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April 14, 2012 8:14 pm

Canon 1D C – The new DSLR capable of 4k video

The EOS 1D C, Canon’s promised DSLR capable of 4K video was announced on Thursday 12th. The camera will be a variation of the 1D X, but with reworked circuitry and heat management in order to prevent overheating from the massive data rates. It will also have some of the features from the C300, Canon’s recently announced cinema camera, which should allow the two cameras to be used together.

This is a pretty exciting piece of kit as it demonstrates the impact that RED’s 4k (and higher) camera’s have had. It seems that we are seeing an end to the era of generating digital film at 1080p and upscaling to 2k for broadcast, and a move towards the generation of material at higher resolutions.

I am, however, slightly confused by the fact that the camera only shoots 4k at 24fps. After all the fuss a few years regarding the 5D mark ii only shooting HD video at 30fps, I am surprised by Canon’s decision not to include 4k at 25 and 30fps. At 24fps, the 1D C’s 4k functionality is clearly aimed at the film market. But for all it’s bells and whistles the camera is still, at it’s heart, a DSLR with added video functionality. I’m sure that the camera will be welcomed with open arms by the indie film market, but it is not a dedicated film camera. At a predicted $10,000, it will function as an affordable 4k crash cam but I find it unlikely that it will be adopted widely adopted on professional film shoots.

Conversely, the potential for this camera in TV and commercials is clear. In the FX Guide RC podcasts, TVC director Jason Wingrove has discussed the usefulness of shooting 4k and the convenience of HDSLRs for commercials. So with the option of 25 and 30fps, the 1D C would be able to fulfill both of these needs, and yet Canon has neglected to include them.

Of course, the camera has not yet been released and things may well change. I will be following this camera with interest and anticipation.

March 10, 2012 2:29 pm

The VFX Predictinator

In the wake of the 2012 Academy Award I found myself very surprised by the VFX result. Certainly Hugo is a magnificent film, and I have enormous respect for director Martin Scorsese and VFX Supervisor Rob Legato, but Hugo’s effects were not the best of the year. Transformers 3 and Rise of the Planet of the Apes both achieved stunning levels of photo-realism and wonderfully nuanced animation, but my personal pick for the statue was Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2.

Not only is the Harry Potter franchise the highest grossing in cinema history, but it has overseen the maturation of the UK visual effects industry. All of the major UK film effects companies have worked on the Harry Potter films, and grown into world-class powerhouses in the process. It is possible that I would not have a job were it not for Harry Potter. Yet despite the success and importance of the franchise, not one of the 7 previous films had been awarded a single Oscar, and I was confident that this year the Academy would recognize the significance of the films.

And yet it didn’t. I wasn’t able to reconcile this result with my own perspective, until I discovered The VFX Predictinator. By analyzing 23 years of VFX Oscar results, effects professional Todd Vaziri has developed a formula for predicting the winner. The formula uses quantifiable (more or less) data from a number of different categories and for the last two years it has correctly predicted the outcome, this year tipping Hugo. When you look at the calculations, the result does seem very easy to understand.

VFX Predictinator 2012

Vaziri’s formula takes a calculating and surprisingly accurate approach to the awards, although as Vaziri points out it makes no recognition of the quality of the nominees, just Academy voting habits.
For a detailed breakdown of the formula and its history, visit Vaziri’s blog, or listen to the VFXshow pre-awards podcast.