Choosing a Camera for CRG

CRG is getting ready for some big equipment upgrades! As one of CRG’s camera operators/production guys, I wanted to compile some equipment options to better our workflow. (I love doing research on things like this because my inner nerd gets butterflies.) At CRG we do both commercial and corporate work, and need a versatile set up. So I started by looking into a few cameras.

I looked at the Sony FS700, Canon C300, and Black Magic Production Camera. They are all great cameras, some offering 4K, some offering slow motion, and some are portable… BUT really, there is no perfect camera. The Sony FS700 instantly looked like the most attractive with the option to upgrade to 4K and the amazing slow motion. But the design of the camera doesn’t tickle my fancy, although I have been using DSLRS for years, so maybe I can get over that. The option for slow motion goes a long way when creating commercials. 240FPS in full HD is an amazing way to cut through the noise of traditional ads! The 8 bit codec seems to be very strong for what it is and doesn’t seem to break down besides some aliasing and moire from slow motion, but hey its a camera under 10k! We also shoot a decent amount of green screen at CRG, so I wish we could have a more versatile internal codec for studio shoots. But then again, we could purchase the external recorder to shoot raw and then we have a whole lot of room to chroma key.

On to the Canon C300. We have used this camera before with great outcome. The design of this camera is probably one of the best on the market (besides ENG style cameras). The image is great and handles color well just like all Canon cameras and the resolution is actually there, something we are not used to on the 5D (unless in ML raw). But there are definitely things that I don’t like about the camera. The specs aren’t the best on it. Of course, it’s not all about specs. Just give us at least 1080 60P canon! The iPhone 5S can shoot 120 in 720P. Canon, you can pick up your game. Sorry I am back on the FS 700 now but, I use Canon EF glass and with the metabones speed booster I can effectively make the FS700 a full frame camera and gain a whole stop on my glass. That is just a great option to get the FF look we all love.

My personal favorite is the Black Magic Production camera. Now this is probably the worst camera for commercial and corporate videos. The filmic image is the best looking image out of the bunch of cameras. (Well let me slow down, we haven’t seen anything from this camera, but I think if the image is any where near the BMCC, we will love this camera.) However, when it comes to commercial and corporate production, it’s not ALL about the image. It’s about how you use the camera on set, and how efficiently you are able to get in and get the job done. But this camera packs a punch! It’s 4K ready stock, shoots to SSD’s, amazing codecs, EF mount, and compact design. But again there are still a lot of problems with it. For example, the internal battery is probably the dumbest thing I have ever seen in a camera. (Pardon my French.)  This would require us to get external batteries, plug into a non secure port, and then mount to rails, which is now making the camera system bigger, not to mention all the other attached accessories.

So there’s a lot for us to think about here at CRG. If you’re in the market for a new camera, you have to get something that will work for your style of work. There is no perfect camera, and with so many options out there its worth to do your research. Get the camera in your hand rent it use it and then make your decision. That’s our plan!

By Videographer, Caleb Rasak