreas 3 years ago

    Stop spamming with your stupid (not even functional) site.

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