There are some fantastic full frame sensor cameras out there that can give you crisp, clean images with a fantastic depth of field, and while we realise that sometimes it’s necessary for you to crush all that goodness down to 24Mbps 4:2:0 H.264 by shooting natively, it’s basically our mission to ensure that doesn’t happen any more than it absolutely has to.
To that end, we present our top three camera/external recorder combos, each designed to help you bypass your camera’s native limitations and shoot pristine images – in the C500’s case, you can even go all the way up to 4K RAW. If you don’t see something to suit you here, you can always drop us a line in the comments or at broadcast@Jigsaw24.com for info on what else is out there.
For weddings, low end music videos and anyone moving up from DSLR: Canon C100 and Atomos Ninja-2
The C100 is one of the best cameras around at its price point, largely due to the fact that it’s built around the same sensor as Canon’s next offering up, the C300. If you shoot natively it caps you at 24Mbps 4:2:0, but the sensor actually captures far more information than that, and pairing the C100 with an Atomos Ninja-2 is an affordable way to get yourself an uncompressed 10-bit feed and make this a workable shooting setup for low end ads and music videos, event videography or corporate work. (While we’re talking about money, it’s worth noting that we’re throwing in a drive, flight case and cable with the Ninja-2, which Atomos now make you buy separately, so you’ll want to pick this up soon in order to get the best possible deal.)
JVC’s GY-HM650 has been much talked about because its WiFi connectivity makes it a great fit for ENG – you can record footage in the field, then stream it back to base without having to ingest or transcode the footage first. Pairing it with a Samurai Blade makes this even easier, as you can record a hi-res version to the Blade for ingest, the final edit and archiving, while streaming a lower res proxy back to head office so that your team can start work on a rough cut.
The Samurai Blade is a great advantage in field setups like this, as it doubles up as an external recorder and hi-res viewfinder. The 325 dpi IPS display gives you deep, detailed blacks and great colour accuracy, and the touchscreen controls make it easy to move between vectorscopes, waveform monitors, luma overlays, your RGB parade and your actual image – all on one device.
For ad agencies, high end music videos and short films: Canon C500 and Ki Pro Quad
The C500 wasn’t originally billed as a 4K camera, but as each of its four HD-SDI outputs are capable of carrying an HD image, you can hook it up to the Ki Pro Quad and knit the four streams together to get a full resolution 12-bit 4:4:4 or 10-bit 4:2:2 4K RAW image. As well as being fantastic for video shoots, this pairing is great for anyone doing graphics-driven or multimedia work, as you can pull 4K or RAW stills from the Ki Pro Quad and edit them as you would a still image, so you can use footage captured during a single shoot across all elements of a campaign.
The Ki Pro Quad records ProRes files to SSD drives and offloads via Thunderbolt, so it’s quick and easy to get even the largest files from your camera to your NLE of choice. You could even use it with something like the Blackmagic Design MultiDock to offload your footage to multiple drives at the same time, ensuring that you always have working, backup, archive and insurance copies of your shoot (read more on the MultiDock and Ki Pro Quad here).
Looking for some new lenses?
Sadly a no-go for JVC users, but if you’re eyeing up either the C100 or C500 you’ll be pleased to hear that Canon are now offering a discount when you mix and match any three of five Cine-Prime lenses. As the offer suggests, you’re free to put together your own bundle based on whatever you think will suit your shooting style, but take a look at our sample bundles for a few ideas.